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70% of cyclists treated for brain injury, not wearing a helmet


70% of cyclists treated for brain injury, not wearing a helmet

New research published in today’s Irish Times showed that 70% of cyclists referred to Ireland’s main centre for treating brain damage, were not wearing a helmet at the time of their injury.

A total of 26 cyclists were sent for treatment at the neurosurgical centre at Beaumont Hospital in Dublin. Eighteen out of 26 cyclists referred to the centre, were not wearing helmets.

Mind Your Head – Wear a Helmet cyclists urged to wear a helmet to prevent brain injury

That’s why we are urging all cyclists to ‘Mind Your Head’ and wear a helmet, even if it’s for short journeys.

We’re not surprised by findings

On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, our CEO Barbara O’Connell told listeners that the latest research was not surprising because it confirms much of what we already see in our services.

Barbara said: “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.”

Cycling is good for you and the environment

The last thing we want, is to stop people from cycling which is a great form of exercise, active commuting and pollution-free transport for the environment.

Helmets prevent serious injuries

But from a brain injury point of view, we want every cyclist – young and old – wearing a helmet.

The latest research findings show how serious cycling injuries can be without one. Recovery after brain injury is not easy. A fall off your bike can leave you with a chronic condition affecting your life and the lives of your family for months, years or even decades after the initial injury.

Don’t take that chance. Mind your head and wear a helmet.

Cycling topped the referrals to neurological centre for sporting head injuries

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.

What Australian experts say

According to the national brain injury charity, wearing a helmet is not new advice. As recently as 2016, Australian researchers showed how cycle helmets reduced the risk of serious head injury by nearly 70% and the risk of fatal head injury by 65%.


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.

Cyclist injuries on Irish roads

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 in this data. The RSA’s provisional review of fatal collisions confirmed 9 cyclist fatalities for 2018.

It’s easy to come off your bike

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 of their bike. Other causes can include:

·       Greasy surface

·       Faulty mudguard

·       Bump on the road

·       Cardiac event

You can read more about the research published in today’s Irish Times here.

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