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Singapore Med J. 2006 May;47(5):367-72.

Helmet use and bicycle-related trauma in patients presenting to an acute hospital in Singapore.

Author information

  • 1Emergency Department, Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Singapore. kenneth_heng@ttsh.com.sg

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

To describe the relationship between bicycle helmet use and injury pattern sustained by patients presenting to an emergency department (ED) in Singapore for bicycle-related trauma.

METHODS:

Data was collected from all individuals treated for bicycle-related trauma between September 1, 2004 and May 31, 2005 using a closed-ended questionnaire.

RESULTS:

160 bicyclists with mean age of 34.4 years (range 10 to 89 years) were surveyed. Among them, 80 percent were male and 30.6 percent were non-residents. Helmets were worn by 10.6 percent of the patients. Alcohol was clinically detected in 11.3 percent of bicyclists. There was no difference in bicycle helmet use between Singaporeans and non-residents (p-value is 0.275). However, compared to younger bicyclists, bicyclists aged 30 years or older (p-value is less than 0.05), and compared to recreational or sport bicyclists, those who commute by bicycle, tended not to wear helmets (p-value is less than 0.01). Compared to Singaporeans (p-value is less than 0.05), non-residents and bicyclists aged 30 years or older (p-value is 0.011) believed that helmets did not protect against head injury. Comparing the helmeted group with the non-helmeted group, injury patterns by body region were: head injury 5.9 percent versus 40.0 percent (p-value is less than 0.01); facial injury 5.9 percent versus 37.1 percent (p-value is less than 0.05). Not wearing a helmet, being hit by a motor vehicle and age were significantly associated with higher injury severity scores, after adjusting for several potential confounding factors.

CONCLUSION:

Bicycle helmet use was low in our sample of injured patients. When worn, protection against injury was demonstrated. A campaign to promote use of bicycle helmets should be targeted at non-residents and older bicyclists. Authorities should consider compulsory helmet laws for bicyclists and expanding anti-drunk driving campaigns to target alcohol-intoxicated bicyclists.

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PMID:
16645684
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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