Riding a bike isn’t something that’s just for kids anymore. Whether its riding down to the local farmer’s market, going on a challenging trail ride or taking the whole family out for an afternoon of exploring, bicycling is back. And for good reason, it’s a fun, healthy and efficient way to get around.
Heck, even if you haven’t been in a while, you can still head out for a ride. After all, you don’t just forget how to ride a bike. And now that you’re an adult, you can skip the dorky training wheels and helmet, right?
Not so fast. Recent statistics continue to show that the number of accidents involving cyclists continues to rise, as does the average age of people involved in these accidents (with 45 being the average age). But between other cyclists, pedestrians and cars, there are several potential dangers you may encounter while out and about.
So, what can you do to stay safe? Well, it’s as simple as strapping on a helmet before you head out. This is important for cyclists of all ages as it reduces the risk of traumatic brain injury by nearly 90%. Now you may be wondering, are traumatic brain injuries really that common? Yes they are. Along with football and baseball, bicycling is one of the top causes of sports-related head injuries.
While traumatic brain injuries can include everything from a minor concussion to severe brain damage, all of which are good reasons to wear a helmet—don’t be one of those people that risks a life-changing injury just to avoid helmet hair, looking uncool, or not being able to feel the wind in your hair.
It isn’t just preventing a traumatic brain injury that makes helmets so important, though, here are four reasons you should always wear one:
1. Set an example
Research indicates that nearly half of children between the ages of 5 – 14 do not wear helmets when riding a bicycle. Sometimes, adults can show the kiddos that wearing one is cool. After all, they often look to you for guidance.
A majority of bicycle accidents involving motor vehicles are the result of drivers unable to see cyclists on the road. Ensure your helmet has reflective strips on it to improve your visibility to motorists, particularly in the early-morning or evening hours. Opt for a brightly colored helmet for added visibility.
3. Weather Protection
Weather conditions can be unpredictable and you never know when added protection from the elements can be beneficial. Helmets with visors are best – they can keep rain, snow and even sun off your face, improving your ability to navigate potentially hazardous conditions.
4. Social Responsibility
By wearing a helmet, you’re not only creating awareness for bicycle safety, but you’re also helping to minimize any social stigma that’s out there. Unfortunately, for a majority of young people, wearing helmets just isn’t the cool thing to do.
Wearing a helmet is one small, simple thing you can do that makes a big difference. Unfortunately, though, you can’t always prevent every bicycle-related injury and that’s when you can turn to Gwinnett Medical Center. With a specially-trained trauma team, the latest equipment and technology and wide-ranging resources, GMC’s level II trauma center is always ready to effectively care for critically injured patients 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.