Did you know that only one-quarter of cyclists that sustained head injuries in a crash survive? Did you also know that 97% of riders not wearing a helmet do not survive a head collision? These are some of the statistics that stress the importance of a cyclist wearing headgear both on and off the road. Below are important bike helmet safety facts that every bicyclist should know to stay safe.
Fact 1: Components That Enhance the Of Safety of a Bike Helmet
A bike helmet has various components geared toward keeping the rider safe. These include:
- The helmet’s construction
- The field of vision
- Retention system
- And its shock absorption features
All these parts should have certification for use by the country’s cyclist safety regulator such as the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The significant bike helmet safety facts aim at keeping these components functioning all the time.
Fact 2: Functionality
In the event of a collision, the bike helmet takes in the impact force and redistributes it over a larger surface area. It also creates a physical barrier between the skull and the point of impact. Finally, a safe headgear will lessen the physical brain movement due to the vibrations emanating from the collision. By doing these three critical functions, the bike helmet protects the head from injury.
The UK EN1078 standard requires all bike helmets to have a construction that can withstand impact comparable to a cyclist riding at a speed of 12mph. There are other bike helmets with a multidimensional impact protection system (MIPS). Such bikes are designed to endure greater impact especially resulting from a collision with a high speeding vehicle. Furthermore, the UK EN1080 standard requires children’s helmets to have chain straps that snap off upon impact. Such chain straps will neither accidentally choke nor strangle the child.
Fact 3: Proper Use of a Bike Helmet
After getting the right fitting bike helmet, you should wear it to lie level on the head, a few inches above the eyebrows. The buckles should pass across the center of the chin. The helmet’s chin straps are more straightforward to adjust before wearing the headgear. The side straps tie to form a V-shape in front of the ears and around the chin.
Run one or two fingers between the straps and the jaw to ensure that they have a snug fitting. Overall, the bike helmet must fit comfortably on the head, shielding the forehead from an impact.
Fact 4: Replacing a Bike Helmet
A bike helmet needs replacement after a crash or a significant impact. The helmet liners function like airbags. Hence, they absorb the impact and get destroyed in the process. It does not matter whether you can see the physical damage on the helmet or not.
This replacement is necessary since the compromised helmet liners put the rider at risk of injury should he/she be involved in a second crash. Other factors that will require you to consider replacing the bike helmet include exposure to excessive heat or UV light, worn out straps and buckles, cracked shells, and indented foam liners.
Fact 5: Bike Helmet Care and maintenance
Clean the helmet alongside its removable pads with mild detergents free from any chemical solvents. Store the clean bike helmet in a cool, dry place. Avoid subjecting the headgear to excessive heat. High temperatures tend to create bubbles in some of the helmet’s parts, hence, damaging them.
As much as possible, avoid sharing your bike helmet. This prevents hygiene problems. You are also in a position to monitor the kind of impact the headgear undergoes over time.
Minimize subjecting the helmet to needless slams. The frequent dropping of the headgear to the floor, for example, will reduce the helmet’s effectiveness in keeping you safe.
Avoid using decorative paint on the helmet. Minimize the amount of hair oil, lotion, or facial makeup application when you intend to wear the bike helmet. Chemicals found in cosmetics tend to degrade the headgear or cause too much sweating which is not good for the helmet’s inner lining.
Avoid attaching any extra equipment like cameras to the bike helmet. Such accessories put a strain on the adhesive mounts hence compromising safety should an accident occur.
Bike Helmets Safety Facts FAQs
- After how long should one replace a bike helmet if it has never had any significant impact?
- Most manufacturers recommend replacing your bike helmet after every five years. However, you should also be on the lookout for any wear and tear that can compromise the safety functions of the headgear.
- Are bike helmets with more safety features sold at a premium price?
- No. The price of the bike helmet is not related to how safe the headgear is. A highly priced headdress may have a classy construction or be of expensive materials with the same safety functionalities as an averagely priced bike helmet.
- Is it mandatory to wear a bike helmet when riding a bicycle in the US?
- No. Not all countries require bikers to wear a helmet when riding a bicycle. However, some states like California and Florida have regulations that govern the use of bike helmets by minors. These states put an age limit of either 18 years or 12 years and below for children that must have headgear when cycling.
- Is it okay to buy a slightly larger helmet for a child to accommodate his/her growing head?
- No. It is not okay. All helmets, including those for children, should have a snug fit. A loose headgear will compromise the child’s safety. It also tends to come off or expose a section of the skull on impact. If you have a slightly larger helmet for a child, use cycling pads and a beanie underneath it to achieve a proper fit.
- If I have to use bike helmets all the time, does that mean that cycling is a dangerous activity?
- No. Recreational riders face an average risk. They must, however, observe all the road rules to stay safe. Racing cyclists such as those involved in mountain biking races have additional equipment that they are obliged to wear to protect themselves.
It is better to prevent a crash than to suffer the consequences of a possible accident. If bikers, therefore, had hindsight about a potential collision, they are better off avoiding it in the first place. Since such hindsight is rare to come by, bikers are safer when they practice wearing a bike helmet from an early age. These helmets save lives. Cyclists who understand these bike helmet safety facts will tend to avoid simple mistakes that compromise their safety. Bike helmets save lives.