A. Frühauf, M. Huter, E. Weiß, M. Kopp
Department of Sport Science, University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria
Background. Downhill mountain biking (DMB) is a subdiscipline of mountain biking. Rider skill seems to be the most influencing variable for DMB performance. In order to classify skill level, the aim of the present study was to investigate DMB-participants in terms of accident involvement, demographic and psychological variables, and to catego- rize them after their completion of trails (easy vs difficult) in a bike park. Methods. 190 DMB riders (DMBR) were asked about their accidents, injuries and psycho- logical variables at two different bike parks (table I). 112 answered the questionnaire after completing an easy trail (ET; 43+B or 42+B) and 78 after a difficult trail (DT; 83+B or 8+B). To calculate group differences, Mann-Whitney U and Chi2 Tests were used. Results. Significant differences detected that DT riders were younger, consisted of more males, had more experience in years and higher frequency per week than ET riders. No significant difference was found in accident involvement. All but one person reported to wear at least a helmet as protection equipment. Knee and back protection usage was significantly higher in DT riders. DT riders perceived their sport as more dangerous, reported higher deliberate risk-taking and experienced higher sensations during DMB. Conclusions. The differences between ET riders and DT riders show the need of preven- tive steps, such as risk assessment capability, even for more experienced riders.
KEY WORDS: High-risk sports; extreme sports; motives; protection equipment.