A University of Iowa study found rider mistakes were a big reason for accidents on the annual bike ride across the state hosted by the Des Moines Register. Dr. Hans House says they studied accident reports from five years of RAGBRAI.
House says they found that women were more likely to be transported than men, although men were more often injured then women, as there are more men on the ride. He says the injuries were most often caused by two tires of a bike touching, and they were not most often cause by road conditions ore by alcohol. He says it was surprising that alcohol didn’t play that big a part in the accidents.
He says rider error, rider contact as they bumped into each other caused a lot of the errors. House says attempting to draft, or follow closely behind another bike to gain less wind resistance, tended to lead to a lot of injuries. House and other researchers also found that the level of preparation didn’t have much impact on the accidents.
“Again we were surprised that that really didn’t seem to relate at all to getting injured,” House says. He says there were riders who just hoped on the bike and those who trained for the ride and there wasn’t much difference. Bikers have to wear a helmet on the ride, but House says they didn’t identify any other safety equipment that would help.
House says the collar bone was the most frequently injured area and landing on the head. He says wearing the helmet helps decrease injuries, but requiring other types of pads would not change things, as he says just riding safer and preventing collisions is the most important thing.
House and others studied paramedic records for patients requiring transport to a hospital from the bike routes between 2004 and 2008. A total of 419 RAGBRAI participants received care from paramedics in that five-year period. Of those cyclists, 190 required transport to a hospital.