Rianne Hogenbirk, Department of Trauma Surgery, University Medical Center Groningen, The Netherlands
Rianne Hogenbirk is a senior year medical student currently researching the consequences of bicycle crashes in the Netherlands.
With 24 years of cycling experience in daily home-work and home-school commuting on the Dutch cycling roads a special interest for traffic accidents involving bicycles was awakened. Especially with the massively increasing popularity of the electric bicycle (E-bike), it is interesting to study the consequences of this shift in bicycle usage.
She is part of a research group on (E)-bicycle accidents in the Trauma Surgery Department in the University Medical Center in Groningen (Netherlands). Within the research group the focus is to study the differences in the physical and psychological outcome for patients between road traffic accidents involving classic bicycles or E-bikes.
Presentation: E-bikes; too fast, too furious! An analysis of e-bike and conventional bicycle related accidents
Bicycles are a popular mean of transportation in the Netherlands. In 2016, e-bike sales were almost 30% of total national bicycle sales and nowadays >10% of the bicycles used is an e-bike. E-bikes are heavier and faster than normal bicycles, which could increase the risk of greater injury when having an accident. However, there is a lack of literature on this important issue.
We performed a prospective cohort analysis to investigate differences in injury severity between e-bikers and conventional bicyclists. Patient characteristics were collected. The Abbreviated Injury Scale (AIS), Injury Severity Score (ISS), mortality rate and hospital care needs were determined. Differences between e-bikers and conventional bicyclists were analyzed performing a matched pair analysis. Groups were matched based on age, gender and occurrence of comorbidity.
From June 2014 to May 2016, 475 patients suffered from a bicycle accident: 107 were e-bikers (22.5%). Mean age of e-bikers and conventional bicyclists was respectively 65 and 39 years, and comorbidity was more frequently present in e-bikers. E-bikers had a significantly higher injury severity compared to conventional bicyclists. Furthermore e- bikers suffered from more severe injuries of the head, face, upper and lower extremity. E-bikers were more often and longer hospitalized, they also needed surgery more frequently. After propensity score matching the e-bikers were two times more often poly-traumatized, suffered from more severe head injuries and needed longer hospitalization than conventional bicyclists.
Conclusion - E-bikers were more severely injured, sustained more often multiple injuries and suffered from more severe head injury than conventional bicyclists when they were involved in an accident. This increased the need for medical care.
Preventive measures such as driving lessons and helmet use need more attention. Furthermore, physicians should be aware of more severe injuries when a patient with an e-bike related bicycle accident is treated.