June 8, 2014
Cities in California that have kicked off bike- share programs must take the results of a new study very seriously. According to the study, the rate of bicycle accident-related head injuries in cities that have implemented bike-share programs has actually spiked since these programs were introduced. That is being traced to the fact that these bike-share programs don’t mandate that bicyclists who rent bicycles via the program wear helmets.
The study was conducted by a team of Canadian and American researchers who were specifically looking at the effect of bike share programs on a city’s head injury rates. They found that there was a 14% increased likelihood of suffering a head injury, in those cities where these bike-share programs have been implemented. Those injuries were serious enough for the people to require a visit to a trauma center. In control cities, where there was no comparable bike-share program, there was no such increase in bicycle-related head injuries.
The study does not prove conclusively to California bicycle accident lawyers that the bike share programs are linked to an increase in head injuries. For instance, the researchers did not analyze other factors in causing these brain injuries. For instance, the researchers did not analyze individual accidents and head injuries, and also did not know whether the persons who were involved in these accidents, were actually riding rental bicycles at the time of the accident. However, the study’s findings are intriguing, and seem to point to a possible link between the popularity of these bike-share programs, and an increased rate of head injuries.
Bike-share programs must mandate that bicyclists who rent the bicycles wear helmets. Currently, many of the programs only take nominal steps to protect bicyclists – they refer bicyclists to helmet rental facilities.