OCCUPATIONAL INJURIES AMONG BOSTON BICYCLE MESSENGERS

Jack Tigh Dennerlein, PhD and John D. Meeker, SM

ABSTRACT

 

Background:

Urban bicycle couriers may have a high incidence of injuries; however, most messengers work as contractors and hence their injuries are not well documented.  

Methods:

To quantify the unknown, but suspected high injury rates and severity among urban bicycle couriers, one hundred thirteen (113) bicycle couriers within the City of Boston completed a two-page self-administered survey. 

Results:

Most working couriers have incurred an injury resulting in days away from work (70%) and in visits to a health-care professional or hospital (55%).  Annual incidence rates were large at 47 injuries resulting in days away from work per 100-bike couriers.  Bone fractures accounted for the most days away from work, followed by dislocations, sprains and strains.  Collisions and avoiding collisions with motor vehicles, including being “doored,” and pedestrians accounted for the majority (66%) of events leading to injury.  Twenty-four percent of the messengers wear a helmet on a regular basis and 32% have health insurance. 

Conclusions: 

The close proximity of other vehicles and pedestrians of the downtown environment may play an important role in the events leading to injury.

 

 

Back to Publications

Back to HOB Site