Marathons Cut Risk Of Fatal Vehicle Crashes
I suppose this can apply for cycling too?
ScienceDaily (Dec. 21, 2007) — Organised marathons are not associated with an increased risk of sudden death, despite the media attention they attract. In fact, marathons lower the risk of fatal motor vehicle crashes that might otherwise have taken place if the roads had not been closed, finds a study in the Christmas issue of the British Medical Journal.
Millions of people take part in organised sporting events on a regular basis, yet the outcome for a few participants is sudden death. These deaths attract widespread media attention, such as the high publicity given to deaths that occur in marathon runners.
In contrast, sudden deaths from motor vehicle crashes occur more than a hundred times each day in the United States alone and tend to be under-reported in the media.
Yet no previous study has explored the extent to which marathons might actually decrease mortality.
So researchers examined marathons throughout the US to test whether the total number of sudden deaths changed when roads were closed to traffic and opened to marathon running.
They randomly selected 26 established marathons involving more than 3 million participants over a period of 30 years. Each marathon had at least 1,000 participants and took place on United States roadways from 1975 to 2004. Sudden cardiac deaths following each marathon were recorded and compared to motor vehicle deaths during the same hours one week before and one week after each marathon.
The same comparisons were then replicated for state counties that were outside the marathon route to check for spillover in traffic flow.
Over the 30 years there were 26 sudden cardiac deaths, equivalent to a rate of 0.8 per 100,000 participants or about two deaths per million hours of exercise. But because of road closure, 46 motor vehicle fatalities were prevented, equivalent to almost two lives saved that would have otherwise occurred.
The reduced risk could not be explained by re-routing traffic to other regions or days and was consistent across different parts of the country, decades of the century, seasons of the year, days of the week, and race characteristics.
The data show that the final 1.6 km of the marathon accounts for almost half of the sudden cardiac deaths, so the authors suggest the last half of the marathon (and the last 1.6 km in particular) is the priority for paramedic staffing and ambulance preparedness.
The results also indicate that, for participants, the final sprint with sudden cessation may be more dangerous than generally realised, they conclude.
Adapted from materials provided by BMJ-British Medical Journal.
I would tend to sask why not? I'd want to see the data in detail. If I were to take a devils advocate position I'd say since events like this happen on weekends traffic is most apt to get rerouted to the weekends before and after the event, so this means the design of this study in fact maximizes a false result due to simply moving when cars are on the road.
Originally Posted by closetbiker
Yeah, all most studies can do is open the doors to new questions, but maybe they can answer some.
I think the premise that to reduce deaths by lowering the number of cars on the road is sound.
Wasn't there some figures out there where deaths on the highways increased by a great degree for several months after 9/11, because less people were flying and more people were driving?
Sure, reducing deaths by reducing travel makes sense - but it's kind of like reducing acne via decapitation. Yes, technically it does solve the problem, but it's a total non-starter.
If there's any point to the research, how do you extrapolate it, what's the long-term solution - rolling street closings just to make travel less convenient? That's not happening.
I think it would be more constructive to analyze how deaths can be prevented without decreasing the total number of person-miles traveled. And there are ways to do that.
How can deaths be prevented? You can't. The more gas prices rise, the more people will ride bikes, without knowing the rules of the road.................
maybe this study shows that our "ease" with driving is ill-founded? Maybe it shows driving has more risk than thought?
I think most people know, intellectually, that driving is dangerous. It's just that humans aren't especially rational, especially where it comes to percieved risk. Our guts tell us that driving is a common, everyday activity, therefore it must not be dangerous -- even if our minds keep trying to remind us of the statistics.
That's why folks will engage in incredible amounts of righteous blather about putting on a helmet for cycling -- about a 1-in-5000 risk of death -- but not make a peep about driving to the start of a bike ride -- more than 1-in-100 chance of death.
That about says it all.
Originally Posted by closetbiker
We've known all along that closing streets for parades or marathons reduces road accidents becuase it creates grildlock. Motorist can't speed and thus are less likely to kill themselves or others. What a great idea!