In recent years, the incidence of bicycle accidents has increased significantly in the US. Many serious injuries occurred among riders older than 45, says a new study.
The researchers from the University of California-San Francisco used a national injury surveillance database to study trends in bicycle injuries from 1998 to 2013.
They found that the rate of hospital admissions associated with bicycle injuries more than doubled during that time frame, especially with head and torso injuries.
Altogether, the proportion of injuries occurring to riders above age 45 rose 81 percent, from 23 percent to 42 percent, the authors said, and similarly the proportion of hospital admissions to older riders increased 66 percent, from 39 percent to 65 percent.
"These injuries were not only bad enough to bring riders to the emergency room, but the patients had to be admitted for further care," said senior author Benjamin Breyer.
"If you take typical 25-year-olds and 60-year-olds, if they have a similar crash, it's more likely the older person will have more severe injuries," he added.
Urban cycling has become increasingly popular in recent years for both recreation and work.
In the new study, the researchers found that the percentage of injured cyclists with head injuries rose from 10 percent to 16 percent.
Approximately two thirds of the total injuries occurred among men.
The authors said their findings highlight the need for more safe riding practices and better infrastructure to prevent cycling-related injuries.
The results were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association