In Maryland, all bicyclists under the age of 16 are required to wear a helmet when cycling on public sidewalks, trails, and roads. Research shows bike helmets save lives and help avoid personal injury. In fact, research from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found helmets lower the chances of a serious head injury by 60 percent.
Bicycle injuries vary, and their severity depends on the nature of the accident. Fractures and lacerations are two examples of musculoskeletal injuries caused by direct impact to the head. Concussions and other traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are caused by blunt force trauma to the head that damages the delicate tissues of the brain. Signs and symptoms of an accident-related head injury include:
- Memory loss
- Blurry vision
- Speech problems
- Loss of consciousness
- Mood changes
- Sensitivity to light and sound
- Focus and concentration problems
Some head injuries gradually improve with treatment. Others result in permanent cognitive and/or physical impairment.
Research Shows: Bike Helmets Work
A bicycle helmet can make the difference between a mild injury and a permanent disability. In the same NHTSA study noted above, the agency found that close to 80 percent of people who were killed between 2010 and 2017 were not wearing a bicycle helmet at the time of their crash. Bicyclists who sustain a head injury due to not wearing a helmet are three times more likely to die than those who are wearing one during an accident.
Contributory Negligence in Maryland
Maryland is one of few states in the nation that follows the legal principle of contributory negligence. This means if you contributed to your injuries in any way, even by just one percent, you are likely barred from recovering damages from the at-fault party who caused the accident. For this reason, it is even more critical, from a legal standpoint, to wear a bicycle helmet when riding.
Protecting Yourself From Head Injuries
Unfortunately, bike accidents are not entirely preventable. However, there are steps you can take to protect your head in the event of an accident. Wearing a bike helmet is a great start. A properly-fitted bike helmet should be comfortable but snug and should rest low on your forehead. The chin strap should be tight, and you should always use the foam pads that are included with your helmet.
If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your situation.
Baltimore County Personal Injury Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC Fight on Behalf of Injured Cyclists
If you experienced a head injury that requires ongoing care and time off work, we can help protect your rights. Contact our Baltimore County personal injury lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC today. Call us at 443-589-0150 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Located in Hunt Valley and Towson, Maryland, we serve clients in Baltimore, Baltimore County, Bel Air, Bentley Springs, Columbia, Freeland, Hereford, Hampton, Westminster, Essex, Monkton, Sparks Glencoe, Parkton, Phoenix, Pikesville, White Hall, Carroll County, Harford County, and Howard County.