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Study finds bicycle-related injuries, adult deaths increase during 2009-2018

Published May 19, 2021

WASHINGTON (BRAIN) — Bicycle-related injuries requiring emergency-room treatment increased between 2009 and 2018, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study that also reported bicycle-related deaths went up primarily among adults.

In 2018, 857 adult bicyclists died from traffic-related crashes in the United States, the highest number in two decades, according to the CDC report.

During 2009-2018, an estimated 596,972 emergency room visits were recorded for bicycle-related traumatic brain injuries in the U.S. The rate of ER visits for bicycle-related traumatic brain injuries decreased by about half among children and adolescents 17-under and by 5.5% among adults during this time. Rates were highest among adult males and children and adolescents 10-14 years old.

Because bicycling continues to grow in popularity — primarily among U.S. adults — examining strategies to lessen risks is important, the report states.

"The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is reminding consumers of the importance of wearing helmets for sports and recreation to reduce the risk of head injury, including traumatic brain injuries)," the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said in an email. "Helmets absorb much of the impact energy from a fall or collision, and can protect the skull and brain from more severe injury."

The report also revealed:

  • Males were three times more likely than females to wind up in the emergency room with traumatic brain injuries.
  • Policies requiring helmet use have been associated with sustained use and a 20-55% reduction in head injuries.

The CDC report said while most who are treated for traumatic brain injury recover, some experience ongoing symptoms that take an emotional, cognitive, and behavioral toll.

In addition to helmet use, the CDC said improving traffic law compliance and bicycling infrastructure would reduce the risk of injury.

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Topics associated with this article: Coronavirus

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