Mountain bike accidents keep Swiss docs busy

The growing popularity of mountain biking is leading to more injuries among two-wheeling enthusiasts in many tourist regions of Switzerland, according to a survey by the Schweiz am Sonntag newspaper.

Mountain bike accidents keep Swiss docs busy
Photo: Switzerland Tourism

The area around Chur in the canton of Graubünden and Interlaken in the canton of Bern are among those recording big increases in mountain bike accidents, the newspaper reported on Sunday.

This summer “we treated an estimated 30 to 40 percent more bike accident victims” than the previous year, Christoph Sommer, chief doctor of emergency surgery at the Chur hospital, told the weekly.

The hospital dealt with 128 patients, half of them downhill cyclists, the other half cross-country bikers.

The most common injuries were mild concussions and fractures of the clavicle and shoulder blade.

Rib fractures combined with lung injury are also common, along with wrist and arm fractures and fractured back bones.

Most victims have multiple bruises and abrasions from the risky sport, Schweiz am Sonntag said.

The hospital in Interlaken treated 42 mountain bikers this summer, almost as many as for the entire year in 2013, the newspaper said.

More injuries are expected from the autumn season, said Gregory Siegel, senior surgeon at the Interlaken hospital.

See also: Mountain bikers risk serious injury

Schweiz am Sonntag noted regional differences in the accident rate with some areas experienced fewer mountain bike injuries.

But overall, the trend seems clear: ten years ago, a total of 2,761 mountain bike accidents were recorded in Switzerland, compared to 5,620 in 2012, the newspaper said.

Most of the victims (85 percent) were men aged between 30 and 59, according to the council for accident prevention.

Swiss mountain resorts are increasingly promoting mountain biking as a summer sport, with many ski lifts carrying mountain bikes.

Switzerland has 8,000 kilometres of marked official mountain bike routes, Schweiz am Sonntag said.

For more information about mountain bike routes, check the official website of Switzerland Tourism.

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