Pandemic may have contributed to rise in cycling injuries: bike shops

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Severe biking accidents in Alberta between April 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021, rose by 37 per cent over the earlier yr

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A number of members of the Calgary biking neighborhood say they consider elevated ridership might be driving a rise in bike-related accidents in Alberta between 2020 and 2021.

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The Canadian Institute for Well being Data (CIHI) launched information displaying that between April 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021, the variety of hospitalizations for biking accidents in Alberta jumped to 813 from 595, a 37 per cent improve over the earlier yr. Throughout the identical time interval, the variety of emergency-room visits for biking accidents rose to almost 13,000, up from 8,734. 

Hank Hansen, bike store supervisor at Two Wheel View, stated he hasn’t heard of or seen a rise within the variety of reported accidents or bike accidents regionally. He stated the soar in hospitalizations might stem from extra folks driving bikes through the COVID-19 pandemic.

“From the early days of the pandemic up till now, there’s been an actual elevated curiosity in biking, each for recreation and for transportation functions,” stated Hansen. “I think about that the numbers by way of accidents are in all probability in fairly shut proportion to an elevated variety of folks which can be out biking.”

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The CIHI information reveals that the rise in accidents was not particular to Alberta — throughout Canada, hospitalizations from biking accidents elevated to 5,255 from 4,190, a 25 per cent improve.

Bob Grunewald, advertising and marketing director for Bow Cycle, stated the actual fact Alberta’s improve was bigger than the nationwide soar could also be attributed to the actual fact that there have been fewer restrictions in place for a lot of the pandemic within the western province than in locations akin to Ontario and Quebec.

“In Ontario and Quebec, should you had a motorcycle, you’re good, however it was very troublesome to get a motorcycle as a result of a variety of the retailers have been shut down,” stated Grunewald. “We in all probability had a greater progress of biking or extra bicycle gross sales.”

Grunewald stated he additionally believed that elevated ridership in all probability had a big impact on the elevated variety of accidents, noting he had not heard of a rise in folks getting damage.

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Hanson additionally identified that biking infrastructure has sometimes lagged behind ridership numbers throughout North America and that the pandemic improve in riders might have exacerbated congestion.

“Infrastructure can’t sustain, and if it was already in want of some enchancment earlier than it’s definitely going to take time to catch as much as to the wants of extra folks out driving,” stated Hansen.

Hansen stated riders needs to be aware of others whereas driving on shared paths but in addition famous drivers needs to be conscious that there are extra cyclists on the highway.

EMS spokesman Stuart Brideaux urged Calgarians to put on a helmet whereas they experience and bike inside their limits. He stated most of the metropolis’s pathways have posted pace limits that must be adopted, and urged everybody to get their bikes inspected and tuned up in the event that they haven’t already.

CIHI representatives have been unavailable to touch upon the most recent information Tuesday.

dshort@postmedia.com

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