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I first heard about bike helmets back in college. But I never really took them seriously until I sustained a head injury in a road bike competition.
I was lucky that the accident wasn’t fatal. But I promised myself that from then on, I would never step on any kind of bike without the best bike helmet on my head. Today I own a Giro MIPS helmet, which I strongly believe can give me the protection I need on the terrains.
If I’m being brutally honest, there is more to bike helmets than just choosing an option on the shelf and paying for it. Are they even necessary? Do they truly save lives? How do they fit? And how do you choose one? In this article, we look at some of these things to help you understand helmets even better.
Why Some People Won’t Wear Helmets
Many quarters find them unfitting and uncomfortable to wear. This is why for most people, especially those cycling for small distances, these headgears appear to be some kind of nightmare.
Most helmets do not come cheap. However, you can still find some good value helmets on sites like Amazon.
When it comes to the debate of whether to wear a helmet of not, some people are derisive. That’s because they either do not know the effectiveness of having one or do not believe that they can actually protect and prevent injuries.
Do Bicycle Helmets Really Save Lives?
Whether or not to wear a helmet is overly a heated controversy. Some doctors vouch for it while others suggest that it is a waste of time or resources.
However, going by the various studies conducted in different parts of the world, the importance of wearing a helmet outweighs the reasons not to wear one.
- A 2018 meta-analysis of 55 studies by A. Hoye carried out between 1989 and 2017 found that helmets reduce head injury by 48 percent, serious head injuries by 60%, traumatic brain injury by 53 %, and face injuries by 23 %. He concluded that he highly recommends wearing helmets.
- A 2016 statistical study in Australia, where this debate continues to rage, confirmed that bicycle helmet use was associated with reduced odds of head injury, facial injury, and fatal head injury. The research was done by reviewing 40 separate studies by Jake Olivier and Prudence Creighton.
- In 2015, a German study headlined “Prevention of Bicycle Accidents” argued that Elderly bicyclists are a minority but represent a majority of all fatalities. The study suggested that they would profit much by wearing a helmet.
How Does A Bicycle Helmet Work?
When you look at a helmet, it may look like just one of the various types of hats that people wear on their heads. However, give it a closer look and you will discover that this is no ordinary hat. A helmet has two parts-a hard outer shells and a soft inner liner.
When you bump your head, the hard outer shell spreads the impact over a wide area. This is to protect your skull from fractures. The inner liner absorbs the energy evenly so there is minimal damage. The hard shells are made of composite materials like the fiberglass while the inner tissue is made of foam.
Best Bicycle Helmet to Buy
There are various helmet designs available for purchase. Now, helmets are being manufactured as fashion statement pieces. But, notably, the best helmet to buy is not just the one that makes you look cool.
If it makes you feel uncomfortable or does not fit right, then it is not the right helmet for you. When shopping for a helmet, some of the questions that you should ask yourself are as follows:
- Is it light and comfortable?
- Does it fit snugly and stay properly in position on your head?
- Do you like the look of it?
- Does it have enough ventilation holes so it stays cool?
- Does it meet consumer standards?
- What is the helmet made of?
How Do You Know Your Helmet Fits?
To start with, a safe helmet should be one that fits you well. If it keeps shifting on your head, then that is too loose. It should not be very tight as that can make you feel uncomfortable.
Get the fit of your helmet right:
- Ensure that the back straps are tight enough that you cannot lift the back tip of the helmet. Importantly, make sure that it crisscrosses with the front strap. Both should create a V-shape.
- If you often wear your hair in a bun, then try on the helmet when your hair s n a bun. Also, avoid wearing a helmet over a hat or cap.
- To ascertain that your helmet is secure, try making some movements. If your temple skin isn’t wrinkled as you do this, then the helmet is loose.
- The top of the helmet should be close to your head and from your eyebrows; the edge of the helmet ought to be within one inch.
When Should I Replace A Helmet?
If you have a crash, crack your helmet or compress the foam, you will need to replace your helmet. It is best that when buying a helmet, you get a new one because it will give you better service and protection than an overly used helmet.