Mountain bikers risk serious injury

Mountain bikers risk serious injury
Photo: Andy Armstrong
With the growth of mountain biking as a sport in Austria, hospital admissions for bike-related serious injuries have reached a high of 6,500 people per year.

As reported by the Austrian daily Der Standard, the Austrian Road Safety board (KFV) has revealed that around 6,500 people injure themselves while mountain biking each year, and require treatment in hospital.

Austria, like many of its European neighbours has seen a dramatic increase in the number of people taking up this sport, with an estimated 140,000 active mountain bikers in the country.

Based on the statistics, nearly five percent – that's one in 20 – will be so badly injured as a result of their sport that they will require admission to hospital.

Of these, three quarters are men – and around 82 percent of the 6,500 accident victims are disproportionately male as well.

This suggests that women mountain bikers may in fact ride more safely, or less aggressively than male cyclists.

SEE ALSO: Mountain bike accidents keep Swiss hospitals busy

Klaus Robatsch, the research director for the KFV says that "the risk of having an accident while mountain biking, is a third higher for men than for women. The average age of the injured mountain biker is 34 years."

Although mountain biking places great emphasis on the right protective gear – about 90 percent wear a helmet, while 70 percent wear eye protection – mountain biking accidents are often serious.

The most common hospital-treated injuries affect the upper extremities. In more severe cases, the spine or skull are affected.

Regarding the nature of the injuries, the fracture is the undisputed number one, with 50 percent of injured mountain bikers breaking their clavicle, ribs, forearms or shoulders. 

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