Bike Accident Traumatic Brain Injuries Down For Children, Deaths Up For Adults: CDC
While the rates of traumatic brain injuries from bike accidents are down significantly among children in recent years, following campaigns designed to raise the importance of bike helmets, the findings of a new study suggest the rates have only barely decreased among adults, who continue to face a high risk of death while riding a bicycle.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a study in the latest it’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) on May 14, indicating bike accident head injuries dropped by about half for children between 2009 to 2018. However, the rate of traumatic brain injuries among adults riding a bike has only decreased by about 5.5% during the same time period.
Researchers found the increase of helmet use and the construction of dedicated bike lanes have greatly reduced rates of brain injuries, but adults still face high risks. From 2009 to 2018, an estimated 596,972 emergency room visits for bicycle-related brain injuries occurred in the United States. Most patients who were diagnosed with a brain injury (83%) were treated and released.
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The study used information from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System-All Injury Program (NEISS-AIP), to determine amount of TBIs during 2009-2018. NEISS-AIP contains information from annual data on patients in emergency rooms.
During that time, the rate of bicycle-related brain injuries for children decreased by half (48.7%) and, for adults, it decreased by 5.5%. According to the findings, the rate of emergency room visits for biking-related TBIs is three times higher for men than it is for women.
In 2018, there were 857 adult bicyclist deaths from traffic-related crashes in the United States, the highest number in two decades. Researchers believe the increase is due to a lack of safety policies and educational programs, during a time where bike ridership is increasing. Some of that increase may be linked to so-called e-bikes, which can be rented for temporary use in major cities.
The CDC researchers recommend more bicycling safety for adults, especially men. For children, researchers believe the push for bike safety among children has succeeded, resulting in lower brain injury rates.
Some of the researchers’ recommendations for improving bicycling safety for adults includes adding physically protected bicycle lanes and intersections, increasing the use of lights on bicycles, and reducing the amount of interactions between car drivers and bike riders.
TBI affects more than 60 million people every year around the world. The number of TBIs continue to rise due to a range of factors including sports injuries, increased risk of falls among the elderly, military conflict, and traffic accidents.
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