Preventing Bike Injuries
Bike riding provides endless hours of enjoyment and great exercise for children, but many may not understand the potential dangers that bicycles pose. Without proper instruction and safety precautions, bike riders may be involved in serious cycling accidents.
In the event of an accident, wearing a bike helmet reduces the risk of serious head injuries by 85 percent and severe brain injury by 88 percent; unfortunately, national estimates on helmet usage suggest only 15-25 percent of bicyclists wear a helmet when riding. Here are some startling statistics:
- Universal bike helmet use among children ages 14 and under would prevent an estimated 212 to 294 deaths and 382,000 to 529,000 injuries each year.
- Universal use of bicycle helmets by children ages 4 to 15 could prevent between 135 and 155 deaths, between 39,000 and 45,000 head injuries, and 18,000 to 55,000 scalp and face injuries each year.
- A recent analysis of several helmet studies found that helmets reduce the risk of head injury by at least 45 percent, brain injury by 33 percent, facial injury by 27 percent and fatal injury by 29 percent.
"The most common serious injury we see from bicycle accidents is head injury," said Dr. Lise Christensen, Pediatric Emergency Medical Physician at East Tennessee Children's Hospital. "Helmet use can prevent almost all of this from happening. But parents need to set the example. No matter where children are riding – whether in the yard or on the street—they need to wear a helmet."
For more information on bicycle safety, call the Safe Kids office at (865) 541-8622.