While helmet laws vary from state to state, the numbers remain consistent. Those who wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle, bicycle, scooter or skiing are much less likely to suffer a serious head injury in a crash. You have probably heard the reason that people don’t wear helmets is because they mess up their hair, they are uncomfortable, they are too hot, or they really don’t help prevent injuries or save lives. Or maybe you have heard that a helmet may save your life but leave you in a vegetative state.
The numbers don’t lie. Statistics show that helmets do save lives and reduce the risks of head trauma. Odds are that you are more likely to be left in a vegetative state if you get in a crash and you aren’t wearing a helmet. People not wearing helmets can cause a major economic impact and societal harm because of the medical treatment required and other resources needed because of a serious crash.
Why is Wearing a Helmet Important?
Wearing a helmet is important because it keeps you safe. The majority of fatalities in accidents related to bicycle and motorcycles are because of injuries to the head. By wearing a helmet, if you were ever to be involved in a motorcycle or bicycle accident, it can reduce the severity of the head injury because of the accident.
While wearing a helmet does not completely prevent a head injury, if you have a helmet on, it will provide a cushion for the blow. Wearing a helmet on your motorcycle or bicycle can also help your vision as well by providing protection from the sun's rays or the rain or snow.
Motorcycle Helmet Statistics
It is time to disregard the urban legends and myths and look at the facts. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report in 2012 that showed states that did not have an all-rider helmet law saw 59% of the motorcyclists killed not wearing helmets while only 8% of motorcycle fatalities in states with all-rider helmets.
Motorcycle helmets reduce the risk of death by 42% and the chance of head injury by 69%. Recent statistics show that 80% of Americans favor state legislation that requires motorcyclists to wear helmets. Considered the most hazardous kind of motor vehicle transportation, 4,668 motorcyclists were killed in 2013 and another 88,000 injured that same year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates 1,630 motorcyclist lives were saved by helmets that year and another 715 lives could have been saved across all states if helmets had been worn.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2012 estimated that 1,630 motorcyclists were saved by their use of helmets throughout the country and 715 more could have been added to this figure had the riders been wearing helmets too. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has indicated that around 2% of people who have lost their lives in accidents involving other vehicles are bicyclists. Many of the fatalities are due to head injuries which according to research could be reduced by up to 85% if helmets are worn.
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Bicycle Helmet Numbers
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, about 2% of those killed in motor vehicle crashes are bicyclists. The majority of bicyclist deaths involve serious head injuries, which emphasizes the need of wearing a bicycle helmet. Research shows that helmet use can reduce the risks of a head injury during a bicycle crash by as much as 85%.
The District of Columbia and 21 states have helmet use laws for young bicyclists with no laws applying to all riders. A few states require bicyclists of all ages to wear helmets. When looking at bicycle deaths, 84% of those killed are 20 years of age or older and no more than 17% of those who were fatally injured were wearing helmets at the time of the crash.
Scooter and Skateboarding Safety
Children, teens, and adults enjoy bicycling, in-line skating, skateboarding, and riding scooters. Unfortunately, one of the most common and most serious injuries received when riding a bike, scooter, or skateboard is a head injury. The leading cause of death and disability from these kinds of crashes, head injuries can be prevented by wearing a helmet.
Helmets can reduce the risk of head injury by as much as 85%. Since 1999, the number of bike related deaths has decreased by 54% with much of that being credited to helmet use. While many states have laws that require children to wear helmets when bicycling or skateboarding, only 55% of children reportedly wear helmets at all the times they should. Adults partaking of such activities should also wear helmets to make sure they are properly protected in the event of a crash.
A ski helmet is a helmet that protects a skier’s head from injury in the same way that a helmet helps a cyclist and motorcyclist from preventable head injuries. Because wearing a ski helmet is not always encouraged skiers often overlook the importance of wearing one as after all the snow often cushions a landing if a skier falls of his/her skis uncontrollably.
As it stands there are obstacles on ski slopes too like trees and hard packed snow that could cause a serious head injury if a skier comes into contact with these hazards. One of the worst injuries is a traumatic brain injury which needs a long recovery time and the victim may never fully recover if the injury is serious. Wearing a ski helmet gives the skier peace of mind that if he or she falls off the skis at least the head has some protection if it comes into contact with a hard object.
Statistics, according to the New York Times, have indicated that when skiers wear helmets it reduces head injuries like fractured skulls, head and facial lacerations by at least 50% or more. When a ski helmet is worn and the skier strikes his/her head on a hard object the helmet tends to absorb and spread out the shock experienced on impact. The head might still be affected by an injury but it won’t be so serious when the skier wears a helmet.
Other Reasons to Wear a Ski Helmet
These days with ski slopes being more popular than ever, avoidance of other skiers may be necessary to prevent a potential accident from taking place. Wearing a brightly colored ski helmet might be just the right thing to do.
If all skiers wore this protective head gear accidents may not happen especially those with other skiers. This of course is the case with cycle and motorcycle helmets as the more brightly colored they are they easier they can be seen by others using the same ski slope or road.
- a ski helmet with a brim can block rain;
- a well designed ski helmet that is solidly constructed and has a brim plays a dual role that of protecting the user’s face from rain as well as protecting it from serious injury if an accident was to take place;
- add lights or reflections to a ski helmet can help other skiers see you when they are skiing down the slopes as the reflective material can bounce of the whiteness of the snow;
- protects the face and eyes from the effects of direct sunlight and the ever present UV rays;
- helps to keep the face free from snow;
- keeps the head warm;
- helps to keep ski goggles in place.
Other Situations for Wearing a Helmet
Of course it is not just skiing where it is important to wear a helmet to protect the head when an accident happens but both cyclists and motorcyclists benefit from wearing helmets too. There are no hard and fast rules concerning the wearing of helmets by cyclists and motorcyclists throughout the states.
However, it is more or less indisputable that anyone who wears a helmet whether it is a cyclist, motorcyclist or scooter rider, is less likely to encounter a serious head injury in an accident on the road.
Despite the misconceptions about the benefits of wearing helmets, such as “motorcycle helmets may save lives, but they don’t stop someone from getting such a serious head injury that they are left in a vegetative state,” victims do tend to require less expensive medical treatment if they are injured while wearing a helmet.
Choosing the Right Helmet
You don’t just go pick up the first helmet you find. Instead, you should get the right helmet for your activity, make sure it fits properly and that it meets safety standards. Get a helmet that is approved by the correct agency for the activity, such as the Department of Transportation, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Snell Foundation, or the American Society for Testing and Materials.
When the helmet is placed on the head, it should fit comfortably as well as snugly but not too tight. It should sit level on the head and not rock from side to side. There should be a chin strap and buckle to hold the helmet in place and they should be used when the helmet is worn. There should be a hard outer shell on the helmet and an absorbent liner about one-half inch thick.
You can use a helmet to help make you more visible to other traffic as well, by choosing a bright color or adding reflectors. You can personalize your helmet as well by adding stickers, lettering, or things that interest you or represent you such as athletic team names or numbers. Sometimes decorating a helmet or adding some personality can make one feel more inclined to want to wear it.
Wearing a Helmet is the Right Thing to Do!
Even if the laws where you live do not require you to wear a helmet, you should practice safety by wearing the proper helmet and protective gear. Adults set examples for children, and wearing helmets are an important part of protecting oneself when enjoying bicycling, skateboarding, motorcycles, or riding scooters. You want to be able to enjoy this activity for years to come, and by wearing a helmet, you are working to keep yourself in tip-top shape and away from debilitating head trauma and brain injuries.
Helmets are available in different price ranges and in different styles, so there is definitely a helmet that works for you! There is no need to put off buying a helmet any longer. Wearing a helmet can prevent a lot of pain, suffering and expense for you and your loved ones in the event of a crash. Helmets are available at various sporting goods retailers, bicycle and skateboard shops, and motorcycling and off-road stores. You can even order an affordable helmet online, but you need to make sure you choose the right size for a perfect fit. Get your helmet today!