PURPOSE: To characterise the demographics, cycling habits and accident rates of adult cyclists in Tasmania.
METHODS: Volunteers ≥18 years of age who had cycled at least once/week over the previous month provided information on demographics; cycling experience; bicycles owned; hours/km/trips cycled per week; cycling purpose; protective equipment used; and major (required third-party medical treatment or resulted ≥1 day off work) or minor (interfered with individuals' regular daily activities and/or caused financial costs) accidents while cycling.
RESULTS: Over 8-months, 136 cyclists (70.6% male) completed the telephone survey. Mean (standard deviation) age was 45.4 (12.1) years with 17.1 (11.4) years of cycling experience. In the week prior to interview, cyclists averaged 6.6 trips/week (totalling 105.7km or 5.0h). The most common reason for cycling was commuting/transport (34% of trips), followed by training/health/fitness (28%). The incidence of major and minor cycling accidents was 1.6 (95% CI 1.1-2.0) and 3.7 (2.3-5.0) per 100,000km, respectively. Male sex was associated with a significantly lower minor accident risk (incidence rate ratio=0.34, p=0.01). Mountain biking was associated with a significantly higher risk of minor accident compared with road or racing, touring, and city or commuting biking (p<0.05).
CONCLUSIONS: Physical activity of regular cyclists' exceeds the level recommended for maintenance of health and wellbeing; cyclists also contributed substantially to the local economy. Accident rates are higher in this sample than previously reported in Tasmania and internationally. Mountain biking was associated with higher risks of both major and minor accidents compared to road/racing bike riding.