Changing pattern of child bicycle injury in the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand


Mr Simon Alexander Moyes, Department of General Practice and Primary Health Care, School of Population Health, The University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland, New Zealand. Fax: +64 9 3737624; email:


Aim:  To determine if helmet laws and safety campaigns have had an impact on bicycle injuries in children.

Methods:  A comparison of the number of bicycle injuries presented to Whakatane Hospital’s Emergency Department in the period 1982–1986 to the period July 1998–December 2005.

Results:  In the first period there were 597 per 100 000 presentations per annum which increased to 890 per 100 000 per annum in the later period (P < 0.01). Fractures increased from 115 to 234 per 100 000 per annum respectively (P = 0.02). Injuries from a collision with a moving motor vehicle decreased from 72 to 30 per 100 000 per year and of those the proportion of serious head injuries dropped from 65% to 33%. There were four deaths in the earlier period but none in recent years.

Conclusions:  Injuries from bicycle use have increased but there has been a marked reduction in collisions with motor vehicles. This is a result of the changing use of bicycles by children.