Alcohol and drug use while cycling significantly increases the likelihood of facial fractures Journal Article uri icon


  • PURPOSE: Substance use, including alcohol and drugs, has been found to amplify the risks associated with cycling. Our purpose was to determine the relationship between alcohol or drug use and facial injuries in a nationwide population of patients experiencing cycling trauma. METHODS: The authors report a cross-sectional study of patients reported to the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System from January 1, 2019 to December 31, 2019, in the United States. Patients were included in our study if they were evaluated in the emergency department for a cycling-related injury. Primary outcome was facial injury. RESULTS: There were a total of 6499 adult patients who experience an injury after cycling trauma reported by the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System-participating emergency departments during the study period. A total of 553 (553/6499; 8.5%) patients had a facial injury and 82 patients with facial injuries had alcohol/drug use recorded (82/553; 14.8%). The proportion of males with facial injuries was higher in the alcohol/drug group than the no alcohol/drug group (86.6% versus 76.4%, respectively; P = 0.04). Injured cyclists in the alcohol/drug group experienced greater odds of sustaining a facial injury (odds ratio: 2.21, 95% confidence interval: 1.71-2.84, P < 0.0001) and a facial fracture (odds ratio: 2.75, 95% confidence interval: 1.83-4.13, P < 0.0001) than injured cyclists in the no alcohol/drug group. CONCLUSIONS: Substance use while cycling is not safe and significantly increases the likelihood of a facial injury and of facial fractures. This prevalence of injuries would suggest that cycling under the influence should always be illegal, and the law strictly enforced.

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publication date

  • 2021