The bicycle has always been cool. The bicycle helmet, however, has not. Until fairly recently, cyclists did not wear a helmet when riding. And those that did were often branded as uncool by their more daring peers. Now, however, the tables have turned and wearing a bicycle helmet is VERY COOL. Just ask any 12-year-old. Bicycle helmets have seen unparalleled popularity, as kids are embracing the safety benefits as well as the cool designs. You can find helmets with camouflage patterns, Mohawks, and even Disney princess designs. Here’s how the bicycle helmet became cool:
A Brief History of the Bicycle & the Bicycle Helmet
The bicycle was first invented in 1863, when a two-wheeled pedal-powered “bone shaker” was introduced. In the 1870s, the large front wheel on the bicycle often caused riders to pitch forward, injuring their heads. As such, some riders would strap leather and wool to their heads as protection – and thus the first bicycle helmet was born.
In the 1970s, however, Bell and Mountain Safety Research began to mass produce helmets with crushable foam liners and hard shells for cyclists as a way to prevent brain injuries from bicycle accidents. As technology advanced, so did bicycle helmet design. Yet even though wearing a helmet prevented deadly accidents from occurring, many children and adults shunned them due to their “uncool” appearance. In the 70s, 80s, and even into the 90s, wearing a bicycle helmet was just not something the average bicyclist did – and the injury statistics show this.
In 1975, 1,003 bicyclists were killed in accidents according to the Department of Transportation’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System. In 2014, just 720 bicyclists were killed. Children’s deaths have declined 88% during that time, since the majority of bicycle helmet safety campaigns have been geared toward them. Bicycle helmets themselves have provided an 88% reduction in the risk of severe brain injuries for all age groups.
Bicycling & Head Injuries
According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, cycling is the number one cause of head injuries treated in emergency rooms across the United States. In 2009 alone, there were more than 85,000 cycling-related head injuries treated.
With all of the massive safety campaigns geared towards convincing children to wear helmets, the results have been extraordinarily positive. Children now wear helmets consistently more than any other age group. Getting them to embrace wearing helmets hasn’t been easy, but one that is now considered cool. Adults, however, are not so compliant. 86% of all bicycle deaths were adults over the age of 20 and not wearing a helmet was a big part of the problem.
In 2016, the American Journal of Surgery reported that helmeted riders were 44% less likely to die in an accident and 51% less likely to be significantly injured. However, with an increase in distracted drivers, the number of bicycle fatalities is on the rise. From 2005 to 2010, bicycling fatalities that were caused by distracted drivers rose 31%.
Choosing the Right Bicycle Helmet
Choosing the right bicycle helmet is crucial to preventing deadly brain injuries from occurring. The number one way to choose the right helmet is to choose one that fits properly. An ill-fitting helmet will not provide adequate protection in the case of a crash. The helmet should fit snuggly on your head and there should not be more than a finger’s worth of space between the chin and the strap. Try pushing the helmet back and forth when the helmet is secured. It should not move more than an inch in any direction. Also, be sure that the helmet meets the US Consumer Product Safety Commission Standard – you will find a CPSC sticker on the helmet if it does.
Contact Our Colorado Springs Bicycle Accident Attorneys
If you or someone you love has been injured in a bicycle accident that was caused by another person’s negligence, our attorneys can help. At the Rector Law Firm, our Colorado Springs bicycle accident attorneys have the experience and the resources to build a case that is designed to obtain maximum compensation for our clients. Call us today at 719-578-1106 for a free initial consultation and review of your case.