John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
Perhaps the easiest step a rider can take to prevent bicycle-related injury and death is to wear a helmet. Unfortunately, many riders disregard this, placing themselves at great risk.
Mandatory helmet laws have been shown to increase helmet use, which reduces significantly the incidence and severity of head injuries.
Mandatory use of helmets has proven to reduce severe injuries by almost 85% in addition to cutting the number of bicycle-related fatalities.
Children wear a protective helmet almost twice as much as adults, probably due to parental insistence. Nevertheless, younger children have a higher proportion of head injuries than older children.
A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration poll reported that 50% of bicyclists wear a helmet for at least some trips, with 35% using them for all or most trips.
The majority of bicyclists (98%) report wearing a helmet for safety reasons
- 70% because of insistence of a parent or spouse and 44% because of laws, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Helmets must be used whenever riding a bicycle! Children should be monitored to be certain that they do not avoid helmet use because of peer pressure.
It is important that the helmet fits properly and is worn correctly. A proper fit helps a bicyclist realize the full benefit of helmet use. A poorly fitting helmet provides significantly less protection.
Currently, only 21 states and the District of Columbia states have laws requiring helmet use by young bicyclists.
Local communities have enacted ordinances mandating use of helmets while bicycling.
It is estimated that 18 million bicycles and 12-15 million helmets are sold annually in the U.S. There is added benefit for all helmet owners: helmets can be used during other activities with a potential for head injury, such as riding scooters and skateboards as well as participating in water sports.
Nevertheless, 95% of bicyclists killed in 2006 were reportedly not wearing a protective helmet.
It is estimated that 52% to 60% of bicycle-related head injury deaths could be prevented by the use of a protective helmet.