Time to enjoy bike riding again! Whether for fitness, transportation, or as a way to spend time with others, safety should be top of mind, Currently, helmets are only worn by 18% of the biking population, despite the fact that they reduce your odds of sustaining a serious head injury or even of dying. Helmet usage can become a habit, just like it is to fasten your seat belt.
According to research by the National Institutes of Health, helmet use reduces the chances of a head injury by 48%, serious head injury by 60%, traumatic brain injury by 53%, face injury by 23%, and the total number of killed or seriously injured cyclists by 34%. These are impressive statistics and should compel you to strap on a helmet!
Helmets are scientifically designed to protect your brain in the event of impact. Helmets protect your head by distributing the impact across the hard exterior of the helmet. The softer interior part of the helmet also reduces the impact. Falls, even at slow speeds can still be devastating. Wearing a helmet, for all types of rides, is critical.
Replace your helmet at least every few years, after any impact, or if you notice any cracks in the shell. The integrity of the helmet is compromised after any impact. Never wear a used helmet from a garage sale or from a friend, for this reason. Other types of helmets i.e. skiing, horseback riding etc are not designed properly for biking. Sharing helmets is not advised, as a personal fit is critical.
It is best to buy a helmet from a bike shop and get a personal fit for you. If the helmet isn’t fit properly, it will not protect your precious head in the event of impact. The overall size of the helmet needs to be considered along with the fit of the straps.
There are four important fit check points:
1. The helmet should be snug, but not tight enough to cause a headache.
2. The front of the helmet should be visible when you look up.
3. The triangles, on the straps, should fit right under each ear.
4. The chin strap should be snug enough when you open your mouth, you should feel it.
A few other benefits of helmets include:
Sun protection for your head
A block from the rays which can keep you cooler
Visors on many helmets, help shield your eyes from the sun
The fact that real cyclists do wear helmets!
You will set a good example for your kids or grandkids who are even more likely to suffer a fall.
Basic bike helmets range in price from $50 to $150. This is a small price to pay for the health of your head and it’s important contents!
Children should learn to ride only with a helmet. They will know the two go together at all times. Adopt the healthy habit to wear a bike helmet, each and every time you ride. It may keep you out of the emergency room!
by Christy Coughlin