When we think traumatic brain injury, we usually think football and combat. Wrong - in 2009, according to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons:
- Bicycle accidents played a role in 86,000 of the 447,000 sports-related head injuries treated in emergency rooms.
- Football injuries accounted for only 47,000.
- Baseball was even safer with only 38,394.
Cycling is the leading cause of sports-related head injuries in children under 14 years of age, roughly double the number related to football.
Although Indiana requires helmets on children 17 and younger while riding motorcycles and mopeds, there is no mandatory helmet law for bicycle riding.
Bicycle injuries are numerous because so many young people ride bikes. Where bicyclists ride is also a factor. In Indiana, one may ride a bike safely on a sidewalk or pedestrian walkway. However, a bicycle is considered a vehicle when ridden in the street. That’s where most deadly accidents occur. Bicyclists do not fare well when colliding with motor vehicles, especially when they are not wearing a helmet. About 90 percent of the bike riders who died in the United States in 2009 were not wearing helmets. And surprisingly, the majority of fatalities were not children or young people, often more attuned to the rules of the road, but middle-aged men.
The bicycle is the world’s most popular form of transportation. In 2011, an estimated 133 million bikes were manufactured, more than double the number of cars sold. And bikes are becoming more popular as bike share programs and bike lanes come to American cities.
Safety should be an essential aspect of bicycle riding. However, if you or a loved one suffers from traumatic brain injury in a bicycle accident, immediately contact counsel experienced in traumatic brain injury to assess your options.