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Statistics Don’t Lie: Bicycle Helmets Save Lives and Reduce Injuries

06-26-20    

mom putting bicycle helmet on kid

Most serious cyclists choose to wear a bike helmet, but many recreational riders think it isn’t necessary if they are just going out for a short ride at a leisurely pace. Before you decide to risk riding without a helmet, remember that helmets are made to do one thing—protect you from head injury, and most importantly, prevent a potentially fatal one. Let’s consider the statistics.

What the Statistics Tell Us

    • Researchers at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration [1]
      (NHTSA)found that helmets reduced the likelihood of serious head injury by 60 percent. Additionally, in cases where it was known whether cyclists were wearing helmets, 79 percent of those who were fatally injured between 2010 and 2017 were not wearing them.
    • The NHTSA also said in a 2018 report [2], that 857 cyclists were killed in traffic crashes in 2017. This is the highest number of fatalities since 1990. Cycling trips account for one percent of all trips made in the U.S. each year, and nearly two percent of all traffic fatalities.
    • Cyclists who sustained a head injury while riding without wearing a helmet are three times more likely [3] to die than those who are injured while wearing a helmet. Bicycle helmets also prevent serious brain injury in 88% of serious crashes [4].
    • A February 2017 analysis [7] in the International Journal of Epidemiology reviewed 40 separate studies and found helmet use significantly reduced the odds of head injury. They also found the odds of a fatal head injury to be lower when cyclists wore a helmet.
    • Unfortunately, the risk of concussion is very real for cyclists. In 2013 the New York Times reported [5] that cycling had the highest concussion rate among all sports, including football. Sometimes the effects of a concussion can last for months or even years. Many times, they are permanent.

Given the Statistics, Why Doesn’t Everyone Wear a Helmet?

Despite these shocking statistics, less than half of all bicycle riders wear helmets. Because teens tend to think they are invincible, the percentage of teens who wear a helmet is significantly less than half.

dad and son wearing helmets

Riders give many reasons for not wearing helmets.
These include the belief that helmets are uncomfortable,
not socially acceptable[6], or are unnecessary because they are skilled riders.More education is needed so people are aware of the statistics.In addition, laws requiring bicycle riders to wear a helmet would reduce the number of head injuries and fatalities
Wearing a bicycle helmet is always a good idea no matter what the law has to say, but bicycle helmet laws might also have an impact on an injury claim after a bicycle-car accident[8].

What Does the Law Say?

No U.S. state currently requires helmets for adult cyclists, but just under half of the states require the use of bike helmets by riders under a certain age
bicycle helmets

Ohio has no mandatory bicycle helmet laws However, some cities and townships may have their own ordinances written into their municipal codes. Dayton, for instance, requires all cyclists to wear helmets and to equip their bike with a bell that is audible for up to 100 feet.

Just because the law doesn’t require it, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.Being aware of the statistics is key. We hope you will choose to wear a helmet and encourage and educate your friends and family to wear one too.

Sources:

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