Did you know that 74% of cyclist fatalities are the result of head injuries? That’s a shocking statistic and one we should not take lightly.
Of course, we hope we never have a accident or a fall, but if we did and we were wearing a properly adjusted helmet, it could significantly reduce the chance of a serious head injury.
That makes makes sense to me.
What about you?
New York City Stats Speak for Themselves
New York City released these chilling facts as a result of their extensive bicycle safety study:
o Almost three-quarters of fatal crashes (74%) involved a head injury.
o Nearly all bicyclists who died (97%) were not wearing a helmet.
o Helmet use among those bicyclists with serious injuries was low (13%),
but it was even lower among bicyclists killed (3%).
o Only one fatal crash with a motor vehicle occurred when
a bicyclist was in a marked bike lane.
The not-so-surprising conclusion:
Bicycle lanes and helmets may reduce the risk of death!
In addition, an earlier study reported in the New England Journal of Medicine, May, 1989
revealed that bicycle riders with helmets had:
• an 85 percent reduction in their risk of head injury
• an 88 percent reduction in their risk of brain injury
Numbers Nationwide Are Alarming
The Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute has compiled eight sobering statistics on bicycle crashes nationwide.
1. About 800 Americans die each year in bicycle crashes.
2. Using a helmet could save about 680 of them.
3. About 500 are younger than 18.
4. Over 500,000 visit a doctor after a bike crash.
5. Only about 5% of all serious bicycling injuries involve cars.
6. 40,000 injury-producing bike-car collisions are reported.
7. About 40,000 more go unreported.
8. Most car-bike crashes happen on quiet neighborhood streets.
These shocking numbers lead us to one conclusion: riders need to wear helmets now!
Because of this critical reality, the bike advocacy organization, Bike New York requires that all participants wear helmets.
Bike New York’s vision is to encourage cycling as a safe and sustainable means of transit and recreation.
“Ultimately Bike New York aims to elevate cycling as a
green, healthy compliment to New Yorkers’ daily lives
by providing access to safe cycling practices and engaging events.”
Working with the New York City DOT and other City agencies, the organization provides access to cycling for New Yorkers by providing free bicycle education classes in all five boroughs.
Top Helmet Mistakes to Avoid
Bike Smart, NYC DOT’s FREE bike safety guide provides a list of top helmet mistakes to avoid as well as their recommendations for choosing and adjusting a helmet for maximum comfort and protection.
Guidelines for Correct Helmet Usage
According to the NYC DOT and Bike New York, your helmet should be level, adjusted correctly, and fastened snugly under your chin.
A Note About Straps from Bike New York
Adjust the straps so that your helmet is level from front to back, just above the top of your eyebrows, with little room for movement.
*The straps should meet just under each ear, at your jaw.
*Buckle the strap. Then open your mouth wide.
*The chin strap should feel fairly tight.
It may take a few minutes to get the adjustment right the first time, but after that it should be easier.
Important Precaution: Readjust As Needed
Your helmet may need to be readjusted every once in a while–the straps may loosen with use, for instance. Be sure to check it regularly.
Learn More About Choosing and Adjusting a Helmet
Detailed information regarding choosing and adjusting a helmet is available from:
Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
National Bike Helmet Use Survey
League of American Bicyclists
Do you wear a helmet when you ride a bicycle? Do you know how to wear your helmet properly? Share your thoughts, comments and experiences with us.