The association of cyclists’ alcohol consumption and helmet use in Germany is the focus of this research paper published in the journal, Accident Analysis and Prevention.
The paper titled “Alcohol consumption, helmet use and head trauma in cycling collisions in Germany” reached some interesting collusions none of which really shows in my view a strong linkage between riding a bicycle, wearing a helmet and head trauma.
The authors suggest that the aim of the study was
to establish which cyclist and cycling accident characteristics are associated with alcohol consumption and helmet use in Germany, and to identify risk factors related to head trauma sustained in cycling accidents.
The authors concluded that:
- Female riders were less likely to have consumed alcohol
- Cyclists who did not wear a helmet were more likely to have consumed alcohol
- Cyclists who were not responsible for the collision were less likely to have consumed alcohol than those who were partially responsible for the accident
- Cyclists involved in collisions with another vehicle, motorised or not, had a lower risk of suffering a head injury compared with those involved in single-vehicle accidents
It should also be noted that helmet use is low in Germany, reported at 15% in the study and that according to the study the cyclists who drank alcohol and rode their bikes are more likely to not wear a helmet. The authors then concluded that the
finding confirms the evidence emerging in previous studies, which showed that cyclists alcohol consumption is associated with other unsafe riding behaviours, in particular the failure to use a helmet.
Whilst wearing of helmets maybe higher amongst sober cyclists, given that 85% of cyclists in Germany don’t wear a helmet I think the author’s findings against cyclists drinking and riding needs further investigation. After all the initial sample of 4928 cases was reduced to 242 cashes who where actually subject to an alcohol test.
All that said an interesting contribution to the literature.
The full reference for the paper is as follows:
Orsi, C., Ferraro, O. E., Montomoli, C., Otte, D., & Morandi, A. (2014). Alcohol consumption, helmet use and head trauma in cycling collisions in Germany. Accident Analysis & Prevention, 65, 97-104.