ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Mountain Biking: The Importance of Wearing a Helmet

Updated on March 16, 2011

Your skull houses your brain and your brain serves a vital function in your body. Without it, you would be pretty useless. Though a person without brain function is able to survive on life support, what kind of life would that be? There is no awareness or interaction with the world around him or her. One would question whether what is the purpose of living in such a state.

Among various various sports-related injuries, it has been shown that bicycle-related injuries accounted for the greatest number of head injuries and hospitalised head injuries.  “About 540,000 bicyclists visit emergency rooms with injuries every year. Of those, about 67,000 have head injuries, and 27,000 have injuries serious enough to be hospitalized.”  Statistics also showed that “head injuries accounted for more than 60 percent of bicycle-related deaths, more than two-thirds of bicycle-related hospital admissions and about one-third of hospital emergency room visits for bicycling injuries.”

Cycling is evidently a sport that requires protective head gear.  Since bicycle helmets protect our heads and can help to prevent injuries that may result in serious damage to the brain, you would think this is reason enough to encourage all bike riders to wear helmets. Unfortunately, it isn't the case. There are still far too many bikers that ride without helmets. If any form of biking warrants the use of a helmet, then surely mountain biking, which is one of the more dangerous forms of biking, should make helmets mandatory.

How do bicycle helmets protect the head? They provide protection to the skull during a head impact by helping to slow the deceleration of the head upon impact. The helmet absorbs kinetic energy through its internal layer of crushable foam.

It has been argued that wearing a helmet will not guarantee the prevention of head injuries due to cycling. While that is true, the statistics still show that helmet wearers involved in bike accidents involving the head are less likely to be killed or be seriously or permanently injured compared to non-helmet wearers. The statistics show that "non-helmeted riders are 14 times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than helmeted riders.” It has also been shown that “bicycle helmets reduce the risk of head injury by as much as 85 percent and the risk of brain injury by as much as 88 percent." It is undeniable that "bicycle helmets offer substantial protection to the forehead and midface."

Additionally, “it is estimated that 75 percent of bicycle-related fatalities among children could be prevented with a bicycle helmet,” and the “universal use of bicycle helmets by children ages 4 to 15 could prevent between 135 and 155 deaths, between 39,000 and 45,000 head injuries, and between 18,000 and 55,000 scalp and face injuries annually.”

There is another study from Western Australia that also concurred that increased helmet usage reduced the incidence and severity of head injuries in Australia. The hospitals surveyed reported that the increase use of helmets over time is linked to a reduction of the number of closed head injuries by half. Not only were there a reduction in head injuries but the severity of head injuries had decreased resulting in shorter hospital stays.

Not only are do helmets potentially help to reduce the severity of the head injury and/or prevent death, they are also a much cheaper option compared to the health care costs involved in hospitalisation due to head injuries resulting from a cycling accident. Cycling injuries caused by lack of helmet use estimate some $81 million a year in direct health care costs, while “indirect costs of cyclists' injuries due to not using helmets are estimated at $2.3 billion each year.” 

It has been estimated that “every dollar spent on a bike helmet saves society $30 in direct medical costs and other costs to society.”  Additionally, “if 85 percent of all child cyclists wore bicycle helmets in one year, the lifetime medical cost savings could total between $109 million and $142 million.”

Given the enormous savings on health care costs, the potential of saving your life and reducing the severity of a potential head injury, doesn't that warrant the use of a helmet during cycling, particularly the sport of mountain biking?

Statistics have been taken from the Bicycle Helmet Statistics Institute.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • figur8 profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago

      So far no arguments on statistics but I do agree with you on the helmet part. I used to ride a bit, but nothing extreme. Even then I would always wear a helmet. I also used to rock climb - and I would wear a helmet - despite the fact that most people don't bother.

      Sure, one can argue against the statistics on wearing a helmet. Personally, I value my brain. I've only got one and I certainly don't want to take any chances with it.

      I don't know what sort of arguments these people put up against the statistics, but I don't think we can escape the fact that helmets do save lives and they do reduce the severity of the head injury.

    • wanderingpops profile image


      9 years ago

      I very much support wearing a helmet when biking anywhere. I posted an article recently, actually in two parts because it was so long, on bike helmet safety and came under scrutiny by some folks that really argued the statistics. Did you get any similar argument? Are you a mountain biker? I have had several crashes that I am sure the outcome would not have been as positive had I not been wearing a helmet. I've ripped visors off and cracked shells in good endo's in the rocks. I am sure my helmet has save me severe injury a couple times.

      Here is a link to that article if you're interestd:


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)