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Can J Surg. 2013 Jun;56(3):E32-8. doi: 10.1503/cjs.027411.

Severe street and mountain bicycling injuries in adults: a comparison of the incidence, risk factors and injury patterns over 14 years.

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The Departments of Surgery, and Community Health Sciences, University of Calgary and the Foothills Medical Centre, Calgary, Alta., Canada.


in English, French


Street and mountain bicycling are popular recreational activities and prevalent modes of transportation with the potential for severe injury. The purpose of this investigation was to compare the incidence, risk factors and injury patterns among adults with severe street versus mountain bicycling injuries.


We conducted a retrospective cohort study using the Southern Alberta Trauma Database of all adults who were severely injured (injury severity score [ISS] ≥ 12) while street or mountain bicycling between Apr. 1, 1995, and Mar. 31, 2009.


Among 11 772 severely injured patients, 258 (2.2%) were injured (mean ISS 17, hospital stay 6 d, mortality 7%) while street (n = 209) or mountain bicycling (n = 49). Street cyclists were often injured after being struck by a motor vehicle, whereas mountain bikers were frequently injured after faulty jump attempts, bike tricks and falls (cliffs, roadsides, embankments). Mountain cyclists were admitted more often on weekends than weekdays (61.2% v. 45.0%, p = 0.040). Injury patterns were similar for both cohorts (all p > 0.05), with trauma to the head (67.4%), extremities (38.4%), chest (34.1%), face (26.0%) and abdomen (10.1%) being common. Spinal injuries, however, were more frequent among mountain cyclists (65.3% v. 41.1%, p = 0.003). Surgical intervention was required in 33.3% of patients (9.7% open reduction internal fixation, 7.8% spinal fixation, 7.0% craniotomy, 5.8% facial repair and 2.7% laparotomy).


With the exception of spine injuries, severely injured cyclists display similar patterns of injury and comparable outcomes, regardless of style (street v. mountain). Helmets and thoracic protection should be advocated for injury prevention.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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