News

May 9, 2014

Don’t forget the injured when reporting on road accidents

Public concern at the number of road-related fatalities is important. In 2013 there were 1193 road-related deaths in Australia in 2013: 50 cyclists, 157 pedestrians, 215 motorcycle ride

Alan Davies — Editor of The Urbanist

Alan Davies

Editor of The Urbanist

Public concern at the number of road-related fatalities is important. In 2013 there were 1193 road-related deaths in Australia in 2013: 50 cyclists, 157 pedestrians, 215 motorcycle riders and 766 motor vehicle occupants. But it's not the complete picture. Many more travellers suffer injuries -- some very serious -- in road crashes. In 2010-11, more than 33,000 people injured in road crashes were admitted to hospital in Australia. While the great majority make a full and relatively quick recovery, some are much less fortunate. And given they don’t have the benefit of seat belts or air bags, pedestrians are especially vulnerable to serious injury. This article from The New York Times indicates that the physical and emotional damage to pedestrians who survive being struck by a car can have long-lasting effects. Motorcycle and bicycle riders are vulnerable, too. Earlier this year six cyclists in Sydney were seriously hurt after being struck from behind by a car. Fortunately none of them were killed, but three suffered major back injuries, one a fractured elbow, and another severe lacerations. The graph below shows the number of patients who were formally admitted to a hospital in Australia in 2010-11 with a road-related injury. It's taken from a report, Trends in Hospitalised Injury 1999-00 to 2010-11, published last year by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

Number of hospitalisations for injuries from road-related crashes in Australia, 2010-11

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