In an era when both physicians and patients are fascinated by high-technology medical interventions, we sometimes forget the impact that simple preventive measures can have on our patients' well-being. The research reported by Sacks et al1 in this issue of JAMA provides us with impressive evidence that this is so.
Each year in the United States, nearly 600000 persons visit an emergency department and more than 1300 die because of injuries sustained while riding a bicycle.2 Approximately half of these deaths are children and adolescents. Among children, the death rate from bicycling injuries exceeds the death rate from many other causes that receive considerably more public attention, such as accidental poisonings, falls, and firearms injuries.3 In fact, the death rate from bicycling injuries among children is similar to the preimmunization death rate from Haemophilus influenzae meningitis.4 Yet, while we now immunize all
Weiss BD. Bicycle HelmetsEffective but Underused. JAMA. 1991;266(21):3032-3033. doi:10.1001/jama.1991.03470210100043