Why You Should Always Wear a Helmet While Riding a Bike
Riding a bike is an excellent way for people of all ages to get some exercise and get around in an environmentally friendly way. However, when not done safely, bike riding can potentially be very dangerous. The simple fact of the matter is that even the most experienced, most cautious bicyclists can still get into accidents and get hurt. It’s estimated that the average cautious rider will still crash at least once every 4,500 miles they ride. Injuries caused by bicycle accidents send more kids between the ages of 5 and 14 to the emergency room than injuries from any other sport. Whether you’re a new rider or have been an avid cyclist for decades, wearing a bike helmet is an extremely important way to stay safe. Here’s why.
How Bike Helmets Help Reduce Injuries
Wearing a bike helmet goes a long way in protecting cyclists from serious brain injuries, reducing the risk by up to 88%. There is no single, more effective way to reduce fatalities related to bicycle accidents. Head injuries are responsible for 75% of all deaths related to bicycle accidents, but only 21 states and Washington D.C. have laws regarding helmet use for bicyclists and most of those only cover helmet use for minors, not adults. Michigan is one of the states that does not have a statewide law mandating regarding bicycle helmet usage. Even if you aren’t legally required to wear a bicycle helmet, you always should wear one while riding, even if you aren’t planning on going far.
Helmets protect wearers by helping to absorb the energy from a sharp impact. To do this, bike helmets typically have a layer of expanded polystyrene (EPS) or expanded polypropylene (EPP) foam between the outer shell and the wearer’s head. EPS is the most widely used type of foam in helmets, which offers good protection, but once it is crushed in an accident, it can’t be uncrushed and the helmet is no longer able to offer the same level of protection it did before. This kind of damage might not be visible, but it is there. Because of this, it is important for helmets to be replaced after being in an accident that involves a bump to the head, even if it seems minor.
The Costs of Not Wearing a Bicycle Helmet
When bicyclists don’t wear helmets, the costs, the costs can be astronomical. It’s estimated that every dollar spent on helmets saves $30 in medical costs and other costs to society. If 85% of child riders wore helmets while riding for one year, it would save between $109 million and $142 million in lifetime medical costs.
Quality Bike Helmets Can Be Affordable
Safety isn’t something that should be too expensive to be attainable and the good news is you don’t need to spend a lot of money to get a bicycle helmet that offers good protection. In one study by The Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute, they sent six different types of bicycle helmets, three costing $20 or less and three costing $150 and over, to be tested so they could measure how well they were able to protect wearers from blows to the head. Their results found that the cheap helmets and the more expensive helmets offered virtually identical protection, with the main difference being that the more expensive helmets tended to have extra comfort features such as extra vents.
Get Help from a Bike Accident Lawyer
Unfortunately, even if you take all the right steps to stay safe while riding a bike, it’s still very easy to get seriously injured by negligent drivers. If you’ve been injured in a bike accident, it’s very important to get help from a bike injury lawyer. At Goodwin & Scieszka, our lawyers are experienced in handling a wide range of cases involving motor vehicle accidents. Contact us today to speak to a Michigan-based lawyer who can help with your case.