Oklahoma Bicycle Manual: Helmets

Seventy-five percent of all bicycle rider fatalities are a result of head injuries. The best protection against this type of injury is use of an approved bicycle helmet. Wearing a helmet can reduce the severity of brain injury in a crash by 85 percent and could save your life.

The most common reason for not owning a helmet is the perceived expense, yet it is very cost effective. One visit to the hospital emergency room for stitches and a skull X-ray could cost 10 times the price of a helmet.

Bicycle helmets come in a choice of sizes and styles. Buy and wear only a tested, approved helmet. The helmet should have a sticker from SNELL or certification from ASTM and SEI. The best helmet is one which the rider likes and wears on every ride.

A helmet made with foam protects your head by absorbing much of the force of the impact. The soft foam fitting pads are strictly for comfort.

Take time to select a helmet that is the right size for your head. A helmet needs to fit snugly so it will not move around on your head when riding or come off your head if you fall. Adjust the straps so they hold the helmet on securely. The helmet should be worn over the forehead and not tipped back. Check that the front edge of the helmet is positioned only one inch above the eyebrow.

Get your child an approved helmet as soon as he or she becomes interested in riding a bicycle. One in seven children under the age of 15 suffers a head injury in a bicycle crash. Helmets are especially important when a child is learning to ride and is more likely to fall or ride into things. Parental example in helmet use is important. Storing the helmet by hanging it from the front handlebars helps the new bicyclist remember to put it on before every ride.

Helmets have a limited life. Normal wear and tear, as well as a crash, will cause the foam of the bicycle helmet to become less effective. The soft foam fitting pads will compress and need to be replaced from time to time for a snug fit. As you wear a helmet over the years, it may become loose on your head. It is then time to consider replacing the helmet.

This section’s text was taken from The Colorado Bicycle Manual.

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