Do Bicycle Helmets Really Help Reduce the Risk of Serious Head Injuries?

By Joseph Low on May 5, 2015 - Comments off

Long Beach Bike AccidentCalifornia currently leads the nation in injury-causing bicycle accidents suffered every year.  With great weather and miles upon miles of bike lanes and trails, many California communities are great for cyclists.

California law requires bicyclists under age 18 to wear a helmet, and experienced California bicycle accident lawyer at The Law Firm of Joseph H. Low IV strongly encourages all riders to wear properly-fitting helmets designed specifically for bicycling.  Many riders still avoid helmets, however, because they believe that a helmet will not prevent a head injury or reduce the severity of an injury if a bicycle crash occurs.

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that bicycle helmets can be very helpful in preventing head injuries or reducing the severity of brain injuries.  Researchers compared two groups of bicyclists who visited emergency departments: those who had head injuries and those who had other, non-head injuries.  The researchers found that only seven percent of the bicyclists with head injuries had been wearing a helmet when they crashed.  Among those who had catastrophic brain injuries, only four percent had been wearing a helmet.  Among bicyclists who did not have head injuries, however, 24 percent had been wearing a helmet when they crashed.

Later studies have found that bicycle helmets are better at protecting against certain kinds of head injury than others.  For instance, the helmet may be more effective if it is struck straight-on instead of with a glancing or rotational blow.  However, the significant reduction in both the occurrence and severity of head injuries with a helmet is strong evidence in favor of wearing one every time we ride – no matter how young or old we are.

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Posted in: Bicycle Accident

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