What is the best helmet to buy?
The best helmet is the one that fits properly and the one you will use each time you ride your bike. The helmet should meet the ASTM or CPSC standards and be labeled inside the helmet.
Aren't bike helmets expensive?
You can find bike helmets at discount stores for about $10 to $30. Local bicycle shops carry the more expensive brands, which run from about $35 to $125. All helmets should meet the CPSC standards.
Is a cheap helmet as safe as the more expensive ones?
All helmets after March 1999 are required by law to meet the ASTM standard. If your money buys a helmet that fits better and is more stable in a crash, then the more expensive helmet is worth it. If you get a good fit from an inexpensive helmet, there is no need to spend more money for a name brand.
What are ASTM and CPSC standards?
They are testing standards for impact performance and strap strength. In March 1999 the requirements to meet these standards were changed and the ASTM standard requires a few millimeters more coverage to the head.
How do I know which helmet to buy for my child?
There are lots of helmets for children from ages one to five. There are no baby helmets because it is not recommended for infants to ride in bike carriers due to the instability of their spinal cords and weak neck muscles. Children's helmets come with 2-3 different thicknesses of padding to account for increasing head growth.
Do they make bike helmets for large heads?
Several manufacturers make extra large helmets, but Bell helmets make the largest, the Kinghead model, which fits heads up to 8 ¼. If you are unable to locate the Bell Kinghead helmet, your local bicycle shop should be able to order one for you.
When I measure my head, I am between sizes which helmet do I buy?
If you are between sizes order the larger size and adjust the fit pads to establish a correct fit.
When should I replace my helmet?
After a crash, replace it. If it is more than 10 years old, replace it. If it does not meet the ASTM or CPSC standards, replace it. If you hate it, replace it.
Do bicycle helmets really work?
Bike helmets work very well as long as they are fitted securely and buckled when you crash. They can decrease the incidence of brain injuries by 88%. They spread the force of a crash and cushion the fall. The down side is that many helmet users are not securing their helmets level on the head and adjusting the straps carefully. When fitted well, helmets prevent serious unintentional injury.
How do I measure my head for proper helmet size?
To find your approximate helmet size, measure around your head just above the eyebrows.
How do I know I have a proper fit?
A helmet that is fitted and adjusted properly should feel snug not tight, and should not move from side-to-side or front-to-back. Expect to spend a good fifteen minutes adjusting and fitting pads and straps to get the best fit. You should also adjust the fit each time you put your helmet on.
Can I use my bicycle helmet for other uses?
The ASTM Inline Skating standard is identical to the bicycle helmet standard. If you plan to use your bicycle helmet for other than bike riding or inline skating, be informed there is no crash testing data. There are multi-purpose helmets on the market that meet Snell's N-96 multi-purpose standard and those helmets can be used according to the instructions given with the helmet.
Where can I find out more about bike helmets?
You can contact the Burn and Shock Trauma Institute Injury Prevention Program at 708-327-2455. They have pamphlets and brochures that have helpful tips to help guide you to a proper helmet fit.
There are many websites on the Internet that promote bicycle helmet use and can provide more information. Here is a list of some of the links:
Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute www.helmets.org
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration www.nhtsa.gov
NHTSA also has a website designed specifically to bicycle safety. www.bicylinginfor.org
Bicycle helmets can help prevent 88% of head injuries from bicycle crashes. However, bicycle helmets do not solve all the problems of bicycle related crashes, they are only one component to bike safety.
Bicycles are not toys they are vehicles and while operating one, the same safety rules of the road as other vehicles need to be followed. Here is a list of some of the ways you can help prevent injuries or fatalities from bicycle related crashes:
- Check your bicycle for correct size. Make sure it has properly working parts that include reflectors.
- Bicyclists should look left-right and left again before entering the roadway or intersection.
- Ride defensively!
- Bicyclists should ride single file on the right side of the road, just like cars, and signal their intentions to other vehicles on the road.
- Set a good example for children. Always wear your helmet when you ride and follow the rules of the road.