Horseback Riding More Dangerous Than Motorcycles

A research team at the University of Calgary says that riding horses is more dangerous than riding motorcycles. It's even more dangerou...

A research team at the University of Calgary says that riding horses is more dangerous than riding motorcycles. It's even more dangerous than skiing and football.

As reported by The Canadian Press...
The research team says a review of 7,941 trauma patients at Foothills Medical Centre over 10 years found that 151 people were severely injured while horseback riding.

The study published in the American Journal of Surgery says the hospital injury rate for equestrian activity was more than three times higher than for motorcycle riding.
The research team found that of all the people treated for horseback riding injuries, only nine percent were wearing helmets.

The team went on to recommend that all horseback riders wear helmets and safety vests.

Can't you just see this now, the province of Alberta creating a law to require helmets for horseback riding? There's an old saying, "Give them an inch, and they'll take a mile.

Source: The Canadian Press


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  1. Proportion of horse accidents to motorcycle accidents may be interesting but it is an isolated meaningless statistic when not related to the proportion of the populace that rides horses. I'm sure there are more horse riders per capita in Alberta than in e.g. Florida.

    Let me make an off-the-cuff example: if 100% of the population of alberta owns and rides horses, and 25% owns and rides Honda Elsinores, you would have to expect more horse related accidents than moto injuries -- if they were equally dangerous, you'd expect 4 horseman to every biker.

  2. You obviously didn't read the article. It says "The hospital admission rate associated with equestrian activity is .49/1000 hours of riding. The rate when motorcycle riding is merely .14/1000 hours."

    The paper considered admissions to Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary between 1995 and 2005. Out of the 7941 admissions over this time, 151 were from equestrian accidents. The quoted statistic relating to the rate of motorcycle accidents is from another paper that I could not obtain, so I'm not sure about the sample size, collection period or anything like that.

    This has nothing to do with the number of people who ride or own horses or motorcycles. It refers to the rate of hospitalisation for reasonably serious injuries in relation to the TIME people spend riding.

    To use your "off the cuff" example; if 100% of the population of Alberta owns and rides horses and 25% of the population owns and rides motorcycles and we assume that all riders of both modes of transport spend the same amount of time riding, you would see 14 times the number of horse-riding accidents as motorcycle accidents ((100/25)x(.49/.14)).

    A better example is to assume that there are the same number of riders of each. If each rider rode the same amount, the paper suggests we might see 3.5x as many equestrian admissions as motorcycle admissions.

    Superficially, at least, this is not an "isolated meaningless statistic". The results come from 2 published studies and the equestrian result, at least, is from a reasonable period of time and a reasonable number of cases. The conclusions drawn from the study were that it was prudent to wear a helmet (rather than a cowboy hat)when riding a horse because people suffered head injuries (and these are generally regarded as undesirable). Previous studies had underemphasised chest injuries so the paper suggested that possibly it might be a good idea to wear a protective vest (because important things can be found inside the chest).

    Both of these suggestions seem quite sane. Showing that the rate of injury from riding horses was higher than motorcycling (motor racing, football and skiing) is pointing out that it might actually be worth thinking seriously about the problem.



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