Bicycle and Motorcycle Helmet Safety
Bikes and motorcycles are a fun and enjoyable way to travel, explore our beautiful city, and soak up the summer sun. But, severe injury can occur if you do not protect yourself. It is important to wear a helmet every time you climb on a bike or a motorcycle. You need to protect yourself from a brain injury. This information will help you to understand the importance of helmet safety. It will show you how to avoid common helmet mistakes.
Bicycle Helmet Safety
Did you know?
- Head injuries account for 62.6% of bike deaths.
- Bike injuries and deaths affect children and young people more often than any other age group.
- In 2008, 714 people died from bike accidents. Ninety-one per cent of these people were not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident.
- Wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of a serious head injury and save your life. During a fall or collision, most of the impact is absorbed by the helmet, rather than your head.
Are all bike helmets safe?
- Bike helmets must pass a government safety test. If they don't, they are not safe to use.
- Look for a seal of approval on the helmet box. It should be approved by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), American National Standards Institute (ANSI), or Snell Memorial Foundation.
How can I tell if my helmet fits right?
- Make sure your helmet fits snugly! You should not be able to move the helmet more than one inch in any direction, front to back or side to side.
- If you have long hair, think about buying a helmet with a ponytail port.
- If the bike helmet straps block your vision, even a little, find a different helmet.
- Wear the helmet flat on top of your head.
- Make sure the helmet covers the front and back of your head without tilting it. The straps should form a V over your ears.
Other bicycle helmet tips
- To keep the helmet flat on your head, tighten the chinstrap. If the helmet tips forward or back, you may need a smaller helmet.
- Teach your children to remove their bike helmets before climbing on playground equipment or running around. The chinstrap of a helmet poses a choking hazard when not used properly.
- If you are in an accident, throw away your helmet. Buy a new one. It may not be strong enough to withstand another accident.
Motorcycle Helmet Safety
Did you know?
- Motorcycle helmets have been shown to save lives and prevent serious brain injuries.
- Motorcyclists are about 21 times more likely than car passengers to die in a traffic accident. They are four times more likely to be injured.
- Helmets reduce the risk of death by 29%. They are 67% effective in preventing brain injuries to riders.
How do I choose the right motorcycle helmet for me?
- When you choose a helmet, look for the Department of Transportation (DOT) or Snell sticker on the helmet. This means the helmet meets the minimum safety standards.
- Your helmet should fit snugly like a baseball cap. Most companies that sell helmets will measure your head and help you find the right fit.
- Find a helmet that fits snugly but does not leave your head feeling sore after taking it off.
Motorcycle helmet myths
- People have said helmets can cause riders to break their necks. They say a helmet blocks vision and impairs hearing. These myths are not true. They have been disproved over and over again.
- In fact, a good helmet makes riding more pleasant. It cuts down on wind noise roaring by your ears. A helmet stops windblast to your face and eyes. It deflects bugs and other object in the air. It protects you from the weather. A helmet reduces rider fatigue. Not to mention it can save your life!
More motorcycle safety tips
- Every rider should wear over-the-ankle footwear, long pants, long sleeved jacket, and full-fingered motorcycle gloves.
- You must have a proper license to ride a motorcycle. A driver's license is not enough.
- Set an example for other riders. Help keep yourself and your friends safe. Helmets save lives!
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 04/27/2011
Copyright © 04/27/2011 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#7202
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