Stricter rules for wearing helmets by cyclists can save many lives. Researchers have found that the people wearing helmets have a 58% reduced odds of severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) after an accident, compared to their non-helmeted counterparts. They also found that wearing helmet reduces an accident victim's risk of death by 59%.
Lead study author Bellal Joseph University of Arizona, Tucson, US, said, "If you are severely injured and you were wearing a helmet, you are going to fare better than if you were not."
The research team analyzed records of 6,267 patients who had a TBI after a bicycle related accident in the US. Among the group of patients, just over 25% were wearing helmets.
Joseph said, "When you hone in on that severe group of people who actually developed a brain injury, and then look at how they did, the helmet really made a difference."
The team also found that in the patients they studied, the likelihood of facial fractures was higher for those who were not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident. Study co-author Ansab Haider from University of Arizona, said, "Helmet use helped prevent fractures to the upper part of the face, including the area around the eyes, the orbital lobe. However, helmet use was not as effective at preventing fractures to the lower part of the face, such as mandibular jaw or nasal fractures."
The study findings suggest the creation of injury prevention programs to increase helmet use among bicyclists, to manufacture better helmets, and to develop and enforce stricter laws for helmet use.
These findings were presented at the 2015 Clinical Congress of the American College of Surgeons in Chicago.