Bike Helmets - Save lives and Reduce Risk of TBI

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Bike Helmets Save Lives. It's as simple as that.

Yet another study from the US shows that riders who wear bike helmets cut their risk of severe TBI (traumatic brain injury) by half when cyclists crash and suffer a head injury. They are also significantly less likely to die, or break their facial bones as a result of falling.

Millions of Americans regularly ride their bikes but fewer than half wear helmets. In the US there were over 900 bike deaths in 2013 and 494,000 emergency room visits according to the CDC. Helmets are akin to seatbelts in their ability to protect the rider from more severe injuries than would otherwise happen.

Researchers at the University of Arizona in Tucson analyzed the American College of Surgeons' National Trauma Data Bank records of 6,267 people treated in 2012 for bleeding inside the skull after a bicycle accident.  What they found was very interesting:

  • ONLY 25% of the patients treated wore a helmet
  • >50% had severe TBI
  • 3% died
  • People wearing helmets had a 52% lower risk of TBI and 44% lower risk of death
  • Riders wearing a helmet had 31% less chance of having facial fractures because helmets protect the upper face, particularly around the eyes. Nose an jaw fracture were stilllikely though

This is a significant study as it shows definitively that wearing a bike helmet protects riders from more serious injury.

As a note helmeted riders were:

  • Most likely to be white, insured, women
  • Youth aged 10 – 20 were least likely to have worn a helmet
  • Teens are least likely to wear helmets since they aren’t considered ‘cool’
  • Helmet use, like seatbelt use, is a habit.

It’s important to note that the data is from the US but the numbers will not vary significantly for Canada.

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