Injury-related falls from bicycles, skateboards, roller skates, and non-motorized scooters in the United States: 2005 - 2014

William Milczarski, Peter Tuckel, Richard Maisel


Purpose: To provide an updated and comparative analysis of injury-related falls from bicycles, skateboards, roller skates and non-motorized scooters.

Methods: The study uses two national databases – the Nationwide Emergency Department Sample and the Nationwide Inpatient Sample  – and subnational databases for New York, California, and Maryland.  Univariate and multivariate analyses (negative binomial regression) are performed to identify effects of age, gender, racial-ethnic background, and region on the incidence of injury-related falls from each of the four devices.

Results: The rate of injuries due to falls from bicycles far surpasses the rates due to falls from the other devices.  When a measure of “exposure” is taken into consideration, however, the rate of injuries from skateboards outstrips the rates from bicycles or roller skates.  The profile of patients who are injured from falls from each of the four devices is distinctive.  Asian-Americans are greatly underrepresented among those who suffer a fall-related injury from any of the four devices.  The incidence of injuries attributable to falls varies considerably by geographic region.

Conclusions: Public health officials need to be mindful that while certain activities such as scootering might be gaining in popularity, the number of injuries sustained from bicycles still dwarfs the number attributable to falls from skateboards, roller skates, and scooters combined.  Thus special attention needs to be paid to both prevent falls from bicycles and specific treatment modalities.  It is important for public health officials to gather injury data at the local level to allocate prevention and treatment resources more efficiently.

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Journal of Epidemiological Research

ISSN 2377-9306(Print)  ISSN 2377-9330(Online)

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