According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, US hospital emergency rooms treat more than 500,000 people a year for bicycle-related injuries. Unlike riding in an enclosed vehicle—a car, truck, or bus—a cyclist has no surrounding protection and so is completely vulnerable to potential injury. Bicycle accidents are especially dangerous when the head is exposed to traumatic brain injury (TBI).
What Are Some Elements of a Bradenton Bicycle Accident That Can Result in a Brain Injury?
Three-quarters of all fatalities in bicycle accidents are due to head injuries. Speed and size of motor vehicles are factors that increase the risk of death. An impact that forces the rider to the side or forward can result in the rider’s head hitting the ground with potentially lethal force. It’s been found that 85 percent of bicycle head injuries could be prevented if riders properly wore bicycle helmets. But they aren’t a 100 percent guarantee against getting hurt in a fall or a collision. Riders can still be at risk for TBI for at least three other reasons.
The first reason is that cyclists sometimes wear helmets that don’t fit properly. Crashes can create sudden acceleration and deceleration or turning of the head. So, stability is a primary concern if a rider is in an accident, receives a direct blow to the head, or is riding on rough terrain. Straps should be adjusted so that the “Y” fits snugly around the chin strap and ears, and the buckle must be fastened securely.
One size does not fit all when it comes to helmet safety. It’s good to make sure there’s no jiggle or bounce, and to test various styles to find one that’s just right.
The second reason TBI can occur while wearing a helmet is if the helmet has already been in a crash or has been damaged in some way. The foam inside is made to protect cyclists only once. If a crack or other damage occurs, it’s time to invest in a new helmet. Every five years or so, it’s good to replace a helmet or at least have it inspected by a local qualified bicycle technician. The cost of replacement is far cheaper (on many levels) than a visit to the emergency room.
The third reason TBI can happen while riding with a helmet is that many helmets are not designed and manufactured to prevent concussions. They are made to prevent skull fractures by cushioning a direct impact to the head but cannot stop other life-threatening TBIs.
Since 1999, according to the NHTSA, all bicycle helmets manufactured in or imported to the US must meet a uniform mandatory safety standard issued by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission. More recently, scientists and brain surgeons have created a Multi-Directional Impact Protection System (MIPS) helmet to prevent concussions. Also created is a Wavecell technology helmet that’s designed to mitigate concussion risks in a crash.
These are steps in the right direction, but there’s still no complete guarantee against TBI because helmets protect the brain from impact but not force. So if a cyclist hits his or her head, the helmet can reduce impact but strong/damaging shaking can still occur between the skull and the brain.
Have You Been Injured in a Bradenton Bicycle Accident?
If you have you suffered a concussion or other injuries due to a bicycle crash in Florida, you probably have many questions and wonder what rights you have for recovery. If so, please contact our office to speak with an experienced Florida bicycle injury lawyer in order to have your questions answered. Contact us online or call our office directly at 727.446.0840 to schedule your free, no obligation consultation.