Study: Rider error causes most RAGBRAI injuries - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Study: Rider error causes most RAGBRAI injuries

IOWA CITY (KWWL)-- Bob Libby of Care Ambulance in Iowa City has seen his share of injuries in the 16 years he's worked during RAGBRAI.

"The most common things that we see are orthopedic injuries.  Broken bones, clavicles, hip fractures, we've had some ankles where people aren't able to get out of their bikes quick enough."

From cardiac arrest, to a serious head injury, Libby says around 50 participants are transported to the hospital each year during the seven day, 500 mile journey.

But thanks to new scientific data, researchers are hoping 2010's ride will be a safer one.

"We thought it would be an interesting study to try to predict what type of injuries we'd see and how we should prepare," said Dr. Hans House, residency director for emergency medicine at the University of Iowa.

UI doctors looked at paramedic records of 419 RAGBRAI participants between 2004 and 2008.

Of those cyclists, 190 required transport to the hospital, most of those either women or older men.

Maybe most striking is that many of these injuries are due to rider error.

"The majority of injuries was because people touched tires, tire to tire, and this happens when people were trying to draft," House said.

This drafting technique is practiced many times by professional cyclists.  House says many of the collisions are the result of amateurs trying to mimic what they've seen on TV.

"It's really important for novice riders to not try that technique, which really is quite advanced."

House also recommends participants get a clean bill of health beforehand and of course:  "Drink lots of water, wear a helmet, and have fun."

Online Reporter:  Jason Epner

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