Monday, February 15, 2010

Elderly Bicyclist Killed in Accident

In Mission Viejo, Capistrano Beach resident Morlyn Lokken recently died from serious head injuries a couple of weeks after a bicycle accident.

Lokken, who was 78 years old, was out riding with a friend last January 28, 2010 near El Toro Road and Raintree Lane in Lake Forest when he hit some mud on the trail. It sent him over his bike’s handlebars and he landed on his head.

Bicyclist accident deaths account roughly for less 2 percent of all vehicle crash fatalities. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, majority of those killed in bicycle accidents suffered serious head injuries.

Last 2008, as many as 714 bicyclists were killed and according to the statistics, 91 percent of them were not wearing helmets at the time of the accident.

The figures depicted above underscore the fact that the proper use of head restraints and quality helmets can really make a difference in saving the rider’s life in case of an accident or a collision with another vehicle.

The use of helmets in fact, is estimated to reduce head injury risk by as much as 85 percent.

However, there are some instances, when riders are still very much at risk even if they wear a helmet. For one, elderly riders such as Lokken are more vulnerable to injuries as they do not have the constitution and health of younger riders.

Another factor which can cause bicycle death even if the rider is wearing a helmet is the use of substandard helmets. Helmets are made to cushion the impact of the crash against the person’s head but if it was made poorly or the qualities of the materials are weak, it could still result to injuries to the rider.

Likewise, wearing a helmet is not sufficient protection against traumatic injuries in other parts of the body during a crash - as a person may die from blood loss or even a broken neck; helmets could reduce the chances of suffering from serious head injuries during accidents.

Thus, while wearing a helmet can indeed save your life, riders must still be cautious. You should make sure that to buy helmets that meet U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and state safety standards – a DOT lettering on the back of the helmet means that it is approved and has complied with federal safety standards.

However, in case you are injured in a bike accident even after taking all possible precautions because of the negligence of another, consult with a personal injury lawyer to explore potential compensation against the liable party.