FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – One of the many outcomes noted from the pandemic is that more and more people are riding bikes as an alternative to public transportation and just a way to get outdoors and physically active.
During National Bike Safety month in May, health experts are highlighting the measures everyone needs to take to avoid injury.
It’s become a routine for 13-year-old Andreas Rochelle, strapping on his helmet before hopping on his bike. But in November 2020, he skipped that first step when he went out for a ride around the block with friends. He figured he was safe on his quiet neighborhood streets.
”Fifteen or twenty minutes after he calls my husband saying that he couldn’t hear, he had fell and he couldn’t hear, said his mom Katya Rochelle.
Andreas had fallen of the bike and hit his head. It was a simple accident that led to an epidural hematoma, which is a potentially dangerous brain bleed.
Doctors said that it was critical he received immediate medical care.
”He had an epidural hematoma that grew very quickly and needed emergency surgery to evacuate the blood,” said Dr. Michele Markley, a pediatric surgeon with Broward Health Medical Center.
”It was a miracle what they did they really did a miracle there,” added Rochelle.
Data shows that simply wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of serious bike related injury by 85%.
It’s also important to put away cell phones, removed earbuds, and obey the rules of the road. which is something specialists at Broward Health Medical Center’s pediatric emergency room routinely talk about with kids following a bike accident.
”They all speak to the kids about the accident itself and what safety measures they should have taken. We also have a helmet video they need to watch before they leave the hospital if they came in from a bike accident not wearing one,” Markley said.
Andreas had to wait 6 months before riding his bike again and now always wears his helmet, even for a ride around the block.
”It’s a good lesson for him, I think, happily a good lesson but I think this is something he will never forget,” Rochelle said.
About 800 people a year in the U.S. die from bicycle accidents, and the most serious injuries are to the head, making that helmet a vital part of safety gear.
Experts say it is important that it fits properly, and if the helmet is damaged in any way, replace it.