Newspaper article

1,000 Cycling Helmets Will Be Given Away Saturday

Newspaper article

1,000 Cycling Helmets Will Be Given Away Saturday

Article excerpt

The American Academy of Neurology (AAN) will be giving away 1,000 free bike helmets for adults and children at the Mill City Farmers Market in Minneapolis on Saturday.

AAN, which is the largest association of neurologists in the world (more than 25,000 members) and the largest trade association in Minnesota, is handing out the helmets to raise awareness of head injuries and other neurological conditions and to mark the opening of its new headquarters at Chicago Avenue and 2nd Street, right across from the site of the weekly market.

This is the third time within the past 18 months that the AAN has hosted a bike-helmet giveaway. For the past two springs, it has donated 1,000 bike helmets to children in north Minneapolis through bike fests hosted by Venture North, a nonprofit organization that helps kids get work experience through fixing bikes.

Helmets are, of course, key to preventing bicycle-related head injuries. Research has shown that wearing a helmet properly and consistently can reduce the risk of brain injury in bicycling accidents by at least 85 percent.

Yet, according to the Minnesota Brain Injury Alliance, only about 8 percent of Minnesota's bike riders wear a helmet consistently.

Still, that's "far greater than most other places in the nation," said Mark Kinde, director of the Minnesota Department of Health's Injury & Violence Prevention Program, in a phone interview Thursday.

According to MDH statistics, there were 6,227 bicycle-related injuries in Minnesota in 2010 (the latest year for which there are a full 12 months of data). Those are injuries that were either treated in a hospital emergency room or required hospitalization. Nine cyclists were killed that year.

Both those numbers are a slight decline from the previous year -- despite the fact that more Minnesotans are bicycling. …

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