Warmer weather is starting to appear, and how many times have you jumped on a bicycle without a helmet, whether it was for a short ride in traffic across town or many miles down a bike path. There are various reasons why you would not wear one; from it just being something else to carry when you get to your destination, it messes up your hair, you look dorky with it on and the countless other reasons. Well 22 years ago tomorrow, I didn’t have a bicycle helmet on while riding home from soccer practice and it impacted my life. I won’t go into the specifics about what happened and the injuries suffered but needless to say it has changed the thought process of using bicycle helmets for many people I know when I tell the story.
Here are some facts from the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute regarding injuries for bicyclists:
- There are 85 million bicycle riders in the US.
- About 540,000 bicyclists visit emergency rooms with injuries every year. Of those, about 67,000 have head injuries, and 27,000 have injuries serious enough to be hospitalized.
- A very high percentage of cyclists’ brain injuries can be prevented by a helmet, estimated at anywhere from 45 to 88 per cent.
- 770 bicyclists died on US roads in 2006, down just 14 from the year before. Over 90 percent died in crashes with motor vehicles.
Now I don’t want to scare you with the statistics as a bicycle is a great way to get around but throwing a helmet on your head is another thing you should do when out riding. Helmets vary in price, but some can be purchased for around $20.
If you don’t have a helmet, I encourage you to check out the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute website to find out more information. At the website you will find information on how to buy a helmet, how to fit a helmet, the locations where the use of a helmet is mandatory and until what age (you may be surprised at some of the restrictions) and much more.
When you are riding a bicycle always make sure a helmet is on your head, as you never know what can happen.