Analysing injury types, injury severity and mortality in victims of accidents with electric bicycles in comparison with conventional bicycles.
Prospective cohort study.
Data of patients treated at the Accident & Emergency Department of the University Medical Center Groningen after a bicycle accident are being entered in a database since 2014. We have analysed this database for accidents with electric bicycles (e-bikes) and conventional bicycles occurring among adult patients for the period of July 2014 to May 2016. ‘Propensity score matching’ was used to match e-bikers to conventional cyclists, based on age, gender and the presence of comorbidities.
107 of the 475 included victims were riding an e-bike. Average age of e-bikers and conventional cyclists was 65 years and 39 years respectively. Comorbidity was more common in e-bikers. E-bikers were injured significantly more severely than conventional cyclists. They had more severe injuries of the head and face, and upper and lower extremities. E-bikers were also admitted to the hospital more often, and for longer periods, and they underwent surgery more often. Mortality was the same. Propensity score matching revealed that e-bikers had multiple severe injuries (ISS > 15) twice as often as conventional cyclists, that they had more severe head injuries and were admitted for longer periods than conventional cyclists.
E-bikers who had a bicycle accident had more severe injuries, more frequently had multiple injuries and had more severe head injuries than conventional cyclists. This resulted in a greater need for care. Preventive measures such as riding lessons and helmet use should be encouraged. Care providers should pay extra attention to the possibility of severe injuries when a patient had a bicycle accident with an e-bike.
Conflict of interest and financial support: none declared.