Daytona Bike Week 2017 one of the most dangerous in years with an increase in trauma cases

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More Hospital Incidents for this Bike Week 2017

Article Courtesy of Daytona News Journal Online | By Tony Holt | Posted March 24, 2017 and updated March 25, 2017

DAYTONA BEACH — An unusually high number of intensive care patients were admitted during this year’s Bike Week — making it one of the most dangerous Bike Weeks that Daytona Beach has seen in years.

Overall, trauma admissions spiked this year compared to the previous five years. There was a total of 69 Bike Week-related trauma patients wheeled through the doors at Halifax Health Medical Center during the 10-day event that concluded March 19, according to statistics provided by the hospital.

That number is significantly higher than all years dating back to 2013. The second highest total was Bike Week 2016, during which 54 Bike Week-related trauma patents were admitted to Halifax Health — the only trauma center in Volusia and Flagler counties.

“We have to be ready for anything that presents itself,” said Halifax Health spokesman John Guthrie, who disclosed scads of statistics that proved the notion that his hospital was monumentally busy this year — even by the standard set by Bike Week.

Guthrie pointed out that the high number of trauma patients mean more beds and space are occupied and staffing is maximized.

Daytona Bike Week – Photo by Biker InCite

“Typically, we’re at capacity through that week,” Guthrie said. “It’s a drain on our resources that we don’t normally have.”From 2012 to 2016, the average number of motorcycle-crash admissions was just shy of 44. The year with the highest number was 2012, which generated 48 motorcycle injuries, according to the hospital. This year, there were 65 motorcycle admissions, said Suzanne Lovelady, the director of quality improvement at Halifax Health. That is 48 percent higher than the aforementioned five-year average.From a law enforcement perspective, this year’s Bike Week was the best Daytona Beach has ever had — at least according to Police Chief Craig Capri, who told that to his staff and members of the public during a public meeting Thursday morning.“Bike Week was a huge success,” he said. “It was probably the most successful Bike Week that I’ve seen in my 27 years here.” In spite of his positive review which included fewer problems that usually come with the special event, Capri acknowledged the high number of accidents. His police department also reported two Bike Week-related fatalities.Additionally, Flagler County reported a single fatality during this year’s event, officials said.The Florida Highway Patrol won’t be releasing its Bike Week statistics until next month, said Trooper Steven Montiero, an agency spokesman.The motorcycle event, which is bookended by two full weekends, attracts tends of thousands of attendees from around the globe. The majority of accident victims admitted to Halifax Health during Bike Week are from out of town.This year, 75 percent of all Bike Week-related patients were non-Volusia County residents, according to hospital numbers. Of the 65 motorcycle crash admissions, 30 patients were from out of state, Lovelady said.

Main Street Daytona Bike Week – Photo by Biker InCite

Guthrie declined to speculate on the attendance or hospitalization trends related to Bike Week. The weather was colder than normal this year, but considering the snowy conditions in the Northeast, a 50-degree day in Florida was better than the alternative of staying home for many motorcyclists. Therefore, attendance numbers still seemed high and the number of motorcycle accidents bore that out.

Daytona Beach had 268 traffic accidents during this year’s Bike Week and 66 of those involved motorcycles. The latter number is higher than any previous total dating back to 2012, according to police records.

Flagler had 95 total crashes during the 10-day event and 15 of them were motorcycle-related, said Flagler County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Laura Williams.

All the numbers related to patient intake at Halifax Health also suggest a busier-than-average Bike Week for 2017.

Each day throughout the year, the hospital averages a single trauma patient. The busiest day during Bike Week elicited nine trauma patients, said Lovelady.

The average age among trauma patients during Bike Week was 53. About 81 percent of patients were male, according to hospital statistics.