By Rachel Dovey
“Cities with bike share programs see rise in cyclist head injuries,” the Washington Post’s erroneous headline stated.
The paper was reporting on a study, published by the American Journal of Public Health, that shows the number of cyclist injuries decreasing in cities with public bike-shares — if you read between the numbers to see this drop.
Bike-shares typically don’t rent helmets along with bikes, so the researchers wanted to see their effect on cyclist head injuries. Tracking the proportion of head injuries to total injuries, they compared data in five cities with public bike-share programs to five cities without over a period of three years. The team studied two years of data from trauma centers before public bike-shares opened and one year of data after they opened. The bike-share cities were Montreal, Washington, D.C., Minneapolis, Boston and Miami Beach while control cities included Vancouver, New York, Milwaukee, Seattle and Los Angeles.