Cohen Law Partners

Helmets: Helping keep your brain intact

There are people critical of bike helmets because they say that they aren't protective enough. The reality is that they do a lot to protect people's heads in crashes. They lower the risk of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) significantly.

Wearing a helmet reduces your risk of a severe head injury by around half, which should be a good enough reason to wear one, but there's more. Wearing a helmet also makes a person less likely to die of injuries and reduces the risk of bones breaking in the facial region.

A pediatric emergency physician compared it to wearing a seat belt; it doesn't mean you won't get into a crash, and it doesn't mean you won't get hurt. However, it lowers your risk of a serious injury tremendously.

There were approximately 900 deaths and another 494,000 emergency room visits linked to bike-related injuries in 2013. Approximately a quarter of 6,267 people whose records were analyzed showed that they had been wearing a helmet at the time of the crash. Of the people wearing helmets, they had around a 51-percent lower risk of a severe traumatic brain injury. They were also around 31 percent less likely to have fractures of the bones in the face. Helmets did well protecting the bones in the upper face but did less to protect protruding regions, like the jaw, chin and nose.

Wearing a helmet is a simple thing you can do to protect yourself when you ride a bike. You can't predict what other people will do on the roads, but you can work to protect yourself.

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