Bike sharing programs–which allow cyclists to share a variety of bikes without purchasing them–are becoming increasingly popular across the country, particularly in urban areas. These programs are great for casual cyclists or those new to cycling. However, a recent study indicates that over 80% of those using these programs do not wear a bicycle helmet, according to MyHealthNewsDaily.com. This statistic is disturbing considering the magnitude of the risks associated with cycling without a helmet.
“Head injury accounts for about a third of all bicycle injuries and about three-quarters of bicycle related deaths, so these are some pretty shocking numbers,” says Christopher Fischer of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, lead author of the study.
The study focused on persons using bike share programs in Washington D.C. and Boston, where they are extremely popular. Fischer suspected that many cyclists did not use helmets, but not this many.
“We were surprised to find that of all bicyclists, more than half rode without helmets,” says Fischer. “But it was even more concerning to learn that four out of five bike share riders were out there without helmets.”
The programs “encourage” users to wear helmets and inform them where they can purchase helmets on the share programs’ websites. Perhaps these programs can do more? Maybe they should require their users to wear helmets.
“Bike sharing programs have the potential to offer a lot of benefits to cyclists and cities, but it’s important to encourage sage cycling,” says Fischer. “We know that wearing a helmet reduces the risk of head injury drastically and we believe that helmets should be more readily available at bike rental sites.”
Dudek Law Firm, APC—San Diego personal injury attorney.