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Can Bike Helmets Really Prevent Brain Injuries in San Francisco?

Can Bike Helmets Really Prevent Brain Injuries in San Francisco

Every cyclist in San Francisco has heard it a million times: Bike helmets help prevent brain injuries. While this “fact” may be repeated time and time again, most people are not aware of the underlying supporting evidence and studies. Take a closer look at the relationship between helmet use and brain injuries, and the question becomes much more complex.

To be clear, bike helmets are obviously a smart choice for all cyclists, whether you are a competitive racer or you are simply heading down to the corner store to grab a carton of milk. The real issue is whether the potential protection offered by bike helmets is being overstated. If so, then cyclists must be aware of the limitations of this safety gear. If you believe that a bike helmet makes it impossible to suffer a brain injury, you may have unrealistic – and potentially dangerous – expectations.

If you have suffered an injury due to a bike accident in San Francisco, one of your first steps should be to get in touch with a personal injury attorney in San Francisco. After receiving medical attention for your brain injury, consulting a lawyer can help you assess your legal options and determine the best route forward. Choose Mary Alexander & Associates to approach this difficult situation with confidence.

The Confusing Statistics Surrounding Bike Helmets

One of the most frequently repeated statistics about bike helmets is their ability to reduce brain injuries by 85%. However, this statistic seems to change drastically depending on which study you consult. Some studies show that the real number is around 50%. Other studies show that bike helmets are most effective in preventing fatal brain injuries rather than stopping brain injuries from occurring altogether. The Bicycle Helmet Research Foundation argues that other than the study showing an 85% reduction, all other studies show little or no benefit for helmet use. In addition, government agencies such as the NHTSA and the CDC stopped citing this study back in 2013, suggesting that they believe the data to be unreliable.

Bike Helmet Laws Often Do Little to Prevent Hospitalization

It is also worth noting that bike helmet laws seem to be largely ineffective in reducing hospitalizations. In other words, forcing people to wear helmets does not really improve public safety, at least not according to the statistics. One 2013 study from Canada showed that after helmet legislation was put in place, there was no statistical difference in bike-related hospitalization rates.

There are a number of theories as to why this might be. Some believe that there is “safety in numbers” and that helmet laws discourage many from taking to the road on their bikes. This, in turn, leads to smaller crowds of bikes, which causes lower overall visibility for each cyclist and therefore leads to more collisions. Researchers often found that when drivers see cyclists wearing helmets, they tend to pass closer and give riders less space, which also increases the chances of a potential collision.

The Science Behind Helmet Use

It is easy to see why obtaining accurate statistics on bike helmets is difficult. First of all, there are many different types of bike helmets. Full-face helmets designed for mountain biking obviously provide much greater protection than a helmet that only covers the top of the head. A knock to the face or neck is just as capable of causing a brain injury compared to a strike to the top of the head. Helmets may be worn too loosely to provide much protection.

Finally, helmets can never prevent your brain from rocking around inside the skull. If cyclists are struck with enough force, the brain will hit the interior casing of the skull, causing brain damage and perhaps brain bleeds. While helmets can help cushion blows and reduce penetrating injuries, there are some accidents that will cause issues regardless of helmet use.

Bike Helmets are Constantly Being Recalled

It is also worth noting that bike helmets are constantly being recalled. Numerous brands were forced to recall bike helmets in 2023 alone. Cycle Force recalled its Ventura adult helmets because they failed to comply with the positional stability requirement set forth by the CPSC. The government agency concluded that the helmets can “fail to protect in the event of a crash.”

In June of 2023, Bell Sports recalled 16,000 Giro Merit helmets. Once again, these products failed to comply with federal safety standards and “posed a risk of head injury.” In March of 2023, Walmart was forced to halt sales of TureClos helmets due to failure to meet federal safety standards. Specifically, the helmets failed in regard to positional stability, retention systems, impact attenuation, and correct labeling.

It is worth noting that all of the aforementioned studies were conducted using helmets that actually met federal safety standards. Due to the prevalence of defective bike helmets on the market today, the real protective power of the average helmet in the United States is probably much lower than these studies suggest. When you factor in the chances of unwittingly purchasing a helmet that offers little to no protection, even the most optimistic statistics regarding helmets decline.

The good news is that if you were injured due to a defective bike helmet, you may have the ability to sue the manufacturer for damages. While this can never take away the long-term consequences of brain injury, it can provide compensation for your damages. You may also sue for brain injuries if your accident was caused by a negligent driver in San Francisco.

Where Can I Find an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney in San Francisco?

 If you have been searching for a personal injury attorney in San Francisco, look no further than Mary Alexander & Associates. We are well aware of the limitations of bike helmets as well as the potential brain injuries that can be caused by an average bike accident. Many injured victims may discover that their bike helmets did not offer them enough protection against the threat of brain injury. These victims may be suffering from a range of both physical and psychological issues as a result. Book your consultation today to pursue compensation for these damages and strive for justice.

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