Why It’s So Important To Wear A Bicycle Helmet
Cycling is a hugely popular activity, with statistics showing that more than 1 in 10 Americans cycle on a regular basis, and the number of active cyclists across the nation has been increasing in recent years as well.
It’s a great way to get around from place to place without resorting to fuel-powered vehicles, while also being a fun and effective form of exercise too and a great activity to share with friends and family, but it also comes with some risks.
Statistics show that hundreds of cyclists are tragically killed every year, and many more are injured in accidents and collisions with cars and other vehicles, leaving them with physical injuries like fractures and broken bones, as well as mental trauma too.
Cycling safely, following the rules of the road, and keeping your bike in good working order are just a few ways you can reduce your risks of serious cycling injuries, and another one of the most important tips to follow is to always wear a helmet too.
The Risks of Not Wearing a Bicycle Helmet
Even though helmets have been demonstrably proven to save lives and help people stay safer while cycling, a lot of people still choose to not wear them, volunteering themselves to face an array of risks and dangers in the process.
Many cycling accidents cause riders to be thrown from their bikes and onto the ground below or into a vehicle or obstacle in their path. In many cases, the rider’s head is the first part of their body to make contact with those obstacles, and the damage from this can be devastating.
Statistics show that over 50% of the cyclists who were killed in road accidents were not wearing helmets at the time, while many of those who suffer serious concussions and long-term brain injuries were also found not to be wearing helmets either.
By contrast, those who wear helmets have been continuously shown to escape from accidents, crashes, and collisions without suffering concussions and head injuries. Of course, helmets can’t keep you 100% safe in every situation, but they certainly make a real difference.
Even from a legal perspective, if you get involved in an accident and aren’t wearing a helmet, you’re still entitled to make a claim, but it might be much more difficult to get a satisfactory settlement, as insurance adjusters will argue that you should have been wearing a helmet.
Top Tips for Wearing Helmets
Clearly, all the evidence shows that wearing a bike helmet is the right thing to do. They might be a little uncomfortable or leave your head feeling hot at the end of a long road, but those minor irritations are greatly outweighed by the safety benefits a helmet can provide. Here are some tips to have the best experience with the helmets you choose:
- Choose Carefully – Bike helmets can come in a wide range of sizes, shapes, and styles, with lots of different makes and models out there to choose from, so don’t feel that you have to dive right in and buy the first one you find. Instead, take your time and browse through the options, speaking with sales assistants in sporting stores for advice, if you need it.
- Get the Right Size – It’s not just important to choose a high quality helmet made of strong and sturdy materials; you also need to find one that fits just right as well. A helmet that doesn’t fit correctly may feel loose and lack protection if an accident occurs, potentially doing more harm than good, but a well-fitting helmet will help to keep you totally protected. Again, you can ask cycling store employees for help with the fit.
- Approved Models Only – When you buy certain products, you’ll usually look for certain marks or seals that prove they’ve been tested and approved by independent authorities or testing bodies. The same is true of bicycle helmets. The Consumer Product Safety Committee (CPSC) takes a look at all-new bicycle helmets and only approves those that it deems safe for general use, so you should always pay close attention and only buy approved models bearing the CPSC sticker or other leading safety stickers from ANSI or Snell on the inside.
- Don’t Settle for Second Best – There are certain items and accessories that are fine to share with friends and use secondhand, but bicycle helmets aren’t among them. You shouldn’t make use of a used helmet from one of your buddies or a hand-me-down helmet from a relative, as it might not be the right size, it might be cracked or damaged in some other way, or it might be too old and no longer comply with modern safety standards. Always buy a new helmet instead.
- Encourage Young Riders – Many adults are perfectly familiar with the safety reasons behind wearing a helmet and will happily wear one to keep themselves safe, but trying to get kids to wear them can be more of a challenge. Kids may complain of feeling uncomfortable or awkward in their helmets, but adult riders should set the right example for them by always wearing their own helmets and encouraging younger people to do the same.
Overall, it’s clear to see that there are no feasible arguments to be made against the wearing of bicycle helmets. These helmets save lives, protect people from serious injuries, reduce the risk of concussions and TBIs, and so on, and for these reasons alone, they should always be worn by every cyclist, regardless of their age or the type of cycling they’re doing.
Even if you’re staying away from bike roads and simply cycling along gentle trails, you never know when you might hit an obstacle in the way and fall from your bike or get hurt in some other way, so it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Make sure you and your loved ones wear helmets on every ride and make use of other safety equipment too like pads and gloves.