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Bike helmets prevent TBI, other injuries

Bicycling is seeing a resurgence in popularity. Biking is eco-friendly, a great form of exercise and a lot of fun. More and more of us are on bikes, either for commuting, for working out or for recreation. But biking presents its own inherent set of risks.

Bikers face a serious risk of injury when they get into collisions with automobiles or when they crash while riding. In fact, head injuries occurred in up to 47 percent of cyclist crashes, and they are responsible for over 60 percent of all bicycle-related deaths. Luckily, wearing a helmet can go a long way in preventing injuries.

Bike accidents and TBIs

Head injuries are the most common injuries among cyclists not wearing proper helmets, accounting for about 43 percent of injuries. Many of these accidents led to traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).

A TBI results from a “violent blow or jolt to the head or body,” according to the Mayo Clinic, and can range from mild to critical. Mild TBIs may cause a loss of consciousness, dizziness, persistent headaches, sleep disturbance and other mild cognitive issues. Severe TBIs can result in permanent cognitive disability, coma, slurred speech, seizure, brain death and can be fatal.

Benefits of helmets

Bicycle helmets receive criticism for not being effective enough, but studies show that they half the occurrence of TBI after a crash. Those wearing helmets are also more than three times less likely to die in a bicycle accident.

Moreover, helmeted riders had 31 percent lower odds of facial fractures, particularly around the eyes and forehead.

Louisiana helmet laws

Studies of bicycle-helmet laws show that they reduce the number of deaths and injuries in children and adults alike.

In Louisiana, the law mandates that any bike rider or bike passenger under 12 years of age must wear a helmet.

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