Bicycle helmets save lives

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports that about 2 percent of deaths involving a motor vehicle are bicyclists. In the majority of these cases, the victim experienced an injury to the head, which emphasizes the importance of wearing a bike helmet anytime you are riding. The IIHS also cites a study showing that helmet use by bicyclists reduces the chance of head injury by as much as 50 percent. Many local laws now prescribe that minor children must wear a helmet while riding a bike, but as much as 84 percent of bicycle deaths are persons 20 years of age or older, and that the death rate among bicyclists younger than 20 years old have declined 86 percent since 1975, while deaths among bicyclists 20 years and older have increased 195 percent.

New York and bicycle safety

A bicycle safety study commissioned by the City of New York found that bicycle helmets and bicycle lanes may reduce the risk of death in an accident.

  • Almost three-quarters of fatal crashes (74%) involved a head injury.
  • Nearly all bicyclists who died (97%) were not wearing a helmet.
  • Helmet use among those bicyclists with serious injuries was low (13%), but it was even lower among bicyclists killed (3%).
  • Only one fatal crash with a motor vehicle occurred when a bicyclist was in a marked bike lane.

Nearly all bicyclist deaths (92%) occurred as a result of crashes with motor vehicles.

  • Large vehicles (trucks, buses) were involved in almost one-third (32%) of fatal crashes.
  • Most fatal crashes (89%) occurred at or near intersections.
  • Nearly all (94%) fatalities involved human error. All New Yorkers, whether pedestrians, bicyclists or motorists, can help prevent crashes by following traffic signs and signals and respecting other road users.

Men and some children face particular challenges.

  • Most bicyclists who died were males (91%), and men aged 45–54 had the highest death rate (8.1 per million) of any age group.
  • Among children aged 5-14, boys had a much higher death rate than girls; Queens had the highest child bicyclist death rate of the five boroughs.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises that “wearing a properly fitted helmet every time you and your children ride a bicycle is one important prevention method” for avoiding a traumatic brain injury. “If children don’t want to wear a helmet, find out why. Some children don’t like to wear helmets because they fear they will be teased by peers for being ‘geeky’ or because they think helmets are unattractive, uncomfortable, or hot. Talk about these concerns with children and choose a helmet they will want to wear.”

If you’ve experienced a traumatic brain injury in a fall or accident, consider talking to an experienced head injury lawyer like those at Goldblatt & Associates. Attorney Kenneth B. Goldblatt founded his firm, Goldblatt & Associates, P.C. with a commitment to assisting accident victims by guiding them through the legal process with honesty and open communication. The firm limits its practice to representing the legal interests of those individuals who have sustained traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord and other orthopedic injuries and wrongful death due to the negligence of others. You can trust Goldblatt & Associates to guide you.