Bicycle helmets might seem obtrusive or simply uncomfortable to wear, but they have an importance – they protect your head from serious injuries while riding a bike. No matter how good you think you are at riding a bike, accidents can happen in the blink of an eye. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 677 bicyclists were killed in bicycle accidents in 2011 alone and more than 48,000 people were injured. To make those statistics even scarier, almost 75% of the accidents involved injuries to the head. These statistics alone should be enough to convince you to wear a helmet while riding, even if it is not the “cool” thing to do. The right bike helmet can literally save your life.
Prevent a Fatal Accident
There are many reasons to wear road bike helmets, but the most important is to protect yourself and your head from a fatal injury. Head injuries are the most likely to cause fatalities due to damage to the brain. Helmets help to prevent the acceleration of the brain and/or head upon impact, reducing the risk of a fatal accident. It is the foam inside the helmet that is taking the energy, rather than your head. If that foam was not there or a helmet was not worn, the energy from the impact would affect your head and brain directly, forcing your head to suffer injury that could result in death. Unfortunately, not just any old helmet will do; however, you must find a proper fit bike helmet in order to ensure that it works the way it should in protecting your head and/or brain.
Increase Your Visibility
Riding your bike along the street, even if it’s not a busy one, can be dangerous. When visibility is low, even during broad daylight, drivers may not see you. With the right helmet, however, you become more visible. When you shop for road cycling helmets, make sure to look for one that has reflective strips on the front and back to give drivers a better chance of seeing you, even if you only ride during the day. In addition, try to choose one that is brightly colored, giving drivers something to notice as they focus on the road.
Prevent a Concussion
We all may joke about getting a concussion, but if you have actually experienced one, you know it is no laughing matter. Concussions are serious as they can result in death or lifelong disabilities. There are differing degrees of concussions, each with their own damaging effects. While a mild concussion (grade 1) might leave you feeling a little shaken or tired, a more severe concussion (grade 3) can cause you to lose consciousness, feel confused, slur your speech, have blurred vision, or even affect your memory. If you have already suffered a concussion, it is imperative that you do what you can to prevent another one from occurring, especially in the immediate future as concussions affect your brain in a cumulative fashion. In some cases, subsequent concussions, even cause permanent brain damage.
It is important to understand that the key is not just wearing a helmet, but wearing the one that fits right. You need to find the proper fit bike helmet online or in the store. If the helmet does not fit right, make sure to exchange it for one that does. The properly fit helmet will be snug all the way around your head, and will not move much when your head is shaken or moved. The strap that holds the helmet in place should be tight, but comfortable and the helmet should not move with any type of force. The best fitting helmet will cover all areas of your head, including the sides, to help prevent injury to any part of the head.
Wearing road bike helmets are essential to your safety while riding a bike. There are many helmets that you can choose from, giving you no reason to not find one that is comfortable enough for you to withstand. The discomfort or distaste you have for wearing a helmet is far surpassed by the safety they provide. There is no reason to risk a concussion or even minor head injury just to avoid having to wear a helmet while you ride.