Most bikers are aware of the risk of injury they face by getting on the roadway, and are more or less okay with it. Some cyclists choose to wear helmets and some do not, according to personal taste. From a safety perspective, of course, it is better to be safe and wear a helmet than to take a risk and be sorry for it when a mishap occurs.
Unfortunately, for young bikers, there is often not the same awareness of the risks of bike-riding as there is with adults. Also, younger bikers may or may not have good safety training and the example of responsible adults when it comes to bike-riding. In young bikers, the decision whether or not to wear a helmet is not always a fully informed or voluntarily chosen one. According to a recent study from the Duke University Medical Center, children from minority families and families with less money are more likely to bike without safety helmets.
Nationwide, roughly 3 million people are treated in emergency rooms every year for bicycle injuries, and over 300 children die as a result of cycling accidents. Not surprisingly, most fatal accidents are caused by traumatic head injuries. Wearing a bicycle helmet, when it doesn't altogether prevent head injuries, can often minimize them, and this is why wearing a helmet is so important.
Regardless of whether a cyclist is injured while wearing a helmet or not, he or she has the right to recover damages for the injuries he or she suffers. Damages can, at least in some states, potentially be reduced by the decision to go without a bicycle helmet, but in many states it doesn't matter. In any case, working with an experienced attorney is important to ensure one's rights are protected.