Few people would choose to travel in a car without the seat belt. So why ride your bike without a helmet? Helmets should always be worn, in any situation, whether on the weekend, on your mountain bike, or on your way to the office.
Here are some tips to choose the best model tailored to your needs.
What type? Multi-use, route or mountain?
Bicycle helmets come in 3 basic styles: multi-use, trail and mountain. All styles are designed to protect the heads of its users, being light and comfortable. The differences are:
Multi-use helmets ($35-$60): an economical option for recreational, urban, and as an introductory hull to road or mountain biking.
Road Helmets ($60-$250): Preferred by the more serious cyclists for their low weight, generous ventilation and aerodynamic design.
Mountain Helmets ($ 60 – $ 250): Designed to ventilate well at low speeds; Are distinguished by their visors, improved rear cover for the head and a secure and strong fit to deal with all-terrain.
Finding the Right Size Finding the right
size is vital. Multi-use helmets usually offer a single size and fit. While higher ranges commonly come in sizes: small, medium, large or extra large.
To find your size, wrap a flexible tape measure around the larger part of your head, about 2.5 cm above the eyebrows. Or, wrap a ribbon around your head, and then measure the length of the ribbon with a ruler.
Some general size parameters for adults:
Small: 51 cm-55 cm
Medium: 55 cm-59 cm
Large: 59 cm-63 cm
Extra Small or Extra Large: Below 51cm or above 63cm
Standard size (men): 54 cm-61 cm
Standard size (women): 50 cm-57 cm
Most child helmets are a one size fits all, with a range of 46 cm-57 cm. Some adults with smaller heads can use these comfortably.
Is your head in two different sizes? In general, it is best to opt for the smaller size. Because a loose or poorly adjusted helmet does not represent real protection.
Adjust the fit Almost all high-end helmets offer a universal adjustment wheel on the back of the helmet’s inner ring. The side straps are adjustable too. Some helmets, mostly children’s models, offer a selection of internal pads to fine-tune the fit.
To adjust the setting, first expand the maximum size of your helmet using the adjusting wheel. Do it before you put on your helmet. Once the helmet is in place, rotate the wheel to achieve a perfect fit.
Correct: The two axles of the helmet are on the same level.
A well placed helmet should be snug but not enough to be annoying. It should be level on the head (not tilted back) with the front edge no more than 2.5 cm (about 2 fingers) above the eyebrows so your forehead is protected.
Move the helmet from side to side and back to front. If it changes noticeably (2.5 cm or more), adjust the wheel size to adjust more.
Incorrect: The helmet is tilted backward
. Then adjust the side straps. Push up on the front edge of the helmet and then on the back edge. If the helmet moves too much in any direction (more than 2.5 cm) tighten the straps and try again. The straps should form a “V” while resting under each ear. Adjust the straps around both ears for a comfortable fit.
Finally, with the tapes fastened, open the mouth. The helmet must press against your forehead while you do it. Otherwise, squeeze more and repeat. Just do not tighten the strap until it is uncomfortable.
Components of a helmet
Lining: Most helmet liners are made of expanded polystyrene foam. In effect, the coating dissipates the force of the impact to protect your head. Make sure the lining fits comfortably to your head and is not damaged or dented.
Casing: Most cycling helmets are covered with a plastic housing to hold the helmet as a unit in the event of a stroke, provide puncture resistance and allow the helmet to slide during impact (to protect the head And neck). Make sure the cover is intact and in good condition.
Ventilation: The ventilation openings improve the flow of air over your head, keep you cooler and more comfortable as you ride. The more openings you have, the lighter the helmet will be.
Belts: The belt system should be comfortable and easy to put on and take off. Look for the wider straps for uneven terrain and mountain trails, and thinner straps for trail biking.
By law, all helmets sold in the US Must comply with the standards set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Some helmets are also backed by the Snell Nonprofit Foundation, but the CPSC seal of approval is what matters.
The results have helped manufacturers create helmets that are lightweight, comfortable and capable of withstanding the most significant impacts.
Use or not wearing a helmet?
Regardless of safety laws, there are passionate supporters and opponents about helmet use. However, statistics speak for themselves.
According to the report of cyclist deaths by the US Highway Safety Insurance Institute, on average, less than 2% of motor vehicle fatalities involve cyclists. In 2010, 89% of the dead were over 16 years of age, most of them suffered severe head injuries. 91% of dead cyclists were not wearing helmets.
It is not surprising then that helmet use has been estimated to reduce the risk of head injury by 85%.
Although wearing a helmet does not protect one against all injuries; Studies (and anecdotal evidence) suggest that many brain and cranial injuries (many of these fatalities) can be prevented or minimized by wearing a helmet at the time of an accident.
In our countries we are even more dangerous, as there is still no established culture of respect for the cyclist and his right on the road.
When to replace your helmet?
Speaking of accidents: Whenever the helmet is involved in an accident, it is most likely that it has been damaged. Change helmet after any significant accident even if the helmet looks good.
If you have not had serious accidents, it is generally recommended to replace your helmet every 5 years. Pollution, UV light and use can weaken components over time.
Some tips for maintaining your helmet:
Avoid using chemicals to clean the helmet. Manufacturers only recommend using a soft cloth or sponge, plus water and mild soap.
Do not store your helmet in an attic, garage, trunk or other area where heat may accumulate. Excessive heat can cause bubbles to form in the foam liner inside the hull. Do not use a helmet damaged by heat.
Avoid lending your helmet to others. When you do, you never know exactly what type of use you have experienced during its useful life.