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PLoS One. 2014 Jan 29;9(1):e87633. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0087633. eCollection 2014.

What influences the association between previous and future crashes among cyclists? A propensity score analysis.

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Section of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Population Health, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand.



It is known that experience of a previous crash is related to incidence of future crashes in a cohort of New Zealand cyclists. This paper investigated if the strength of such association differed by crash involvement propensity and by the need for medical care in the previous crash.


The Taupo Bicycle Study involved 2590 adult cyclists recruited in 2006 and followed over a median period of 4.6 years through linkage to four national databases. The crash involvement propensity was estimated using propensity scores based on the participants' demographic, cycling and residential characteristics. Cox regression modelling for repeated events was performed with multivariate and propensity score adjustments. Analyses were then stratified by quintiles of the propensity score.


A total of 801 (31.0%) participants reported having experienced at least one bicycle crash in the twelve months prior to the baseline survey. They had a higher risk of experiencing crash events during follow-up (hazard ratio (HR): 1.43; 95% CI: 1.28, 1.60) but in the stratified analysis, this association was significant only in the highest two quintiles of the propensity score where the likelihood of having experienced a crash was more than 33%. The association was stronger for previous crashes that had received medical care (HR 1.63; 95% CI: 1.41, 1.88) compared to those that had not (HR 1.30; 95% CI: 1.14, 1.49).


Previous crash experience increased the risk of future crash involvement in high-risk cyclists and the association was stronger for previous crashes attended medically. What distinguishes the high risk group warrants closer investigation, and the findings indicate also that health service providers could play an important role in prevention of bicycle crash injuries.

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