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OHSU embarks on bike commuter injury survey

Posted by on September 17th, 2007 at 1:50 pm

Bike to Work Day
On the way to work,
and to better health.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus)

A team of researchers at Oregon Health & Sciences University (OHSU) are embarking on an ambitious study of bicycle commuters.

The study will track 1,000 bicyclists for one year and hopes to garner new information about the health of bike commuters and rate of injury during their commute. Data from subjects will be collected through online surveys. Participants will fill out an initial survey and then will be prompted to fill out another survey each month.

Working on the study as Principal Investigator is John Mayberry, MD. He’ll be assisted by Co-Investigators Melissa Red Hoffman, ND; William Lambert, PhD; and Ellen Peck, RN.

I met with Hoffman and Peck several weeks ago and asked them what their goals were for the study. They said there are three key areas of interest:

  • Bike commuting injuries are rare, but if/when it happens, will it have a significant effect on the rider’s health and/or employment?
  • Is there a correlation between environmental context (condition of the roadway) and rider characteristics (like skill level, Body Mass Index, etc…) in the rate of injury or near-miss collisions?
  • What is the rate of severity (trauma vs. non-trauma, etc…) of the injuries?

Hoffman and Peck gave me a peek at the monthly survey riders will fill out. It has detailed questions about near-miss collisions. They want to know details like what time of day the incident occurred as well as the weather and roadway conditions that might have contributed to the close call situation.

Hopefully, this data can be used by PDOT and bike planners to improve the safety of our roads.

It will also be interesting to find out if this study will help prove that bike commuting is a healthier way to get to work. If so, it might help convince more employers to invest in bike commuting facilities and encourage their employees to go by bike.

In exchange for their time and trouble, participants in the study will be offered several perks from the study’s corporate sponsors which include: TriMet; Bike Gallery; FlexCar; Ben & Jerry’s, and others.

For more information, and to enroll in the study, visit the OHSU website (yes, I realize the link is not right, but they should fix it soon it works now), or click
here to take application survey

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  • joeb September 17, 2007 at 2:15 pm

    It looks interesting. Here\’s the link to the actual study: http://www.ohsu.edu/research/rda/so/viewstudy.php?id=IRB00003590

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  • Garlynn -- undergroundscience.blogspot.com September 17, 2007 at 7:32 pm

    On a somewhat related note, many injuries that bicyclists sustain while commuting are actually caused by other users of the road, not by road conditions. When this happens, the police need to be involved.

    The San Francisco Bike Coalition has produced this wonderful video with the SFPD, instructing officers on how to deal with bicyclists on the roads. It\’s a part of the City of SF\’s Share The Road campaign:


    Wouldn\’t you like to see a similar video made for the Portland PD?


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  • a.O September 17, 2007 at 7:40 pm

    Yes, Garlynn, I would love to see such a video with the PPB! I would also love to see the PPB stop murdering homeless people. We\’re gonna have to start somewhere though.

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  • toddistic September 17, 2007 at 10:09 pm

    i tried to call, voicemail box is full. i guess i\’ll try tomorrow at work.

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  • Tasha September 18, 2007 at 10:00 am

    Does this just mean injuries that happen WHILE biking or does it also relate to chronic injuries that biking relates to (like knee/shoulder injuries from biking everyday, etc.)? Just curious, as that would be harder to track.

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  • Bill T September 18, 2007 at 3:15 pm

    Rats — they require your commute must be in the City of Portland. I\’m sure I can rack up a few injuries during the study…. )-:

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  • […] Bike commuter injury prevention: it’s time to focus on the environment, is the result of a study launched back in September 2007. It tracked 962 people who ride their bikes to work and it monitored them through monthly surveys. […]

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