Last month, when the TV presenter dan walker took to social media and recounted his collision with a car while riding a bike, perhaps the last thing he expected was to stoke the culture wars.
Or maybe he did, it was Twitter after all, but among the many messages wishing him a speedy recovery, and his own thanking the NHS staff and others who helped him, there was one justifying gratitude for the helmet on his head. .
“I understand this is a contentious issue and I don’t want a discussion about it,” Walker wrote. “I’m happy mine worked today and the police officer on the scene called me this afternoon and told me he wouldn’t be here right now if he wasn’t wearing one.
‘Go back to my cup through a straw.’
Followed by a grimacing face emoji (that apparently only used by the old).
It may have been news to many that wearing a helmet while cycling on the road was controversial, but in fact, proponents and opponents have clashed for decades.
The reasons are many, and both argue that science, and common sense, are on their side.
If you get off your bike at any speed, it stands to reason that a layer of protection between your head and the road will protect you from more serious injuries than you would without it. That position is rarely disputed.
However, a helmet cannot prevent all injuries and research shows that they offer little protection against concussions, which is often presented as a reason not to wear one. What helmets do, and do well, is help prevent serious head injuries, skull fractures, and facial fractures compared to those without helmets.
However, what if we take a step back and try to prevent those accidents in the first place? A helmet can’t make an accident more or less likely, right?
Some would say yes, a helmet makes the wearer more likely to be involved in a single bike or highway collision. The reasons for this are twofold.
First, a 2016 study showed that cyclists who wear helmets are more at risk. Second, there is a body of work that suggests that drivers pass cyclists more closely If the cyclist wears a helmet. Renowned neurosurgeon Dr. Henry Marsh is among those who don’t wear a helmet, citing this research among the reasons.
‘It has completely changed my life’
It was a normal day in Hull for Ian Charlesworth as he cycled to work on his morning commute.
“I was going to work, stopped at the light and passed,” he says. Then he got hit by a truck.
Ian was not wearing a helmet. He suffered a fractured skull and brain injury, resulting in cognitive deficits that continue to this day.
“It has completely changed my life,” he says. ‘I used to take care of my children, now they take care of me.
Ian is one of four cyclists who have taken part in Project Heid, a campaign by cycling equipment brand Endura, the University of Liverpool and The Brain Charity to create an all-around graphic display of the risks of not wearing a helmet .
To commemorate Brain Awareness Week, Endura has created four helmets that display CT scan images of cyclists’ brains after their crashes, highlighting the extent of their injuries.
“The level of detail of my brain scans in the design left a real impression on me that I hope will resonate with others,” says Ian. ‘It feels great to be involved in such an important initiative.
‘Before my accident, wearing a helmet was not on my radar. You never think a serious incident is going to happen to you, but I am living proof that it can happen, and having been through what I have been through, I am desperate for people to wear a helmet to stay safe.
“Our brain is the most complex structure in the universe and the most important part of who we are.”
The helmets will be auctioned off to raise funds for brain charity.
However, crash statistics on UK roads show that they occur most frequently at intersections (53%), while the highest proportion of fatal accidents (45%) involving a vehicle are the result of the driver not looking correctly. Bad maneuvers were the cause of about 9% of these accidents.
A 2008 study by the Dutch government found that while only about 1% of cyclists in the Netherlands wear a helmet, 13.3% of cyclists admitted to hospital were wearing one at the time of the accident. . However, 50% of those injured were riding mountain bikes and 46% were racing bikes, which are more prone to falls at higher speeds than regular commuters.
As with all statistics, they require complete and proper context.
To cite a few more, in a recent study of 2,000 regular cyclists, 45% said they did not wear a helmet when cycling; however, two-thirds admitted that they are concerned about brain injury while bicycling. Other statistics show that 80% of Britons say they feel a responsibility to encourage their friends and family to wear a helmet when cycling.
And while wearing a helmet remains a personal choice for those who use two wheels (pedal-powered wheels—let’s not even get into e-bikes), there’s plenty of scientific research citing the effectiveness of helmets in preventing serious injuries.
FURTHER : Dan Walker claims he’s ‘on the mend’ but has ‘teeth ache’ after horror bike accident as he shares photos of facial injuries
FURTHER : Dan Walker surprised to still be “taught” that bike helmets “aren’t important” after surviving a car accident thanks to head protection