If National Bike Month has prompted you to dust off your bicycle and do more peddling, a Sacramento emergency room doctor says "do it safely and wear a helmet."
Dr. Jeff Rodgerson is chief of the emergency room at the Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento Medical Center. He wants people to do more bicycling.
"I would hate to have people hear this and be discouraged from riding their bike; I ride my own bike," Rodgerson says.
But Rodgerson says he does see quite a number of injured patients coming into the ER after bike accidents.
"When we look back at those that have died riding their bikes, we find out that only 17 percent were wearing a helmet," Rodgerson says. "The broken bones tend to heal. But the brain injuries tend to be devastating."
A recent UC San Francisco study found that – nationwide – bike injuries among riders older than 45 rose 80 percent from 1998 to 2013. Researchers point out that there's been a cycling renaissance in recent years as more people bike for both recreation and as a way to commute. Researchers also say the trend has occurred while the U.S. shifts to an older demographic.
The study also found that the percentage of injured cyclists with head injuries rose from 10 percent to 16 percent between 1998 and 2013.
"You wouldn't drive a car without your seatbelt, you shouldn't be riding a bike without a helmet," Rodgerson says.
Rodgerson says cyclists should also follow the rules of the road and bike defensively.
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