Spike in serious road injuries among cyclists
The number of Victorian cyclists being admitted to hospital with serious trauma from road crashes has more than doubled in the past nine years, according to a Monash University study.
The majority of seriously injured cyclists suffered multiple trauma (45 per cent), head and other injuries (34.4 per cent) and were male (87 per cent).
By contrast, there was no change in the number of motorists, motorcyclists or pedestrians admitted to hospital with serious trauma from road crashes.
The study was led by Monash University's deputy head of Prehospital, Emergency and Trauma Research Dr Ben Beck, and analysed data from Victorian State Trauma Registry and National Coronial Information System between 2007 and 2015.
Of those admitted to hospital with major trauma over the nine-year study period, 893 were cyclists, 4439 were motorists, 1520 motorcyclists and 115 pedestrians.
Dr Beck praised Australia for its success in reducing road traffic mortality through interventions such as compulsory seat belts, restricting drink-driving and lower speed limits but said the serious trauma figure results were alarming and called for a rethink on efforts to improve road safety.
''Given the substantial burden of serious road traffic injury and the associated economic costs, efforts to improve road safety should clearly shift in emphasis to averting serious injury,'' he said.
''Greater focus on reducing the rate of serious injury and further investment in road safety, particularly for pedal cyclists, is needed.''
The estimated costs of health loss associated with road traffic injuries exceeded $14 billion during the study period.
The research was published in The Medical Journal of Australia.