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Road deaths bereavement toll

Thursday December 3rd, 2009

The toll of road deaths in Britain may have affected as many as one in a hundred people through bereavement, researchers said today.

A cyclistA new study suggests more than half a million people have suffered bereavement in the last 40 years.

The findings, reported in the journal Injury Prevention, come from a detailed study of census records for about one per cent of the population over a 30 year period. There were 1,801 road deaths of adults and children. This showed between three and four close relatives of every fatal victim of a road accident.

Researcher Dr Phil Edwards, of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, said: "Quite apart from the economic consequences of loss of life, bereavement leaves an enduring emotional legacy, say the authors. And some of the bereaved will have experienced serious mental health problems, such as post traumatic stress or depression."

* A second study today confirms that cycling is much more dangerous than car travel.

The findings come from a study of hospital admissions. This showed 68 injuries to pedestrians and cyclists for every 100 injuries suffered by occupants of cars.

Researcher Professor Mike Gill, of Surrey University, UK, said cyclist accidents were greatest in the summer - with hospital admissions for pedestrians and cyclists out-pacing car drivers and passengers between April and September.

He said: "Journeys by bike and foot are good for both the waistline and the planet. However, in some circumstances, when people feel that it is unsafe to cycle or walk they may be right.

"International comparison shows that both injury and death rates per distance travelled by cyclists in the UK are more than three times those found in the Netherlands or Denmark."

Injury Prevention 2009; 15: 364-8, 374-8

Tags: A&E | General Health | UK News

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