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Recent Recalls Reminds Us of the Importance of Bicycle Helmets

Recent Recalls Reminds Us of the Importance of Bicycle HelmetsBell, a popular brand of helmets for both bicyclists and motorcyclists, has been around since it was founded in the 50s. A few days after the 2024 year began, the company issued a recall of their Bell Slope Adult Helmets. The faulty issue with the helmet is the strap anchor becoming dislodged “when sufficient force is applied,” according to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The report states that “the helmets can fail to protect in the event of a crash, posing a risk of head injury.” About 11,000 helmets are affected.

Literally one week later, manufacturer Retrospec recalled their Scout Kid’s bicycle helmets (sizes S and XS only), claiming they “do not comply with the coverage, positional stability, and labeling requirements of the CPSC federal safety regulation for bicycle helmets,” per the CPSC. These, too, can fail to protect children in the event of a crash. The recall affects about 72,000 helmets.

The CPSC advises that riders immediately stop using their helmets (no matter which brand). To get a refund, consumers should:

  1. Cut off the straps of the helmet;
  2. Mark the helmet with their initials, date, and company logo (Retrospec only);
  3. Upload photos of the destroyed helmet to or as proof; and then
  4. Dispose of the helmet.

The data shows how bicycle helmets can save lives

Helmets meeting CPSC’s federal safety standard absorb impact energy and protect the skull and brain. A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed an increase in bicycle-related deaths, particularly among adults, from 2009 to 2018. The report also highlighted a significant number of bicycle-related traumatic brain injuries treated in emergency departments. The CPSC summarized some main points:

  • There were nearly 597,000 bicycle-related traumatic brain injuries treated in hospital emergency departments (ED) in the United States.
  • The rate of ED visits declined by almost 50% among kids, but declined only 6% among adults.
  • Males were three times more likely than females to end up in the ED with traumatic brain injuries.
  • Policies requiring bike helmets have been associated with long-term, sustained bike helmet use and a 20%-55% reduction in head injuries.

Read More: Bicycle-Related Traumatic Brain Injuries and Emergency Room Visits

CPSC’s 2020 report on COVID-19’s impact on injuries underlined a rise in bicycle injuries, particularly among users aged 40 and above. Although no helmet design prevents concussions, CDC’s HEADS UP helps identify symptoms. Consumers are advised to always wear helmets, follow instructions, ensure proper fit, replace when needed, and be aware of road rules when engaging in bicycling, scootering, or skateboarding.

The most common – and serious – brain injuries for Phoenix cyclists

Suffering a concussion from a bicycle accident can result in a serious and potentially life-altering injury. A concussion, also known as a “mild” TBI, occurs when the brain experiences sudden and forceful movement within the skull, commonly due to a blow to the head or a violent jolt. Even with the use of helmets, which are crucial for mitigating head injuries, the force of the impact may still lead to a concussion. What makes concussions particularly serious is their potential for long-term consequences on cognitive function, memory, and overall mental health. The immediate symptoms, including headaches, dizziness, and confusion, might subside, but the lingering effects can manifest in difficulties with concentration, mood swings, and memory issues. Additionally, repeated concussions, especially without adequate recovery time, can contribute to a condition known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), underscoring the gravity of these injuries in the broader context of cyclists’ well-being.

Basilar skull fractures are also common. A basilar skull fracture is a severe and potentially life-threatening injury due to the critical location of the fracture at the base of the skull. Basilar skull fractures involve a break in the bones forming the skull’s base, near the brainstem and vital structures such as the spinal cord. What makes basilar skull fractures particularly serious is the potential for complications, including damage to the brain and surrounding structures. Such fractures can lead to the leakage of cerebrospinal fluid, which poses an infection risk, and may be associated with severe neurological deficits. Additionally, the proximity to crucial arteries and nerves increases the potential for life-altering consequences.

A subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) is another serious and potentially life-threatening injury. A subarachnoid hemorrhage occurs when blood leaks into the space between the brain and the thin tissues covering it. During a bicycle accident, the forceful impact of a collision or fall can cause sudden acceleration or deceleration, leading to the rupture of blood vessels in the brain and resulting in an SAH. The severity of this injury lies in the potential for increased intracranial pressure, which can adversely affect the brain’s function and may lead to life-threatening complications. Symptoms of an SAH include a sudden and severe headache, nausea, vomiting, and changes in consciousness.

At Plattner Verderame, P.C., we understand the critical role of helmets in safeguarding cyclists against severe injuries in the event of a bicycle accident. However, we realize that accidents can occur, and it’s important to be aware that defective bicycle helmets may contribute to the severity of a bicycle accident. In such cases, seeking the assistance of a skilled Phoenix products liability attorney is crucial.

Our legal team at Plattner Verderame, P.C. is dedicated to advocating for cyclists who may have been affected by defective helmets, guiding them through the legal process, and pursuing just compensation for any injuries. We prioritize the safety and well-being of our clients, combining legal knowledge and experience with a commitment to ensuring their rights are protected in the aftermath of bicycle accidents, whether caused by defects in equipment or other factors. If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, and you think your helmet was defective, contact us and schedule a free initial consultation by calling us at our Phoenix or Tempe offices, or using our contact page.