Mon, 18th June 2012, 11:15am - updated - Mon, 18th June 2012, 11:15am
Road injuries rise as two-wheel transport in firing line
Canberra Times June 18, 2012
Serious life-threatening road injuries have risen including a growing number of middle-aged men on motorbikes and bicycles.
Off-road accidents for young people on two wheels accounted for as many hospitalisations as accidents in traffic during this period.
The report, Trends in Serious Injury due to Land Transport Accidents, Australia, 2000-2001 to 2008-2009, shows crashes per 100,000 of population increased annually by 1.6 per cent, on average, during these nine years.
In the last year of the survey, more than 34,000 people were admitted to hospital as a result of an accident.
About half were car occupants, about a quarter were motorcyclists and about 15 per cent were cyclists.
More people travelling more often was partly due to the increased rate of serious injuries . The number of people using motorbikes, which is a much riskier form of travel, had also grown.
It was not known why deaths had dropped from 1761 to 1543 in the nine-year period, while serious injuries had risen. It was possible that improved medical ability to keep people alive was a contributing factor.
More than a quarter of the people seriously hurt in road traffic crashes sustained life-threatening injuries, with those aged 15 to 24 most at risk.
The rates of these very serious injuries increased more steeply for motorbike riders and bicyclists than for occupants of motor vehicles - by about 6.8 per cent per year during this period.
''The rise was still sharper for cases involving males aged 45-64 years as motorcyclists [14.7 per cent] and pedal cyclists [14 per cent],'' Professor Harrison said.
In 2000-01, there were 1072 people on motorbikes who experienced life-threatening injuries and this almost doubled to 1959 in 2008-09.