Helmets are one of the most important things Denver bicyclists need to consider before riding. There are many different safety and convenience features to take into account before buying a bicycle helmet for either an adult or child. Adults and children need to wear a helmet properly for it to provide optimum protection.
Bicycle Helmet Considerations
Helmets are made of polystyrene foam with a plastic shell covering. During a trauma to the head, the sturdy foam takes the brunt of the impact. Many studies have shown that helmet use can significantly reduce head injury risk.
When buying a helmet, it’s important to be aware of the different safety certifications. All helmets need to have Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) certification. In order to receive this certification, the helmet needs to pass a vision test, stability test, retention strength test and impact attenuation test.
Some helmets have Snell B95 certification too. These safety standards are similar to the CPSC’s, but many consider the tests stricter and harder to pass.
Next, both adults and children need a helmet that fits. Retailer REI recommends taking a tape measure or a piece of string and wrapping it around your head about an inch above the eyebrows. This measurement is the diameter of the helmet you need. Helmet diameters generally range from 19.75″ to 24″ and are classified as small, medium or large. Children’s helmets are generally one size fits all and between 18″ to 22.75,” explains REI.
There are also several different types of helmets to consider:
- Road helmets: These helmets are lightweight and have larger or lots of vents to keep you cool and to cut down on weight.
- Mountain bike helmets: Many include visors and thicker chinstraps in anticipation of rocky terrain.
- Sport helmets: These are good for everyday use and are for general bicyclists.
- Other types of helmets: Multi-sport helmets allow bicyclists to use the helmet during other activities like skating, but these may not actually be tested for bicycling so check this before purchasing. Some even offer full face helmets for bicyclists who do tricks.
Mold construction is another thing to consider with helmets. Some helmets have in-mold construction, where the outer shell and polystyrene foam are the same piece of material, while others have the outer shell glued to the helmet. There are different ventilation, straps and hair port (for ponytails) systems to consider as well. Take all of these factors into consideration when buying your helmet.
How to Wear a Helmet
First adjust the inner sizing ring so that it fits securely around the head. The helmet should rest on your head just above your eyebrows and not be able to move up more than 1 inch from that position. The chinstrap needs to be secure as well. You should just barely be able to fit your finger between your chin and the strap. You’ll have to fit the helmet for your child too.
Do not wear a helmet after it’s been in an accident because it won’t be able to stop the force of the next accident. Also avoid taking a loaner helmet from a friend or family member, as you (or the person loaning it) may not be sure whether it’s been in an accident.
If you’re ever in an accident in Denver, call the Law Office of D.J. Banovitz. Contact our office at 303-300-5060 to schedule a free consultation.