Epidemiology of nonfatal bicycle injuries presenting to United States emergency departments, 2001-2008

Acad Emerg Med. 2013 Jun;20(6):570-5. doi: 10.1111/acem.12146.


Objectives: The purpose of this study was to describe the epidemiology of bicycle-related injuries presenting to United States emergency departments (EDs).

Methods: The National Electronic Injury Surveillance System All Injury Program (NEISS-AIP) database was used to derive national, weighted estimates of nonfatal ED visits for bicycle-related injuries by patient age, sex, diagnosis, injured body part, locale of incident, traffic-relatedness of incident, and month of incident.

Results: Males accounted for 73% of all bicycle-related injury ED visits. Patients aged 10 to 14 years represented the 5-year age interval with the highest rate of bicycle injury visits (488 per 10,000). Fifty-six percent of ED visits for bicycle-related injuries came from cyclists who were riding on the street, with increased street ridership in those who were older than 15 years, and 99.7% of all patient injuries occurring on the street (as opposed to other locations) were related to motor vehicle collisions (MVCs). The head and face were the most injured body parts in the overall population. In addition, the largest proportion of head injuries, relative to total injuries in the age group, occurred in the very young (0 to 4 years) and elderly (65+ years) populations. The leading rider injury diagnoses were contusion, abrasions, and hematomas. The incidence of bicycle-related injuries peaked in the month of July.

Conclusions: The study identified the characteristics of bicycle-related injuries across various age groups of riders. This information will aid in developing more effective age-appropriate injury prevention strategies. The frequency of MVC-related injuries deserves attention and suggests the need to examine strategies for limiting interactions between moving vehicles and bicyclists.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents / statistics & numerical data*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Bicycling / injuries*
  • Bicycling / statistics & numerical data*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / epidemiology*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult