Recent studies have shown considerable undercounting of bicyclist mortality rates in police-reported data in China. Comparisons between the Ministry of Health’s vital registration data and the Disease Surveillance Points data (DSP) show significant disparity in rates from that of the official, police-reported rates.

JH-IIRU team members, including associate faculty Sai Ma and research assistant Qingfeng Li, recently published a study addressing this disparity in Injury Prevention. “Bicyclist mortality between 2006 and 2010 in China: Findings from national Disease Surveillance Points (DSP) data,” examines the trend in bicycle mortality using DSP data.

The study found that, between 2006 and 2010, the mortality rate for bicyclists increased from 1.1 to 1.6 per 100,000 population, according to DSP data, and more than 90% of bicyclist deaths were undercounted by police compared to DSP data during the same time period. However, because the police-reported statistics are regarded as the official data source, bicyclist injury and mortality rates may suffer from under-reporting.

This paper suggests the importance of using health sector data to compliment the reporting of traffic bicyclist injuries, as well as the need to improve police reports in China to more accurately reflect mortality rates.

These findings have several important policy implications: including health sector data can improve the quality of the data, as well as influence the implementation of interventions, such as promoting helmet use, mass media campaigns and legislation to curb the recent increase in mortality.

You can access the paper here: http://injuryprevention.bmj.com/content/early/2013/05/24/injuryprev-2012-040510.long