Urgent Call for Helmet Safety – Study Reveals Rising E-bike Injuries

As the popularity of electronic bicycles (e-bikes) surges across the United States, concerns over safety intensify, with a recent study shedding light on a concerning trend: a sharp rise in head injuries among riders, particularly those not wearing helmets.

The research, published in JAMA Surgery, underscores the growing public health challenge posed by the burgeoning e-bike phenomenon. Dr. Benjamin Breyer, senior author of the study and chair of urology at the University of California, San Francisco, acknowledges the environmental and health benefits of e-bikes but emphasizes the pressing need for increased helmet usage to mitigate the risk of traumatic head injuries.

Between 2017 and 2022, e-bike-related hospitalizations surged dramatically, with nearly 8,000 individuals seeking emergency care for head trauma in 2022 alone – a 49-fold increase over the study period. Alarmingly, helmet use among e-bike riders declined by nearly 6 percent annually during the same timeframe.

The study, drawing from data provided by the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS), highlights a concerning discrepancy: only 44% of injured e-bike riders wore helmets. Dr. Laura Goodman, a pediatric surgeon, underscores the gravity of the situation, highlighting the alarming number of children affected by e-bike injuries.

Despite the rise in e-bike popularity for both recreational and commuting purposes, safety measures have failed to keep pace. The authors stress the urgent need for comprehensive strategies to enhance e-bike safety, including urban design changes, stricter helmet laws and enforcement, and educational initiatives targeting riders of all ages.

The study’s findings serve as a sobering reminder of the risks associated with e-bike use and the critical importance of proactive measures to protect riders from preventable injuries. As e-bikes continue to increase, concerted efforts are essential to ensure that safety remains paramount on the streets and bike paths of America’s cities and towns.