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Cycling-related cranio-spinal injuries admitted to a Major Trauma Centre in the cycling capital of the UK.

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Chabros, Jeremi 
Kayhanian, Saeed 
Timofeev, Ivan 
Kolias, Angelos 
Helmy, Adel E 


BACKGROUND: The increased popularity of cycling is leading to an anticipated increase in cycling-related traffic accidents and a need to better understand the demographics and epidemiology of craniospinal injuries in this vulnerable road user group. This study aims to systematically investigate and characterise cycling-related head and spine injuries seen in the Major Trauma Centre for the Eastern region, which has the highest cycling rates in the UK. METHODS: We performed a retrospective cohort study comparing the incidence, patterns, and severity of head and spine injuries in pedal cyclists presenting to the Major Trauma Centre in Cambridge between January 2012 and December 2020. Comparisons of injury patterns, characteristics, and associations were made according to mechanism of injury, helmet use, patient age and gender. RESULTS: A total of 851 patients were admitted after being involved in cycling-related collisions over the study period, with 454 (53%) sustaining head or spine injuries. The majority of victims (80%) were male and in mid-adulthood (median age 46 years). Head injuries were more common than spine injuries, with the most common head injuries being intracranial bleeds (29%), followed by skull fractures (12%), and cerebral contusions (10%). The most common spine injuries were cervical segment fractures, particularly C6 (9%), C7 (9%), and C2 (8%). Motorised collisions had a higher prevalence of spine fractures at each segment (p < 0.001) and were associated with a higher proportion of multi-vertebral fractures (p < 0.001). These collisions were also associated with impaired consciousness at the scene and more severe systemic injuries, including a lower Glasgow coma scale (R = -0.23, p < 0.001), higher injury severity score (R = 0.24, p < 0.001), and longer length of stay (R = 0.21, p < 0.001). Helmet use data showed that lack of head protection was associated with more severe injuries and poorer outcomes. CONCLUSION: As cycling rates continue to increase, healthcare providers may expect to see an increase in bicycle-related injuries in their practice. The insights gained from this study can inform the treatment of these injuries while highlighting the need for future initiatives aimed at increasing road safety and accident prevention.



Cycling, TBI, cerebral haemorrhage, injury prevention, road traffic accidents, road traffic collision, skull fracture, spine fracture, traffic safety, trauma, traumatic brain injury

Journal Title

Br J Neurosurg

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Informa UK Limited