A study from the Accident Analysis and Prevention journal has reported that from 2006 and 2015, 2.2 million children ages 5 to 17 had bicycle injuries treated at U.S. hospital emergency departments—that’s an average of 608 cases a day, or 25 cases an hour.
The most common groups to end up in the hospital for treatment were children aged 10 to 14 (46 percent) and boys (72 percent).
Out of the total number of injuries, 11 percent were traumatic brain injury (TBI) cases. Of these, 44 percent involved patients aged 10 to 14.
Principal investigator at the Center for Injury and Research Policy and senior author in the study, Lara McKenzie, said that wearing helmets is the best way to decrease the risk of suffering a head injury. She added that the statistics were not meant to discourage bike riding, but to help increase awareness of safety and prevention measures.
Although bicycle helmet laws have increased the use of helmets among children, the laws are not enforced in the states that have adopted them.
Other secondary methods of improving cycling safety is to increase visibility by wearing bright reflective materials while cycling, riding in specially designated cycling lanes, and taking bicycle education courses. But to protect your brain, always wear a helmet.