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Acad Emerg Med. 1995 Mar;2(3):200-3.

Injuries resulting from bicycle collisions.

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Department of Surgery, Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland 97201, USA.



To review all bicycle crash-related injuries reported to the Oregon Injury Registry for 1989 to compare patterns of injury and other features in adults vs children and adolescents.


A retrospective descriptive study was conducted using data from the Oregon Injury Registry. For 1989, this registry included all injury-related deaths and approximately 75% of hospital admissions of 24 hours or more for injury in the State of Oregon. Deaths, helmet use, neurologic injuries, and concurrent ethanol use were evaluated for all patients and for the two age groups.


There were 311 bicycle-related injured patients in the registry for 1989; 122 (40%) were adults (age > or = 21 years) and 189 (60%) were children/adolescents (age < 21 years). Approximately 69% of both age groups were male. All of the 15 deaths involved male patients and most deaths [10/15 (67%)] involved injured adults. Bicycle vs motor vehicle collisions accounted for 14 (93%) deaths and 106 (34%) of all registry entries. While only 19 (15%) of the injured adults had elevated blood alcohol levels, half the adults who died had been intoxicated. Helmet use was rare with only 12 (4%) of all the injured riders known to have been helmeted; no rider who died was known to have been helmeted. Neurologic injuries were common. In children, 27 (14%) had sustained skull fractures, 36 (19%) intracranial injuries, and one (0.5%) a spinal injury. In adults, 13 (10%) had sustained skull fractures, 32 (26%) intracranial injuries, and three (2%) spinal injuries.


Although children account for 60% of the serious bicycle injuries in Oregon, adults account for 67% of the deaths. Helmet use is rare, brain injuries are frequent, and alcohol use appears to be a contributing factor in cycling deaths among adults. Public education efforts should be directed to both adult and pediatric populations, emphasizing safe cycling practices and helmet use.

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