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Injuries and bicycling
4/26/2010 1:23:12 PM

Injuries and bicycling


Bicycling is a popular recreational activity and a sound alternative mode of transportation that can reduce traffic congestion and air pollution and entrance physical fitness.Bicycles can also offer a degree of autonomy to going people without access to cars.
As in several countries, bicycle use has seen a significant increase in great Beirut area and specifically in Central Beirut and in many other cities and villages.
In Lebanon, according to SRF estimation, there are more than half million bicyclists who ride millions of hours per year. Increasing trends in Lebanon are similar to trends developed countries such as Canada, United States and EU countries. 
National survey was organized yet in Lebanon, but SRF and YASA Lebanon estimations for Beirut area showed that approximately 70% of young Lebanese in Beirut aged 13 or under use a bicycle. SRF observed that over one – fifth of Beirut population enjoy cycling at least once a month during the summer season.

Although bicycling offer numerous benefits, it does have a negative component as well, that of death and injury related to bicycle use. The public health significance of injuries caused by bicycle use, especially head injuries has been measured in many parts of the world.
In Canada, the annual mortality rate in 1992 for bicycle-related injuries in children was 0.6 per 100,000 (beaulne, 1997). From 1994-1997, almost 10,000 Canadian children were hospitalized because of bicycle-related injuries; 35% of these admissions were because of injuries to the head.

Head injuries cause respectively 55% of deaths and 35% of hospital admissions for bicycle trauma (1993-1995) (Masson, 1998). Minor injuries associated with bicycle use are more frequent than hospitalizations (SSAQ, 1998; Beaulne, 1997), but are not always inconsequential. The social costs associated with head injuries resulting from bicycle injuries are high and add to the extent of the problem.
The circumstances surrounding fatal injuries in young cyclists are clearly different that those that are less serious. The majority of the deaths are the result of a collision with a motor vehicle and they occur most frequently among male cyclists. Non-fatal injuries requiring hospitalization occur in the majority of cases outside of public roadways. That is with no link to a motor vehicle (Masson, 1998; Hamel, 2001).
Generally speaking the risk factors associated with bicycle accidents or injuries can be divided into three categories: environmental factors (physical and social), factors linked to the individual (cyclists) or factors linked to the agent, i.e. the bicycle itself.

Environment:
the design of intersections has also identified as one of the most problematic elements for cyclist safety, increasing the probability of conflict between cyclists and car drivers (Leden, 1992; Garner, 1994). Other factors linked to the road safety code such as exceeding the maximum speed posted and the consumption of alcohol in excess of the amount allowed for drivers of vehicles can increase the probability of accidents among cyclists (Spence, 1993; Rowe, 1995).

Individual:
the age and sex of children are factors that influence the probability that bicycle injuries will occur. As mentioned above, boys are over – represented in terms of morbidity and mortality linked to bicycle accidents. Differences in cycling habits and cycling behaviors between sexes can explain this fact. Also, child development makes younger children more prone to fall off a bicycle and lose control of a bicycle or makes them more prone to adopt unsafe behavior (i.e. running a red light or stop sign, entering the roadway between two cars without first looking) (Brown, 1997; Linn, 1998).

Bicycle:
Factors linked to the bicycle itself rarely contribute to deaths of cyclists and are a triggering factor for the accident in approximately 2.4% of cases of injury in children (Brown, 1997). Defects in the bicycle most often have to do with brake failure, loss of wheels and problems with the chains.
prepared by M.Ziad Akl founder of yasa

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