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Bike Helmet Safety Statistics & the Fatality Stats

By now all of you must know that the most essential safety measure during bike riding is using a helmet. But in reality how many people actually follow this important precautionary measure? What‘s the actual statistical relation between bicycle helmet usage and the safety of cyclists? We have tried to answer these questions in this article.

In the years 1994-2016, the average incidents of death due to not using helmets is approximately 82%., while death incidents after using helmets amount were 18%. The usage of helmets was found to be less in male cyclists compared to females. The likelihood of severe and fatal head and brain injury was also considerably lower ( 85% lower) in cyclists wearing helmets.

➥ If you’re a regular commuter, then, we suggest you have a look commuter bike helmets

Fatality Stats

The prevailing facts and figures are more than adequate to depict the safety of bike helmets. According to a study conducted by Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), adults are at a greater risk of death in the bike-motor vehicle crashing accidents, compared to children. Approximately 88% of bicycle accidents result in the death of adults. Again, among the non-fatal injuries, about one-third portion are head injuries. Another study conducted by Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), every year a major portion of 80,000 head injuries caused by bike accidents are brain injuries.

Stats of Bicycle Accidents by Usage of Helmet, year 2015
Stats of Bicycle Accidents by Usage of Helmet, year: 2015

[Source]

A special approach entitled “Three E” has been recommended by the GHSA for ensuring safety and protection in bike rides. The 3 E’s stand for Engineering, Education, and Enforcement. An appropriately fitted helmet is an important part of education. Only wearing a helmet can decline the chances of head injury by 50% or more. Hence it is indeed the best defense against fatalities.

Read More: Cycling Helmet Safety Standards

Recent findings also portray the risk of concussion and other head injury types besides cranial fracture. The alarming fact is that more than 50% of adults in the USA were found to never wear a helmet according to the research of 2016.

2018 Facts

As per the statistics of 2018, the number of deaths from bike crashes was 857. This has been the highest ever recorded figure since 1990.

2017 Facts

Deaths53
Mean age of dying cyclists47
Percentage of males87%
Percentage of urban fatal accidents75%
Front vehicle hits81.50%
Roadway accidents63%
Intersection accidents27%
Accidents at other locations10%
Daylight48%
Dark47%
Dusk3%
Dawn2%
Time period of occurrence of maximum accidents6 pm to 9 pm
Percentage of accidents caused by drunk driving27%

Death Figures of Bike riders (Pedal cycling)

Death Figures in the years 2002-2018
[Source]

Death Statistics by Bike Helmet Use (1994-2016)

 No Helmet Death StatsDeath Stats using HelmetCould not be knownTotal
YearNumberPercentageNumberPercentageNumberPercentageNumberPercentage
19947769719210796100
199578395344111828100
19967319627430761100
19977859723330811100
19987419816200757100
199969893426101750100
200062290507172689100
200161684608537729100
200258989548203663100
200353585589335626100
2004602838712335722100
2005676867710314784100
20067309537520769100
20076469250740699100
20086549159830716100
20095739152830628100
20104297094159816616100
2011450661001513019680100
2012469641231713819730100
2013464621271715621747100
2014429591181617624723100
2015442531421724429828100
2016424511371627433835100

[Source]

The above-mentioned data are sufficient to promote bike helmet usage as a major safety weapon. In the years 1994-2016, the average incidents of death due to not using helmets is approximately 82%. Death incidents after using helmet amount at 18%, a significantly lower amount.

New York City Stats

The statistics of New York portray the following facts and decisions about safety issues and bike helmets.

  • Head injury was caused in nearly 74% of the bike accidents
  • About 97% of the cyclists dying in bike crashes did not use a helmet
  • Among the severely wounded cyclists, only 13% were wearing a helmet. And only 3% of the dead cyclists used helmets. Thus the risk of death may be lowered by using bike helmets.
  • 91% of the dead cyclists were male. The age group with the maximum death rate was 45-54 years.
  • The death rate of boys was greater than girls in the age group of 5-14 years.

➥ If you happen to live on the west coast, specifically in California, then, we suggest you have a look at the laws for bike helmets, in California.

Helmet usage Stats

The following data has been collected from the National Trauma Data Bank.

  1. A survey conducted among 76,032 cyclists who were injured in the head or neck depicted that only 22% of the injured were wearing helmets at the time of the accident.
  2. Hispanics, Blacks, and adults of more than 17 years of age were found to use helmets the least.
  3. The helmet usage was less among men (21%) compared to women (28%).
  4. Men received more serious injuries than women in bike crashes.
  5. Among the cyclists below 17 years of age, a minor portion of 12% was found to use helmets.

Facts and Figures from the Snell Memorial Foundation

  1. 66.67% of the dead and 16.67% of the injured cyclists were afflicted with brain injuries.
  2. Using a helmet can prevent 85% of the head and brain injuries caused by bike riding.
  3. Among the popular sports in the US, the occurrences of head injuries that need hospitalization are more than other sports like horseback riding, kick scooters, skateboarding, soccer, baseball, etc.
  4. The indirect cost for injuries to cyclists not wearing helmets has been estimated to $2.3 billion annually.
  5. The occurrence of not using helmets was found in 95% of the deaths.

So why not use helmets?

You must have realized how significant helmets are for your safety. Whether you are using a bike, motorbike, or scooter, you must wear a helmet. This single step will reduce the possibility of being afflicted with a head injury by 85%. The likelihood of brain injuries will also be decreased by 88%.

Also, do check your helmet carefully and see if there are any fissures, cracks, or other damaging signs. If you have been involved in a bike accident anyhow, change your helmet even if you can’t see any visible damages. Always remember, safety comes first. Nothing is more important than your life and good health. So, wear a helmet and save your life.

F. A. Q.s

Q1. What percentage of head injuries are reduced by wearing helmets?

Ans: A study in Australia found that using helmets reduces the likelihood of occurrence of head injury by 51%, severe head injury by 69%, facial injury by 33%, and fatal head injury by 65%. Neck injury occurrence was found to be rare, and these were not proved to be linked with helmet usage.
[Source]

Q2. How much force does it take to break a bike helmet?

Ans: Helmet-only compression data was assessed which showed that the cracks in the initial level happened at the level of 100-200 lb force. The mean force causing the crack was 140lbf. The assembly of helmet and skull was crushed in the compression stand, but even the highest force of 470 lbf was unable to crush the assembly.

Q3. Do bike helmets expire?

Ans: The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is a government testing body in the US. This institute advised that a bike helmet should be replaced every 5 to 10 years. Another organization for certifying helmets after safety assessment is the Snell Memorial Foundation. This organization recommended that the helmet must be changed after every 5 years.

Conclusion

Are you one of these statistics? If yes, you are utterly playing with your life and your health. There is a high risk that one day you will be fatally or severely injured. So, use a helmet and save your life.

Read More


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Dion Lewis
My name is Dion Lewis.

I’ve been cycling from my childhood. When I was in high school, I started racing in our local competitions.

At my college life, I took a part time job in a bicycle shop and I learned how to repair and maintain bicycles professionally.

Though I love racing, mountain biking is another thing I do frequently. My friends, neighbors, and colleagues treat me as an avid rider and take my suggestions while they plan for a new bike or a bike gear.

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