New Study Emphasizes the Importance of Helmets in Avoiding Bike Accident Injuries
Not all states in the U.S. have bicycle helmet laws, and some riders question whether helmets do enough to prevent bike injuries in the event of an accident. According to a recent article from Business Insider, a new study reports that, “despite some criticism of bike helmets for not being protective enough, they do cut the risk of severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) by half when riders suffer a head injury.” In other words, bicycle helmets do work, and we should all be wearing them.
The study went on to report that wearing a bike helmet not only reduces a rider’s chances of sustaining a severe TBI by about 50%, but helmets also help to prevent fatal injuries when bicycle accidents occur. Additionally, helmets do more than simply protect the brain. The new study demonstrates that riders who wear helmets are also “less likely to break facial bones than those not wearing a helmet” when they are involved in a crash. The new study was reported in the peer-reviewed journal American Journal of Surgery. Specifically, of 6,267 people studied who received treatment in emergency departments for bicycle accident injuries, the researchers determined that those accident victims had “52% lower risk of severe TBI compared to unhelmeted riders, and a 44% lower risk of death.”
As one pediatric emergency physician underscores, wearing a bicycle helmet for its preventive abilities should be common sense. “It’s similar to wearing a seat belt,” she says. While a seat belt cannot absolutely guarantee that you will survive a dangerous car accident or will suffer less severe injuries in the event of a traffic collision, a seat belt nonetheless “lowers the risk of injury and of dying in a car accident.” Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that only about 50 percent of the millions of Americans who ride bicycles actually wear helmets.
Bicycle Safety Tips
In addition to wearing a helmet, what else can you do to help avoid bike accidents and injuries? A safety tip sheet from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety recommends the following:
- Always look ahead when you are riding and avoid looking at the ground;
- Never put more than one person on a bicycle;
- Only ride in a single-file line if you are with other cyclists;
- Never ride against traffic;
- Always ride with traffic on the far right side of the road (in other words, do not ride your bicycle in the left passing lane);
- Avoid riding your bicycle in particularly busy areas or at heavily trafficked times of the day;
- Ensure that your bicycle is properly maintained; and
- Ensure that you will be visible to motorists if you will be riding at night.
Ride safely and always wear a helmet! In the event that you are injured as a result of a bike accident, contact an experienced bicycle accident lawyer to determine your rights.