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Study Confirms Bike Helmets Help Prevent Traumatic Brain Injuries

Wearing a helmet could save your life in a serious San Diego bicycle crash. When bicyclists suffer a head injury, wearing a bike helmet reduces the risk of suffering a severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) by half, according to a new study.

Hospital admissions due to bicycle injuries more than doubled between 1998 and 2013. Fatal bike crashes are also climbing. Bicyclist fatalities increased by 16 percent between 2010 and 2012, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association. Bike safety is particularly important in California, which frequently leads the country in the number of bicycle crashes.

To test how well helmets prevented serious injuries, researchers analyzed the records of 6,267 patients treated for bleeding inside the skull following a bicycle crash. Of those, one quarter of patients were wearing a helmet at the time of their accident. Just over half of the bicyclists suffered TBI and three percent died.

The data revealed that cyclists who were wearing helmets had a 52 percent lower risk of severe TBI and a 44 percent lower risk of death. Riders with helmets were also less likely to suffer facial fractures, particularly around the eyes.

“It’s similar to wearing a seat belt,” Dr. Jerri Rose, a pediatric emergency physician at University Hospitals’ Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital, explained to Reuters. “Wearing one doesn’t ensure that you’re not going to get in a car accident, but it lowers the risk of injury and of dying in a car accident.”

Even when cyclists wear a helmet, the human body is not designed to withstand the impact of a motor vehicle accident. Serious injuries include concussions, back injuries, fractures, whiplash, internal organ damage and abrasions. In some cases, cyclists may suffer catastrophic injuries, such as serious traumatic brain injuries, disfigurement, paraplegia and quadriplegia, which can alter the victim’s life forever.

Bicyclists have the same right to use the roads as any motor vehicle. If another driver’s carelessness caused your injuries, you are entitled to collect for any damages you sustain, including property damage, medical expenses, loss of wages, and pain and suffering.

If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a California bicycle accident caused by someone else’s negligence, don’t hesitate to contact a personal injury attorney at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage for a free consultation. Relying on more than 30 years of legal experience, we are dedicated to protecting the rights of California injury victims.