Helmets Are Underutilized by Cyclists in the United States
Blacks, Hispanics, and those aged <;17 years have lowest rates of wearing helmets
FRIDAY, Sept. 13, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- From 2002 to 2012, only 22 percent of bicyclists with head/neck injury in the United States wore helmets, according to a study published online Sept. 13 in Brain Injury.
Lagina R. Scott, M.D., from the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science in Los Angeles, and colleagues examined the correlation between helmet use and bicycle-related trauma injury outcomes among bicyclists with head/neck injury in the United States using data from the 2002 to 2012 National Trauma Data Bank.
The researchers found that 22 percent of the 76,032 bicyclists with head/neck injury wore helmets. Blacks, Hispanics, and those aged <17 years had the lowest rates of wearing helmets; girls/women had a higher percent of helmet use than boys/men (28.3 versus 20.6 percent). Injury severity, length of stay in the hospital (HLOS), length of stay in an intensive care unit (ICULOS), and mortality (total and in-hospital) were significantly reduced with wearing a helmet. Compared with girls/women, boys/men had more severe injury, longer HLOS, longer ICULOS, and higher mortality. Compared with whites, blacks and Hispanics had longer HLOS and ICULOS and higher total mortality, but similar in-hospital mortality.
"Further research is necessary into why helmet use practice is low and uneven across racial/ethnic groups," the authors write. "Our results imply that these at-risk groups may benefit from injury prevention and outreach programs that aim to increase helmet use and reduce the risk of head injury and hospitalization."