Does Your Bicycle Helmet Protect You from Suffering a Concussion in an Accident?

The beautiful weather in California makes bicycle riding a popular mode of transportation and recreation. But biking can be dangerous, especially if you are not wearing a helmet. A report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that 677 cyclists were killed in traffic accidents in 2011, representing about two percent of all roadway fatalities. The NHTSA recommends that all bicycle riders wear a helmet to avoid sustaining a serious head injury in an accident.

Can bike helmets be redesigned to protect against concussions?

While bicycle helmets are designed to protect against serious head injuries such as skull fractures and traumatic brain injuries, medical researchers claim that they do little to protect against concussions. Current scientific thinking is that a concussion is not caused as much by the brute force of the impact but from the sudden rotational acceleration of the brain that results from the impact.

The number of concussions sustained in bicycle accidents is increasing, according to data obtained from emergency room admissions records. The increase may be in part attributable to  helmets preventing more serious head injuries. While there has been a greater understanding of the causes of concussions in the last 10 years, the mandatory safety standard for bicycle helmets set by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has not been updated since 1999.

New helmets that prevent concussions may be on the way

A few companies are designing helmets that they claim help prevent bicycle-crash-related concussions:

  • A Swedish company developed a bike helmet that allows the helmet to rotate and absorb some of the impact.
  • A company based in Oregon has a bicycle helmet that has an elastic liner that it claims can reduce the risk of a concussion by 27 percent.

It is important to properly wear a fitted bicycle helmet at all times, and to obey the rules of the road. New technology will hopefully make biking safer. If you are injured in an accident, a California bicycle accident attorney can help you get compensation for your injuries.

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