Over 350 cyclists treated for head injuries in Irish hospitals last year

Campaigners have long sought better infrastructure and safety measures for bike users

Cyclists participating in a  ‘Keep Cyclists Safe on Dublin’s Quays’ initiatvie in Dublin last year.  Photograph: Nick Bradshaw.

Cyclists participating in a ‘Keep Cyclists Safe on Dublin’s Quays’ initiatvie in Dublin last year. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw.

 

More than 350 cyclists were discharged from Irish hospitals after being treated for head injuries following road traffic incidents last year, HSE figures show.

Of the 351 people who suffered head injuries, 49 were involved in a collision with a car, pick-up truck or van, while 216 were injured in a “non-collision transport accident”.

Statistics released under the Freedom Information Act, collated by the HSE’s Healthcare Pricing Office, show 345 cyclists were treated for injuries to the elbow and forearm; 184 for injuries to the shoulder and upper arm; 119 for injuries to the knee and lower leg and 93 for injuries to the abdomen, lower back, lumbar spine and pelvis.

Significant number of cyclists were also treated for injuries to the wrist, hand, hip, thigh and thorax.

Figures were not available for the number of people who suffered injuries to the neck, ankle and foot while 55 cyclists were discharged after being treated for injuries classified as “other”.

Information was not available on injuries suffered by outpatients who attended emergency departments.

Fifteen people died in cycling accidents on the State’s roads last year, up 50 per cent on the previous year.

Popularity

As the popularity of cycling has increased, campaign groups have regularly called for improved infrastructure and safety measures to protect cyclists on Irish roads.

More than 95,000 people currently use their bikes in Dublin on a daily basis while data released in July shows the number of commuters cycling is at its highest level on record. The number of daily Dublinbikes users rose from 4,474 in 2010 to 16,285 in 2017.

Despite this notable rise in bike users, Government spending on cycling infrastructure dropped from €19 million in 2015 to just €7.5 million last year, less than 2 per cent of the Department of Transport’s capital budget.

Brian Farrell of the Road Safety Authority warned earlier this year that Ireland was “way behind other European countries” in cycling infrastructure and that while cyclists must take care on the roads, they suffer high levels of hostility from other road users.

Last year’s HSE figures on cycling injuries show a small increase from 2016 when 349 cyclists were discharged from hospital after being treated for injuries to the head; 309 were treated for injuries to the elbow and forearm; 180 were treated for injuries to the shoulder and upper arm and 98 were treated for injuries to the knee and lower leg.