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Bicycle accidents and brain injury: by the numbers

Riding a bicycle is an economical, sustainable and enjoyable way to cover some California miles, but it is also an inherently dangerous method of getting from one place to another. Even the strongest, most careful bicyclists cannot avoid all collisions, and this is particularly true when motorists drive distracted or otherwise fail to follow the rules of the road.

According to Reuters, bicycle riders made more than 494,000 emergency room visits and suffered more than 900 fatalities in 2013 alone. When cars and bikes collide, you, the cyclist, typically find yourself on the losing end, and if you suffer a head injury in such an accident, your injuries have the potential to affect you for the rest of your life.

A look at the link between bike accidents and head injury

Just how common are serious head injuries after a bike accident, and how much can wearing a helmet reduce your chance of a serious injury? According to one study involving more than 6,000 cyclists treated for bleeding in the skull in 2012, only about a quarter of riders wore protective head equipment.

Statistically, white females who have insurance are more likely to don helmets than other bike riders, with younger riders, including those between the ages of 10 and 20, proving least likely to wear proper protective gear. Failing to don a helmet while bicycling is a serious oversight, however, and here is why.

Bike riders who wear helmets are 52 percent less likely than those who do not to suffer a traumatic brain injury, which commonly results from a sudden or violent blow to the head. Helmet wearers are also 31 percent less likely to suffer facial fractures and 44 percent less likely to lose their lives than riders who do not wear helmets.

While you, personally, may understand the critical nature of wearing a helmet every time you ride, safety advocates believe the key to changing trends involves teaching children to wear helmets from day one. 

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