Objective: To elucidate the way of reducing the number of bicycle accidents. A prospective study of all casualties from bicycle accidents attending an accident unit for a 29-month period was performed (1831 patients). A more detailed questionnaire on the causes of accidents was used for the last 12 months of the study (818 patients).
Results: In the 0-7 and 8-12 years age groups, 87.5 per cent and 66.2 per cent, respectively, were due to cyclist error. The 8-12-year-old cyclists were twice as likely to have caused the accident if they had not had formal training (risk ratio = 2.0). Over the age of 18 years, 41.4 per cent were due to another road user. A motor vehicle was involved in 633 of the 1831 accidents.
Conclusions: Children under the age of 8 years should not be allowed on public roads. Older children should only be allowed on the roads after formal training. This should become part of the school curriculum. A campaign to increase the awareness of motorists would be expected to reduce the number of cycle accidents. It would be beneficial to dedicate more roads and tracks to cycle use. Cyclists should be encouraged to wear more protective gear.