There are many perks associated with living in California, and one of them is the fact that you can ride your bicycle year-round. This also means California’s cyclists face year-round injury risks, however, and these risks become even more pronounced when cyclists fail to wear protective headgear.
Even the most experienced cyclists must consistently wear helmets if they wish to avoid the risk of suffering a serious head injury, as many bike accidents result not from the actions of the cyclists, themselves, but because of the negligent actions of others. Maybe other motorists use their phones instead of looking at the roadway, or maybe they are under the influence of drugs and alcohol, which affects their judgment or reaction time. Because you cannot trust that California drivers will be attentive and responsible enough to avoid you, it is critical that you wear your helmet while riding your bike, as failing to do so could leave you facing a serious head or brain injury as well as a lifetime of associated care costs.
By the numbers
Just how often are today’s bicyclists suffering injuries? According to Reuters, in 2013, about 900 Americans lost their lives in bicycle accidents, while another 494,000 cyclists suffered injuries that year that were severe enough to require emergency room treatment.
In 2012, meanwhile, researchers conducted a study with the hope of finding out more about bike accidents and brain injury, specifically. They examined the records of more than 6,000 cyclists who sought treatment for bleeding inside their skulls. While 3 percent of bikers who had bleeding in their skulls ultimately died, more than half of them suffered traumatic brain injuries in their bike crashes. Those who had helmets on, however, were 44 percent less likely to die and 52 percent less likely to suffer a severe traumatic brain injury.
In summary, wearing a helmet considerably reduces your risk of a serious injury or death in a bike crash, but there is only so much you can do when others behave negligently on California’s roadways.