The results are in on a study authored by university researchers, and the material findings delivered recently before a national group of surgeons render it eminently clear where those researchers stand on the issue of bicycle helmets: They’re solidly in favor of compulsory-use laws and strict enforcement.
And it’s basically a no-brainer, they say.
In fact (and no pun intended, certainly), the research quite clearly points to fewer so-called “head bleeds” observed in post-accident bicyclists who wear helmets as opposed to those who do not.
That is just a given, notes one of the study authors. He says that the more important question centers on cases where helmet wearers also suffer internal brain bleeding. Are they still otherwise protected better than helmet-free riders when an accident occurs?
The research — which was based on analysis of many thousands of cases nationwide where bicycle accidents resulted in riders’ traumatic brain injuries — is unequivocal regarding that inquiry. Relevant evidence indicates, as noted in an article on the bike study, that even with symptoms of internal brain bleeding noted in a helmeted bicyclist, that rider is “far less likely to end up dead in an accident.”
More mature riders seem to know that, with statistical data clearly indicating that helmet use goes up commensurate with increased age. Quite simply, the nation’s youngest bicyclists are most often the riders who forgo helmets (obviously, in states without stringent helmet laws).
“[A]s we went up every 10 years [beyond the age of 20], the likelihood of helmet use went up,” says one researcher.
California safety advocates and legislators are likely paying some attention to the study, given that the state takes a somewhat middle-of-the-road stance with its helmet law.
Helmet use is not universally mandated in California presently. Rather, only persons under 18 are required to wear head protection while riding.