Do you know how to tell if a bike helmet fits correctly? Wearing a bike helmet that is the wrong size or not properly adjusted is “simply stupid.”
This is the conclusion that starts a recent New York Times piece on the subject. A staggering statistic underlies the importance of the issue – in 97 percent of fatal cycling accidents the rider was not wearing a helmet at all.
From NYC CitiBike to couriers
It’s an all too common site to see visitors to the city and locals riding CitiBikes without helmets in and out of bike lanes. Bicycle couriers and other cyclists who commute to work often skip their helmets because they are not riding far or do not want to arrive with helmet head.
Consider that even if you are the most careful rider, the odds are you will likely crash every 4,500 miles.
Let’s talk head injuries – whether you collide with a car or are thrown over the handlebars, a helmet can prevent or reduce the severity. Of cycling friends who either commute to work on bike or add cycling as part of their cross training, most have crashed. One credits her helmet for saving her life; however, a traumatic brain injury still limits her capabilities three years later. Several others have suffered broken collarbones, but credit helmets for limiting their overall injuries. All have gotten back on their bikes.
Buckle up on every ride
Wear a helmet even for the two-minute ride to run an errand, because a car versus bicycle accident can happen right down the street from your home. Speed does not matter, even at low speeds gravity and the distance to the ground can cause a life-altering head injury.
Get the positioning correct
When a helmet is too big it will not offer adequate protection in a serious crash. The most common error, however, is positioning. Like a seatbelt, a bike helmet should fit snug when you put it on, sit on your head straight and not move when you shake your head. Make sure that the straps form a V under your ears. And make sure that your children’s helmets follow the same rules.
Testing has shown that even the least expensive helmets provide protection. Make sure that a helmet meets Consumer Product Safety Commission standards, but you do not need to buy the top of the line.
Now that you have taken every precaution, if you are injured by the negligence or recklessness of another while on the road, seek legal counsel immediately. There are remedies, but you often need to fight to ensure you have adequate compensation to pay for medical bills, time away from work during recovery and pain and suffering.