Bicycle-related head injuries decrease in children, but not in adults


By Ernie Mundell
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, MAY 14, 2021 (HealthDay News): There is good news and bad rates of head injuries among the American cycling public: rates of these injuries have dropped dramatically among children, but have barely changed among the growing number of adult cyclists.

Between 2009 and 2018, increased use of the helmet, the construction of bike lanes dedicated to cities and other safety interventions have significantly reduced bicycle-related injuries. brain injuries (TBI), especially among children ages 10 to 14, according to a new report.

“Overall, the rate of visits to emergency services for bicycle-related BITs fell by about half [48.7%] among children and 5.5% among adults, “said a team led by Kelly Sarmiento. She is part of the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, which is part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .

In total, there have been reductions in bicycle head injuries related to children over the past decade. us times better than those seen among adult cyclists.

Sarmiento and colleagues noted that there are more adults who give up cars and ride bikes, with sometimes tragic results.


“Bicycle-related deaths among adults have increased in recent years,” they wrote. “In 2018, 857 adult cyclists died due to traffic-related crashes in the United States, the highest number in two decades.”

The new report tracked U.S. data on nearly 600,000 visits to the emergency service for bicycle-related BITs between 2009 and 2018.

Sarmiento’s team noted that “most patients who suffered from a TBI [83%] they were treated and released from the emergency service. ”

Still, “although many of these people experienced a good recovery, some have experienced ongoing symptoms that have emotional, cognitive, behavioral, and academic consequences,” the researchers added.

It also seemed like gender mattered.

“During the study period, the rate of visits to emergency services for bicycle-related TBI among men of all ages was three times higher than that of women,” the CDC researchers wrote. The study found that boys and men were also more likely to die from a bicycle accident than girls and women.

Researchers believe that more education is needed on bicycle safety, aimed specifically at men.


Two emergency physicians who were not connected to the new report agreed that more needs to be done.

“While the study indicates that there has been a much more intense decline in bicycle-related BITs in children compared to adults, we should not be complacent and set aside our efforts to address this important health issue. public, ”said Dr. Robert Glatter, who practices at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York.

“The fact is that cycling leads to the highest number of emergency room visits for a traumatic brain injury in the U.S.,” he said.

The threat to adults is especially severe.

“With a growing number of adults traveling to work in both urban and rural settings, combined with increased congestion on bike lanes, the reality is not just a TBI, but a multisystem trauma,” Glatter said. There is the “potential for serious and life-threatening chest and abdominal injuries, including long bones, pelvis and rib fractures,” added.

Dr. Teresa Murray Amato directs emergency medicine at Forest Hills Jewish Long Island Hospital, also in New York City.


He said the welcome drop in children’s TBIs may be “the result of a massive educational push by paediatricians to make sure parents understand the need to wear a helmet while children ride bicycles.”

But “while cycling can offer a fun and effective way to exercise, there are some safety issues to follow,” Amato said.

Glatter said there is also a new danger to consider.

“The explosion of e-bikes in recent years continues to cause an increase in the severity of injuries, mainly due to higher speeds,” he said. “Electric bikes are also usually heavier than standard bikes, which can cause more serious injuries just because of their weight during falls and collisions.”

The new study was published May 13 in the journal CDC Weekly morbidity and mortality report.

More information

Learn more about bicycle safety at National Highway Safety Traffic Administration.

SOURCES: Teresa Murray Amato, MD, President, Emergency Medicine, Long Island Jewish Forest Hills, New York; Robert Glatter, emergency physician, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York; Weekly morbidity and mortality report, May 13, 2021

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