The Way We Talk About Helmets Is a Problem

Colorful bicycles and their wheels

In California, bicycle riding is a popular means of leisure activity, exercise, and commuting. However, along with the surging popularity of riding comes a startling statistic: From 2016 and 2018, 455 cyclists died in traffic accidents on California roads—more than in any other three-year period in the past 25 years.

When we talk about a bicycle crash, a majority of people start the conversation by asking the popular question:

“Was the bicycle rider wearing a helmet at the time of the accident?”

We believe that this is a problematic form of victim shaming that is worth addressing.

Victim Blaming Riders

Would the bicycle crash have been prevented if the bicycle rider was wearing a helmet? In almost all cases, the answer is no. So why do many who hear of these accidents treat the rider as though they could have prevented their own injuries?

In cases where negligent drivers or other parties are the cause of the bicycle accident, there is little to nothing that the rider could or should have been expected to do in order to avoid sustaining injuries.

It’s also important to bring up a simple fact: While bicycle helmets do help prevent severe or fatal injuries, they are not a sure-means of walking away from a bicycle accident injury-free. A rider’s entire body is still completely vulnerable when a collision occurs, not to mention that helmets do not always prevent injuries to the head or brain.

Whether or not a bicycle rider was wearing a helmet or not does not impact liability, nor should it be an indicator that the rider should have “been more careful” to avoid injuries. On the contrary, riders have a legal right to the road and should be able to expect that drivers will drive cautiously around them.

Advocating for the Rights of Injured Cyclists

If you or a loved one is injured in a bicycle accident in Fresno, please know that our team is here to help you through these difficult times. Since 2010, our attorneys have been advocating for the rights of injured cyclists across Fresno and the surrounding areas. When clients come to us, they don’t just get legal representation—they get a team of legal warriors dedicated to fighting for their maximum recovery.

We are available 24/7 for you. Contact Fowler Helsel Vogt at (559) 900-1280 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.

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