A Judge Cut a Cyclist's Hit-and-Run Reward Because She Wasn’t Wearing a Helmet

bicycle safety helmets
No Helmet? Less Compensation in Crasheswera Rodsawang - Getty Images

What happened to Raissa Lopes is a recurring nightmare for many cyclists. The 22-year-old from Dublin, Ireland lost control of her bike when a sand truck brushed her shoulder in traffic causing her to fall. The driver did not stop. She spent four hours after the incident waiting for medical attention for what turned out to be a concussion and several soft-tissue injuries to her head, face, shoulder and arm.

But when the accident happened on July 26, 2018, Lopes wasn’t wearing a helmet.

This detail affected the amount she was awarded this week in the case against the Motor Insurance Bureau of Ireland, which she had sued for their failure to find and apprehend the driver, the Irish Times reported.

Judge Colin Daly Reduced the €20,000 ($21,796.22) award by €4,000 ($4,359.24) on the basis of “contributory negligence”—a 20 percent decrease. The judge based their ruling on the fact that she had contributed to the severity and extent of her injuries by not wearing a helmet, according to the Independent.

While riding with a helmet has been shown in studies to reduce the severity of head injuries in cyclists, there is also significant research suggesting that helmet-laws actually makes bikers less safe.

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