A systematic review of 54 studies was conducted to assess the effectiveness of bicycle helmets in reducing head injuries. The authors found no convincing evidence that helmet use reduced head or brain injury overall risk. If you’ve suffered a head injury due to a bicycle accident, we suggest that you contact our Long Island head injury attorney here at Winkler Kurtz, LLP. Please continue reading this article for more information on head injury facts and statistics.
The Effects of Head Injuries & Wearing Helmets
Because non-fatal cases are under-represented in crash-based research, the results of this review cannot be used to conclude that wearing helmets do not affect fatal head injuries.
Motorized vehicle crashes (MVCs) are the leading cause of death in all age groups. This, and the fact that over 90% of bicyclists killed were not wearing helmets, has sparked considerable debate about whether bicycle helmets should be mandatory for everyone who rides a bike.
Head injury accounts for about one-third of bicycle-related fatalities. Bicycling accounts for 2% of all trips in the United States, but 6% of head injuries and 14% of brain injuries (National SAFE KIDS Campaign).
Much research has examined the effect helmets have on reducing injury to bicyclists involved in collisions with motor vehicles; less research has been directed at reducing injuries to bicyclists due to falls and other causes.
The History of Bicycle Helmets
Bicycle helmets were first made available in the US in 1977; since then, their use has become widespread (75% of cyclists currently wear them). There is an ongoing debate about whether or not bicycle helmet use should be made mandatory or even encouraged by public policy.
Bicycle helmets are now required by law for children in 16 states. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that bicycle helmets reduce the likelihood of head injury by 85%. However, an experimental study suggests that helmet design may not be optimal; it appears that only those helmets with low profile covers offer significant protection against penetrating injuries.
Final Findings on Bicycle Helmets
No published studies show that bicycle helmet use reduces the number of fatalities or severe head injuries among cyclists involved in crashes with motor vehicles. However, it should be noted that this type of research is challenging to conduct because bicyclists who die before reaching a hospital cannot be interviewed about their cycling habits and helmet use.
Bicycling accounts for 2% of all trips in the United States, but 6% of head injuries and 14% of brain injuries (National SAFE KIDS Campaign).
Many cyclists involved in crashes with motor vehicles do not wear helmets at their impact. Helmets are estimated to be worn by 75% of current adult cyclists regularly riding on public roadways.
Studies of the effectiveness of bicycle helmets have been limited by a lack of adequate control groups and comparison groups, making it difficult to determine whether a cyclist’s injury could have been prevented by wearing a helmet. One review article estimated that a properly fitted bicycle helmet could reduce the risk of head injury by 85%.
Contact Our Long Island Head Injury Attorney
If you need to contact our Long Island head injury attorney, please schedule your free consultation by clicking here.