The green movement has espoused the use of bicycles as a carbon-neutral form of transportation. Health experts suggest bicycle riding can combat childhood obesity.
A new report reveals an estimated 389,300 children and adolescents 18-years and younger were treated in emergency departments for bicycle-related injuries, making bicycles second only to cars in consumer products that cause childhood injuries.
Even with mandated helmets and safety programs, children are experiencing contusions and abrasions (30 percent), lacerations (30 percent) and fractures (19 percent) mostly to their extremities followed closely by face and head injuries. According to the study, boys are 70% more likely than girls to be hurt on bikes. Tracy Mehan, a research associate at the Center for Injury Research and Policy of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and author of a new study explains the results:[social_buttons]
While the number of injuries decreased slightly over the 16-year study period, in 2005 an average of 850 children per day were seen in emergency departments for bicycle-related injuries. The magnitude of bicycle-related injuries each year is evidence that prevention of these injuries needs to remain a priority.
I believe it is unfair to blame bicycles completely for childhood injuries, and although I agree more efforts should be placed on safety and helmet programs, I imagine a majority of these injuries were car-related. If car-related bicycle injuries were credited to just cars, I wonder how bicycles would fair on the list of consumer products causing childhood injuries. A huge aspect of prevention that needs to be addressed is driver education so that children are safe while sharing the road.
Image: MattNJohnson on Flickr under a Creative Commons License