Bike Helmet Safety: Preventing Brain Injuries

November 1, 2017 | Brain and Spinal Injury

Bicyclists are obviously extremely vulnerable when they take to the open road. They’re balanced on two wheels—with no visible means of protection—on streets they share with motorized vehicles many, many times their size and weight and that typically move much faster. Recreational bike trails are popular in Indiana and often cross busy roads. As more and more bike riders sustain head injuries—including closed head injuries, where the skull remains intact, and open head injuries, where the skull breaks and fragments could drive into the brain—a debate has been brewing about mandatory bike helmet laws. Indiana currently doesn’t have one, but lack of such a requirement isn’t a great reason not to wear a bike helmet—the statistics tell their own story.

Bike Helmets: The Statistics

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s report on bicyclists and helmets shares some sobering news that strongly supports making a bike helmet part of your biking routine:

  • About 2 percent of motor vehicle fatalities are bicyclists.
  • The most serious injuries that bicyclists sustain are head injuries.
  • Helmet use is estimated to reduce the chance of sustaining a head injury—including a closed head injury or an open head injury —by 50 percent.
  • Helmet use is estimated to reduce the chance of sustaining a head, face, or neck injury by 33 percent.
  • Where helmet laws are enacted, helmet use is four times greater.
  • During the last several years, only about 17 percent of bicycle fatalities involved cyclists wearing helmets.

Furthermore, the institute shared that helmets aren’t just for young riders (a common misperception). In fact, 88 percent of bike fatalities were riders who are at least 20 years old.

Bike Accidents and Head Injuries

The American College of Surgeons shares that helmeted bicyclists have 58 percent better odds of not suffering a severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) than their non-helmeted peers. Traumatic brain injuries—which can include closed head injuries and open head injuries—are usually caused by a sudden jolt to the head, neck, or body that leads to brain malfunctioning, and they are a contributive factor in many injury-related deaths.

While every TBI is unique and can range from mild to severe, several symptoms typically indicate a traumatic brain Injury:

  • Sudden confusion
  • Dizziness or balance difficulty (seeming lack of coordination)
  • Unconsciousness
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Persistent headaches
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Problems sleeping
  • Problems speaking normally
  • Numbness and weakness
  • Mood swings or mood changes
  • Unusual behavior in general

The best path to recovery from a TBI is early medical attention. TBIs are sometimes called silent injuries because they often go undetected until major physical symptoms appear. Make your bike helmet an every time habit, and if you suffer a blow while out for a spin, seek immediate medical attention.

Injured in an Indianapolis Bike Accident? Contact the Fountain Law Firm Today

At the Fountain Law Firm, P.C., we have successfully helped many bicycle accident victims obtain the compensation they deserve for their injuries and related losses. To make sure that you receive all the compensation to which you are entitled, it is important to have an experienced bicycle accident attorney handling your case. Attorney Merry Fountain can help you today by meeting in her office or by meeting in your home. Call Merry Fountain anytime at 1-888-242-HURT (4878) for a free consultation.