Be Better

Ride safely this summer! Bike helmet facts and tips.

Published on July, 15th 2015
By Dr. Greg Wells

Hello everyone! It’s summer and that means getting out on your bike to get some exercise, see some sights and have fun. One of the reasons cycling is so much fun is that you can go much faster than you can when you walk or even run. And with some speed comes some risk. When you’re riding you can fall or even be hit by a car.

One of my good friends got hit by a car recently and here’s what his bike looked like after the fact:

Bob's Bike

You can see how much damage was done to the back wheel of the bike. Fortunately my friend and his wife, who were both hit in the same accident by the same far were both wearing helmets and escaped with minor scrapes and bruises. Ultimately the best way to prevent your head from looking like the back wheel of the bike above is to protect yourself by wearing your bike helmet.

The research on the benefits of wearing a helmet is absolutely clear.  Thompson et al.1 published a review paper that included five well conducted case‐control studies and found that helmets provide a 63–88% reduction in the risk of head, brain and severe brain injury for all ages of bicyclists. Helmets were found to provide equal levels of protection for crashes involving motor vehicles (69%) and crashes from all other causes (68%). Furthermore, injuries to the upper and mid facial areas were found to be reduced by 65%, although helmets did not prevent lower facial injuries. The review authors concluded that bicycle helmets are an effective means of preventing head injury.

Are you convinced? Great! Make sure you wear a helmet – all the time. Even on short rides around your home. And make sure your helmet fits properly – and if you have kids make sure theirs fits well too.

helmet1There are 3 main things to remember about helmet fits: Snug, Level, Stable.

Snug: You want the helmet to fit snugly on the head. You can adjust the pads, fitting ring or straps to get a nice snug fit. Its scary to think but you want the helmet to still be in place if you get hit by a car, then your head hits the road.

Level: The next consideration is to make sure that the helmet is level. I’ve seen many children with the helmet resting on the back of the head leaving the forehead and face exposed. It’s critical that the helmet be level on the head so that your forehead and upper face are protected. Use the straps to set the helmet on your head and to keep it there comfortably. This can take some adjusting but you’ll end up being more comfortable and safer too.

Stable: And finally make sure that the straps are snug enough to keep the helmet in place when you’re riding around. A few minutes at the beginning of your ride can make a huge difference.

Here’s a quick video that shows you the keys to making sure your kids wear their helmet safely:

That’s it for now – enjoy your riding this summer! Be safe (and fast :-))!