Bike safety at center of UI research

    Researchers at the University of Iowa recently released a bicycle safety report.

    As more Corridor communities become bike-friendly, more riders are hitting the road, which could lead to more crashes.

    A report from the University of Iowa's Injury Prevention Research Center delved into nearly 100 bicycle training safety programs to determine if a 'gold standard' for educating young riders exists.

    Such a program does not exist, but researchers believe it could.

    "This report really gives us a foundation to build upon to start building a gold standard program," said Cara Hamann, the study's lead author.

    Every year in the United States, 270,000 cpeople under the age of 20 visit the emergency room due to a bike-related injury. Another 8,000 are hospitalized, with 100 dying.

    "It's one of the leading causes of childhood injury," said Hamann, pointing out that it's worse than football for head injuries. "Bicycling is the most common cause of sports-related traumatic brain injury."

    The report compiled strengths and weaknesses of 96 training programs, noting many failed to provide age-appropriate education.

    "Some programs were catered to a really narrow age group, like only second and third graders, while others had one curriculum for all elementary-aged kids," said Hamann. "With the younger ages especially, keeping it simple, keeping it more focused on here's how you ride a bike - how to balance, how to steer, how to brake."

    Hamann said she hopes the report doesn't discourage cycling, but rather, improves safety for all riders.

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