Can Bicycle Helmets Protect Cyclists Against Concussions?

Concussions are among the most common injuries cyclists sustain during bicycle accidents. While helmets are very effective at preventing more serious traumatic brain injuries, they cannot always prevent concussions.

Concussions happen when the brain bounces and twists inside of the skull due to the force of an impact, something bicycle helmets have a difficult time preventing. In a 2013 report by the National Research Council and Institute of Medicine, it was found that current helmet designs do not effectively reduce the risk of sports-related concussions.

In fact, there has been a 67 percent increase in bicycle accident related concussions from 1997 to 2011. One study by the American Association of Neurological Surgeons found that cycling accounts for more concussions than any other sport. According to the study, bicycle accidents caused 86,000 concussions in 2009. Football has been in the news lately due to a very high rate of concussions among athletes, but in the same study, the sport only accounted for 47,000 concussions.

Cycling safety advocates are arguing that bicycle helmets need to have a higher standard of quality that can protect cyclists from concussions. Fortunately, some innovative people have responded to the call.

How Can Bicycle Helmets Become More Effective at Preventing Concussions?

Engineering students with the University of Pennsylvania are testing different infills used in bicycle helmets by using 3-D printers. According to a team of students, they are developing infills the helmet will use by simulating the force of collisions. To elaborate, the infill refers to the material used in the protective layers of a bicycle helmet.

The goal of the students is to protect cyclists against all types of brain injuries, including concussions. In addition to offering protection against concussions, the helmet will use turn signals to make cyclists more visible.

Developing new helmets to prevent concussions might be a step in the right direction, but until that day comes, the best way to avoid a bicycle accident is to learn more about cycling safety.

Frederick M. Dudek is a San Diego based bicycle accident and injury attorney. For more information on bicycle accidents and safety, continue to explore our website. Follow Dudek Law Firm on Facebook for regular updates.

Dudek Law Firm, APCSan Diego Bicycle Accident Attorney

Did You Know? Symptoms of a concussion can take several hours to manifest. If you have been in a bicycle accident, seek immediate medical attention.