In recent years, Salt Lake city has experienced a boom of interest in cycling as a means of transportation, exercise and leisure. Cycling provides numerous benefits, as it provides a fantastic way to exercise and interact with your surroundings in a new way. While these benefits are numerous, it is crucial to prioritize your safety while you are riding your bike. The best way to do that? Wear a helmet.
Why Wear a Helmet?
Riding a bicycle is an activity that has several inherent risks. As you share the road with much larger vehicles it is important to protect yourself. Wearing a helmet can significantly reduce the risk of a head injury, as well as save your life in the event of an accident. Here are several key reasons as to why wearing a helmet is of the utmost importance while riding a bike:
Protection Against Head Injuries
A helmet acts as a protective barrier, absorbing the impact of a fall or collision and minimizing the risk of severe head trauma. According to the Federal Highway Administration, 70 to 80% of all fatal bike wrecks involve head injuries. Beyond that, the Cleveland Clinic says that wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of head injury by as much as 85%. Head injuries can be detrimental and can take several months to heal, or in some cases they may never heal. If you receive a head injury you may experience symptoms of chronic headaches, difficulty focusing, mood swings, and even paralysis. Risking a head injury is far too risky, by wearing a helmet you greatly decrease your chances of receiving one.
Setting an Example
In Utah where there is no law requiring you to wear helmets it is crucial that we set a positive example of promoting safety. By simply wearing a helmet you set a positive example for others, especially children and younger cyclists. It is vital that we prioritize safety in our communities and that we contribute to a culture of responsible cycling, in the hopes of prompting all those around us to follow suit.
Choosing the Right Helmet
Selecting your helmet is as important as wearing it. There are several factors that should be considered while selecting a helmet to ensure optimal protection against injury, these are:
Certified Safety Standards
When selecting a helmet it is key that you select one that meets the safety standards set by organizations such as the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) or the Snell Memorial Foundations. These groups run rigorous testing on these helmets to ensure that they meet all specific safety criteria. By selecting a helmet that is properly tested you are ensuring that you’re getting the utmost protection out of your helmet.
A helmet must fit snugly on your head to guarantee that it works properly. If your helmet fits too loose, you will be losing out on the safety features that a helmet provides. To get the proper fit on your helmet make sure that your helmet sits about two finger widths above your eyebrows. Next make sure your helmet is properly adjusted and that it fits snugly on your head. To test this, shake your head back and forth without the helmet buckled, if it fits properly it should stay in place. Lastly you must adjust your chin strap, make sure that it is loose enough to fit one finger between your chin and the strap. By checking that your helmet fits properly you are certain to properly utilize all of the safety benefits a helmet can provide.
When selecting a helmet it is important that you select the correct style of helmet for your activities that works best with your style of riding. Helmets fit into three styles:
- Recreational Bike Helmets- provide basic protection for all styles of riding.
- Road Bike Helmets- lightweight, well ventilated, and aerodynamic.
- Mountain Bike Helmets- Well ventilated, and offers extended rear head coverage as a mountain biker is more likely to fall backwards.
It is important to select a helmet based on the activities that you participate in, and the features that you desire. Depending on what type of cycling you participate in you may want a helmet that is lighter and more aerodynamic, or a helmet that specializes in the latest protection technologies.
The Damages of Not Wearing a Helmet
Failing to wear a helmet while cycling can result in dire consequences, both physically, emotionally and financially:
Increased Risk of Head Injuries
Not wearing a helmet exposes you to a much higher likelihood of sustaining head injuries while riding a bicycle. By just wearing a helmet you reduce the risk of head and brain injuries by up to 88%, as well as reducing facial injuries by 65%. When you wear a helmet you are preventing injuries such as concussions, skull fractures, and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). These injuries can be life-altering and may require extensive costly medical treatment and rehabilitation.
Emotional and Financial Toll:
Suffering a serious head injury can have profound emotional and financial implications.Your injuries can result in physical disabilities, a loss of income and medical expenses that can place a significant burden on you and your loved ones.
Protecting yourself while cycling should be a top priority, and wearing a helmet is the first step you should take before you set off. If you or a loved one was hurt in a bicycle accident it is vital to contact a bike accident attorney. The lawyers at LifeLaw Personal Injury are experts on bicycle accidents. One of our attorneys, David Francis, is a former member of the US Cycling Team, along with former teammates Lance Armstrong, Jonathan Vaughters, and George Hincapie. This specialized knowledge allows us to better understand the complex legal issues that arise in a bicycle accident injury. Allow the bicycle accident attorneys at LifeLaw Personal Injury to help you. Contact us today for a free consultation. We are happy to discuss your case and answer any questions you may have.