There are suggestions, too, that the types of injuries cyclists suffer have become increasingly severe. A study conducted at the Rocky Mountain Regional Trauma Center in Colorado measured a threefold increase in the number of abdominal injuries and a 15% rise in the number of chest injuries among cyclists admitted to the regional trauma center over the last 11 years.
"The number of injuries that came in to our trauma center did not increase, and mortality did not increase. What did change is the injury patterns," says Zachary Hartman, a medical student who worked on the research. The exact reasons for the increase in injury severity remain unclear: Hartman speculates that the increased popularity of large vehicles such as SUVs could play a role.