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Comparison of the number of pedestrian and cyclist injuries captured in police data compared with health service utilisation data in Toronto, Canada 2016-2021


Introduction — Pedestrian and cyclist injuries represent a preventable burden to Canadians. Police-reported collision data include information on where such collisions occur but under-report the number of collisions. The primary objective of this study was to compare the number of police-reported collisions with emergency department (ED) visits and hospitalisations in Toronto, Canada.

Methods — Police-reported collisions were provided by Toronto Police Services (TPS). Data included the location of the collision, approximate victim age and whether the pedestrian or cyclist was killed or seriously injured. Health services data included ED visits in the National Ambulatory Care Reporting System and hospitalisations from the Discharge Abstract Database using ICD-10 codes for pedestrian and cycling injuries. Data were compared from 2016 to 2021.

Results — Injuries reported in the health service data were higher than those reported in the TPS for cyclists and pedestrians. The discrepancy was the largest for cyclists treated in the ED, with TPS capturing 7.9% of all cycling injuries. Cyclist injuries not involving a motor vehicle have increased since the start of the pandemic (from 3629 in 2019 to 5459 in 2020 for ED visits and from 251 in 2019 to 430 for hospital admissions).

Implications — While police-reported data are important, it under-reports the burden. There have been increases in cyclist collisions not involving motor vehicles and decreases in pedestrian injuries since the start of the pandemic. The results suggest that using police data alone when planning for road safety is inadequate, and that linkage with other health service data is essential.



Macpherson AK, Zagorski B, Saskin R, Howard AW, Harris MA, Namin S, Rothman L. Inj Prev. 2024; Jan 9 [Epub ahead of print].

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