Have you seen the photos of the Olympic cyclists in action? Have you noticed what they all have in common regardless of where they’re from?
Helmets! They’re all wearing helmets.
They know that bike helmets not only save lives but also prevent or lessen the severity of brain injuries during bike crashes.
Makes wearing a helmet seem like a no-brainer, doesn’t? If only.
Only About 50% of Bicycle Riders Routinely Wear Helmets
In a 1999 study by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) found that only about 50% of bicyclists routinely wore a helmet.
A 2004 study by SafeKids.org found that only 41% of the children observed and 39% of the adults observed were wearing a helmet while participating in wheeled sports. In addition, more than 1/3 of the child riders who wore helmets wore them improperly.
This translates into real injuries and real lives lost. During the past few years, a whopping 9 out of 10 fatally injured bicyclists were not wearing helmets.
Choosing a Helmet and Wearing It Right
Fortunately, finding a helmet that protects you is easy thanks to the CPSC’s uniform safety standards. Just look for the certification seal label on the helmet.
Once you have your helmet, make sure you’re wearing it properly. A helmet that isn’t worn the right way can lead to injuries.
A “Quick Fit Checklist” from Seattle Children’s Hospital advises a 1-2-3 approach that works for kids and adults:
- 1- Eyes. The helmet should sit level on your head and rest low on the forehead, one to two finger widths above the eyebrows. You should be able to see the very edge of the helmet by looking up with your eyes only, while keeping your head still.
- 2- Ears. The straps should be even and form a “Y” under each earlobe. The straps should be snug against the head.
- 3- Mouth. The buckled chin strap should be loose enough so that you can breathe. There should be enough room so you can insert a finger between the buckle and chin, but it should be tight enough that if you open your mouth, you can feel the helmet pull down on top.
Not surprisingly, bike crashes tend to increase during the warm weather months as more people are out and about on two (or three) wheels. The injury attorneys here at Siegfried & Jensen see this pattern every year. Please don’t become a statistic. Always wear a helmet while riding.
If you’ve been injured in a bike accident and you’re not being treated fairly, contact us for a free, no pressure consultation. We can help make sure that everyone plays by the rules so that you get what you need to move forward with your life.