Objectives The purpose of this study was to calculate exposure-based bicycling hospitalisation rates in Canadian jurisdictions with different helmet legislation and bicycling mode shares, and to examine whether the rates were related to these differences.
Methods Administrative data on hospital stays for bicycling injuries to 10 body region groups and national survey data on bicycling trips were used to calculate hospitalisation rates. Rates were calculated for 44 sex, age and jurisdiction strata for all injury causes and 22 age and jurisdiction strata for traffic-related injury causes. Inferential analyses examined associations between hospitalisation rates and sex, age group, helmet legislation and bicycling mode share.
Results In Canada, over the study period 2006–2011, there was an average of 3690 hospitalisations per year and an estimated 593 million annual trips by bicycle among people 12 years of age and older, for a cycling hospitalisation rate of 622 per 100 million trips (95% CI 611 to 633). Hospitalisation rates varied substantially across the jurisdiction, age and sex strata, but only two characteristics explained this variability. For all injury causes, sex was associated with hospitalisation rates; females had rates consistently lower than males. For traffic-related injury causes, higher cycling mode share was consistently associated with lower hospitalisation rates. Helmet legislation was not associated with hospitalisation rates for brain, head, scalp, skull, face or neck injuries.
Conclusions These results suggest that transportation and health policymakers who aim to reduce bicycling injury rates in the population should focus on factors related to increased cycling mode share and female cycling choices. Bicycling routes designed to be physically separated from traffic or along quiet streets fit both these criteria and are associated with lower relative risks of injury.
- PUBLIC HEALTH
- PREVENTIVE MEDICINE
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