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Bike-share programs may increase risk of head injuries

Despite the resiliency and strength of the human body, it is also highly vulnerable and susceptible to harm in some respects. Brain injuries continue to be a focus of growing concern in Virginia, especially in the areas of youth sports and other activities prone to head injuries. As medical data improves and research builds, the public is becoming more and more aware of the lasting effects and potential damage caused by a traumatic brain injury.

A recent study conducted by Canadian and American researched investigated the correlation between the occurrence of brain injuries and the presence of bike-sharing programs in cities across the United States. The researchers noted that most bike-sharing programs do not provide helmets, so riders either provide their own or ride without one. To measure the correlation and assess whether the implementation of bike-share programs resulted in a greater number of brain injuries, the researchers looked at how many people were admitted to trauma centers for head injuries after the roll-out of a bike-share program in five cities across the U.S. They compared those numbers with the data from cities without bike-share programs and concluded that the implementation of bike-share programs resulted in an increased risk of head injury of about 14%.

Brain injuries are increasingly gaining public attention because of their deceptive symptoms and potentially devastating effects. Many people fail to recognize that they have a brain injury until considerable damage has already occurred. In addition, many people who have experienced minor brain injuries in the past are at a greater risk for a severe and debilitating brain injury in the future without even realizing it.

Brain injuries are often especially devastating because of the way they affect people's lives. People can experience personality changes, suffer emotional issues and memory loss, and lose cognitive function. A traumatic brain injury can also cause seizures, coma or even death. In many cases, long-term care may be necessary to help rehabilitate the person or provide the support needed for daily tasks. When another person is responsible for causing a Virginia resident's head injury or failing to accurately diagnose or treat it, a personal injury lawsuit can be a useful legal mechanism that enables the victim to recover the financial compensation needed to pay for medical care or cover other expenses.

Source: West Virginia Public Broadcasting, "Brain Injury Rate Rose In Cities After Bike-Sharing Rolled Out," June 13, 2014

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