As the days begin to warm, don't forget the helmet when going on a bike ride

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As the days begin to warm, more and more Kentucky residents are getting out of their homes to go for walks, runs, or bike rides. When families pull the bikes from the garage, it's important to also remember the bike helmet and reflective vest as well.

"A bike helmet can save your life," UofL neurosurgeon Emily Sieg said. "The effects of even a minor traumatic brain injury can be debilitating and last for years."

March is Brain Injury Awareness Month, a good reminder to wear appropriate protective headgear when riding bicycles, scooters, motorcycles or an open-air vehicle.

Head injuries account for almost three-fourths of the nearly 780 bicycle deaths that occur annually in the United States and, according to the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute, helmets completely prevent or reduce the severity of brain injury in two-thirds of cases.

Here are the top five reasons to always wear a helmet when riding a bike:

Protect your head, face, and brain from trauma by allowing the helmet to absorb the force of a fall or crash.

Improve your ability to see. A helmet visor can shade your face from the sun and prevent rain or snow from getting in your eyes.

Improve your visibility. A brightly colored helmet or a helmet with reflective strips can make you more visible to drivers.

Set a good example for others. In 21 states youth riders are required by law to wear helmets.

Protect your legal rights. Insurance companies will often claim in court that a bicyclist not wearing a helmet was negligent and thus argue against paying medical bills and damages.

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