Bicycling responsible for more head injuries than any other sport, study finds
When people think about the most dangerous sports, they tend to focus on those that involve the most contact, such as football or hockey. According to a new study, however, bicycling is actually responsible for the greatest number of head injuries of any sport.
The study was conducted by the American Association of Neurological Surgeons. The researchers examined the 447,000 head injuries sustained while individuals were participating in sports that required emergency medical treatment during 2009. Of those injuries, approximately 86,000 head injuries were sustained by bicyclists. In comparison, head injuries sustained while playing football only accounted for 47,000 of the total in 2009.
One of the reasons identified as contributing to the risk of head injuries among bicyclists is the frequency of accidents between bicyclists and motor vehicles. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 677 bicyclists died in collisions with motor vehicles in 2011. In addition, approximately 48,000 bicyclists sustained personal injuries after being involved in such accidents that year.
California bicyclists: Protect yourselves from head injuries while bicycling
Of course, the severity of the accident depends, in part, on whether the bicyclist is wearing protective gear while on the road. Under California law, only bicyclists who are under 18 years of age are required to wear helmets while riding a bike.
Although adults are not required by law to wear a helmet, studies have shown that wearing protecting headgear can reduce the risk of injury or death. In 2009, for instance, approximately 90 percent of all fatal bicycle accidents involved a bicyclist who was not wearing a helmet at the time of the collision.
Researchers have also revealed that motorists in California are interested in increasing the number of dedicated bicycle lanes in large cities. The study was conducted by a researcher at the University of California-Berkley. She interviewed motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians in both Los Angeles and San Francisco to determine what potential safety solution they found most viable for bicyclists and pedestrians.
In Los Angeles, the second most frequently identified solution was the addition of more bicycle lanes. The study revealed that both motorists and bicyclists prefer having more separation between the two modes of transportation.
When an individual is injured in an accident involving a bicycle and a motor vehicle, he or she may be entitled to compensation to cover the damage caused in the collision. In such cases, the injured party should seek the advice of a skilled personal injury attorney to ensure his or her rights are protected.