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Is road or trail biking more dangerous?

Some bikers stick to the road. Some bikers stick to the trails. Many, however, bike to work during the week and hit the trails on the weekend.

If you find yourself spending time on the streets and in the mountains, you may be wondering which is more dangerous. Are you more likely to be injured on the road or on the trails?

A recent study looked at the injuries sustained by cyclists on trails and on the road. There are some interesting statistics from the study:

  • Of the 304 patients studied, 70 percent were male.
  • 67 percent sustained injuries on trails, and 33 percent were injured on the road.
  • Lacerations and abrasions made up 67 percent of the injuries.
  • Head injuries were more common on the road than on trails at 16 percent versus 6 percent.
  • Of those who sustained head injuries, people not wearing helmets were far more likely to need neurosurgery (38 percent versus 17 percent).

There are a few interesting take away from these numbers. However, we probably don’t have a definitive answer to our original question about trail riding and road cycling.

While trail riders were more likely to be injured, the sample size in this study is small. It also looks like the injuries were less severe, with more lacerations and fewer head injuries.

This study may not have all the answers, but it does give us some interesting insight. It is good evidence that you are more likely to be seriously injured on the road, and that wearing a helmet may help prevent serious head injuries.

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