Bicycling-Related Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Study
Bicycling provides an important opportunity for physical activity and is a popular mode for commuting that provides both health and environmental benefits.
There has been an increase in the number of sport and recreation-related emergency room visits for Traumatic Brain Injuries(TBI) in the country as bicycling continues to grow in popularity among American adults.
While patients treated in an Emergency Room for Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) have a good recovery rate of almost 83%, some patients might experience ongoing symptoms that can have emotional, cognitive, behavioral, and academic consequences.
A study was conducted by the Centers of Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) for a period ranging from 2009 to 2018. A case was classified as Traumatic Brain Injury if the primary body part injured was the head and principal diagnosis was concussion or internal organ injury. The study was conducted consistent with applicable Federal and CDC policy. Some of it’s major findings and revelations were:
- There were an estimated 596,972 visits to the Emergency Room for bicycle-related Traumatic Brain Injuries in the country.
- Rates of ER visits were highest among males (aged under 18) and among children and adolescents (aged between 10 and 14).
- The rate per 100,000 population of ER visits for bicycle-related Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) decreased by 27.7% from 18.6% in 2009 to 13.6% in 2018.
- Over these period, rates of ER visits for bicycle-related Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) decreased by 48.71% among children and by 5.5% among adults.
- The decrease in bicycle-related Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) among children compared to adults during the study period can be associated to more adults bicycling, fewer children bicycling, and more adults using roadways to commute to work.
- The decrease has been facilitated by implementation of evidence- based policies and intervention by state and local communities, many of which focus on children.
- The overall decline in rates of bicycle related Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) among children can be associated with increased awareness among parents about TBIs and their long term consequences too.
- From 2009 to 2018, rate of ER visits for bicycle-related Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) among males of all ages was three times higher than among females.
- However, bicycle-related deaths among adults increased. In 2018, 857 adult bicyclists died in traffic-related crashes in the United States, the highest figure in two decades.
Findings of the above report have their limitations. Many persons with TBI seek care in a primary care facility or do not seek care at all. The analysis did not examine difference by race/ethnicity or socio-economic status which are associated with limited safety infrastructures.
Comprehensive strategies are needed to prevent cyclists deaths and most severe types of injuries.
Policies that recommend use of bicycle helmets have achieved a 20% to 50% reduction in bicycle-related head injuries, but bicycle helmets are not designed to prevent a concussion.
To reduce injuries and deaths due bicycle accidents, a multi-pronged approach that includes environmental, behavioral, and policy intervention, besides implementation of helmet use will be more effective.
Building and improving roads with a focus on pedestrian and bicyclist safety by adding bicycle lanes and intersections, increased compliance with traffic laws, and increasing lighting on bicycles to increase the visibility of cyclists are other measures that need implementation.
Bicycle safety interventions have had only a small effect on reducing bicycle-related TBIs among adults, and more strategies and measures are needed to protect adult cyclists.
Communities need to use social media platforms to run campaigns to enlighten and educate the general public about bicycle injuries, their consequences and also bicycle injury prevention.
Effective bicycle safety interventions can help ensure children and adults can reap benefits of cycling while staying safe from injuries, including Traumatic Brain Injuries.
Contact a Bicycle Accident Lawyer
If you or your loved one has suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) in a bicycle accident due to the carelessness or negligence of someone else, you deserve to be duly compensated for the injuries suffered and other damages. Call an experienced bicycle accident lawyer at our firm for a free case evaluation right away.