Compelling Evidence That Parents Should Insist Their Kids Wear Helmets When Cycling
While bicycles provide a healthy and environmentally friendly way to navigate the roadways of Atlanta and the surrounding areas of Georgia, cyclists are far more vulnerable to injury than vehicle occupants surrounded by thousands of pounds of metal. While bicycles lack the safety advantages of other vehicles, bicycle helmets can help prevent severe head injuries that may result in impaired cognitive function and other forms of permanent disability. Although children are the most ardent cyclists, their rate of helmet use is lower than adults. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that seventy percent of kids from age 8 to 14 ride bicycles, but national data on helmet usage by kids only ranges from 15 to 25 percent.
According to a study published in the Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics, bicycle helmets are so effective at reducing the number of serious head injuries that increased helmet use could significantly reduce the number of severe head injuries and fatalities in bicycle accidents. The researchers found that bicycle helmets can reduce the acceleration of the skull in a bicycle accident by as much as 87 percent. Bike helmets also can resist crush force up to 500 pounds according to the study.
The authors of the study analyzed the durability and effectiveness of bike helmets in terms of withstanding crush tests and the force of impact when used to shield the skulls of human cadavers. The skulls were modified so that they would approximate the weight of the skulls of actual bicyclists with a head weighing about four pounds. The devices used to conduct the tests provided results for both compression and impact injuries. The skulls were compared in tests involving free falls when suspended in the air and released for evaluation of resistance to impact. Based on the results of the study, the authors found that a bike helmet could reduce the force of impact suffered by the skull in an accident occurring with a vehicle traveling thirty miles per hour to the force of impact that would be experienced at seven miles per hour.
While compression injuries involving the skull are less common than impact injuries, they can have devastating consequences so the authors conducted a separate test of the effectiveness of helmets under these circumstances. The authors of the study used a pneumatic air cylinder and subjected the protected skulls to different amounts of pressure to determine how much compression the helmet could withstand. Although the helmets should some degree of fracturing at 200 pounds of force, the helmets could withstand up to 470 pounds of force without failing. By contrast, skulls that had no helmets suffered catastrophic injury when only minimum force was applied.
Kids have many excuses for not wanting to wear bicycle helmets that involve issues of comfort, style and inconvenience, but the results of this study reinforce the value of parents taking a tough stand and insisting their kids always wear a helmet when cycling. If your child or someone else close to you has been injured in a bicycle accident in Georgia, our experienced Atlanta bicycle accident attorneys at Montlick and Associates are available to provide effective legal representation to those throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state.
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