Wearing a helmet is one way to prevent certain traumatic brain injuries associated with bicycle accidents. But according to a new Canadian study, it may not be the best way. According to the study, a city's bicycle infrastructure, including the existence of protected lanes and bike-share programs, prevent hospitalizations to a greater degree than does mandatory helmet use. The study also found that women's bicycling habits — including riding slower and using quieter, more protected back streets — resulted in women cyclists have fewer injuries than men.
This study doesn't necessarily mean that helmet use is ineffective in preventing injury. When a bicyclist gets in an accident, a helmet is an essential safety measure that can minimize the impact of a collision, thus preventing the worst of– if not all– brain injuries. But the study does show that helmet use may pale in comparison to other methods for preventing bicycle-related hospitalizations.
The study makes intuitive sense; by having protected lanes, cyclists don't have to rely on the attentiveness of drivers to keep them safe from collisions. Having a greater bicycle infrastructure can also mean that there are more bikers on the road. When drivers get used to seeing and looking out for bikers on the road, they may also get used to driving more defensively, much in the same way they might when driving through a school zone.
All the safety precautions in the world, however, likely can't prevent every bicycle accident in every situation. If you've been injured in a bicycle accident caused by another's negligence, you deserve to be compensated for the medical bills and lost wages you are now dealing with through no fault of your own. An experienced personal injury lawyer can be of assistance to make sure you receive the maximum possible settlement to help you on your way to recovery.