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Bike helmets save lives, Boston promotes their usage

Cars and bicycles are sharing the roads more and more often in the Boston area. It was recently reported that there has been a 30 percent increase in bicycling during the last two years thanks to 57 miles of new bike lanes and The Hubway bike share program. According to The Hubway's Facebook page, the program was launched last year and includes a fleet of 610 bikes at 61 stations. Despite the increase in riders, the number of accidents has dropped by 25 percent.

In concert with this increase in bicyclists, Boston has launched a safety campaign promoting the use of bicycle helmets to prevent bicycle accident head injuries. One of the public awareness efforts includes reminders painted onto the bike lanes. The reminder says "No Excuses" and "Wear a Helmet."

According to the Center for Disease Prevention and Control, more than 600,000 people are treated each year for bicycle-related injuries including traumatic brain injuries. Head injuries are the cause of 60 percent of the bicycle accident deaths. Those that are not fatal can lead to lifelong disability from irreversible brain damage. The CDC reports that bicycle-related head injury or death costs about $3 billion every year.

In Boston recently there have been several fatal bicycle accidents that point out the need for helmets. One female bicyclist was killed in a tractor-trailer truck accident in South Boston and another female bicyclist was killed on Huntington Avenue near Northeastern University.

Despite these two fatal accidents involving women, the Boston bike helmet safety program is targeting young men. The painted signs are concentrated on bike lanes near college campuses.

Source: Boston.com, "Boston launches public health campaign promoting use of bike helmets," Johanna Kaiser, Oct. 16, 2012

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