Need a reason to wear a bike helmet? Consider these stats. In the New York metro area alone, 17 bicyclists have been struck and killed by cars and trucks so far this year, seven more than in all of 2018.
Across the nation, over 1,000 bicyclists died in accidents involving motor vehicles and by other means in 2017, and almost 330,000 were injured, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. What’s more, according to a 2015 study published in JAMA (the Journal of the American Medical Association), the percentage of injured cyclists who suffered head injuries increased from 10 to 16% from 1998 to 2013, and torso injuries increased from 14 to 17%.
The good news: Many of these injuries could be lessened or avoided with proper helmet use. According to research by the National Institutes of Health, helmet use reduces the chances of a head injury by 48%, serious head injury by 60%, traumatic brain injury by 53%, face injury by 23%, and the total number of killed or seriously injured cyclists by 34%.
Health Matters spoke with Dr. Alexis Halpern, an assistant attending physician at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center and an assistant professor of clinical medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine, about the importance of wearing a helmet and how to tell if your helmet fits properly.