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Do helmets prevent spinal cord injuries?

Many people in the Reno area have probably heard that motorcyclists who wear helmets are making a valuable investment. Helmets do indeed save lives and prevent traumatic brain injuries. It is a good idea for a motorcyclist who wants to travel Nevada’s roads to wear one.

However, the research is a little less certain when it comes to whether helmets prevent spinal cord injuries and other injuries to the back and spine. On the one hand, one study tended to dispel the notion that helmets may actually increase the risk of spinal cord injuries because they add extra weight on to one’s head and thus increase the twisting force on the spine in an accident.

However, the study was not as crystal clear when it came to whether helmets actually reduced spinal cord injuries. There was some evidence that helmets prevented fractures and other injuries in the cervical vertebrae, that is, in one’s neck. However, with respect to other types of spinal cord injuries, the study showed helmets made no significant difference in frequency or severity.

It does bears repeating that helmets do not prevent all motorcycle injuries. One common misunderstanding some people may have is that if a motorcyclist gets seriously hurt in an accident and was not wearing a helmet, that somehow makes the accident the motorcyclist’s fault.

Such is simply not the case, as helmets really do nothing to stop motorcycle accidents; they merely prevent some types of injuries.

The best way other motorists can prevent motorcycle accidents is to follow the laws, pay careful attention to one’s driving and be courteous when one is near a motorcycle. When drivers fail to do this, it is ultimately their responsibility to pay for the damages they cause.

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