Regional variations in pedal cyclist injuries in New Zealand: safety in numbers or risk in scarcity?
Article first published online: 2 AUG 2011
© 2011 The Authors. ANZJPH © 2011 Public Health Association of Australia
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health
Volume 35, Issue 4, pages 357–363, August 2011
How to Cite
Tin, S. T., Woodward, A., Thornley, S. and Ameratunga, S. (2011), Regional variations in pedal cyclist injuries in New Zealand: safety in numbers or risk in scarcity?. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 35: 357–363. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-6405.2011.00731.x
- Issue published online: 2 AUG 2011
- Article first published online: 2 AUG 2011
- Submitted: May 2010 Revision requested: July 2010 Accepted: March 2011
- traffic accidents;
- exposure-based risk;
- safety in numbers
Objective: To assess regional variations in rates of traffic injuries to pedal cyclists resulting in death or hospital inpatient treatment, in relation to time spent cycling and time spent travelling in a car.
Methods: Cycling injuries were identified from the Mortality Collection and the National Minimum Dataset. Time spent cycling and time spent travelling as a driver or passenger in a car/van/ute/SUV were computed from National Household Travel Surveys. There are 16 census regions in New Zealand, some of which were combined for this analysis to ensure an adequate sample size, resulting in eight regional groups. Analyses were undertaken for 1996–99 and 2003–07.
Results: Injury rates, per million hours spent cycling, varied widely across regions (11 to 33 injuries during 1996–99 and 12 to 78 injuries during 2003–07). The injury rate increased with decreasing per capita time spent cycling. The rate also increased with increasing per capita time spent travelling in a car. There was an inverse association between the injury rate and the ratio of time spent cycling to time spent travelling in a car. The expected number of cycling injuries increased with increasing total time spent cycling but at a decreasing rate particularly after adjusting for total time spent travelling in a car.
Conclusions: The findings indicate a ‘risk in scarcity’ effect for New Zealand cyclists such that risk profiles of cyclists are likely to deteriorate if fewer people use a bicycle and more use a car.
Implications: Cooperative efforts to promote cycling and its safety and to restrict car use may reverse the risk in scarcity effect.