Why You Should Wear a Bike Helmet

Are you wondering whether you should wear a bike helmet while riding your bike? There is no law in Ohio that requires adults to do so. But there are local laws, for example in Columbus, that require kids under 18 to wear them when they ride a bike.

Whether it’s the law or not, wearing helmets is a good idea. In the United States, around 1,000 bicyclists die every year, and more than 130,000 are injured in crashes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But does wearing a helmet really make a difference? According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), bike helmets are 85 to 88 percent effective in reducing head and brain injuries. In addition, bike helmets are also highly effective in reducing bicycle crash fatalities. These statistics are sobering.

Why Are So Many People Not Wearing Helmets?

This can leave you wondering why so few people are wearing helmets when they ride. Part of the reason may be a misconception that helmets are only needed during higher-speed road trips or in heavy traffic.

It’s true that many of the most severe injuries happen on busy streets. And if you are ever injured in a bike accident, be sure to contact an Ohio personal injury attorney for help.

Yet many people don’t realize that even a leisurely bike ride around the neighborhood can put you at risk. In fact, just falling off your bike can lead to serious injuries.

Another reason why so few people wear bike helmets is that bike helmets just aren’t considered cool. Many prefer to wear their own hats or enjoy the feeling of their hair being ruffled by the wind. Bike helmets can also be somewhat uncomfortable, especially if they don’t fit well.

There are also political reasons why some people resist helmets. They prefer to spend their energy on lobbying for a safer, more bike-friendly environment with an extensive network of bike paths.

It’s true. Bike paths and lanes do make life safer for cyclists. A case in point is Amsterdam, where few people wear helmets, yet injuries in bicyclists are the lowest in the world. But there is still the danger of falling off the bike, and chances that we can achieve an Amsterdam-like bike culture anytime soon are slim.

In the meantime, if you get hurt while riding your bike, be sure to get help from an Ohio bicycle accident lawyer in order to get compensated for your injuries.

How to Purchase a Bike Helmet?

Bicycle helmets are available in a wide range of price points as well as designs. You can get a helmet for $15 or pay more than $150 for it. The biggest difference will probably be the variety of design choices you’ll have with the more expensive models.

However, your top priority should be the helmet’s safety features. Make sure the helmet has a label or a sticker that says that it has been certified by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. (CPSC).

There are other labels that indicate that the helmet has passed certain safety tests, including those from the following organizations: The American National Standards Institute (ANSI), the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), and the Shell Foundation.

To protect your brain even more effectively, you may want to invest in a helmet with MIPS technology. This system protects your brain against rotational forces when you get into an accident or even if you simply fall off your bike. The secret lies in there being a bit of give between the layers.

There is one more factor you should look for as you shop for your helmet: visibility. Especially if you often ride in the evening, make sure your helmet has built-in reflectors. You should also consider a helmet that allows you to mount a headlamp on the front. And a visor will protect your eyes and allow you to see better.

How to Make Sure the Helmet Fits?

The fanciest helmet won’t protect you if it doesn’t fit. So look for a snug but comfortable fit when the chin strap is fastened. You should not be able to move the helmet around.

It should sit level on your head and low on your forehead, about one to two finger widths above your eyebrows. When you open your mouth, the helmet should pull down on your head.

How Long Should You Keep Your Helmet?

If a helmet has been in a crash, get a new one. The same is true if there is a crack in the helmet for whatever reason. Crushed foam liners and worn-out straps are additional signs that the helmet has outlived its usefulness.

You should also avoid used helmets since you won’t know their history and some cracks can be invisible to the eye. And in any case, make sure any helmet you wear was made after 1999 so it will meet the current safety standards.

How to Get Your Kids to Wear a Helmet?

Remember the coolness factor? Let your kids pick out their own helmets so they’ll be sure to take ownership and feel good about wearing them. Of course, the helmets have to meet the safety standards as well.

Always wear your own helmet when you ride your bike. That’ll make you a good role model and will make putting on the helmet before riding seem automatic.

What to Do if You Get Hurt in an Accident?

Even with a helmet, you can still get injured in an accident. If that should happen to you or someone you love, talk to an experienced Ohio bicycle attorney right away. At Attkisson Law Firm, we have the experience to help you. You can call or email us any time for a free consultation. We will be happy to talk with you about what happened as well as your options..