The Commonwealth of Massachusetts does not require bicyclists over the age of 16 to don a helmet when they take to the streets. Furthermore, the law is very clear that lack of a helmet on an injured rider is not grounds to find contributory negligence (see M.G.L. ch. 85, section 11B).
That said, it’s generally a very good idea for all bicyclists to wear a helmet. We know that more head injuries occur in biking than in any other sport. A bike helmet may not prevent a bicycle accident, but it can help to significantly reduce injuries and protect riders against concussions and traumatic brain injury. There were reportedly 287,0000 bike-related head injuries in the U.S. between 2007 to 2011. By comparison, there were 220,000 head injuries attributed to football and 132,000 to basketball.
Recently, Consumer Reports touched on this in two different articles. The first involved finding the best bicycle helmet and the second involved analyzing the anatomy of a bicycle accident and how helmets can help play a role in reducing injuries. Continue reading