Most bicyclists know that wearing a helmet is the best way to prevent serious injury in an accident. Bicyclists are among the most vulnerable road users because they are not protected in the event of a collision like motorists. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports more than 1,000 cyclists are killed in traffic crashes in the United States each year, and more than 130,000 are injured nationwide. The New Mexico Department of Transportation reports 266 cyclists were involved in traffic accidents statewide in one recent year.
Studies show that helmets save lives and prevent severe head injuries. Here, the legal team at Parnall Law explains why helmets are effective and how you can stay safe while cycling in New Mexico.
Why Helmets Are Effective
The primary function of a bicycle helmet is to absorb the force of a blow to the head. If a cyclist wearing a helmet is in a crash, the helmet will absorb the force from the impact, preventing the cyclist from suffering a significant head injury. A cyclist who is not wearing a helmet during a collision is likely to suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI). These injuries can be fatal and often lead to serious medical conditions like paralysis, memory problems, seizures, and coma.
A recent meta-analysis of studies on helmet effectiveness over nearly 30 years shows that:
- Bicycle helmets reduced overall head injuries by 48 percent.
- Helmets reduced serious head injuries by 60 percent.
- Helmets reduced traumatic brain injuries by 53 percent.
- Helmets reduced face injuries by 23 percent.
- Helmets reduced the overall number of cyclist fatalities or serious injuries by 34 percent.
A separate study found that cyclists who wore helmets were 95 percent less likely to be diagnosed with a head injury after an accident.
Cyclist Safety Tips
Here are a few tips for staying safe while riding your bicycle in New Mexico:
- Wear a helmet. Helmets are required for all cyclists under 18 in New Mexico, but you should wear one regardless of age to minimize the chance of a severe head injury.
- Wear reflective clothing when riding at night or in low-visibility conditions.
- Maintain your bike to minimize the chance of mechanical malfunctions while you are riding.
- Make sure your bike has front and rear reflectors to make yourself visible to other road users at night.
- Use designated bike lanes when possible.
- Use hand signals to alert drivers when you are turning.
- Stop and get off your bike when crossing the street.
For All Personal Injury Cases, Call Parnall Law Today
While wearing a helmet may save your life in a crash, it cannot prevent accidents from happening in the first place. Contact Parnall Law for a free consultation if you’ve been injured in a bicycle accident in New Mexico. You could be entitled to compensation for your injuries and other losses, and we can help fight for it.