Thousands of people are injured every year in bicycle accidents. Head injuries are by far the most common type of injury, particularly when a bicycle and a car collide. Too many cyclists avoid helmets thinking that they aren't really needed. Fact remains, there is no other piece of cycling gear is as important as a helmet, yet some riders refuse to wear them and others wear them incorrectly. Medical research estimates that nearly 85% of head related injuries can be minimized or avoided with one simple adjustment: every rider should wear a properly-fitted bicycle helmet.
Wear the helmet at all times when cycling. It's the law in many places, and its common sense everywhere. Protect your brain. One crash and you will understand! Helmets are required on all Summit Biking group rides.
Here are a few tips on finding the right bike helmet:
Make sure it is certified: You should only buy a helmet that meets the bicycle helmet safety standards of a reputed certification authority. Any helmet meeting these standards is labeled. Check the inside for certification stickers or holograms.
Make sure it fits and is comfortable: A helmet should be worn squarely on top of the head, covering the top of the forehead. If it is tipped back, it will not protect the forehead. The helmet fits well if it doesn't move around on the head or slide down over the wearer's eyes when pushed or pulled. The chin strap should be adjusted to fit snugly.
Visibility: You should be able to see well while wearing your helmet. It should not block your vision.
Vents: Look for a good combination of front vents (which help in cooling) and rear vents (which allow an exit for flow of that ventilation). V-shaped vents are most effective. More vents mean more cooling. The downside to a lot of vents is that there is less of helmet to protect you, and sometimes there's also increased wind noise.
Straps and retention system: Check for easy adjustment and secure hold. A helmet that can be easily adjusted while riding will be more comfortable and convenient for an avid cyclist. If you have long hair, you will want to make sure the retention system is ponytail-compatible and won't get tangled in your hair.
How to wear a Helmet properly: Place the helmet evenly on the head, making certain the front of the helmet sits only one to two finger-widths above the eyebrows (about 2.5 cm or 1 inch) and doesn't tilt forward or back, but rests straight on the head. The helmet should fit snugly. Switch the foam fittings inside the helmet as needed to get the right fit. Tighten the chinstrap as snug as possible, adjusting the side straps that connect the front and back so that they rest just below the ears. The helmet should not move more than 2.5 cm (1 inch) in any direction.
Maintain your Helmet: Wash in warm water with a mild soap. Only use paint and stickers that come with the helmet when it is purchased. Other paint and glue might damage the helmet. Keep your helmet away from heat as a helmet may delaminate and not give you effective protection. Periodically check the screws and straps to make sure that they are tight and working properly.
When to Replace a Helmet: Replace your helmet if you crash. Even if there is no visible damage. Impact crushes some of the foam and compromises future safety. Helmets work so well that you need to examine them for marks or dents to know if you hit. Many manufacturers have very beneficial crash replacement policies - take advantage of them. Absent damage, most manufacturers recommend replacement after 3-5 years due to natural deterioration and aging of the interior foam.