Heads up on bicycle safety: Wear a helmet!

May 1, 2009
RheumatologyNetwork Staff

About 900 persons are killed and 567,000 others are injured in bicycle-related accidents each year, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS). Wearing a bicycle helmet may reduce the risk of serious head and brain injury by up to 88% and more bicyclists than ever among the more than 80 million riders are doing so, but only half wear helmets all the time and about 43% never wear them. AAOS tips on helmet wearing and other aspects of bicycle safety-for bicyclists of all ages-include the following:

About 900 persons are killed and 567,000 others are injured in bicycle-related accidents each year, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS). Wearing a bicycle helmet may reduce the risk of serious head and brain injury by up to 88% and more bicyclists than ever among the more than 80 million riders are doing so, but only half wear helmets all the time and about 43% never wear them. AAOS tips on helmet wearing and other aspects of bicycle safety-for bicyclists of all ages-include the following:

•Always wear a helmet approved by the American National Standards Institute.

•Make sure the helmet fits snugly but comfortably and does not obstruct vision; it should have a chin strap and buckles that stay fastened securely.

•Wear knee, wrist, and elbow pads to protect bones and joints in case of falling. Avoid loose-fitting clothing, and wear appropriate footwear.

•To help avoid fractures and sprains, make sure that the bicycle is the proper size for the rider and that the bicycle’s gear systems are well understood.

•Supervise younger riders at all times.

•Ride in the direction of traffic, and stay aware of surrounding traffic. Avoid riding on uneven or slippery surfaces. Obey all rules of the road.

For more information on bicycle safety and other injury prevention tips, visit the AAOS Web site at www.aaos.org. Or, contact the organization at AAOS Headquarters, 6300 North River Road, Rosemont, IL 60018-4262; telephone: (847) 823-7186.