Bicyclists in the Orange County area may wonder whether protective gear can really make them any safer while riding. Helmets, for example, are a common piece of safety gear that many people wear any time they ride a bike. On the other hand, other bicycling enthusiasts may think of a helmet as a pointless piece of equipment, and thus don’t bother with wearing one.
A research report that the American Journal of Surgery recently published weighed in on the question about the efficacy of helmets for bikers. According to the research, helmet use does substantially reduce a biker’s risk of severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) from bicycle accidents.
Researchers looked at data from 2012 for more than 6,200 people who were treated for head injuries from bicycle accidents. Among those people, 25 percent were wearing a helmet when the bike accident occurred. The research showed that people who wore helmets reduced the risk of TBI by more than 50 percent, and their risk of death declined by 44 percent compared to riders who did not wear helmets. In addition, helmet use reduced the rider’s risk of facial fractures by more than 30 percent.
Data from 2013 showed that 900 people died from bike accidents in the U.S. that year, and roughly 494,000 hospital emergency room visits resulted from bike accidents. Based on the recently published research report, more widespread helmet use could help to reduce those numbers.
Of course, even the best helmet and other safety gear can never fully protect a biker from a negligent driver in an automobile. Riders are simply too unprotected to withstand a major impact from a car or truck. Accordingly, these types of accidents can result in serious injuries to a biker, regardless of whether he or she is wearing a helmet.
Riders should do all that they can to protect themselves. But even if a biker chooses not to wear a helmet, it does not mean that drivers can avoid liability if they cause an accident that injures a bicyclist. Bike accident victims should understand their legal options following an accident with a motor vehicle, as compensation for their losses may be available..
Source: FOX News Health, “Helmets prevent severe head injuries in bike accidents,” Aug. 19, 2016