The answer is YES! A properly fitting helmet is the only way a cyclist can truly protect their head. It is also quite effective, reducing the risk of head injury by 50%, according to the GHSA. While they may not be able to prevent all injuries, even those to the brain, they can help protect the head and skull from impact, and at least reduce the risk of a concussion or TBI. Unfortunately, however, more than half of adults in the U.S. never wear a helmet.
Helmets are often associated with concussion safety, but there is much more at stake. According to the GHSA, more than half of cyclists killed in crashes in 2016 were not wearing a helmet. Given that 1/3 of non-fatal bike injuries are to the head and a majority of those are brain injuries, we can see that there are huge number of adults not wearing helmets and a huge number of adults getting TBI's or dying in crashes. Adults account for 88% of bicycle fatalities and with more than half of adults reporting not wearing a helmet, there must be a correlation.
There are many reasons adults would account for more roadway fatalities, including commuting further for work, more dangerous roads, etc. But one reason may be that their parents can't make them wear helmets anymore and they just don't want to. However, helmets are not the creation of overprotective parents, and are not just for show. They are created by engineers and product designers for almost every high impact sport, career, or hobby. A properly fitting helmet can save your life.
While it is obvious for most why a dirt biker, construction worker, or member of the military would wear a helmet, many people do not see the same risks in cycling, even when sharing the road with thousand-pound machines traveling at deadly speeds. It is clear however, that helmets are not a luxury, but a necessity, especially when driving on public roadways. Otherwise, injuries and death will tragically continue in large numbers.
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