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J Trauma. 2007 May;62(5):1118-22.

The current injury situation of bicyclists--a medical and technical crash analysis.

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Department for Trauma, Orthopaedic and Foot Surgery, Coburg Clinical Center, and Hannover Medical School, Germany.



The purpose of the study was to analyze the actual injury situation of bicyclists in Germany to create a basis for effective preventive measures.


Technical and medical data were prospectively collected shortly after the crash at the crash scenes.


Included were 4,264 injured bicyclists from 1985 to 2003. Fifty-five percent of the bicyclists were male and 45% were women. The mean age of bicyclists was 52.0 years. The crashes took place in urban areas in 95.2% of the cases, and in rural areas in 4.8% of the cases. Collision opponents were cars in 65.8%, trucks in 7.2%, bicyclists in 7.4%, standing objects in 8.8%, multiple opponents or objects in 4.3%, and others in 6.5%. The mean collision speed was 21.3 km/h. The helmet use rate was 1.7%. Fifty-five percent of bicyclists used bicycle traffic lanes before the crash. The mean Maximum Abbreviated Injury Scale/Injury Severity Score (ISS) was 1.45 of 3.9. The incidence of multiple injuries (ISS>16)/death was 2.0%/1.5%. The ISS/Maximum Abbreviated Injury Scale score was higher in bicyclists without a helmet than in bicyclists with a helmet, and in bicyclists who had not used bicycle traffic lanes than in bicyclists who had used bicycle traffic lanes (t test, p<0.05).


In bicyclists, head and extremities are at high risk for injuries. The helmet use rate is unsatisfactorily low. Remarkably, two-thirds of the head injuries could have been prevented by helmets. More consequent helmet use and an extension of bicycle traffic lanes for a better separation of bicyclists and motorized vehicles would be simple but very effective preventive measures.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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