When you were a kid, your parents always told you to wear your bike helmet. Now that you’re an adult, you’ve noticed that many helmets seem like they just don’t do that much. Are they really safer? Do they really help if you get in an accident?

While the argument can be made that they should be safer and more protective than they are, the reality is that they do reduce the odds that you’ll suffer a severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). A study carried out in the United States says that the risk of such an injury drops by about half when wearing a helmet.

A decrease of 50 percent is certainly worthy of note. While the helmet may not prevent all head injuries, it could keep you from suffering the type of damage that lasts a lifetime. Brain injuries are infamous for not healing completely or leaving people with lasting disabilities.

The report, which came out in the American Journal of Surgery, also said that riders who had helmets on had less of a chance of breaking bones in their face or dying from their injuries. One expert compared it to using a seat belt in the car. It’s not perfect and it does not keep you in flawless health during a serious wreck, but it absolutely can keep you alive or leave you with minor injuries instead of severe injuries in many circumstances.

Of course, even slashing the risk of a serious injury by 50 percent means that there is still a risk. If you get involved in an accident and suffer a serious brain injury, make sure you know how to seek compensation.