Cycling and alcohol

  • Anna-Lena Andersson
    Corresponding author. Tel.: +46-522-92890; fax: +46-522-93363
    Kuratorsavdelningen, Department of Geriatrics and Rehabilitation, Uddevalla Hospital, NU Hospital Organization, S-45180 Uddevalla, Sweden

    Traffic Injury Register, Department of Orthopaedics, SU/Östra, Göteborg University, Göteborg, Sweden
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  • Olle Bunketorp
    Traffic Injury Register, Department of Orthopaedics, SU/Östra, Göteborg University, Göteborg, Sweden
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      Purpose: To compare the accident and the psychosocial circumstances and the consequences of the injuries sustained by intoxicated (alcohol) and sober cyclists in road traffic accidents.
      Material and methods: A telephone interview was conducted with 207 adults injured 3 years earlier. The group was selected from the list of 1278 cyclists registered at the hospitals in Göteborg in 1995 and 1996. Ninety-five of the 207 had been registered as under the influence of alcohol and 112, registered as sober, constituted a matched group.
      Results: Compared with the sober group, the intoxicated cyclists more often sustained their injuries at night time (P<0.001), at the weekend (P<0.001), on their way to or from a party or a pub/restaurant (P<0.001) and in single accidents (P<0.001) with a greater risk of injury to the head or face (P<0.001). They cycled less during the year (P<0.001), were not so familiar with the route (P=0.045) or bicycle (P<0.001), had bicycles without a hand-brake or gears (P=0.045) and less often wore a helmet (P=0.003). Driving licences had been revoked only in the intoxicated group (P=0.02) and nine out of ten who were divorced were from this group (P=0.004).
      Conclusions: Injury prevention for cyclists should aim at altering the attitude towards cycling intoxicated and increasing the use of a helmet. The alternative is a change in the law in both cases.
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