Reducing the Risk of Head Injuries during Bicycle Accidents through Helmet Use
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports a 9% increase in bicyclist fatalities between 2010 and 2011. The bicycle accident injury attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer, P.C. take note of this alarming increase in bicycle fatalities in recent years. However, statistics show that bicycle accident fatalities currently account for only approximately 2% of all fatalities sustained during motor vehicle traffic fatalities. It is actually far more common for a bicyclist to sustain a severe head injury, rather than death, during an accident with a motorist. Our team of experienced injury attorneys represent residents of Chicago and surrounding cities, who sustained severe injuries, as a result of an accident occurring between a motorist and bicyclist.
Because bicyclists lack the protection that vehicles provide, injuries sustained in bicycling accidents are often much more severe than the injuries that may be sustained by a motorist during the same accident. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, “The most serious injuries among a majority of those killed are to the head, highlighting the importance of wearing a bicycle helmet.” As reported by numerous studies, use of a bicycle helmet can reduce the risk of a head injury by 85%. Our bicycle injury attorneys wish that all bicyclists would reduce their risk of injury through use of bicycle helmets, however this is not always the case, partly due to lack of state regulation requiring helmet use.
Although Illinois does not currently have a statewide regulation requiring the use of helmets while riding a bicycle, some cities within Illinois have enacted ordinances, such as Cicero, Inverness, and Skokie, which require that bicyclists under the age of 16 to use helmets. Barrington bicyclists under the age of 17 must also utilize helmets. Also, bicycle messengers in Chicago, regardless of age, are required to wear helmets while performing their messenger duties. Our team of experienced bicycle accident attorneys understand, that in the absence of regulation requiring helmet use, severe injuries resulting from bicycle accidents, often time involving traumatic brain injury, will continue to increase.
Severe injuries, such as those involving trauma to the head and brain are extremely serious, because they may not be immediately apparent following an accident. A common misconception is that an injury to the head occurs only from injury where the head strikes an object. However, head injury can also occur from changes in speed, where the head is suddenly stopped while traveling at a high speed. Often times such injuries are overlooked in an emergency room or doctor visit, either because the injury is not immediately obvious, or because the medical equipment used to diagnose such injuries, such as MRI or CT scans are costly or unavailable. In other scenarios, a bicyclist that was involved in an accident may feel that use of a helmet has fully protected the head and brain. Unfortunately, although helmets greatly reduce the risk of head trauma, they do not prevent all head injuries. Our bicycle accident injury attorneys feel that whenever a bicyclist is injured due to an accident with a motorist, that immediate medical attention should be sought to rule out the possibility of head trauma.
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If you or a loved one were the victim of a Chicago bicycle accident, it is important to discuss your legal rights with a licensed Illinois attorney as soon as is practical following the accident. Our team of bicycle accident injury and wrongful death attorneys will discuss your case during a free personal injury consultation. Contact us today at (773) 516-4100, or online at www.zneimerlaw.com.