Cycling is a great way to get necessary exercise in an environmentally friendly way, all while enjoying the great outdoors. Safety should be a priority when cycling, and helmets are an essential component of cycling safety.
The American Association of Neurological Surgeons says cycling is the single largest contributor to head injuries treated in American hospital emergency rooms. The Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute advises that almost three-quarters of fatal crashes in 2018 involved a head injury. Nearly all cyclists who died were not wearing a helmet. The first step toward safety is selecting a helmet especially designed for cycling, as there also are helmets geared for kayaking, rock climbing, skiing, and skateboarding.
Consumer Reports suggests evaluating helmets on key features: ventilation, fit adjustments, ease of use, and of course, impact injury prevention. A helmet that is not properly fitted or comfortable cannot do its job effectively, especially if it prompts a rider not to wear it.
Riders can research Consumer Reports ratings and look for helmets that meet Consumer Product Safety Commission standards. Helmets sold in the U.S. are typically CPSC-endorsed.
The following are some features cyclists should consider before buying bike helmets.
Size: High-end helmets tend to come in multiple sizes that offer a secure and comfortable fit. Many other helmets have a universal sizing ring that fits a wide array of head sizes, according to Eastern Mountain Sports.
Style: Helmets come in different shapes and styles. Experiment with helmet shapes to find a style that fits the shape of your own head well.
Placement: The helmet should be worn horizontally on the head, and shouldn’t be tipped forward or backward. Experts say the front rim should end around an inch above the eyebrows. The helmet should not be too tight, yet not loose enough to move around easily.
Extra safety: Doctors now know that something called rotational forces can contribute to brain injury. This means there is a violent stopping that causes the head to be interrupted out of synchrony with the movement of the neck, torso and other lower limbs. Multi-directional Impact Protection System, WaveCel and Shearing Pads Inside (SPIN) technology help address rotational forces.