A study carried out in Hungary has shown the importance of road quality for childrens’ safety when cycling. The research was carried out retrospectively by reviewing hospital records and then sending a questionnaire to the parents of injured children.
The researchers focus on the importance of roads and helmets. This makes sense for those involved in directing government initiatives. For those of us interested in bicycle design, it’s also interesting that about 10 percent of injuries were caused by spokes. It is not specified which of these were falls in which impingement of the spokes was the cause and which were injuries purely due to a body part being entrapped by the spokes. In both cases, however, a design which prevents body parts and foreign objects from entering between the spokes would have avoided the injury.
Similarly, 3.6 percent of injuries were caused by the handlebar. It is implied that these were the result of the child landing on the handlebar which then caused a penetrating wound. Similar impacts with the saddle and seat post are also mentioned with all other parts of the bicycle accounting for 2.2% of injuries. Good design could prevent these types of injury.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the characteristics and the outcome of bicycle injuries in paediatric patients according to the living environment, and to create guidelines for injury prevention.
The evaluation was performed in part based on hospital database of 1803 in- and out-patient children treated at the Paediatric Surgical Department of PeÂ´cs/Hungary between 2000 and 2006, and at the Department of Paediatric Surgery at the Heim Pal Hospital Budapest between 2004 and 2006. Additionally questionnaires were mailed to the patients’ families to gain follow-up information. We analysed three groups according to demographic density (village, midsize town and large town).
We found, that poor road quality played an important role as a contributing factor of injuries in villages. The number of bicycle spoke-injuries was higher in villages (13%), than in midsize towns (4.6%) and the large town (9.9%). In villages, 5% of children injured wore a helmet; this rate was 9% in midsize towns and 9.1% in the large town. Head injury was more common in villages, while in midsize towns and the large town arm injuries proved to be predominant.
Prevention strategies targeting bicycle injuries in children should take into account the population density. This analysis revealed a substantial difference in the use of safety devices, and in the characteristics of injuries occurring in villages, indicating that there is a need for special attention regarding this higher risk population.
Bicycle injuries in children: An analysis based on demographic density
Katalin Kiss Zsuzsanna Pótó András Pintér Sándor Sárközy
Accident analysis and prevention. , 2010, Vol.42(6), p.1566-1569