Scope of the Problem
In the United States, there are 67 million bicyclists who ride approximately
15 billion hours peryear.1 Each year, approximately 750 persons
die from injuries due to bicycle crashes and over 500,000 persons are treated in
emergency departments. While over 90% of deaths from bicycle-related injuries are
caused by collisions with motor vehicles2, these collisions cause less than
25% of non-fatal head injuries. Head injury is by far the greatest risk posed to
bicyclists, comprising one-third of emergency department visits, two-thirds of hospital
admissions, and three-fourths of deaths.
Unfortunately, the ubiquity of the bicycle lends the greatest risk of injury to
children, who often do not practice proper riding ha bits or wear bicycle helmets.
Consequently, 30 percent of bicyclist deaths occur in the 5-14 year old age group.
At least 125 children die from bicycle -related brain injuries each year (NCHS 1998)
Approximately one-fifth of the 100,000 children who sus t ain a non-fatal injury
to the head or face while riding each year, sustain a traumatic brain injury (USCPSC
1999). While 90 percent of all deaths involve collisions with motor vehicles, most
non-fatal injuries are a result of falls, which often go unrepo rted. In this review,
we evaluate these studies in the following areas of potential prevention strategies
for bicycle injury: