According to CR Consumer reports, seventy-eight percent of adult cyclists and 88 percent of young riders who suffered head and neck injuries were not wearing helmets when they were injured, according to a new study published in the journal Brain Injury that analyzed 76,032 cycling injuries between 2002 and 2012. This is troubling, given that earlier research has shown that only about 29 percent of adult cyclists and 42 percent of child cyclists always wear helmets.
The researchers behind the study wanted to examine helmet use among people who had suffered head and neck injuries while cycling. To do so, they used results from the National Trauma Data Bank, which logs patient records from over 900 trauma centers and emergency rooms across the U.S.
Injuries were much more severe for anyone not wearing a helmet, and people who suffered injuries that were reported to the database used helmets at low rates.
For everyone, the results show that wearing helmets is significantly linked to a reduced risk for longer hospital stays, serious injuries, and death. These findings should help support further study into ways to encourage helmet use, the study authors write.
“Education is necessary but not sufficient,” Bazargan-Hejazi says. Researchers need to also look into ways to change attitudes about wearing a helmet and help cyclists better assess the risks of head injury.
“I’m guessing people think if they’re not riding fast, they don’t need a helmet,” says Peter Anzalone, senior test project leader for bike helmets at CR, who encourages cyclists of all ages to wear a helmet every time they ride. “People don’t seem to realize how easily they can get severely injured by falling and hitting their head.”
Please research this subject extensively. Stats are subject to change on a daily basis. Remember, it is not the odds, but the stakes.