Cycling is a popular hobby beloved around the world because of how cheap, enjoyable, and environmentally-friendly it is. Many cyclists find that riding their bikes isn’t only enjoyable, but useful for getting to and from work. Similarly, many champion the health benefits of the constant exercise derived from regular cycling, arguing that it can be a godsend for your health and happiness.
There’s a link between cycling and brain injury that often goes under discussed, however, and knowing how to properly protect yourself when cycling is an essential skill that too many ignore. Here’s an exploration of the link between cycling and brain injury, and what you can do to protect yourself.
Cycling can be risky
It’s an unfortunate reality that cycling can be risky, even if you’re a seasoned veteran of the sport who’s roamed on innumerable roadways. This is because a cyclist’s life is often in the hands of those around them, particularly if you’re biking in an urban environment with plenty of motor vehicles in your immediate area. In Britain, where cycling remains a highly favored method of transit for getting to and from work, a fact sheet detailing the health consequences of cycling spells out how it can sometimes turn into a deadly practice.
In 2016, for instance, at least 18,477 cyclists were injured in reported road accidents across the nation, included nearly 3,500 who were killed or seriously injured. Collisions with vehicles can prove to be incredibly deadly, especially if the involved cyclist wasn’t wearing head protection. Unfortunately, poor driving skills and shoddy infrastructure alike can contribute to road conditions that make cycling dangerous.
There are proven methods of making cycling less dangerous for everyone involved, however, with concrete results demonstrating that something as simple as wearing a helmet can be the difference between life and death when a collision occurs. Some cyclists may diss the idea of wearing a helmet to keep themselves safe, arguing that it’s clunky, uncomfortable, or visually unappealing. The health and safety benefits of proper headwear can’t be diminished, however, as helmets indisputable save lives.
Bike helmet have proven to reduce the risk of severe traumatic brain injury, according to Reuters, with countless cyclists around the world ready to attest that their headwear is the only reason they’re alive and well today. A serious crash to your noggin can be fatal, but even if you survive you’re still at risk of various brain traumas that could include long-term consequences.
Helmets are the seatbelts of cycling
The best way to describe the role of helmets in cycling is to compare them to seatbelts when it comes to safely using automobiles. Despite our growing dependence on cars, automobile crashes have remained a leading cause of death and traumatic bran injury in society since the vehicles became a ubiquitous part of our everyday life. With the invention of the seatbelt, however, a simple, low-cost solution was discovered that saved countless human lives. So, too, does the championing of wearing a helmet prove to be a nearly-costless solution that can literally prevent brain injuries or even death.
There are plenty of reasons to believe that the existing link between cycling and brain injury is heavily dependent on the fact that many Americans reject wearing a helmet altogether. According to extensive information compiled by the CDC, for instance, millions of Americans ride bicycles yet less than half of them wear helmets like they should. Only about 48 percent of children who were surveyed reported wearing a helmet when they rode their bike, for instance, which demonstrates that even our youngest kids are vulnerable to brain injuries thanks to improper cycling.
Hundreds of cyclists are killed in the U.S. each year, with many of those deaths doubtlessly being preventable with better motor laws, improved infrastructure investment, and an increased reliance on helmet and other cyclist-protection initiatives. Teaching more cyclists how to properly use hand signals and understand the way of the road will also prove to be an imperative part of cutting down on annual collisions with motor vehicles. Nevertheless, many assert that they have difficulties finding the right helmet for the job because they don’t know where to shop or what to look for
Getting a good bike helmet
Those who are interested in diminishing the link between cycling and brain injury should invest in a good helmet and help as many other people as possible acquire one, too. Knowing how to choose the right bike helmet for the job begins with recognizing the conditions of your local roads and going from there. Don’t think you have to break the bank, either, but consider the consequences of getting into a crash and realize that a small investment now could prove to be a literal life-saver later.
Don’t stop with one, either – plenty of people in the world of cycling don’t rely on a helmet. Be sure to remind people of the health imperative of picking up a helmet, and consider purchasing one for those in need if you’re serious about lowering the link between cycling and brain injury.