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Bike Helmets Are They A Life Saver

Bike Helmets

Bike Safety – Do you need more than a Bike Helmet ?

“Around 33,000 people die in car crashes in the U.S. each year. About 1 in 41 is a bicyclist.”

Bike Safety

image credit bicyclesafe.com

Are You a person who puts on their Bike helmet with a feeling of quiet satisfaction thinking it is all you need to do to be safe ?  even the best bike helmet can’t prevent you from getting  hit by a car, being aware of the dangers and taking common sense precautions can reduce your risk of a crash !

Don’t blend in…

Be Seen :  Hi-viz clothing is cool (yes it is, don’t laugh !!) there many cool cycle jerseys available in easy to see hi-viz  colors or you could simply buy a hi-viz vest as used on construction sites for a couple of dollars.

Fit safety lights to your bike : red flashers for the rear of your bike or helmet plus a headlight for the  front  leave them on day and night.

Ride slower : when your skills and fitness increase so too your confidence when riding in traffic but the faster you ride the more difficult it is for drivers to see you and avoid running over you ! When riding  in traffic slow down… give drivers a fair chance to see you.

Anticipate the silly decisions some drivers will occasionally make ?  if you allow for these in advance you will be better equipped to avoid a collision.

Car doors are killers : when approaching parked cars anticipate a car door opening suddenly  slow down be prepared to stop, ride wide of  parked cars if you can do so safely – don’t suddenly swerve into the flow of traffic !

Maintain your bike – A well-maintained bike is a safe bike, have a bike mechanic check your bike on a regular basis or enroll in a course for bicycle repairs.

The stats say we are far more likely to get hit by a car at an intersection ahead of us, that can’t see you, rather than hit by a car traveling behind us which can see you clearly, so focus on the potential risks ahead of you as much as the cars approaching from behind.

Below is an extract from http://bicyclesafe.com/ visit this excellent site for more details on avoiding bike accidents

Bike Helmets distract from what’s really important:  safe-riding skills

“Unfortunately, bike helmets have become a panacea:  Many parents and city & state governments think they can slap a flimsy piece of styrofoam on a kid’s head and they’ve done their part to make sure that kids are safe.  But it’s actually the opposite.  That approach is akin to outfitting somebody with a flak jacket and then having them run through a firing range.  If you had to choose between giving a child a bike helmet or the education about how to ride safely, you should choose the education and ditch the helmet every time.

Of course, you don’t have to choose between one or the other, but the point is that most people are choosing, and they’re choosing the bike helmet only.  For example, helmet laws are popping up all over the country, but how many of those same jurisdictions are mandating classes in how to ride safely?  Almost none.  In Adam Sandler’s movie Click, his character sends his kids out biking at night, dutifully decked out with helmets—but no lights!  Choosing helmets over lights means that the kids are much more likely to actually die on the road.  And that’s what the problem is: A misguided focus, a belief that bike safety begins and ends with putting a helmet on your head.”

Bike Helmet, To Wear Or Not to Wear ?

It is sensible and recommended to wear a bike helmet but be sure to buy a bike helmet that fits you properly, several bike accident studies from around the world have shown bike helmets are often so poorly fitted they simply fall off during a crash, when you buy a helmet choose one that is easily adjusted to fit your head shape and the chin strap is comfortable and secure take the time to adjust your new helmet to fit you securely – plus always do up the chin strap when riding !

A simple test that your helmet fits securely is to try to dislodge your helmet – drag it forward if it ends up covering your face – readjust it – push it backwards for the same reason – if you can slide the helmet off your head with the chin strap adjusted correctly and done up the helmet is useless to you… Take it back and try another model or move up in the price range – You Get What You Pay For !

I recently upgraded my uncomfortable, tired old helmet for a “Limar” brand helmet – what a difference… it has excellent easy to use adjustments, a comfortable chin strap, it sits lower on my head which gives me more protection if I fall backwards, excellent ventilation – but they cost, luckily it was on sale I picked it up for 1/2 price.

Ride to avoid a crash as your bike helmet or any other safety gear – will only reduce the impact.

This article is not written to buy into the helmet debate nor argue a case against bike helmets, we do not feel they are pointless. Our aim is to point out helmets are not the only answer to bike safety – Your decision making while riding is your biggest safety risk or security.  So, by all means, wear your correctly fitted bike helmet whenever you ride but remember to  Think, Anticipate, Be Aware so you reduce your risk as you ride.

Hopefully, you never get to test your helmets true worth.

 

About the Author Ian

Ian is the Chief editor here at OnlineBikesShop, a reformed Cycle Traveler… now a dedicated stay-at-home dad of a very active 3 yr old, a keen mountain biker with a passion for all types of bikes, the outdoors, and keeping fit…

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