Football gets a lot of attention as the cause of head injuries among children and teens. However, it turns out that bicycle accidents are far more likely to result in head injuries. Moreover, data suggests that people riding without helmets are particularly vulnerable to head injuries if they are involved in a bicycle accident.
New York City now has a bike share program, and like many other places trying to encourage bicycle riding, helmet use is optional.
The American Association of Neurological Surgeons said that cycling played a role in 86,000 sports-related head injuries in 2009. In contrast, football only accounted for 47,000 of injuries in that year.
In children under 14, bicycle accidents were the primary cause of sports-related head injuries, causing roughly double the number related to football.
Why? Many bicyclists don’t take the risk seriously and do not wear helmets. One chilling statistic should convince them otherwise: Around 90 percent of bicyclists killed in 2009 in the U.S. were not wearing helmets.
In New York, 75 percent of all bike fatalities involve head injuries. Another statistic: Riders who stick to bike lanes are less likely to be injured. The bottom line: Wearing a helmet and riding in the bike lane are the best ways to stay safe while riding on the streets of New York City, whether you have your own bike or rent one from Citi Bike.
Source: New York Times, “Really? Cycling Is the Top Sport for Head Injuries,” Jun. 3, 2013.