Bike Helmet Guide: Useful Buying and Safety Tips While Riding

Helmets can prove to be a lifesaver and can also inhibit or even prevent brain damage that may be caused by an accident. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety stated that over 87% of cyclists who died in an accident were not wearing a helmet. The Institute of Medicine committee also published a study stating that wearing a helmet decreases the risk of a brain injury by approximately 70%. All the more reason to make sure you have the perfect helmet for you, so here is a buying guide as well as some safety tips you can use when riding a bike. Better be safe than sorry!


Finding The Perfect Fit:


Having the helmet fitting you nicely is extremely important as it would ensure the helmet would stay in place and fulfill its protective role if you are the victim of an accident. A good fit is a well positioned helmet on your head and comfortably tightened straps. Here are in more details the important adjustments to make:

  • The front of the helmet will have to be aligned with your head and be at one, two maximum finger widths above your brow.
  • The fit needs obviously to be comfortable as the soft foam pads inside the helmets are partially compressed by your head well before you tighten the straps. The trick is to get the size that fits the closest without any discomfort. After that, if you dispose of sizing pads, you can make the minor adjustments.
  • The straps need to have a V form under your ears.
  • Make sure the buckle is centered under your chin and not along your jaw or to the side. The straps need also be compact enough so that the helmet pulls down when the mouth is open. Note that a helmet that tips back or loose straps means the helmet is not a good fit and will not thus bring sufficient head protection.
  • With time, the straps tend to shift. You will need then to control the tension and the position of the straps from time to time. Basically, if the helmet shifts when it is pushed, you should take the slack out of the chinstrap.
  • There are various sizes, shapes, and brands available. You can try as many as you like in order to find the perfect fit.
  • It is recommended to change helmets after five years at most as the materials constituting the helmet degrade after such time. You should also replace your helmet after an accident, even if it looks to have been undamaged.
  • You should always aim for a certified helmet. For that you can look for the CPSC Bicycle Helmet Standard  label/sticker on the packages of the products.


Safety Tips:


Being safe while riding a bike isn’t all about wearing a well-fitted helmet, follow these safety tips in order to prevent any kind of mishaps:

  • It’s important that you would be able to straddle the bike while off your seat and also still have 1 to 2 inches of clearance if you own a road bike, 3 or 4 inches if you have a mountain bike. This way you will make sure you have the fitting size frame. Don’t forget to adjust the handlebars and the seat to your liking too.
  • Perform regular check-ups. More specifically, the tires need to be inflated adequately and the brakes have to be working properly.
  • You need to be visible for the others. Try to avoid nightly rides as it will be harder for others to spot you. In any case, wearing clothes with vivid or fluorescent colors will help make you more visible. You can try neon clothing too. Other than clothes, equip the bike with reflective tape, reflectors in the front and back, on the pedals, the wheels/tires, and  also equip a flashing light.
  • You need to have full control of your bike. Avoid to carry things with your hands, but rather in a backpack or a bike carrier. No need to get fancy too, keep both of your hands on the handlebar.
  • Be wary of any road hazards, notably holes, broken glass, sewer grates, graves and other similar potential dangers you need to avoid.
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