Concern over rise in pedestrian and cyclist injuries

September 11, 2003

Admission to hospital for severe injuries to young pedestrians and cyclists increased between 1992 and 1997, but admission rates for other transport injuries fell, say researchers in this week's BMJ.

The study involved children up to 14 years old who were admitted to hospital for pedal cycle, pedestrian, or other transport injuries in the Trent region of the UK between 1992 and 1997.

During the study, 1,061 cyclists, 449 pedestrians, and 426 others were admitted to hospital with severe injuries. Admission rates among cyclists and pedestrians increased by 5% and 10% each year, whereas admission rates for other severe injuries fell by 11% each year.

These findings are surprising, given the increasing number of journeys made by car in this period, say the authors. Perhaps children's safety improved for car passengers but not for pedestrians or cyclists between 1992 and 1997, they suggest.

Injuries to pedestrians and cyclists can be reduced by traffic calming measures, and cycle helmets reduce head injuries. As national initiatives are promoting walking and cycling among schoolchildren, implementation of effective measures such as these should be a priority for local authorities and primary care groups and trusts, they conclude.
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BMJ

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