Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

One In Three Fatal Bicycle Accidents Linked To Alcohol

Date:
February 23, 2001
Source:
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
Summary:
Drinking alcohol and bicycling don't mix well, say Johns Hopkins researchers, whose study of 466 Maryland bicyclists found that a third of fatally injured riders had elevated blood alcohol levels at the time of their accident.

Drinking alcohol and bicycling don't mix well, say Johns Hopkins researchers, whose study of 466 Maryland bicyclists found that a third of fatally injured riders had elevated blood alcohol levels at the time of their accident. In addition, a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 grams per deciliter – the legal level of drunkenness in most states – was found to increase the rider's risk of fatal or serious injury by 2,000 percent.

The report, in the Feb. 21 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, also indicates that helmet wearing declines with drinking. Researchers studied the records of 124 injured bicyclists obtained from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of Maryland and the trauma registry of the University of Maryland Medical Center. They also visited each accident site the same month, date and time that the biker was injured and tested 342 passing bicyclists for breath alcohol.

By comparing the alcohol levels in the two groups, researchers estimated that blood alcohol concentrations (BAC) of 0.02 g/dL and 0.08 g/dL are associated, respectively, with a six-fold and 20-fold increased risk of fatal or serious bicycling injury. On average, one drink can lead to a BAC of 0.02 g/dL, while four to five drinks can lead to a BAC of 0.08 g/dL.

Only 5 percent of the injured who had been drinking wore helmets. Thirty percent of the injured bicyclists who had elevated blood alcohol levels also had a history of DWI (driving while intoxicated) citations; some probably used bicycles as a form of transportation because their driver's licenses had been suspended, the authors said.

Alcohol may play an even greater role than indicated by this study, the researchers said, since the group did not look at bicycle injuries occurring at night, when 56 percent of fatal bicycling injuries and 32 percent of serious bicycling injuries occur.

"Riding a bike requires a higher level of psychomotor skills and physical coordination than driving a car, so alcohol has an even stronger effect on bicyclists than drivers," says Guohua Li, M.D., Dr.P.H., associate professor of emergency medicine and lead author of the study. "It's a double jeopardy. Those who ride under the influence are most in need of protection, yet in our study, they were least likely to wear helmets."

An alarming trend, researchers note, is that while the number of fatal bicycle accidents in children has decreased by 70 percent since 1975, it has increased in adults by about 65 percent during the same time period.

The helmet laws that worked well for children should be extended to adult bicyclists, says Susan P. Baker, M.P.H., another author of the study and professor of health policy and management at Hopkins' School of Public Health.

"We are especially concerned because helmet laws do not cover adults, who have the highest death rates, are the most likely to have been drinking, and are the least likely to wear helmets," Baker says. "Alcohol abuse and bicycling is an increasing public health problem that warrants more enforcement."

The study was funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The other authors were John E. Smialek, M.D., of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of Maryland; and Carl A. Soderstrom, M.D., of the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore.

Related Web sites:

Johns Hopkins University Department of Emergency Medicine:http://www.acenet.jhmi.edu/emerg/

Johns Hopkins University School of Public Healthhttp://www.jhsph.edu


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. "One In Three Fatal Bicycle Accidents Linked To Alcohol." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 February 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/02/010223080824.htm>.
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. (2001, February 23). One In Three Fatal Bicycle Accidents Linked To Alcohol. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/02/010223080824.htm
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. "One In Three Fatal Bicycle Accidents Linked To Alcohol." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/02/010223080824.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Peace Corps Pulls Workers From W. Africa Over Ebola Fears

Peace Corps Pulls Workers From W. Africa Over Ebola Fears

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Peace Corps is one of several U.S.-based organizations to pull workers out of West Africa because of the Ebola outbreak. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Weather Kills 2K A Year, But Storms Aren't The Main Offender

Weather Kills 2K A Year, But Storms Aren't The Main Offender

Newsy (July 30, 2014) Health officials say 2,000 deaths occur each year in the U.S. due to weather, but it's excessive heat and cold that claim the most lives. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins