How Effective are Bike Helmets at Reducing Brain Injuries?
All bicyclists know that they SHOULD wear a bike helmet when riding, to prevent potential traumatic brain injuries (commonly referred to as TBI’s). Despite this, some riders don’t seem to know exactly how effective a helmet can be, when worn properly, to reduce the risk of brain or head injuries. Some people assume that if they get hit by a car while riding, their helmet isn’t going to help them very much in the grand scheme of how catastrophic that accident is likely to be. Other riders feel helmets are too uncomfortable, don’t look good, or any number of other concerns that don’t put safety at the forefront of the conversation. The real question is whether the evidence shows that wearing a helmet is an effective way to reduce the risk of traumatic brain injury in a bike accident.
If you have been involved in a bicycle accident involving a car, and have been diagnosed with, or suspect a brain injury, it is essential that you seek medical care in order to determine the extent and severity of your injury. If you have a TBI from a bike accident, a skilled personal injury lawyer can help you figure out your best options going forward.
A study published in Accident Analysis and Prevention determined that “the most commonly injured body region [in bicycle accidents] is the upper extremities, followed by the lower extremities, face and head and neck.” One of the study’s authors, Dr. Laura McKenzie stated that “wearing a helmet while riding a bike is the best way to decrease the risk of serious injuries.”
Approximately 11% of all bicycle accidents result in TBI’s, and children between the ages of 10-14 are more susceptible to TBI’s, according to this study. Parents should take the reins on making sure their children are wearing helmets EVERY time they ride a bicycle. It’s easy to get lost in the weeds in terms of statistical information and percentages, but the bottom line is that helmets do work to lower the risk of brain injury. Parents need to be diligent about creating family cultures and rules that ensure the highest degree of safety for our children. if you or a loved one has already suffered from a bicycle accident as a result of someone else’s negligence, contact a bike accident lawyer to see how they can help you with your case.
How to Prevent a Serious Bike Accident
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, here are some important bike safety tips to prevent catastrophic bicycle accidents:
- Ride a bike that is the appropriate size for you (or your child). A bike that is too big or too small can be more difficult to control and ride safely. Ensuring proper size means you have a better chance of being able to control your bike in the event you need to maneuver quickly.
- Ride with traffic, not against it. (i.e. ride on the right side of the road, with cars going in the same direction). Approximately 25% of bike accidents happen when riding against traffic.
- Use and learn bike hand signals. Children especially need to know how to signal to drivers if they’re planning on turning, or stopping.
- Avoid riding at night, and if you do, make sure you wear light colored clothing and use reflective gear on your bike and or helmet. Bicycle lights after dark are a must.
- Always ensure that you’re wearing a properly fitting bike helmet, even on short rides. Proper fit is vitally important to making sure a helmet does its job in the event of a crash.
Were you or a loved one recently hurt in a bike crash? Call us today, we’re here to help answer your questions, and our consultations are always free.