I love that Pittsburgh is becoming an increasingly bike-friendly city. I’ve been an avid cyclist for years, and it’s reassuring that our community is doing what it can to make bicycle riding as safe as possible. However, a story in today’s Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is a reminder of why you shouldn’t rely on laws or other people on the road to keep you safe.
According to the article, a young man was riding his bike in Lawrenceville when he was hit head-on by someone in a Jeep. The driver sped off, and the man was left badly injured and unconscious in the middle of the road. He suffered extremely serious injuries including a ruptured aorta, multiple breaks in his legs, and a fractured pelvis. He was, as he calls it, “mangled,” but it could have been much worse – all of his doctors agree that if he would have died if it weren’t for his helmet.
I can’t say often enough how important it is to wear a helmet. Research has shown that wearing a properly fitted helmet can help reduce the risk of a head injury by 74-85%. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, head injuries account for 62% of bicycle-related deaths. There’s no competition between you and even the smallest car, so in my opinion, riding without a helmet is never worth the risk involved.
You are your own best defense against being involved in a bicycle accident. Wear proper safety gear, practice safe riding tips, and know your area’s bicycle laws. Cycling can be a great pastime or alternative to driving, but make sure you keep yourself as safe as possible.