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Despite increased use of bicycles by the US public over the past decade, new research published in the Journal of Orthopaedic Research indicates that bicycle-related injuries are on the decline.

When investigators analyzed 2012–2021 data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, they noted a total of 4,666,491 bicycle-related injuries. The incidence of these injuries decreased over time, but the rate of injury in elderly riders increased.

Injuries occurred most often during summer months (36%) and on weekend days (31.9%), and males and younger individuals were more commonly injured. Heads were the most commonly injured body part among all age groups, and fractures were the most common injury type overall. Upper extremity injuries were more common than lower extremity injuries.

“While bicycle-related injuries have decreased over time, in recent years there is an increasing rate of injuries in older patients, especially head injuries and fractures,” said corresponding author Charles Johnson, MD, of the Medical University of South Carolina. “The results of our study highlight the importance of bicycle safety initiatives and helmet wearing regardless of patient age.”