Bicycle commuter injury prevention: It is time to focus on the environment

Melissa R. Hoffman, William E. Lambert, Ellen G. Peck, John C. Mayberry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Background: Few data exist on the risk of injury while commuting to work or school by bicycle. The proportion of commuters choosing to travel by bike is increasing in the United States, and information on injury incidence and the influences of rider characteristics and environmental factors may suggest opportunities for prevention actions. Methods: Bicycle commuters in the Portland, OR, metropolitan area were recruited via the websites and community advertising to participate in a 1-year study. Riders completed an initial online survey along with 12 monthly surveys describing their commutes and injury events from September 2007 to August 2008. A traumatic event was considered a serious traumatic event if medical attention was sought. Results: Nine hundred sixty-two adult bicyclists (52% men and 48% women) with a mean age of 36.7 ± 0.4 years (range, 22-70 years) commuted an average of 135 miles (range, 7-617) per month. There were 225 (23%) beginner, 256 (27%) intermediate, and 481 (50%) advanced riders. Four hundred twenty (44%) had a prior traumatic event. Over the 1-year period, 164 (18%) riders reported 192 traumatic events and 49 (5%) reported 50 serious traumatic events. The incidence rates of traumatic events and serious traumatic events were 15.0 (95% CI, 13.2-17.5) and 3.9 (95% CI, 2.9-5.1) per 100,000 miles commuted. There were no differences in age, gender, safety practices, and experience levels between commuters who experienced a traumatic event and those who did not. Conclusions: Approximately 20% of bicycle commuters experienced a traumatic event and 5% required medical attention during 1 year of commuting. Traumatic events were not related to rider demographics, safety practices, or experience levels. These results imply that injury prevention should focus on improving the safety of the bicycle commuting environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1112-1117
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Trauma - Injury, Infection and Critical Care
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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