This gives an interesting look at potential disparity between reported and
actual bicycle injuries.
Here at SafeTREC, we're considering meshing a new DPH injury database with
crash database. (Feel free to give TIMS a try. It
has 10 years of Calif. geo-coded crashes) to see what discrepancies there
might be and how they might inform each other. Anyone else have any
experience doing this?
Bicycle accidents – Do we only see the tip of the iceberg?: A prospective
multi-centre study in a large German city combining medical and police data
Corresponding Author Contact
, [image: E-mail The Corresponding Author] <juhra(a)ukmuenster.de>**>**, B.
aUniversity Hospital Münster, Department of Trauma-, Hand- and
Reconstructive Surgery, Waldeyerstr. 1, D-48149 Münster, Germany
bPolice Münster, Germany
cGerman Insurance Association, German Insurers Accident Research, Germany
dMathias-Hospital, Rheine, Anaesthesiology Department, Germany
Accepted 16 October 2011. Available online 20 November 2011.
Bicycles are becoming increasingly popular. In Münster, a German town with
a population of 273,000, bicycles were the main method of transportation in
2009, used more often (37.8%) than cars (36.4%). Each day in Münster,
bicycles are used around 450,000 times. In 1982, they were only used around
270,000 times a day. However, the increased use of bicycles has also led to
an increased number of bicycle accidents.
Between February 2009 and January 2010, data on bicycle-accidents leading
to injuries were collected by the Police of Münster and in all emergency
units of the six hospitals in Münster. A systematic acquisition of
technical data from the police and the medical data from the hospitals were
combined anonymously. None of the forms contained personal data of patients
involved, except for patient age and sex as well as time and place of
bicycle accidents to match the questionnaires. The data were entered into a
central database (MS Access for input/MySQL for data retrieval).
2250 patients were included in this study. For each of these patients
either a patient record or a hospital record or a police record or a
combination of any of these different records existed in our database. In
total, 1767 patients received medical treatment at a hospital and 484
people included in the study did not go to a hospital. Three fatalities
occurred as a result of bicycle accidents.
Considering reasons for hospital admission, traumatic brain injuries were
the leading cause (25.7%). However, the largest resource consumption was
attributed to fractures of the upper extremities (36.8%) and lower
extremities (29.9%) with major surgery.
Bicycle accidents occur more frequently than indicated by police records.
The results of the Münster Bicycle Study have shown that the actual number
of bicycle accidents exceeds the officially reported number by nearly two
Since bicycle helmets cannot prevent accidents it is recommended not only
to focus on helmet use as the only injury prevention method. Other factors,
such as weather, pavement and default of traffic, roadworthiness of the
bicycles or alcohol/drug abuse also affect the accident rates.
Robert J. Schneider, Ph.D.
UC Berkeley Safe Transportation Research & Education Center (SafeTREC)
UC Davis Sustainable Transportation Center (STC)
Safe Transportation Research and Education
University of California Transportation Center <http://www.uctc.net> (UCTC)
Institute for Urban and Regional Development
2614 Dwight Way
Berkeley CA 94720-7374