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While these tips will help keep you safe, nothing protects you like a helmet. Studies have shown that wearing a bicycle helmet can reduce head injuries by up to 85%. Even if you just ride on bike paths or for a short distance, be sure to put on your helmet before you go—you don't have to be going fast or far to risk serious head injuries.
Buy a helmet that bears a label saying it meets the Canadian Standards Association standard CAN/CSA D113.2 M89; or the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standard Z90.40 1984; the Snell Memorial Foundation standard B 90,B 90S, N 94, or B 95; the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standard F 1447 93 or F 1447 94. A clerk at your local bike store can help you find a proper helmet that fits.
In order for a helmet to work properly, it must fit properly:
A helmet should fit snugly on the top of the head and should not obstruct your field of vision. Most helmets come with adjustable padding to achieve the best fit. The front of the helmet should be about two finger widths above the eyebrows.
The "V" part of the chin straps should fit snugly with the "V" coming together right below the earlobe.
You should be able to fit one finger between the chin strap and under the chin. Always wear the helmet with the strap firmly buckled—make sure the chin strap fits securely and that the buckle stays fastened to provide impact protection.
If you’re buying a helmet for a child, don’t get one for the child to grow into— it must fit properly every time he or she uses it.
The best way to test your helmet is to shake your head back and forth—the helmet should stay in place. Try another helmet size or design if the helmet shifts significantly on your head.
Never use a helmet after it has been involved in an accident. Although the damage to the helmet may not be visible, even very small cracks in the helmet may greatly reduce its effectiveness in preventing injury. Either get a new one or have the old one inspected by the manufacturer, who will tell you if the helmet needs to be replaced.
Biking is a simple pleasure that allows you to enjoy the great outdoors, increase your fitness level, and get around at the same time. Put safety first and you’ll be able to enjoy biking (and feel more comfortable doing so) for years to come! For additional safety tips, check out the video below, courtesy of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
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