Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Yes, Virginia, Bicycle Helmets Work!

One of the strangest arguments I hear regularly from cyclists is that bike helmets discourage bicycling and therefore should be abandoned.  They claim that helmets do not actually make riding on two wheels any safer, but discourage the fashion-conscious or the stubborn.  (Personally, I suspect if a little hat will scare you away from cycling, you never intended to ride anyway.)

But a new study from Australia - where bike helmets are mandatory - shows that bicycle helmets dramatically reduce head injuries in accidents and crashes.
The risks of severe head injury were more than five times higher in cyclists not wearing a helmet compared to helmeted ones, and more than three times higher in motorcyclists not wearing a helmet at the time of injury.
Severe head injuries were defined as any with significant brain haemorrhage, complex skull fracture or brain swelling.
Some 70% of such patients end up on a ventilator in intensive care units; many patients with severe head injuries are left with permanent brain damage.
 It's time to abandon the attitude of "If I don't like it, it must not be effective."  Helmets save lives.  If you'll be out and about on your bike, buy one and wear one.  Just keep a comb in your back pocket to deal with "helmet hair" when you get there.

Helmet hair