Bicycle Safety

Why would you need to wear a bicycle helmet? It's simple. Should you take a tumble from your bike, the helmet will take the force of the blow instead of your head. Indeed, wearing a bicycle helmet is the most effective way to prevent a life-threatening head injury.

Over 800 bicyclists are killed each year and another 500,000 find themselves in the local ER. Two-thirds of these deaths and one-third of the injuries involve injury to the head a face. Simply wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of head injury by as much as 85 percent.

And while it's easy to think that bike helmets are just for kids, it's important to remember that adults face the save risk as children. Even experienced bicyclists are at risk. In fact, according to the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute, a average bicyclist may still crash every 4,500 mile.

The most serious injuries are obviously caused by collisions with moving automobiles, but even a simple fall from your bike can be life-threatening.

When choosing a helmet, you first need to make sure it's safe. Helmets should include a seal of approval from either the Consumer Product Safety Commission or the American National Standards Institute.

Before purchasing a helmet, make sure it fits snugly—it shouldn't move more than an inch in any direction and make sure the straps don't obscure your vision.

Choose a bright color. Not only is it more fun than a plain black helmet, but it will also help others see you.

If you have a mishap while wearing your helmet, you'll need to replace it with a new one. Though it may not look damaged, it may not be able to withstand the force of another impact.

For more information, visit the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute. There you'll find buyer's guides, news, statistics and more.