When compared to people in motor vehicles, bicyclists are relatively unprotected. This lack of protection can lead to a variety of injuries in a collision, and head injuries are some of the most common injuries cyclists experience.
How common are head injuries among bicyclists?
Head injuries are a very common risk faced by cyclists. One in every three non-fatal injuries cyclists experience are head injuries, and emergency rooms treat 80,000 cycling-related head injuries occur each year.
Even with helmet use and careful cycling, bicyclists still face risk of head injuries. As the Centers for Disease Control notes, while bicycle helmets can reduce the rate of head injuries by 20 to 55 percent, that protection does not entirely prevent head injuries. Helmets are not designed to prevent concussions, and they frequently leave the face vulnerable.
What types of head injuries might bicyclists experience?
Head injuries can lead to a variety of medical challenges for cyclists. Some of the head injuries that a cyclist might experience include:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and concussions — Injuries to the head can lead to damage to the brain, whether through trauma to the brain itself or from the brain striking the inside of the skull. These injuries can lead to mood changes, headaches, dizziness and a variety of other symptoms.
- Fractures — Broken bones in the skull or face can have a long-term impact on a person’s health and may require surgery to repair.
- Hematoma — In addition to the challenges caused by a traumatic brain injury itself, 30 to 40 percent of patients with head trauma experience blood pooling or clotting in the brain. Hematoma can potentially be fatal and requires emergency surgery to heal.
Because of the long-term physical impact that these injuries can have, cyclists who sustained a head injury as the result of another person’s negligence should explore their legal options. They may be eligible for compensation during this difficult time.