Head injuries are the most common cause of disability and death in bicycle accidents. Children are at a disproportionately high risk of bicycle accidents, primarily because of the higher use of bicycles between the ages of 7 and 14. Helmets have been shown to reduce the risk of serious head injury related to bicycle accidents, and most state laws require children to wear a helmet while riding a bicycle.
A recent study of the effects of bicycle helmets investigated two important forces related to bicycle accidents: impact and crushing. Their tests showed that a bicycle helmet can reduce up to 87% of the acceleration from impact. In addition, their compression test showed that helmeted head can withstand up to 470 pounds of force. Bicycle helmets are therefore a critical tool for preventing head injury during bicycle accidents.
Mattei TA, Bond BJ, Goulart CR, et al. Performance analysis of the protective effects of bicycle helmets during impact and crush tests in pediatric skull models. Journal of Neurosurgery. (October 2012).