Bicycle Helmets –
Should I Wear Mine?
The experienced Indianapolis Bicycle Injury Lawyers at our law firm often get asked how important it is to wear a helmet while riding a bicycle. The answer most people give is that it is very important, but depending on why the person is asking this may not be true. Some people want to know if they are legally required to wear a helmet, some want to know if wearing a helmet will prevent head injuries, and recently people have started to ask whether helmets prevent concussions. The answer to these questions vary. This article will attempt to explain why.
The First question is fairly simple to answer. It is not legally required that you were a helmet while riding a bicycle in Indiana. While 22 other states and the District of Columbia have helmet laws, Indiana has chosen to stay silent on the issue.1 So, if you were only concerned that you may get a ticket for not wearing a helmet you are in the clear.
The Second question is also a fairly simple answer, but tends to be much more persuasive as to why you should wear a helmet. Helmets have always been considered the best way to prevent head injuries. In 2010 616 people died from bicycle accidents and 429 of them weren’t wearing helmets.2 This means nearly 75% of the people who died from bicycle accidents weren’t wearing helmets. It is also estimated that nearly 85% of head injuries could be prevented by wearing a helmet.3 So, if the question is really “Will wearing a helmet prevent head injuries,” then the answer is yes. For that reason alone, we recommend wearing helmet.
The answer to the last question is no, wearing a helmet will not prevent concussions. This is the problem with bike helmets. Due to recent studies on professional athletes concerning the long term effects of concussions people have become more concerned about whether they will be protected from concussions during physical activity. This concern is a valid one considering there are nearly 2 Million Traumatic Brain Injuries each year.
Because this is a relatively new concern bike helmets have not yet been constructed to prevent concussions. Concussions are caused by the brain hitting against the inner walls of the skull, which happens because the brain keeps moving when the head is suddenly stopped.4 That creates a problem because bike helmets have been built to stop the head as quickly as possible to prevent injury. Many scientific studies also show that concussions are often caused by a rotation of the brain, which is again a problem for the same reasons. While helmets will inevitably be produced that do prevent concussions, if your main concern is a concussion, then current helmets are of no help.
So do not fool yourself into thinking “I’m safe because I have a helmet on.” While helmets do protect you from certain types of injuries they do not protect you from all injuries, specifically brain injuries. Some studies suggest that wearing a helmet may give the rider a false sense of security, causing them to engage in riskier behavior. Helmets do not make you invincible, even when wearing one it is important to ride safely.
To sum everything up, there are no laws in Indiana that say you have to wear a helmet, so if that is your only worry, don’t sweat it. But, helmets prevent serious head injuries which are the cause of death in nearly 75% of bicycle accidents. While these helmets cannot prevent concussions which may lead to long-term problems, they may keep you alive at the time of impact. For these reasons we encourage you to wear a bike helmet anytime you are riding a bicycle.
If you or a loved one were injured in a bike accident contact an experienced attorney immediately. Bike accidents require quick and experienced legal and investigative response to preserve any evidence and help present your case in the best light possible. Our attorneys are experienced at helping injured people receive the financial compensation they need after their injuries. Contact the Car Accident Attorneys at the Indianapolis Law Office of William “Bill” Hurst or call us toll free at (800) 636-0808 for a free consultation. http://bhurstlaw.wpengine.com.¡Hablamos Español!