Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Injury costs: mountain biking edition

I really don't like "costs to the public health system" as reason for taxing and banning stuff.

But it's always fun to look at how costs are treated when they come from activities that draw social approbation rather than tut-tutting:
Figures from the Accident Corporation Commission show that mountainbiking injuries across the region have increased from 174 in 2010 to 463 last year with a spike occurring each year. The cost associated with treating those injuries in that same time has jumped from $190,000 to $798,642.
"People do crash a lot, and I think that is an element of the sport in all honesty, but what we try to do is keep it to an absolute minimum," said Nelson Mountain Bike Club chairman Paul Jennings. He said injuries were a part of mountainbiking, as they were in many other sports, including rugby.
The ACC figures show that the most common injuries for mountainbikers were soft tissue injuries, lacerations, punctures or stings, fractures or dislocations and dental injuries.
The large majority of injuries were attributed to males between the ages of 35 and 44.
Where are the outraged statements by doctors complaining of the burden of dealing with 463 unnecessary presentations and the alarming near tripling of the number of accidents? The do-gooders noting the heightened risk for mid-life-crisis men irrationally obsessed with proving that they're not really old yet? The worries about kids being brought into this dangerous bike culture via so-called "beginner tracks"? The social cost studies tallying the costs of all the accidents and of the thousands spent irrationally by mountain bike enthusiasts on ever-nicer kit?

More seriously - I love the sensible attitude here. Risk is part of the adventure: mountain bikers know they take on injury risk in exchange for thrills. Would that others' risk preferences were similarly accommodated.

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