The importance of bicycle helmets in reducing injuries is unclear. Our center receives a disproportionate number of bicycle crash victims. We sought to evaluate the types of injuries observed and the role of helmets in reducing head injuries.
We evaluated demographic data and compared injuries between bicycle riders that crashed with and without helmets over a 9-year period. Categorical variables were compared using linear regression methods and nominal variables using ANOVA. Differences were considered significant for P ≤ 0.05.
There were 906 patients evaluated, 701 with helmets (77%) and 205 (23%) without helmets. The mean Injury Severity Score was 9.3 ± 6.4. The most common injuries were concussion (n = 385), rib fractures (n = 154), clavicle fractures (n = 139), facial fractures (n = 102), and cervical spine fractures (n = 89). There was no significant difference in the number of patients with a concussion in riders with or without helmets, [299/701, 42.6% versus 86/205, 42.0%, respectively, (P = NS)]. In helmet versus no helmet riders, there were significantly fewer patients with facial fractures, [67/701, 9.5%, versus 35/205, 17.0%, respectively, (P = 0.003)], skull fractures [8/701, 1.1% versus 9/205, 4.4%, respectively, (P = 0.003)], and serious head injuries [6/701, 0.85% versus 8/205, 3.9%, respectively, (P = 0.002)].
Helmeted patients involved in bicycle crashes are less likely to sustain a serious head injury, a skull fracture, or facial fractures compared to riders without helmets. The most common injury in patients with a bicycle crash is a concussion. Helmets did not prevent concussion after bicycle rider’s crash in our patient population.
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