More people injured in traffic accidents, often older cyclists
The number of people who sustained severe injuries in traffic incidents increased sharply in the past decade, the knowledge center for injury prevention VeligheidnNL reported on Tuesday. In particular, cyclists aged 55 or older were more likely to suffer serious injuries.
The number of victims with severe injuries has increased by 18 percent since 2012. Last year, 110,000 traffic victims were treated in the emergency room, including over 66,000 with severe injuries. A third of the latter group were cyclists aged 55 or older. The number of one-sided bicycle accidents, in which no one else was involved, increased by 42 percent in this age group in ten years.
VeiligheidNL thinks the increase can be explained by the rising popularity of electric bicycles in traffic. According to the researchers, victims with an electric bike had a higher risk of injury requiring emergency treatment than victims with a regular bicycle. "Electric bicycles are becoming more and more common in traffic, for young and old. In-depth research will have to show how much greater this increased risk is and identify the causes behind it," said Martijntje Bakker, director of VeiligheidNL.
According to the knowledge center, the research shows the importance of wearing a bicycle helmet. Helmets reduce the risk of a brain injury by a third. "Cycling keeps young and old moving and contributes to a healthy life. Above all, keep doing it, but don't take unnecessary risks," said Bakker.
Reporting by ANP