More cycling related hospitalizations early in the pandemic: CIHI data

A police officer escorts a woman from the scene of a garbage truck-bicycle collision that left a woman, 38, fighting for her life in downtown Toronto on Tuesday Nov. 13, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Colin Perkel

OTTAWA — Hospitalizations for cycling injuries spiked during the first year of the pandemic, especially in Ontario where bike-related hospital visits jumped 42 per cent over the previous year.

The Canadian Institute for Health Information has released national data that covers hospitalizations and emergency department visits from April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021.

It shows hospitalizations for all injuries dropped by about 15,000 visits year-over-year to 256,000 — but hospitalizations for cycling injuries increased 25 per cent to 5,255.

The jump was especially big in Ontario, which logged 1,579 bike-related hospitalizations and accounted for about 30 per cent of all cycling traumas. The province also saw nearly 29,000 trips to the emergency room for cycling injuries, up one third from the year before.

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Nationally, CIHI says cycling-related ER visits jumped 36 per cent to 43,700 and hospitalizations for biking brain injuries increased to 776 from 563.

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Bike stores across the country reported a sales boom in the first spring and summer of the COVID-19 pandemic as public health restrictions limited gatherings and events while encouraging outdoor activity.

The CIHI statistics on hospitalizations and emergency department visits was published to its website July 28 and also included numbers on injuries due to ATVs, self-harm, unintentional falls and motor vehicle accidents.

It found hospitalizations due to all injuries dropped to 82,867 from 86,862 the year before.

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Cyclists react to fines from Toronto police for speeding in High Park

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