Helmets and cycleways improving safety, lowering injuries – study

Date: Oct 05, 2012

Over the past few years, cycling has been slowly yet surely rising in popularity. It is not uncommon to see many people making their way to work on a bike in the mornings, or families out on rides on the weekends.

In many ways, cycling is a sensible choice – it is free, good for the environment, and allows people to fit in some physical activity while they get from A to B.

That said, sharing the roads with cars and other larger vehicles can make cycling a somewhat dangerous pursuit.

It is important to be extra vigilant about paying attention and staying safe – wearing a helmet is also essential.

Bicycle accidents can result in catastrophic injury if you are not adequately protected by the right head gear.

Cyclists should also be aware of the road rules. Under NSW legislation, a bicycle is considered as a vehicle, meaning when sharing the road with cars you need to follow the same rules that they do.

For example, cyclists must stop at red lights and stop signs and give way as a car would.

This can become challenging for both motorists and cyclists alike, especially in peak traffic times, so it is important that you are ready to brave the road before you ride your bike alongside cars.

Where possible, you may like to use dedicated cycleways instead. Recent research from the University of New South Wales suggests that head injuries have been decreasing since more cycleways in the city have been built, and the mandatory helmet laws have been in place.

The study, which has been published in the journal Accident Analysis and Prevention, revealed that serious, hospitalised head injuries are now declining at a rate of four per cent a year.

This news is promising, considering the amount of head injuries serious enough for hospitalisation usually increase in line with the amount of people riding bicycles.

Study leader Jake Olivier said that this suggests the laws surrounding helmets and the new cycleways are effective.

“We found that the overall benefit of mandatory helmet legislation in lowering head injuries was larger than previously reported and has been maintained over the past two decades,” Dr Olivier said.

“Before the law commenced in 1991, bicycle-related head injury rates exceeded those of arm injuries. By 2006, head injuries were 46 per cent lower than arm injuries.

“Significantly, we also found that bicycle-related head injuries have steadily declined even further since 2006, when serious spending on cycling infrastructure began.”

These results may come as good news to cyclists, but it still important to exercise extra caution when on the roads.

If involved in an accident, you may be eligible for bicycle injury compensation – there are lawyers in Sydney that can help you make a claim!

Call us now on 1800 004 878 to book a free appointment with one of my compensation experts, or email your enquiry.