It is not required in the state of Utah to wear a helmet. The case for no universal helmet law is personal responsibility. However, statistics prove that bicycle riders are less likely to suffer traumatic head injuries or death if they are wearing a helmet.
Your safety is a top concern. If you could in any way decrease the chances of injury while bicycle riding, why wouldn’t you?
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety:
- In 2010, there were a total of 429 cyclists who did not wear helmets. Out of the 429, 70% died.
- In 2010, there were a total of 94 cyclists who wore helmets. Out of the 94, 15% died.
- 91% of bicyclists killed in 2009 were not wearing helmets.
- 89% of bicycle deaths are persons 16 and older
According to the US Department of Transportation: Traffic Safety Facts-2011 Data:
- 726 bicyclists died on US roads in 2011.
- 48,000 bicyclists were injured in traffic in 2011 (52,000 in 2010).
In a study geared at the effectives of helmets in bicycle collisions with vehicles, it was discovered that there was a reduced head injury risk by 74% for bicyclists that chose to wear a helmet. Helmets particularly protected against skull fractures, intracranial injury and open head wounds.
The more serious the injury was, the more likely that helmets were able to lessen the severity.
The study focused on 6745 cyclists in where helmet use was known. About half of the cyclists were under the age of 19. Younger riders tend to feel more invincible. The same is true for young drivers. This feeling of invincibility is dangerous. Cyclists that were not wearing helmets were more likely to participate in risky behavior.
If you are parent, the best way to teach your child to wear a helmet is by wearing one yourself. Children look up to their parents and will learn from example. Helmets have come a long way since they were first created. There is a much more sleek look. There are also helmets with beloved children characters. There is a helmet for everyone.
In Utah, only 19% of bicyclists wear their helmet. Utah has the 10th highest rate of bicycle fatalities. Let’s work to lower the number.
More than a Helmet
As shown above, wearing a helmet will greatly reduce the risk of injury while bicycling. However, wearing a helmet is not enough. It is equally important to know the rules of the road:
- Bicycles, under Utah law, are considered moving vehicles. Bicyclists are required to obey all traffic laws.
- Ride with traffic on the right hand side of the road. If there is a bike lane, use it.
- If you are riding at night, make sure that you stand out in the darkness. Get reflectors for the back of your bike and a headlight for the front. Also, if possible, wear bright colors.
- Make sure you know your hand signals.
- Headphones are not recommended while riding. They impair your hearing and you never know when a noise will alert you to move.
Bambach, M. R., Mitchell, R. J., Grzebieta, R. H., & Olivier, J. J. (2013). The effectiveness of helmets in bicycle collisions with motor vehicles: A case–control study. Accident Analysis & Prevention, 5378-88. doi:10.1016/j.aap.2013.01.005