So you don’t want to wear a bike helmet because it’ll muss your hair or make you look like a wuss. Good thinking—you’ll be the handsomest vegetable in the hospital ward, because, according to a landmark University of Arizona study of 6,267 riders with cycling-related traumatic brain injuries, that’s exactly where helmet-haters who crash their bikes end up.
The evidence is overwhelming: Among all the cyclists with head trauma who were studied, almost 75 percent of them had been riding helmetless. Their brain injuries were also more severe. As for the 25 percent who had worn helmets, their brain injuries were 58 percent less likely to be severe, and 59 percent less likely to cause death.
“Wearing a helmet not only protects against severe traumatic brain injury, it also reduces the overall severity of injury and the odds of death,” says study author Bellal Joseph, Ph.D. “It protects against face fractures, too, particularly to the upper face. We definitely recommend wearing a helmet every time you go out on a bike.”
So, in favor of saving face rather than riding topless and losing your head, take a look at our roundup of cycling helmets. From recreation and commute to road and mountain helmets, take your pick.
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