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Can bike helmets increase your risk of injury?

When you were a child, you were probably told many times that bike helmets would keep you safe. You had to wear one. When you grew up and told your children the same thing, you believed it.

Certainly, in many ways, bike helmets can and do help. They prevent some injuries or lower the severity of other injuries. However, there is one way that they can actually increase your risk.

The problem comes if you ride near cars, using the bike lane. Studies have been done to see how drivers treat cyclists, and they found that drivers actually stayed an average of three inches farther away from cyclists if they did not have helmets on.

There could be many reasons for it. Perhaps drivers thought cyclists without helmets were likely not very experienced and gave them extra room in case they made mistakes. Maybe drivers just felt like the risk wasn't that high, knowing that the cyclists were wearing helmets and would suffer more limited injuries.

No matter the reason, they got closer to bikers when they saw those helmets. This could increase the risks of an accident. Though three inches may not sound like much, it just makes contact that much more likely and cyclists certainly know how frightening it can be when vehicles begin to get close.

Have you been injured in a car accident while riding your bike? Did you feel like the driver was Brain surgeon: There's no point wearing bicycle helmets," Chris Matyszczyk, accessed May 06, 2017

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