Do Adults Need To Wear Their Bicycle Helmets?

NEW YORK (CBS 2) — Most parents know children are required to wear bicycle helmets, but many adults never think to put one on themselves.

That decision could put them on a collision course with disaster when they hit the road.

Lisa Hoffman says strapping on a bike helmet may have saved her life when a roller blader cut her off and her bicycle flipped over.

“I noticed my bike helmet cracked. And at that moment, that’s when I realized this helmet saved my life,” Hoffman told CBS 2’s Chris Wragge.

Dr. Melissa Barton of the American College of Emergency Physicians says wearing a helmet is the “single most important thing” you can do to determine “whether or not you live or die from a bicycle accident.”

Bicycle helmets can reduce the risk of injury by up to 85%, Wragge reports. However, in 2008, 91% of cyclists killed weren’t wearing a helmet. Twenty-two states have helmet laws, but none require cyclists older than age 17 to wear one.

Even a light blow to the head could turn out to be serious.

“The space between the skull and the brain gets larger, Barton said, “And that empty space has very tiny blood vessels, so riding a bike without a helmet and hitting your head, can cause those little tiny blood vessels to tear.”

Randy Swart of the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute says style is just one of the reasons adults decide not to wear the headgear.

“They didn’t wear one as a child, and so they really don’t see the need for it,” Swart told Wragge.

Swart says the cost of buying helmets shouldn’t hold people back because even lower priced brands can offer protection.

“You can buy the cheapest thing on the market and still get the helmet you need,” Swart said.

And Hoffman offered some words of advice to those adults who still aren’t convinced a helmet is necessary.

“You can be the best rider in the world. It doesn’t matter. It’s what happens in a split second,” Hoffman said.

  • mishi

    Why in the world is wearing a helmet so bad?! What kind of style statement would a cracked skull make?

  • steve

    never use the front brake?! what an idiot. stick to the reporting side of your job and not offering your dumb advice.

  • BlindPilot

    Not to mention that the front brake is the brake you should be using most… what kind of brilliant advice is that to not use the front brake?! Check your facts, please!

  • Pinkey

    Well according to the manufactures, the helmet should be replaced about every three years not five, like it was stated in the video.

  • Oscar Crensch

    As long as your insurance provider can legally deny you benefits when you crash, then it’s cool if you don’t wear a helmet.

  • porkychopper

    Can we fast-forward social Darwinism please? Most of these commentators would be gone.

  • mary

    rob…sounds like you need to stay off bicycles.
    roger…if it wasn’t for people like the patient you took care of at a long term facility…people like you wouldn’t have jobs.
    i’m with the rest of you all …..the government needs to but out of our personal lives.

  • Roger

    Good, then don’t wear seat belts or helmets. And while you’re at it let’s put you all on special “freedom ways” where there are no set speed laws or other silly rules like that. of course you won’t have any insurance, nor will there be any cops or ambulances. Why would those of us who do follow the rules have to pay for your care. maybe you are one of those folk who like the idea of being in adult diapers, covered in your own crap, playing in a big “safety enclosure”, read adult playpen for that, unable to recognize your family when they come to visit. I took care of a patient like that a few years ago at a long term facility. He was in his 30’s then. No seat belt. Guess he didn’t care before the accident, and he sure didn’t after. I wonder if he’s still around. If not, I wonder how much it cost his family and the public to take care of him. Private duty nursing isn’t cheap.

  • rob

    I am alive today because I wear a helmet. I have gone over my handle bars. Had a car make a right turn in front of me and drag me under. I have been rammed from behind by a car and ridden on their hood till they hit the breaks and I slid across the pavement. I have hit pot holes that have stopped my bike and I have flipped over and land on my head. My helmets have saved my life. But it is a choice. The reason many states mandate helmets is because when people get hurt, often the state has to pick up the tab for there injuries. Perhaps if one chooses not to wear a helmet then the state can choose to deny all lifesaving treatment.

  • Paul

    What an absolutely rediculous story. How about the government stay out of our lives?? I thought this was to be a free country?? Im sure that someone in congress will to tro write a new law saying all people will need to wear a helmet.

    What an absolute joke in a free country.

  • scannerman


  • Lincoln

    America has tuned soft… so sad.

  • Lincoln

    In a “free” country, I, as an adult, should be allowed to decide the fate of my own health and safety. To require a helmet or a seat belt is communist thinking at its worst. I would continue this train of thought to the right to die with dignity, and other personal freedoms that have been disappearing from American society.

  • denis wittman

    Big brother should also mandate padded pants and jackets as well as glow in the dark trimmings. Female riders must coverup all body curves so there will be no distractions. Cycles should be limited to 12mph on all public roads to help curb body injury.

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