Tags: bike | cyclist | helmet

4 in 5 Cyclists go Helmet-free

Wednesday, 02 May 2012 12:05 PM

Up to 80 percent of recreational bicyclists don’t wear helmets, significantly raising their risk of serious head injuries, a new survey has found.
The study, conducted by researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, suggests bike-sharing programs should do more to encourage helmet wearing as a condition for rental.
"Head injury accounts for about a third of all bicycle injuries and about three-quarters of bicycle related deaths, so these are some pretty shocking numbers," said Dr. Christopher Fischer, an emergency medicine physician who led the study, published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine.
Bike sharing programs that allow riders rent bicycles from kiosks are becoming increasingly popular, with some 15 in operation in the United States and 30 more planned.
For the study, researchers tracked cyclists who participated in the Capital Bike share program that began in Washington, D.C., in 2010 and Boston's Hubway bike share program launched in 2011 with 61 kiosk locations and 600 bikes.
Fischer and colleagues monitored adult helmet usage among more than 3,000 cyclists in Boston and Washington over a 50-hour period.
"We were surprised to find that of all bicyclists, more than half rode without helmets," said Fischer. "But it was even more concerning to learn that four out of five bike share riders were out there without helmets."
Studies show that "helmet use is associated with decreased rates of head injury and mortality in riders of all ages, with bicycle helmets decreasing the risk of head and brain injury by 65 to 88 percent," the researchers noted.
"Bike sharing programs have the potential to offer a lot of benefits to cyclists and cities, but it's important to encourage safe cycling," said Fischer. "We know that wearing a helmet reduces the risk of head injury dramatically and we believe that helmets should be more readily available at bike rental sites."

© HealthDay

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Up to 80 percent of recreational bicyclists don’t wear helmets, raising their risk of serious head injuries.
Wednesday, 02 May 2012 12:05 PM
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