Wearing a bicycle helmet may not seem like the cool thing to do, but if you want to protect yourself, wearing a bicycle helmet every time that you ride your bike is essential. Here are ten reasons to wear a bike helmet.
1. Protect Your Head and Brain
Injuries to the head are one of the main causes of death and traumatic brain injury for cyclists in traffic accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, bicycle helmets are 85 to 88 percent effective in mitigating head and brain injuries. This fact makes helmets the single most effective way to reduce your risk of a traumatic brain injury or death.
2. Improve Your Ability to See
When the weather is less than ideal, and precipitation is part of your bike ride, a helmet can improve your capacity to see other drivers on the road, as well as potential hazards, by keeping water or snow out of your eyes (when the helmet has a visor). On the same note, a helmet with a visor can also help to shade your face, improving your vision by mitigating the effects of sunlight in your eyes.
3. You’ll Be Following the Law
There is no over-arching state law in Washington that mandates cyclists to wear a helmet. However, there are some local ordinances—such as one in Bellevue—that require all or certain riders to wear a helmet.
4. Set an Example for Your Children
If you are a parent, wearing a helmet is not only necessary for your health and safety, but also for that of your kids. By enforcing the use of helmets with your home, you can save your life and the life of your child. According to The Children’s Safety Network, in 2005, children under the age of 15 accounted for 53 percent of bicycle injuries treated in emergency room departments. When finding a bicycle helmet for a child, make sure it fits!
In addition to setting an example for your children, wearing a helmet can also help to encourage helmet use amongst others.
5. Keep Your Head Warm and Dry
If you are bike riding at a time of year when the weather is wet or chilly, a bicycle helmet can help to keep your head nice and dry. In turn, this can contribute to trapping escaping heat from your body, aiding in keeping you warm and comfortable while riding.
6. Improve Your Visibility for Others on the Road
Not only will a helmet help to improve your visibility (i.e. help you be able to see others), but wearing a helmet can also contribute to make you more visible to other drivers. When choosing a helmet, opt for a brightly colored one. Or, add reflective tape to your helmet to help drivers to see you when it is dark out.
7. Protect Your Face
Not only does a helmet protect your brain and your head, but it can also protect your face, too. While it is uncommon for facial injuries to be fatal, they can be extremely painful, disfiguring, and cost thousands of dollars’ worth of medical intervention to correct.
8. Avoid High Medical Bills
If you are in a bike accident, and you are not wearing a helmet, your risk of having gigantic medical bills is much higher. These medical bills might not only be immediate—i.e. emergency room costs, costs of emergency surgeries, etc.—but also long-lasting. If you suffer a brain injury, you may be unable to function on your own for the remainder of your life, or may require intensive and long-term therapy, which can be costly.
9. Be Stylish
Wearing a helmet does not have to be an unattractive or bland thing to do; you can show off your personal style by choosing a helmet that fits your personality, or adding stickers, decals, etc. to it. To incentivize your children to wear their helmets, let them choose their color, design, etc. as well.
10. Reduce Your Risk of Being Found Partially At-fault in a Claim for Damages
Even if you believe that a bike accident was the fault of the other driver, if you were not wearing a helmet at the time of your crash, the other party may try to pin partial fault of the accident, and your related injuries, on you. You can mitigate this risk before it happens by always wearing your helmet.
To learn more about what to do after a bicycle accident and your legal rights in Washington State, contact a bicycle accident attorney at Max Meyers Law PLLC. Call today at 425-399-7000 to schedule a consultation.