Mind your head is the latest message from Acquired Brain Injury Ireland, as the organisation calls on cyclists to wear a helmet when cycling, even if it’s for a short journey.
The national brain injury charity makes this plea following new findings released today that confirmed 70 per cent of cyclists treated for brain injury in the national neurological centre at Beaumont Hospital, were not wearing a helmet.
The research also found that cycling had the highest numbers for referral to the neurological centre at 86 cases, followed by Gaelic football at 30 cases and horse riding at 23.
Barbara O’Connell, Chief Executive with Acquired Brain Injury Ireland said: “The latest research is not surprising to us and it confirms some of what we already see in our services. Nobody ever thinks a brain injury will happen to them and yet it happens to 52 people in this country every day. It is well proven that wearing a helmet reduces the severity of the brain injury by absorbing the impact from the collision. A helmet won’t prevent every head injury, but it can prevent serious head injuries like skull fractures, and this helps to reduce the amount of time a person spends in recovery and rehabilitation.”
Today, 26 September, also marks European Day Without A Road Death which encourages motorists to be aware of others using the road and to be particularly mindful of vulnerable road users including cyclists.
Statistics published in 2018 by the Road Safety Authority (RSA) showed that as many as 153 pedal cycle users experienced serious injuries on Irish roads and a further 778 cyclists reported minor injuries. Helmet wearing was not captured. The RSA’s provisional review of fatal collisions confirmed nine cyclist fatalities for 2018.
Acquired Brain Injury Ireland also reminded the public that it doesn’t have to be as dramatic as a road collision for a cyclist to come off their bike. Other causes can include greasy surface, faulty mudguard, bump on the road or a cardiac event.