Cyclist Accidents and Traumatic Head Injury
15th January 2014
Although in their mildest forms they only involve bumps, scratches and bruises, head injuries can be some of the most devastating injuries our personal injury solicitors encounter, with some people dying from these injuries or developing severe brain damage. Motor vehicle accidents frequently lead to head injuries, and some groups of road users are particularly susceptible.
Around 40% of all cyclists admitted to hospital following road accidents sustain some form of head injury, with this rising to 45% among child cyclists. Abdominal and chest injuries are often accompanied by head injuries. These injuries can frequently be life-threatening – an investigation of 116 fatal cyclist accidents found that 80% of fatal cycle accidents on rural roads and 70% of those in London involved moderate or serious head injuries.
Head injuries and cycling accidents
Physical injuries are usually quite easy to see, but this is not always the case with head injuries. These injuries can arise due to the rapid acceleration and deceleration the head goes under in a road traffic accident, which can cause the brain to strike the inside of the skull and become seriously damaged.
The effects of a brain injury range from very subtle to fatal, and can have a huge impact upon the victim’s abilities and quality of life. Traumatic brain injury can lead to personality changes, incapacity, memory loss and a range of other neurological problems, and has been linked to an increasing risk of mood disorder and substance abuse. People may not realise how profoundly their head injury has affected them until some time after the accident.
Cyclists are particularly vulnerable to traumatic head injuries because of their lack of protection. Vehicle occupants benefit from a range of different safety measures, such as airbags, crumple zones and seat belts, all of which can reduce their likelihood of sustaining a head injury in a road accident. Cyclists benefit from none of these safety measures, and will dismount their vehicle and potentially seriously hit their head if they are struck by a car or involved in another type of accident.
This is why helmets are of such importance for cyclists. Cycle helmets, when correctly fitted and meeting required EU safety standards, provide a vital barrier to protect the vulnerable skull and reduce the effects of rapid deceleration upon the brain. Bicycle helmets have been shown to cut the likelihood of a cyclist sustaining a head or brain injury by as much as 85%, yet personal injury solicitors still see the consequences of cyclists accidents in which the rider did not wear a helmet, with tragic consequences.
If you have been involved in a cycling accident you were not to blame for, our personal injury law practice is here to help you out. Simply call us today on 08000 430 430 to speak with one of our experts about your cycling accident claim. You can also make an enquiry online by filling in our handy online enquiry form.