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What You Should Know

Cycling Helmets: Never Leave Home Without One!

As a civil trial lawyer who specializes in personal injury cases, I have seen my share of horrendous injuries through the decades. The severity of some injuries is often unavoidable, such as where our clients are clobbered by a semi-tractor trailer at full speed. However, there are other instances where the most serious injuries could have been avoided or mitigated by using a simple, inexpensive safety accessory, a bicycle helmet.[1] Two recent medical studies illustrate the point.

The first study, published in The American Journal of Surgery in February, 2017, was authored by trauma surgeons who studied over 6000 patients involved in cycling wrecks. The doctors found that cyclists who wore helmets and were involved in crashes had a 51% reduced odds of sustaining a severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) as opposed to riders not wearing helmets. Likewise, the helmeted cyclists were 44% less likely to be killed in the crash, and 31% less likely to suffer facial fractures than their unhelmeted compatriots. The results of the study may be found here: http://www.americanjournalofsurgery.com/article/S0002-9610(16)30366-X/fulltext

The second study revealed even greater safety from the use of bicycle helmets. The authors first noted that over more than half a million (500,000 +) Americans a year visit emergency departments for cycling related injuries. Of those, approximately 85,000 people suffer head injuries and about 600 of those crash victims die, with TBI causing about 66% of those deaths. But the real kicker is that the authors estimated that up to 85% of those head injuries could have been prevented through the use of quality helmet such as those approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). That remarkable number underscores the imperative of wearing a cycling helmet whenever you mount your two-wheeled exercise machine. See http://www.aans.org/en/Patients/Neurosurgical-Conditions-and-Treatments/Sports-related-Head-Injury

A good, reliable cycling helmet can be purchased from a local bike shop for less than $100. It should be worn snugly so as not to detach upon hitting the pavement or from some other blunt force impact. It is the best investment you will ever make because it only needs to work once and is a small price to pay to protect your ability to think, reason, act, and succeed in life. Safeguarding “your marbles” should be the highest priority for any cyclist as wrecks involving cars or not involving cars (collisions with small dogs, crashing after hitting gravel, and going down on slick roads are all too commonplace) will happen to the most careful of riders at some point in their cycling experience. You will enjoy this healthiest of sports while employing this simplest of safety measures. Bottom line: Your cycling helmet, never leave home without it!

[1] The same would hold true for a motorcycle helmet.