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Helmet Safety and Traumatic Brain Injury

Let’s talk helmets. Any bicyclist or motorcyclist who does not wear a helmet is at an increased risk of head injury. Plenty of studies show that wearing helmets reduces the risk of traumatic brain injuries, facial injuries and fatal head injuries. So why do more than half of the millions of Americans who ride bicycles not wear helmets? A small sample size observation over the past few weeks of summer would suggest that number is about the same if not higher when it comes to those who ride skateboards and inline skates. For motorcycles, only 19 states and the District of Columbia require all motorcyclists to wear a helmet. 28 states currently have partial laws covering those ranging from 17-20 years old and younger. 3 states (New Hampshire, Illinois and Iowa) have no laws whatsoever regarding motorcycle helmet use. Why? What’s the stigma? It’s not cool. It’ll mess up my hair. The helmet is really hot. It’s uncomfortable. I like the wind in my hair. I feel constricted. I love how free I feel riding a motorcycle without a helmet. These are just a handful of excuses for those who choose not to wear a helmet on a motorcycle or other activity that might call for a helmet. For those who choose not to wear one, that’s their right in most states. However, helmets reduce the risk of head injuries for bicyclists between 60%-90%. Wearing a motorcycle helmet reduces the overall death rate of motorcycle crashes, and cuts down the likelihood of suffering a fatal head injury by 40%. When purchasing a helmet make sure it is meant for the specific intended activity. Some helmets are designed for multiple activities but you should make sure your activity is listed by the manufacturer. Maybe even as important as purchasing the right helmet is getting the proper fit. It should be comfortable, snug, and not move around. Ask a sales associate to help make sure you’ve got the perfect fit.
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