Head protection when cycling: Bicycle helmet and head airbag protect against injuries

Bicycle helmets reduce the risk of fatal brain injuries by up to 70 percent

With the spring weather, the number of people riding bicycles increases. Unfortunately, far too few of them wear a bicycle helmet. In the event of an accident, the latter can decide in part about life or death. Health experts therefore recommend head protection when cycling.

Head protection can save lives

Scientific studies have shown that bicycle helmets can massively reduce the risk of serious head injuries in the event of an accident. Researchers at the University of New South Wales in Australia reported that the helmets can prevent up to 70 percent of fatal head injuries. Health experts such as the German Society for Orthopedics and Trauma Surgery (DGOU) recommend head protection when cycling.

Too few cyclists wear a helmet

"Every spring at the start of the cycling season, the number of injured cyclists in our emergency rooms increases," explains Prof. Dr. Paul Alfred Grützner, President of the German Society for Orthopedics and Trauma Surgery e.V. (DGOU) and the German Society for Trauma Surgery e.V. (DGU) in a communication.

"The head is often affected. Therefore: helmet on while cycling! “, Advises the expert.

According to the information, the helmet wearing rate across all age groups is currently 18 percent on average.

"That is too little," said Dr. Christopher Spering, Head of the DGOU Prevention Section and Senior Physician at the Clinic for Trauma Surgery, Orthopedics and Plastic Surgery at the University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG).

There are many reasons why people don't wear helmets. Some find it unwieldy and cumbersome. Others think bike helmets are not chic or are afraid of ruining their hairstyle.

Head airbag as an alternative

The head airbag is an alternative to the conventional bicycle helmet. This is worn around the neck like a kind of ruff.

In the event of an accident, such as a collision with a car, the airbag with sensors is inflated like a full-face helmet and protects the head.

The advantage over the bicycle helmet is the simultaneous protection of the neck, cervical spine, jaw and face.

In a study, scientists from Stanford University (USA) confirmed that the head airbag was up to eight times less likely to suffer concussion than a helmet.

"If the airbag is used in an accident, it dampens the impact of the head and stabilizes the cervical spine so that the risks of a traumatic brain injury and whiplash of the cervical spine are reduced," explains Spering.

More and more e-bike riders

As stated in the message, the head airbag is placed around the neck before the journey and closed with a zipper. With a charged battery, the safety system must be activated before every bike ride with a push button on the zipper.

“Many buy expensive e-bikes and then save on head protection. Whether airbag or bicycle helmet - it is crucial that the head is protected when riding a bicycle, ”says bicycle accident researcher and DGOU prevention expert PD Dr. Christian Juhra from the Clinic for Trauma, Hand and Reconstructive Surgery at the University Clinic in Münster.

Especially for e-bike riders, it is worth considering a head airbag.

"Because regular charging of the airbag via a USB cable, which some perceive as a disadvantage, can be combined with charging the e-bike without much additional effort," explains Juhra.

"In this case, too, the battery has to be plugged in regularly so that both batteries can be filled in one operation," says the expert.

More and more older people are discovering the e-bike for themselves because they can be mobile with less effort.

But senior citizens are particularly at risk: higher speeds with simultaneous physical limitations often lead to accidents with serious injuries.

A helmet or head airbag can mitigate the consequences or prevent injuries. With a well-protected head, cycling is an improvement in quality of life and improves health, especially for seniors.

Because cycling strengthens the muscles and supports joint mobility, especially of the knees.

Almost 80,000 injured cyclists every year

As the DGOU explains, an activated head airbag or a bicycle helmet dampens the forces acting on the head in an accident, which leads to less serious head injuries.

In addition, fatal brain injuries can be reduced by 60 to 70 percent. Data from the TraumaRegister DGU® (TR-DGU) show that serious craniocerebral trauma is the main injury among the life-threatening cyclists.

The TR-DGU records an average of around 2,500 cyclists a year who need intensive care after an accident in a trauma center of the Initiative TraumaNetzwerk DGU® - most serious accidents occur between April and September.

According to calculations by the Federal Statistical Office, there were 14,123 seriously injured and 65,104 slightly injured cyclists in 2017. 382 people died in a bicycle accident. (ad)

Author and source information

Video: Invisible Airbag Bicycle Helmet YouTube (January 2022).