Cycling in Los Angeles is more dangerous than it should be. Riders often contend with bad roads, congestion and drivers who are hostile, distracted and unsafe. Because of this, it is crucial for riders to take precautions to protect themselves, including wearing a helmet.

Unfortunately, there are far too many riders who bike without a helmet. And while this is dangerous for any person to do, a study revealed that cycling injuries among people not wearing a helmet are worse for young, black or Hispanic men.

Who isn’t wearing helmets?

According to the study, which comes from the journal Brain Injury, most riders who suffer head or neck injuries in a bike accident are not wearing a helmet. And unfortunately, just 29 percent of adults and 42 percent of children under the age of 17 wear helmets while cycling all the time.

The study also found that men wear helmets less than women, and black and Hispanic riders wear them less than riders categorized as Asian/Pacific Islander or white.

What does this mean?

Not wearing a helmet can have devastating consequences. The study revealed that 78 percent of adult riders who suffered head or neck injuries weren’t wearing their helmets; 88 percent of children suffering the same injuries were not wearing helmets.

Riders with these types of injuries typically require hospital visits and extensive medical care.

The study showed that men were likelier to stay in an intensive care unit than women; they also had more severe injuries than women. Black and Hispanic riders had to stay in the hospital longer than other riders. They were also more likely to die from their injuries.

As such, it can be especially crucial to wear a helmet if you are in these groups.

Head and neck injuries have the potential to be catastrophic, which is why it is so important to wear a helmet while bicycling. Even if you are a safe, conscientious rider, there may be little you can do to avoid a crash caused by a bad road or reckless driver. And while wearing a helmet cannot prevent a cycling accident, it can minimize your injuries in the event of one.

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