Bicycle Helmet Safety
With spring conditions, we become excited to dust off our bikes and get outside. This is a great time to review helmet safety tips and to check if the fit is correct.
The helmet is inarguably the most important piece of protective equipment that an athlete will wear. In fact, a 2012 study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that cyclists who do not wear a helmet are three times more likely to suffer fatal brain trauma than those who wear protective headgear.
A properly fitted helmet will help ensure that an athlete can continue to enjoy a sport or an activity and minimize head injury.
Helmets cannot prevent all injuries, but they will help decrease the impact of a head injury. Helmets are sport-specific. This means that there are different helmets for different sports that protect the head in different ways. It is important to wear the appropriate helmet for the sport that the athlete is participating in. Always check to see the label for safety approval. In Canada, the label should read “CSA” which means that it meets the requirements set by the Canadian Standards Association.
Helmets can deteriorate over time, and the material that provides protection for the head can breakdown. It is important to check the helmet prior to each use for any of the following:
- damage to the outer shell, such as cracks, chips or missing pieces.
- damage to the inside foam layer, such as missing pieces, or pulling away from the outer shell.
- attachments to the helmet such as shields, masks, cages are not loose and that the fitting hardware is not loose, rusting or missing.
When fitting the helmet, there should be:
1. A distance of 1-2 finger widths between the eyebrow and the edge of the helmet.
2. There should be 1 finger width between the chinstrap and the chin when the strap is done up.
3. The helmet should sit level on the head from front to back and should be snug.
Always remember to refer to the fitting instructions provided by the helmet manufacturer to ensure that you have a correct fit in order to obtain the maximum protection for your head.