Cycling is one of the most popular pastimes all over the world, enjoyed by young and old alike. It can be exciting and liberating in so many different ways to hop on your bike and set off along city streets, forest trails, or country roads, and cycling is a wonderful activity to enjoy with friends and family, in particular, but it’s absolutely essential to take the proper precautions every time you cycle.
Checking your bike’s tires, ensuring that all the parts are moving smoothly, and performing routine maintenance checks are essential, but one of the most important parts of cycling is wearing a helmet.
Even though riding without a helmet is perfectly legal in most states, and laws regarding helmets are relatively lax across most of America, it’s still recommended to wear one in order to keep yourself safe while cycling.
The Risks Of Not Wearing A Helmet
Choosing not to wear a helmet can lead to some terrible consequences.
Issues like brain damage and skull fractures are surprisingly common in incidents when riders chose not to wear helmets, and in the worst cases, death can result from this decision. In fact, statistics show that over 50% of cyclists killed in road accidents were not wearing helmets at the time, while those wearing helmets have a much lower chance of head, face, or neck injuries in general.
It’s clear to see from the data available that wearing a helmet can make a massive difference to your safety on the roads.
The best helmets are able to absorb shocks from impacts with objects or when hitting the ground at speed, acting as a barrier or shield to protect your head from all kinds of potential damage, while also allowing you to feel more reassured and relaxed while you ride.
Still, some people choose not to wear helmets because they might feel a little uncomfortable or hot while wearing one.
Others argue that helmets aren’t needed for short and simple rides, or they believe that they’re an experienced and skilled cyclist, so have little risk of falling from their bike. In actuality, however, the risks of not wearing a helmet far outweigh the minor inconveniences that may result from wearing one.
Tips For Wearing A Bike Helmet
The following tips should help you have a more positive experience while wearing a bike helmet, making the helmet more comfortable overall, and helping you stay safe on the roads.
- Choose With Care – Remember that bike helmets can come in a huge range of sizes and styles, so if you’ve had uncomfortable experiences with bike helmets in the past, it might simply be because you chose a model that just wasn’t the right fit for your head. Visiting a sports or cycling store and getting some assistance choosing a helmet can be a simple and effective way to find one that works for you.
- Look For The Sticker – Every time you buy a helmet, you should look out for the CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Committee) sticker on the inside. All helmets manufactured since 1999 must have this sticker to prove that they meet the safety standards of the CPSC. Other safety stickers include ANSI, Snell, and ASTM, and all of these labels are a good sign to see on your helmet. If you buy a cheaper alternative manufactured outside of the US, there is a chance that it won’t meet the safety standards of CPSC.
- Set An Example – Getting kids to wear helmets can be a challenge as they may complain of feeling hot or uncomfortable, or they might argue that their friends don’t wear them so they shouldn’t have to either. However, by setting an example by wearing one yourself every time you go for a ride, as well as explaining to your children the risks associated with not wearing a helmet, you can make the process a lot easier.
- The Right Fit – Having a helmet that fits correctly is so important, but it can be challenging for some people to figure out whether or not their chosen helmet fits correctly or not. A good way to check is to put on the helmet, fasten the straps, and then try opening your mouth very wide. If the helmet pulls down onto the head, it’s a good fit. If not, you may need to tighten the chin strap or opt for a smaller model. If your helmet rocks around as your ride, the fit needs to be adjusted and the straps may need to be tightened.
- Always Buy New – Some people may make the mistake of using a helmet that has been handed down from a friend or parent, but this is often an unwise approach. Helmets don’t last forever, and if they’ve been involved in any knocks or accidents in the past, there’s a chance that their protective abilities will have weakened. They may even have dents or cracks, which will make them far less useful when it comes to keeping you safe on the roads.
Overall, it’s clear to see that bicycle helmets are absolutely essential.
For kids and adults alike, it’s so important to wear a helmet when you’re out on the roads and trails, and even short journeys around the block can be risky. You never know when danger might strike, so it’s widely recommended to always wear a helmet, no matter how much experience you have or how short and simple your journey might seem.
Be sure to follow these top tips above when choosing a helmet and checking that it fits correctly, and if you have children, remember to inform them of the dangers that can come along from not wearing a helmet.
Of course, you should also remember that a helmet isn’t all you need to have a safe cycling experience. You should also consider wearing additional protective equipment like gloves, shin pads, and knee protectors, as well as following road rules and staying alert at all times.