This study, reported in the journal Accident Analysis & Prevention, published in January 2013, reviewed 205 pedestrian and cyclist accidents with head injury or impact. Over half of head impacts were attributed to road rather than the striking vehicle. Most casualties with serious head injury were associated with striking vehicle.
The potential effectiveness of vehicle-based secondary safety systems for the protection of pedestrians and pedal cyclists is related to the proportion of cases where injury arises by contact with the road or ground rather than with the striking vehicle.
A detailed case review of 205 accidents from the UK On-the-Spot study involving vulnerable road users with head injuries or impacts indicated that contact with the road was responsible in 110 cases. The vehicle however was associated with a majority of more serious casualties: 31 (vehicle) compared with 26 (road) at AIS 2+ head injury level and 20 (vehicle) compared with 13 (road) at AIS 3+ level.
Further analysis using a multivariate classification model identified several factors that correlated with the source of injury, namely the type of interaction between the striking vehicle and vulnerable road user, the age of the vulnerable road user and the nature of injury.
Source of head injury for pedestrians and pedal cyclists: Striking vehicle or road? | Link to abstract
Alexandro Badea-Romero, James Lenard
Accident Analysis & Prevention, Volume 50, January 2013, Pages 1140–1150