Helmets Greatly Reduce the Risk of Serious Bicycle Accident Injuries
As many as 75% of all fatal bicycle accidents are believed to involve a head injury. There is no doubt that a traumatic brain injury is the single biggest safety risk for a bicyclist involved in a crash. A new analysis finds that sports-related bicycling injuries account for more head injuries every year than football or baseball.
In many states around the country, including Georgia, wearing a helmet is not mandatory. The reasons for this vary, but generally the safety aspect of this bicycling has been largely neglected because it is such a popular activity and a favorite pastime for so many Atlantans. This is in spite of the fact that there is enough research to suggest that wearing a bicycle helmet may be the only thing protecting a bicyclist from serious injuries in an accident.
In fact, recent Australian research focused on the kind of injuries suffered by bicyclist who were not helmeted at the time of an accident, and found that wearing a helmet can help protect bicyclists from all but the most severe impacts.
The American Association of Neurological Surgeons recently reported that bicycling accidents accounted for approximately 86,000 sports-related injuries in 2009. That same year, there were a total of 447,000 head injuries related to sports, and football accounted for 47,000 of head injuries.
Children are at a much higher risk of head injuries when they are involved in a bicycle accident. Among children below the age of 14, there were more than 40,000 head-related injuries in 2009, and all of these injuries were serious enough to require a visit to the hospital emergency room.
Looking at the statistics, it is clear that the risk of head injuries for bicyclists has been unfortunately ignored. There seems to be a lot of controversy right now about the risk of head injuries involving National Football League players, and even head injuries involving soccer players. But there is very little attention paid to the fact that adults and children who bicycle to school, work, or for leisure are at a much higher risk of head injuries when they are involved in an accident than professional athletes.
If you are bicyclist, never venture out on the road or trail without wearing a Duty-approved helmet. If you are motorist, pay special attention to bicyclists sharing the road, and be particularly careful at intersections and crosswalks.