Is wearing a helmet while cycling as effective at preventing serious injuries and death as we’ve been lead to believe? A new study says yes; in fact, helmets are even more important than previously thought. This might not seem like groundbreaking news, but some cyclists have argued that helmets offer little protection in serious collisions with motor vehicles.
According to a recently-published study in Accident Analysis & Prevention, it has been 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.” As such, “wearing a helmet while riding a bike is the best way to decrease the risk of serious injuries,” said Dr. Lara McKenzie, one of the study’s senior authors. A Boston bicycle accident lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured due to another’s negligence.
Approximately 11 percent of injuries suffered in cycling accidents include a traumatic brain injury (TBI), and many of those involve younger patients under the age of 15. For this reason, helmets are especially important for children. To prevent serious head injury or death in a cycling accident, parents should ensure that children (even those in their teens) always wear a helmet.
How to Prevent Serious Cycling Injuries
By following these safety tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics, you can dramatically reduce the risk of serious injury to you, or to your child.
- Ensure that your bike is the proper size. A bike that is too big or too small can be difficult to control.
- Ride with the flow of traffic at all times. Approximately 25 percent of cycling collisions occur when the cyclist is riding against traffic.
- Always use hand signals to alert motor vehicles to your intended move.
- Children should never ride alone after dark.
- Never cycle without a helmet. Ensure that your helmet is in good shape and that it fits properly.
A MA cycling accident attorney can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured due to another’s negligence.
Cycling Accident Statistics
There is no denying that cycling is a healthy, economical, and environmentally-conscious form of transportation. That doesn’t mean it’s not without risks. The statistics below illustrate the dangers of cycling. Awareness is key to reducing these risks.
- In 2015, 818 cyclists were killed in collisions, and 45,000 were injured.
- Among those injured, 5,000 were children.
- Among those fatally injured, 37 were children.
- The vast majority of injuries and fatalities occurred in men (87 percent for injuries, 83 percent for fatalities).
- Fatal accidents occurred almost evenly during daylight and nighttime hours.
- Approximately 70 percent of the fatal crashes were in urban areas, 61 percent were in locations other than intersections, and three percent occurred in bike lanes.
- Cyclist deaths accounted for 2.3 percent of all traffic fatalities in 2015.
- Among the fatal accidents, more than one-quarter involved alcohol (either cyclist, motor vehicle driver, or both).