EUGENE, Ore. - Emergency medical technicians say that a Eugene bicyclist killed last week would be alive today if he had been wearing a helmet.
“He would have suffered some traumatic injuries, yes,” said Medic Amy Kline of the Eugene Fire and EMS Department. “But if he’d had a helmet on, he may very well have survived.”
Medics told reporters that wearing safety equipment is of utmost importance.
Authorities in Eugene reported 27-year-old David Minor died when his bicycle collided with a car.
Oregon law requires helmets only for bike riders under 16.
Emergency medical technicians urge all bicyclists to wear helmets.
“A lot of us are parents ourselves,” Kline said. “Even though you’re a professional with a job to do, when you go on a call like that, you can’t help but personalize it. This type of shock and trauma is just something no parent should ever have to go through.”
770 bicyclists died on US roads in 2006, down just 14 from the year before. Over 90 percent died in crashes with motor vehicles.
The "typical" bicyclist killed on our roads is a sober male over 16 not wearing a helmet riding on a major road between intersections in an urban area on a summer evening when hit by a car.
About 540,000 bicyclists visit emergency rooms with injuries every year. Of those, about 67,000 have head injuries, and 27,000 have injuries serious enough to be hospitalized.
Bicycle crashes and injuries are under-reported, since the majority are not serious enough for emergency room visits. 44,000 cyclists were reported injured in traffic crashes in 2006.
1 in 8 of the cyclists with reported injuries has a brain injury.
Two-thirds of the deaths here are from traumatic brain injury.
A very high percentage of cyclists' brain injuries can be prevented by a helmet, estimated at anywhere from 45 to 88 percent.
Direct costs of cyclists' injuries due to not using helmets are estimated at $81 million each year.
Indirect costs of cyclists' injuries due to not using helmets are estimated at $2.3 billion each year.
Helmet use in the US varies by orders of magnitude in different areas and different sectors of our society. White collar commuters probably reach 80 percent, while inner city kids and rural kids would be 10 per cent or less. Overall, our best wild guess is probably no more than 25 percent. Sommers Point, NJ, where a state helmet law is in effect, found that only 24 of the 359 students who rode to school in one week of the Winter of 2002 wore helmets (6 per cent) until the School District adopted a helmet rule. North Carolina observed 17 percent statewide before their law went into effect in 2001.
Helmets are cheap. The typical discount store price has risen from under $10 to about $20, but there are still models available for under $10 at major national retailers including Target and Wal-Mart.