While many states still do not legally require cyclists or even motorcyclists to wear a helmet, riding without one is not something that should ever even be considered. If the NFL has anything to teach us, it is that brain injuries can go completely unnoticed for years, but still have devastating and traumatic consequences.
While not all cyclists may experience the same kind of chronic, ongoing head trauma that NFL players do, that doesn’t mean that there is simply no reason to wear a helmet. The truth is, brain injuries are still a relatively unknown field, but what we do know is that brain injuries occur far more easily than we might like to believe they do. Even a single fall from a stationary bike can have far more serious consequences than you might think. That’s not even taking into account what can happen when you have a fall at a high rate of speed. In addition to brain injuries, however, here are 3 reasons you don’t even want to consider not wearing your helmet when cycling or riding a motorcycle.
They Can Save Your Life
According to the US Department of Transportation, only 17% of fatally-injured bicyclists over the last few years were actually wearing helmets. In addition, a helmet can reduce the chance of head injury by 50% and even reduce the risk of head, face and neck injuries by 33%. Any chance to prevent serious injuries or death is worth whatever bike or motorcycle gear may cost.
They Don’t Just Protect Your Head
In truth, the additional safety provided by wearing a helmet when bicycling is actually something that is highly debated. What cannot be debated, however, is that wearing a helmet when riding a motorcycle is absolutely critical. A motorcycle helmet doesn’t just protect your head, it also protects your face, jaw, chin, teeth, nose, and ears. If you are thinking of purchasing a motorcycle, you should not think twice about purchasing a full-faced helmet to go along with it. With that in mind, you may think that riding a bicycle doesn’t merit wearing a helmet, but also consider that the reduced lethality of a bicycle crash does not mean your head and face could not be badly injured without a helmet.
They Can Help You Be More Visible
In addition to providing padding and additional head protection, many helmets also offer reflective strips or other materials that can help you be more visible in the dark. While bikes of all kinds may have lights or other visibility features, what many cyclists forget is that there are many occasions and circumstances in which they will need to be seen apart from any lights or visibility features of their bike. If it breaks down or they need to do repairs on the side of the road, a helmet can help keep them safe both on and off of their bikes.
Any accident can be deadly regardless of protective equipment, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore safety precautions that could save your life. Don’t think about it, just wear a helmet. It may not be fashionable, but it could keep you alive.