Parents nag their children about wearing a helmet while riding their bike for a very good reason. There are more than 2 million traumatic brain injuries that occur every year. This means someone suffers from a dangerous head injury every 15 seconds. Although a vast majority of people will recover from their TBI, 1 in 4 people will be hospitalized because of their injury. 10% of all TBIs happen through sports and recreation, of which bicycling is apart.
Facts About Bicycle Head Injuries
1. 26,000. That’s the number of TBIs that occur from riding a bicycle.
2. Sports and recreational activities contribute to about 21% of all traumatic brain injuries among American children.
3. 55% of children are reported as not always wearing a bicycle helmet when they go out for a ride.
4. In 2010, 800 people were killed while riding their bicycle. This accounts for about 2% of the total motor vehicle crash fatalities that are tracked every year.
5. Helmet use has been estimated to reduce head injury risk by 85%, but less than half of all states in the US have bicycle helmet laws.
6. Only 17% of those who were fatally injured while riding their bicycle were actually wearing a helmet.
7. Deaths among bicyclists 20 and older have increased by 195% since 1975.
8. 1 in 4 bicyclists who were killed on American roadways had a blood alcohol level that was above 0.08.
9. Bicycle helmets are able to prevent up to 60% of all bike-related head injury deaths that occur.
10. Men are much more likely to be killed or injured on bicycles than women.
11. Most bicyclist deaths occur in urban areas and at non-intersection locations.
12. The 5-24 age demographic has the highest rates of nonfatal bicycle-related injuries, accounting for almost 60% of all bicycle-related injuries seen in U.S. emergency departments.
13. Half of U.S. children between 5-14 own a helmet, but only 1 in 4 of them report always wearing it while bicycling.
14. A bicycle helmet is believed to reduce the risks of a TBI during an accident by 33%.
15. Children that live in a jurisdiction that has a bicycle helmet law are 2x more likely to always wear one.
16. More than 3.5 million children 14 and under suffer medically treated sports injuries each year.
17. Most child and adolescent bicycle crashes occur between May and August and between the hours of 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.
18. For children under the age of 14, riding their bike after sunset carries with it a 4x higher risk of being injured.
19. 80% of the fatal bicycle crashes that occur in the under 14 age demographic are because of the behavior of the bicyclist.
Millions of people ride a bicycle every day, but only half of them will wear a bicycle helmet. A portion of those who don’t wear a helmet actually own one and some even take the helmet with them. More than 500,000 bicycle accidents occur every year and half of the accidents occur to children and young adults under the age of 20. Following the rules of the road, including all traffic laws, can help to prevent injuries, but so can wearing a bicycle helmet that is properly fitted.
More people are receiving head injuries from riding their bicycle than many people realize. Take a look at these statistics – they speak for themselves.
Do Bicycle Helmets Really Work?
Much of the data about helmets and their effectiveness dates back to the late 1980s. The percentages and statistics that are often quoted do not account for modern bikes, modern helmets, and modern habits. Although the fatality rates are up for bicyclists in a recent 5 year trend, the total amount of fatalities is actually down by 26%. Some would draw a correlation between enhanced bike helmet safety awareness, but there is no actual recent studies that can confirm what the data indicates.
What we do know is this: helmets can help to protect the head in case an accident occurs. There is no data to suggest that wearing a helmet enhances the chance of suffering from a TBI during an accident. There is nothing to lose by wearing a bicycle helmet and it generally costs around $20 to purchase one. It’s a small expense and that could pay back large dividends if it is able to save your life.