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Jon Snow joins medics to consider if medical research can save cyclists’ lives

PUBLISHED: 11:01 03 February 2014 | UPDATED: 11:06 03 February 2014

Forty delegates attended the seminar to discuss whether advances in medicine and research at Barts Health NHS Trust can reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured from cycling incidents

Forty delegates attended the seminar to discuss whether advances in medicine and research at Barts Health NHS Trust can reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured from cycling incidents

Gary Schwartz

Can advances in medicine and research at Barts Health NHS Trust reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured from cycling incidents?

That was the question discussed by forty delegates who met in London to discuss innovations in trauma care and injury prevention at a Cycling seminar led by Barts Charity. It was supported by clinicians at Barts Health NHS Trust and researchers at Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry.

The discussion with cycling experts and enthusiasts as well as Barts Charity ambassadors was hosted by Channel 4 News journalist, presenter and keen cyclist Jon Snow. The group looked at data sources to inform what we know about injury and mortality, interventions to treat trauma patients and how data can be used to inform prevention strategies, and long term trauma outcomes.

They decided that implementing injury prevention strategies driven by better and more detailed data about cycling incidents is the only way to reduce immediate deaths from cycling.

Belinda Dee, head of Development at Barts Charity, said: “Innovations to make cycling safe and accessible are worthy of investment; regular cyclists on average have the fitness of someone 10 years younger, are half as likely to suffer from heart disease and 27 per cent less likely to have a stroke.

“Every death through cycling is entirely preventable, with countless lives shattered by the ripple effect of these tragic events.”

Barts Charity will now use the information from the seminar to develop new and innovative projects including sharing insights into trauma science with other international centres of learning; creating a bespoke injury database; investigating public perceptions of injury risk; evaluating current Local Authority injury interventions and creating an essential online web-resource to provide psychological support to long-term trauma survivors.

Overall, cycling fatalities in the capital have decreased since 2002. There were 118m cycle journeys made in London in 2002 with 20 fatalities, compared to 209m cycle journeys in 2012 and 14 deaths.

However, there is evidence that reduction in mortality is due to improvements in trauma and emergency care at Major Trauma Centres such as The Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, rather than effective pre-collision interventions

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