Time to get out the bikes, but don’t forget the helmets

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    LOUISVILLE, Ky. – As the weather begins to improve and the spring days become longer, many individuals and families may want to get out and enjoy some bicycling. When you pull those bikes out of the garage, however, remember to grab the bike helmets, too.

    “A bike helmet can save your life,” said Emily P. Sieg, M.D., neurosurgeon at UofL Physicians – Restorative Neuroscience. “The effects of even a minor traumatic brain injury can be debilitating and last for years.”

    March is Brain Injury Awareness Month, a good reminder to wear appropriate protective headgear when riding bicycles, scooters, motorcycles or any open-air vehicle. Head injuries account for almost three-fourths of the nearly 780 bicycle deaths that occur annually in the United States and, according to the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute, helmets completely prevent or reduce the severity of brain injury in two-thirds of cases.

    Top five reasons to wear a bike helmet:

    • Protect your head, face and brain from trauma by allowing the helmet to absorb the force of a fall or crash.
    • Improve your ability to see. A helmet visor can shade your face from the sun and prevent rain or snow from getting in your eyes.
    • Improve your visibility. A brightly colored helmet or a helmet with reflective strips can make you more visible to drivers.
    • Set a good example for others. In 21 states youth riders are required by law to wear helmets.
    • Protect your legal rights. Insurance companies will often claim in court that a bicyclist not wearing a helmet was negligent and thus argue against paying medical bills and damages.

     

    For more information on bicycle safety, visit http://helmets.org.

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    Betty Coffman
    Betty Coffman is a Health Communications Specialist, working on the Health Sciences Campus with departments in the School of Medicine. A UofL alumna and Louisville native, she served as a writer and editor for local and national publications and as an account services coordinator and copywriter for marketing and design firms prior to joining UofL’s Office of Marketing and Communications.