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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

The injury epidemiology of cyclists based on a road trauma registry

Emmanuelle Amoros123*, Mireille Chiron123, Bertrand Thélot4 and Bernard Laumon123

Author Affiliations

1 Epidemiological Research and Surveillance Unit in Transport, Occupation and Environment (UMRESTTE), Université de Lyon, 43 bvd du 11 Novembre 1918 F-69622 Lyon, France

2 Epidemiological Research and Surveillance Unit in Transport, Occupation and Environment (UMRESTTE), French Institute of Science and Technology for Transport, Development and Networks (IFSTTAR), 25 avenue François Mitterrand, BRON, F-69675, France

3 Epidemiological Research and Surveillance Unit in Transport, Occupation and Environment (UMRESTTE), Université Lyon 1, Lyon, F-69373, France

4 Injury Unit, Department of Chronic Diseases and Trauma, French Institute for Public Health Surveillance (InVS), 12 rue du Val d'Osne, Saint-Maurice, F-94415, France

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BMC Public Health 2011, 11:653  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-653

Published: 17 August 2011

Abstract

Background

Bicycle use has increased in some of France's major cities, mainly as a means of transport. Bicycle crashes need to be studied, preferably by type of cycling. Here we conduct a descriptive analysis.

Method

A road trauma registry has been in use in France since 1996, in a large county around Lyon (the Rhône, population 1.6 million). It covers outpatients, inpatients and fatalities. All injuries are coded using the Abbreviated Injury Scale (AIS). Proxies were used to identify three types of cycling: learning = children (0-10 years old); sports cycling = teenagers and adults injured outside towns; cycling as means of transport = teenagers and adults injured in towns. The study is based on 13,684 cyclist casualties (1996-2008).

Results

The percentage of cyclists injured in a collision with a motor vehicle was 8% among children, 17% among teenagers and adults injured outside towns, and 31% among those injured in towns. The percentage of serious casualties (MAIS 3+) was 4.5% among children, 10.9% among adults injured outside towns and 7.2% among those injured in towns. Collisions with motor-vehicles lead to more internal injuries than bicycle-only crashes.

Conclusion

The description indicates that cyclist type is associated with different crash and injury patterns. In particular, cyclists injured in towns (where cycling is increasing) are generally less severely injured than those injured outside towns for both types of crash (bicycle-only crashes and collisions with a motor vehicle). This is probably due to lower speeds in towns, for both cyclists and motor vehicles.