Introduction: This study aims to evaluate the magnitude, mechanism, distribution and outcome of bicycle-related injuries managed at the Emergency Department, Al-Ain Hospital, United Arab Emirates.
Methods: 200 patients, who were treated at the emergency department of Al-Ain Hospital during the period of October 2001 to January 2003, were prospectively studied. A hard copy protocol was designed and data was collected on a daily basis.
Results: 175 patients (87.5 percent) were males. The average age was 16.1 +/- 13.7 years. Only two were wearing helmets (one percent). The majority of injuries occurred in the evening and was due to a fall from a bicycle in 163 patients (81.5 percent). 88 patients had lower limb injuries (44 percent), and 72 had head and neck injuries (36 percent). Only 31 patients (15.5 percent) needed hospitalisation. Of these, four (12.9 percent) were admitted to the intensive care unit. The mean (range) hospital stay was 6.3 (1-23) days. Patients who were admitted to the hospital were older males, involved in motor vehicle collisions, and had more head injuries. Three patients (1.5 percent) died.
Conclusion: Bicyclists' head injuries, caused by a motor vehicle collision, are a main cause of hospital admission. Helmet compliance in our community is alarmingly low, indicating the need for legislation and education on the use of helmets.