Around 800 bicyclists are killed, with another 500,000 ending up in the emergency room, each year in the U.S. With 2/3 of deaths and 1/3 of injuries involving the head or face, helmets are the most important piece of safety gear to have. Wearing a helmet can reduce your risk of head injury by as much as 85%! Here are some bike helmet safety tips:
Choosing a Helmet
Your helmet should have the Consumer Product Safety Committee (CPSC) sticker inside. This ensures that the helmet will provide a high level of protection from an impact. All helmets manufactured after March 1999 must meet the CPSC standard. Additionally, labels that read “ASTM” “ANSI” and “Snell” indicate helmets that meet voluntary safety standards in place before 1999. Helmets with these labels also meet current CPSC standards. If considering a used or hand-me-down helmet, ensure that there are no cracks, it is not broken, and has never been in a crash. Keep in mind some helmets may have cracks that may not be visible.
Bicycle helmets can also be worn for other sports such as roller skating, in-line skating, or sledding! However, skateboarders or skaters who perform tricks may want to look for helmets specifically designed for their sport. These specialized helmets cover more of the head and provide more protection. Click here for more bike helmet safety tips!
Does My Helmet Fit Properly?
- When the chin strap is buckled, a bicycle helmet should have a snug but comfortable fit. You should not be able to move the helmet from side to side or up and down.
- The helmet should sit level on the head (not tilted back) and rest low on the forehead.
- The bottom edge of the helmet should be 1 to 2 finger widths above the eyebrow.
- Another technique to check proper positioning: your eyes should be able to see the very edge of the helmet when looking upward.
- The straps of the helmet need to be even and should form a “Y” that comes together right at the bottom of the earlobe. The straps should be snug against the head.
- The buckled chin strap should leave only enough room to allow one finger to be inserted between the buckle and chin. When opening your mouth, you should be able to feel the helmet pull down on your head.