Bicycle helmets may give riders a false sense of security while they cruise down the road. Not all helmets provide a reliable degree of protection against falls or impact during a motor vehicle accident. In many cases, testing of helmets doesn’t reflect real-world conditions and the data gathered on effectiveness is skewed.
Moreover, the standards set by the US government were created in 1999 and are in serious need of an update. With more than one in eight Americans regularly utilizing a bicycle, there is a need to do more to protect riders from the very real risk of head trauma and traumatic brain injuries.
Protection Against Concussions
Anti-concussion technology is evolving and many newer helmets incorporate vents, hard shells, and other features that reduce the risk of injuries. These features are designed to absorb the impact and minimize the shock that can lead to a concussion. In particular, the Multiple Impact Protection System, otherwise referred to as MIPS is a developing technology that includes an interior layer that allows the head to move slightly within the helmet thus reducing the traumatic force exerted upon the cranium and neck.
Concussions are common and in 2015, more than 81,000 people were treated in hospital emergency rooms after they sustained bike-related injuries to the head. However, this is considered a low estimate as many individuals who were injured didn’t seek treatment or sought treatment from a private physician.
“The High Cost of Safety”
Bicycle helmets range in price from $20 well into the hundreds of dollars. However, price point doesn’t necessarily indicate effectiveness. Indeed, many helmets that retail for less than their more expensive counterparts have earned the same safety ratings and perform equally as well during testing. Most helmets with 4 and 5 star safety ratings have a retail price of less than $100; a price that is a bargain when compared to the hundreds of thousands of dollars it can cost to treat a traumatic brain injury following a bicycle accident.
While wearing a helmet equipped with the latest anti-concussion technology is best, any protection is better than nothing. In recent years, more than half of cyclists who died were not wearing any form of head protection at the time they suffered their fatal injury.