Selecting the Best Bicycle Helmet
A bike helmet is the single most important piece of equipment that you can wear to protect your head in an accident. The right bike helmet will keep you safe and make riding more comfortable and enjoyable.
Was your child injured in a bicycle accident and hurt their head because of a defective helmet? Are you seeking financial compensation for your damages? At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, our personal injury attorneys are legal advocates for injured bicyclists harmed by another's negligence.
Contact a Chicago bicycle accident attorney at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form today for legal advice and schedule a free consultation. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team remains private through an attorney-client relationship.
Cycling is a great recreational activity and a viable source of transportation, as long as cyclists remain safe. With no armor to protect them, especially their heads, cyclists are at risk of serious injuries when involved in an accident.
The best protection a cyclist can wear is a well-fitting helmet that can reduce the chance of brain injuries and death. It is important for cyclists of all ages, from small children to adults.
Cycling, Helmets and Traumatic Brain Injuries
One of the most severe injuries cyclists can have is a brain injury (for information on TBIs, look here). In 2014, 91% of cyclists killed in accidents were not wearing helmets, with the percentages at 91% or more for 2008-2012.
It is estimated by the Center for Head Injury Services that head injuries cause 75% of bicyclists' deaths and that 85% of head and skull injuries that occur from bicycle accidents could be avoided with the simple use of road helmets when riding.
Not only are brain injuries the leading cause of death in cyclists, but a brain injury can also seriously affect the rest of their lives. Even slight trauma to the brain can cause both mental and physical limitations. In addition, victims of these injuries can face years of therapy and rehabilitation, often lasting for the rest of their lives.
Other catastrophic injuries involved in a bicycling accident include:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Internal organ damage
- Internal bleeding
- Fractures and crushed bones
- Cuts and lacerations
- Temporary or permanent disability
- Total or partial paralysis including paraplegia, quadriplegia, tetraplegia
Severe brain injuries can lead to many different outcomes that significantly alter a person's life. While some may suffer from severe disabilities, others might make a full recovery and live without limitations.
A bike helmet is the one piece of equipment every rider should wear every time they get on their bike. It is important to follow these guidelines when wearing a helmet:
- Road helmetsshould fit comfortably but snugly, without wiggling around when the wearer moves their head
- The chin strap or chinstrap should be fastened and snug, not too tight or loose
- The helmet should sit level on the head, covering most of the forehead
- The side straps should form a "Y" shape, with one piece of the "Y" under each ear
Brain Injuries from Rotational Forces
According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), face helmets constructed to safety standards can protect the bicyclist's head from rotational forces. In addition, the CDC reports that head and skull injuries from bicycle accidents, such as skull fractures and concussions, have been reduced by 50% for adults who wear helmets.
In addition, studies show that the technology of a well-made helmet allows it to rotate independently of the head, reducing the rotational force that acts on the skull and brain during an accident. Unfortunately, the same rotating forces are linked to severe concussions, traumatic brain injuries, and other head or skull injuries.
Adjusting Bike Helmets
The helmet must fit properly. Commuting and mountain bike helmets need to be adjusted, so they fit snugly on one's head. In addition, helmets should be worn with their round edge at the front of a cyclist's face and not tilted backward. It is also very important to make sure that a cyclist wears an approved, well-fitting motorcycle or bike helmet each time they go out for a ride.
No matter how old you are, always wear your bike helmet to reduce your risk of head and skull injuries. If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident, contact Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC today for legal advice and schedule a free consultation. Call us toll-free at (888) 424-5757, use the contact form on our website, or chat live with a representative during regular business hours.
Promoting Bike Helmet Use in Children
Promoting good safety habits begins with teaching children at a young age the importance of safety. Just like children are taught to look both ways when crossing the street and to wear a seat belt when in a car, they should also be taught to wear a helmet whenever they ride a bike.
There are a few simple ways to promote helmet use in children:
- First, lead by example: Parents telling children to wear a helmet and not wearing one themselves provides a poor example. Instead, parents should always wear a helmet for their safety and teach their children good safety habits.
- Set strict rules. Children need structure and rules to learn good behaviors. There should be strict rules that forbid riding their bikes without a helmet.
- Make helmets fun. Make wearing a helmet fun for kids. Let them help choose the color and design they want, making the helmet "belong" to them.
Many mountain bike helmets built for children feature visors protecting the eyes from sunlight. Additionally, installed care air vents ensure air cooling under the hard plastic outer shell and adjustable straps to provide the correct fit.
The child helmets should have a snug fit void of any pressure points to ensure a correct and comfortable position on the head if involved in a collision. With extra protection, adjustable chin straps, and comfortable foam padding, kids' helmets provide the utmost safety for children.
Riding With Care
Whether an adult or child riding your bike, skateboard, scooter, or motorcycle, safety must always be first. Another way to promote safety is by wearing bright clothing during daylight hours that will easily catch the attention of drivers. In addition, bike helmets sold the department stores, bike shops, and big-box stores provide the ultimate layer of head protection when built with impacted absorbing technologies.
Bicycle Helmets for Every Cycling Discipline: Commuting, Triathlon, Road & Mountain
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), manufacturers have developed a helmet for different cycling disciplines to maximize rider safety. However, if the helmet is used for commuting, it should have a full-coverage shell to protect the cyclist's head from debris kicked up by car tires. If racing, opt for lightweight construction that is aerodynamic and well ventilated. The helmet should also be comfortable, durable, and affordable.
Triathlon helmets are manufactured to be extremely aerodynamic. The design helps the helmet minimize drag at high speeds and maximize airflow throughout the helmet. Triathlon helmets also have long back tails that provide added protection to the cyclist's head.
Road cycling helmets feature extended rear coverage, low-drag design, and extended front peaks to protect against strong winds. In addition, a cyclist is looking for low weight, high ventilation, and aerodynamic design for road bike helmets.
Road bike helmets have a mushroom shape for better protection for road or mountain bikers. Many bike helmets have additional features to ensure helmets fit properly for different users or activities like commuting or trail riding in a bike park. For example, helmets should be adjustable and should strap securely around the head. In addition, a helmet's internal padding makes it comfortable, depending on how it is used for each activity.
Mountain Bike Helmets
Mountain bike helmets are designed with extended coverage for protection against cycling hazards, including rocks and trees. These mountain bike helmets are also lightweight to ensure optimal maneuverability on rough terrains. For mountain biking helmets, heavier internal padding is needed for impact absorption.
Many bike helmets have additional features to ensure helmets fit properly for different users or activities like commuting in a bicycle park. For example, helmets should be adjustable and should strap securely around the head. In addition, a helmet's internal padding makes it comfortable, depending on how it is used for each activity.
Bike Helmet Materials Make All the Difference
Manufacturers use various materials to ensure the safety of the bicyclist during a severe accident. For example, the helmet's outer shell is designed to resist penetration during an impact.
The internal padding can be made from expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam that absorbs shock by crushing and returning to its original shape after the impact. The lighter-weight EPS foam manages an accident-related rotational force without crushing.
Bike helmets with a protective foam liner are easy to find in sporting goods stores, bike shops, and big-box retailers. The right helmet is available in many styles and colors, so adults can choose what fits them best. Helmets for children should be well ventilated and adjustable to ensure that they grow with the child. Before making a purchase, ensure that the bike or skate helmet fits correctly using helmet sizing. Many sporting goods stores and bicycle shops assist in choosing and fitting the best helmet.
These places will also provide helmet safety checks to ensure that many helmets are well maintained and working properly. If the helmet is used for racing or mountain biking, choose an appropriate model with the correct specifications. For commuting or casual bicycling, helmets are sold in varying price ranges. When selecting a helmet, look for quality construction and materials. It should sit flat on the head and be comfortable to wear.
Optimal Visibility in Traffic
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), EVEN the best-fitting, well-constructed bike helmet might not be visible when the adult or child is in or around traffic. Before purchasing the bike helmet, ensure that it is visible in traffic with bright or reflective colors.
Reflective gear helps to ensure the visibility of cyclists in traffic. A bike helmet can be purchased with a reflective tape measure on the back for added visibility when riding at night. Lightweight, wire, or reflective stickers can be used to add safety to the helmet when riding in low-light situations.
Since 2007, all high-end helmets sold in the United States must meet U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) standards for impact protection and retention system strength. The helmet should have this information printed on the exterior of the helmet along with the size range.
Adults' and kids' helmets can protect the head from impacts with a directional impact protection system. There are several things to look for when trying on a bike helmet to ensure that it fits properly, including:
- It is important to check that there are no cracks or dents in the helmet and that all straps are in good condition.
- A new bike helmet should feel light when it is placed on a flat surface. If it feels heavier, or if the weight is unevenly distributed, this is a sign that there may be structural damage to the helmet.
- The helmet should have a snug fit. To check the fit, place two fingers under the chin strap and open up the buckle. The strap should be tight on the skin below the chin and comfortably close under the ears.
- The adjustable strap should form a Y shape where they meet at the back of the head. It should be easy to put on and remove the helmet from the head.
- The front of a bike helmet can be located above the eyebrows, 1 to 2 finger-widths above the brow. The helmet should not shift on the head when shaken from side to side or up and down.
- The helmet should be worn with the buckle securely fastened when riding a bicycle.
- It is important to check the bike helmet fit before riding. When wearing a bike helmet, hold it firmly in place while looking up and then down. The helmet should stay in place during "forward and backward" movements.
Multi-Directional Impact Protection Systems (MIPS)
Nearly all high-end bike helmets are built with safety features, including multi-directional Impact protection systems (MIPS). The system adds low-friction layers on the outer shell, allowing it to slide freely upon impact. The system in a new helmet helps reduce blood force trauma to the skull, head, and brain. This system can reduce the risk of brain injury by as much as 10% compared to traditional helmets.
Bike helmets technology has made tremendous strides over the past years. Today, there are many sports and activities for which consumers have a vast array of options based on price and fit preferences. For example, athletes can choose a well-ventilated helmet with a removable visor for road riding or mountain biking.
As with any product, finding the most suitable helmet for your specific needs can be a time-consuming process. As always, educate yourself about all of the available options and choose a helmet that best suits your lifestyle.
Commuting and Mountain by Helmets: Replace Bicycle Helmets Every Five Years
It is recommended to replace a commuting and mountain bike helmet every five years because liners and shells can deteriorate and lose their shock resistance over time. An old or damaged helmet should never be used.
Most helmets should also be replaced after an accident due to possible damage that may not be visible. If the helmet is dropped or exposed to high heat levels, it should be replaced even for a few minutes.
Tips for Choosing the Right Bike Helmet
Bicycle helmets only work to protect from brain injuries when they fit properly and are worn correctly. One that is too large or is strapped on too high be less effective in preventing head injuries.
When choosing a bike helmet, it should be comfortable, not too tight, or too loose. The front of the helmet should rest right above the eyebrows, with just one or two fingers width between the helmet and brow.
When buckled, the straps under the ears should lie flat against the head. Also, the chin strap should be tight but still allow one finger between the buckle and chin.
You never know when a bicycle accident will happen. That is why wearing a helmet with a brain protection system, or cycling cap is so important. These simple yet effective protection devices can prevent the most serious head injuries and fatalities in all ages of cyclists. So the question is not whether you should wear a helmet when riding a bicycle; the question is, why would you not?
Did Your Loved One Suffer a Head Injury in a Chicago Bicycle Accident?
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC knows the impact ahead or skull injury can have on immediate and long-term problems. In addition, our Chicago bike accident lawyers have experience representing cyclists who have varying types of brain injuries sustained in collisions.
Before you speak to an insurance adjuster for a driver's insurance company, we invite you to contact our office for a free case review of your circumstance. Call our law office at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form for immediate legal advice.
Our bike accident attorneys accept all personal injury cases and wrongful death lawsuits on a contingency fee basis. This promise ensures you pay nothing until we resolve your case through a negotiated settlement or jury award.