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Beebe Healthcare Emergency Department sees surge in serious bicycle crash injures

Physicians urge community to follow safety procedures this summer season

Practice bicycle safety this year.

This year, Beebe Healthcare’s Emergency Department has treated more than double the amount of trauma patients involved in bicycle accidents compared to this time last year.

While the overall number of minor injuries is lower, the injuries with significant trauma has increased, said Kevin Bristowe, MD, Beebe’s Medical Director of Emergency Services.

Beebe emergency physicians have treated 11 patients with significant traumatic injuries since May 1 as of July 1. During the same timeframe in 2018, there were only four trauma instances, Dr. Bristowe said.

“It concerns me that we will continue to see more significant injuries as the summer season progresses,” said Dr. Bristowe, who is also an avid cyclist. “Several injuries have been so severe they have required transfer to a level 1 trauma center.”

Although Beebe’s Emergency Department has seen fewer minor injuries this season, the number of total bicyclist injuries isn’t necessarily decreasing. Patients may go to one of Beebe’s four Walk-In Care locations or their primary care physician for minor events.

Significant injuries include head trauma, bone fractures, and organ lacerations, which all can be more severe depending on age. They also mean the patient was either admitted or transferred to another hospital for additional care.

Trauma injuries do not always involve an automobile, Dr. Bristowe said, although those are usually the most severe.

Many cyclists frequent the new trails available along coastal Delaware, which are sometimes crowded, Dr. Bristowe said.

“We at Beebe want you to enjoy your bike trip or vacation without a serious trip to the emergency department,” Dr. Bristowe said.

DelDOT’s seven safety rules for all cyclists:

  1. Use hand signals
  2. Turn left properly
  3. Always ride in same direction as traffic
  4. Use proper safety equipment (helmet, reflective clothing, headlight, reflectors)
  5. Obey all traffic signals and signs
  6. Don’t drink and ride
  7. Headphones must not cover both ears.

Other useful tips to follow rules of the road from Dr. Bristowe:

  • Don’t text and ride
  • Don’t ride and talk on your cellphone
  • Pay attention to road signs and your surroundings
  • Check your bicycle to make it is ready to ride and safe
  • Many injuries result from improper footwear and poorly maintained bicycles.

Delaware State Police also issued a safety awareness notice in April. For those bicyclists around the beach area, the Delaware State Police Collision Reconstruction Unit offered to outfit bikes with the proper lighting. Lights are available for installment at Troop 7, located at 18006 Coastal Highway, Lewes, while supplies last. Contact the Collision Reconstruction Unit at (302) 703-3269 to schedule an appointment.