Head and face injuries in bicyclists--with special reference to possible effects of helmet use

J Trauma. 1992 Dec;33(6):887-93. doi: 10.1097/00005373-199212000-00016.


Fatal and nonfatal head and face injuries to unhelmeted bicyclists were analyzed to assess the injury-reducing potential of bicycle helmet use. Of the fatally injured, 64% (median age, 55 years) had fatal head and face injuries compared with 38% (median age, 18 years) with head and face injuries in the nonfatal injury group. The fatally injured often had multiple impact points, mostly to the occipital and temporal regions. Brain contusions, most often to the frontal and temporal lobes, were the most common cause of fatal injury, followed by subdural hematomas. In the nonfatal injury group abrasions/lacerations were most common type of injury, followed by cerebral concussions/contusions and superficial contusions. If all types of injuries to bicyclists are taken into account a helmet might have had an injury-reducing effect in two of every five fatal cases and in one of every five nonfatal cases. To increase the helmet use among bicyclists, a law, as in Australia, would be an excellent instrument.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Bicycling / injuries*
  • Bicycling / statistics & numerical data
  • Brain Injuries / etiology
  • Brain Injuries / mortality
  • Brain Injuries / prevention & control
  • Child
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / etiology
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / mortality
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / prevention & control*
  • Facial Injuries / etiology
  • Facial Injuries / mortality
  • Facial Injuries / prevention & control*
  • Head Protective Devices / statistics & numerical data*
  • Hematoma, Subdural / etiology
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Sweden / epidemiology