Only about one in five adults in the United States and one in 10 children and teens who suffered head and neck injuries in bicycle accidents said they wore a helmet. This is according to a new study conducted by researchers at the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science in Los Angeles and the University of California, Los Angeles. The study, which was published Sept. 13 in the journal Brain Injury, looked at data from more than 76,000 bicyclists all over the country who suffered head injuries between 2002 and 2012.
What the Study Found
Researchers found that only 21 percent of men, 28 percent of women and 12 percent of younger riders were wearing a helmet. The study also showed that helmet use was more prevalent among white people (27.3 percent) and Asian/Pacific Islanders (26.6 percent) than among Hispanics (7.6 percent) and African Americans (6 percent). The researchers also found that black cyclists were 19 percent and Hispanic cyclists were 17 percent more likely to die from head and neck injuries compared to white people.
Cyclists of color were also hospitalized longer and spent more time in intensive care compared to their white counterparts, the study showed. Overall, injury severity, length of hospital stay and time spent in intensive care were all greater for men than women. Also, injured men were 36 percent more likely to die from their head injuries compared to women. Researchers said these findings add to the large body of evidence that helmets protect cyclists, particularly from catastrophic or fatal head injuries. They also said mandatory helmet laws can improve head injury outcomes and survival rates in bicycle accidents.
Injuries and Compensation
This study highlights the importance of wearing a well-fitting helmet while riding a bicycle. Regardless of race, gender or age, wearing a helmet is critical for bicyclists. A helmet, when properly worn, can prevent the most devastating head injuries. However, there are circumstances, especially in high speed, violent crashes, where even a helmet cannot protect a bicyclist. This fact should, however, never discourage anyone from wearing a helmet. There is no question that helmets save lives and prevent disabling injuries.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident, you may be able to seek compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost income, hospitalization, cost of rehabilitation, permanent injuries, disabilities, pain and suffering and emotional distress. Contact an experienced California bicycle accident lawyer who will remain on your side, fight for your rights and help ensure that your legal rights and best interests are protected at all times.