Collisions with other cyclists are the most likely cause of injury during racing, a study in Belgium has found.
In the admittedly small research into amateur racers in northern Belgium, the authors found that
nearly one in six non-professional cyclists suffers an accident during a race, usually due to a collision with another rider.
Dr. Alexander Van Tongel of Ghent University Hospital, writing in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, said that: “Although the number of accidents is quite high, luckily most lesions are minor,” said senior author.
The study investigated 777 documented reports of accidents for a total of1230 injuries for the years 2002 and 2012.
Researchers found that the most common severe injury was generally to the hand, and almost 1 out of 6 non-professional competitive road cyclists had an accident during cycling races in 2002 and 2012 in Flanders.
There were also 30 concussions in 2002 and 35 in 2012.
Dr. Mark Greve of the Warren Alpert School of Medicine at Brown University said that there was no link to utility cycling injuries and the type seen in competitive cycling.
“Cycling events, over all, have a six times higher rate of injuries than normal bike riding in the community,” he said.
“The most important risk is head and severe brain injuries,” added Dr. Alexander Van Tongel.
“In our opinion, it is very important to wear a hard-shell helmet,” he said. “Smaller pelotons and more training on steering skills instead of speed training may be helpful to reduce the risk during competition.”
Riders taking part in any British Cycling sanctioned race or Sportive currently have to wear a helmet conforming to a recognised safety standard. UCI rules make helmets mandatory at all times for professional racing.