Cycling is a great recreational activity and a viable source of transportation, as long as cyclists remain safe. With no armor to protect them, especially their heads, cyclists are at risk of serious injuries when involved in an accident. The best protection a cyclist can wear is a good fitting helmet that can reduce the chance of brain injuries and death. This is important for cyclists of all ages, from small children to adults.
Cycling, Helmets And Traumatic Brain Injuries
One of the most severe injuries that cyclists can have is a brain injury (for information on TBI’s look here). In 2009, 91% of cyclists killed in accidents were not wearing helmets, with the percentages at 91% or more for 2006-2008 as well. It is estimated by the Center for Head Injury Services that 75% of bicyclists deaths are caused by head injuries and that 85% of head injuries that occur from bicycle accidents could be avoided with the simple use of a helmet when riding.
Not only are brain injuries the leading cause of death in cyclists, a brain injury can seriously affect the rest of their lives. Even slight trauma to the brain can cause both mental and physical limitations. Victims of these injuries can face years of therapy and rehabilitation, often lasting for the rest of their lives.
Promoting Bike Helmet Use In Children
Promoting good safety habits begins with teaching children at a young age the importance of safety. Just like children are taught to look both ways when crossing the street and to wear a seat belt when in a car, they should also be taught to wear a helmet whenever they ride a bike. There are a few simple ways to promote helmet use in children:
- Lead by example. Parents telling children to wear a helmet and then not wearing one themselves provides a poor example. Parents should always wear a helmet, for their own safety as well as to teach their children good safety habits.
- Set strict rules. Children need structure and rules to learn good behaviors. There should be strict rules that forbid riding their bikes without a helmet.
- Make helmets fun. Make wearing a helmet fun for kids. Let them help choose the color and design they want, making the helmet “belong” to them.
Choosing A Good Fitting Bicycle Helmet
Bicycle helmets only work to protect from brain injuries when they fit properly and are worn correctly. One that is too large or is strapped on too high be less effective in preventing head injuries. When choosing a bike helmet, it should be comfortable, not too tight or too loose. The front of the helmet should rest right above the eyebrows, with just one or two fingers width between the helmet and brow. When buckled, the straps under the ears should lie flat against the head. Also, the chin strap should be tight but still allow one finger between the buckle and chin.
You never know when a bicycle accident will happen. That is why always wearing a helmet is so important. These simple yet effective protection devices can prevent the majority of serious head injuries and fatalities in all ages of cyclists. The question is not whether you should wear a helmet when riding a bicycle; the question is why would you not?
Did you suffer a head injury in a Chicago bicycle accident?
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC know the impact a head injury can have in terms of immediate and long-term problems. Our Chicago bike accident lawyers have experience representing cyclists who have varying types of brain injuries sustained in collisions. Before you speak to an insurance adjuster for a driver's insurance company, we invite you to contact our office for a free case review of your circumstance.