Saturday, May 22, 2010

Wear Your Helmet!

From this article in today's New York Times:
Whether you ride on hectic city streets or bucolic back roads, helmets are essential armor. Bicycle helmets have been shown to reduce the risk of head injuries by up to 88 percent and facial injuries by 65 percent, according to a Cochrane Database Systemic Reviewpublished in 2000. Bike riders who play against those odds do not fare well in accidents. More than 90 percent of the 714 bicyclists killed in 2008 were not wearing helmets, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Even a light blow to the head can be serious.

“You don’t have to be going fast to hurt your brain,” said Dr. Angela F. Gardner, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians. A simple concussion can be debilitating, keeping you off the job or operating at half speed for weeks. “And every concussion increases the likelihood that you will have an injury to the brain if another concussion occurs,” Dr. Gardner said.

People over 30 should be particularly careful because their gray matter is not packed as tightly as it used to be. And I don’t mean that only figuratively.
I have two cracked helmets displayed in my office at school as a reminder to myself and to my students of the importance of never throwing a leg over a bike without wearing a helmet.

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