More adults across the country are strapping on helmets and hopping on bikes to get to work. That's good news for people's hearts and waistlines, but it also means more visits to the emergency room.
Hospital admissions because of bike injuries more than doubled between 1998 and 2013, doctors reported Tuesday in JAMA, the journal of the American Medical Association. And the rise was the biggest with bikers ages 45 and over.
"There are just more people riding and getting injured in that age group. It's definitely striking," says Dr. Benjamin Breyer, who led the study at the University of California, San Francisco.
Another study, published last month in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, found a similar trend with bicycle deaths: While the death rate among child cyclists has plummeted in the past four decades, the mortality rate among cyclists ages 35 to 54 has tripled.
Breyer isn't sure what's driving the surge in accidents among Generation Xers and baby boomers, but one reason could be what's known as the "Lance Armstrong effect."
"After Lance Armstrong had all of his success at the Tour de France, a lot more people were riding, and there were a lot more older riders that took up the bicycle for sport," he says.