The helmet debate continues - to wear or not to wear, to make it compulsory or not. The arguments on both sides are complicated, but when it's boiled down, one thing is clear: helmets protect against at least some types of serious head injuries. So for a few quid more, look like a pro, and protect your noggin.
Before you run out and grab any old helmet and gain a false sense of security, read on below to learn how to choose the right helmet for you.
The most important thing about a helmet is the way that it fits. Without a proper fit, a helmet is next to useless. For one, if it's not comfortable you won't want to put it on. And assuming you do wear it, it will not properly absorb and distribute shock.
Getting the proper fit is simple, but you must try it on. When you put it on it should be flush against your head on all sides so as to not move more than an inch in any direction when you push or pull on it. Under no circumstances should the helmet be able to be pulled off. A quick test is to buckle the straps, and pull from back to front from the rear lip of the helmet. If it comes off - wrong size. If it moves forward into your eyes, shorten the straps and try again until you get the right fit. Do the same pushing to the rear. If your forehead shows, shorten the straps.
You want the helmet to cover as much of the surface area on your head and be as low as one inch above the eyes in the front. Since it's not possible to virtually try on helmets, opt for those with adjustable padding so that you can get the most customised fit. It goes without saying that everyone's heads are different, so there is no sizing standard.
All helmets must comply with basic safety requirements. The Snell B90 (and higher) Standards from the US are stricter, and there are some helmets on the market that pass those standards.
Something to note is that bicycle helmets are not interchangeable with skate and skateboard helmets. Bicycle helmets are meant to protect your head for one crash only. Once you have been involved in an accident, the helmet is no longer going to be of any use since the foam will have compressed upon impact. On the other hand, in skateboarding and inline skating, users fall more often and may take several hits to the head in a day. Their helmets are built to withstand multiple hits without compressing. This has to do with the foam, which is thinner and less protective on skate and skateboard helmets. Finally, this foam is meant to endure falls from shorter distances than the foam in bicycle helmets, thus making them unsuitable for biking.
Imagine getting hit by a car, falling off your bike, and hitting your head once or twice in the process. Ouch. As long as your helmet stays put, your noggin should be okay. Here are some features to check out for quality assurance.
|Visor-Free Road Helmet|
There are a few different types of helmet styles to choose from, but with all of them, there are two things that have to do with safety that are important to keep in mind.
In case you want to know about the different types of helmets, here are the basics. Note that categories aren't unique and that many hybrids exist so as to make helmets more versatile for different types of riding.
Make sure though to let your child choose his or her own helmet; this way they will feel more inclined to wear it. If you can, make them choose something brightly coloured so that they will stand out.