May is Bicycle Safety Month. The California Highway Patrol is using this month to promote helmet awareness among cyclists throughout the state and to encourage cyclists as well as drivers to share the road.
According to the National Safety Council, helmet use reduces the risk of traumatic brain injury by nearly 60 percent. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says that the risk of head, face or neck injuries goes down 33 percent when a helmet is used. Under California law, it is required for cyclists under the age of 18 to wear a helmet – but we encourage all riders, regardless of age, to do so.
Every year, about 2 percent of fatal motor vehicle accidents involve the death of a cyclist. In the majority of these cases, the most serious injuries victims suffer are to the head.
Proper Helmet Fitting Guidelines
- Measure your head to find the appropriate size. While the helmet is sitting on your head, make sure it does not rock side to side. Use sizing pads to get a snug fit.
- Your helmet should be positioned level with your head and low on your forehead, one or two finger-widths above your eyebrows.
- Center the left buckle under your chin.
- Adjust the sliders on both straps to form V shapes below and slightly in front of your ears. Lock the sliders if your helmet allows for it.
- Buckle the chin strap and tighten it so that no more than one or two fingers can slide underneath the strap.
To test if the helmet is fit right, open your mouth wide. The helmet should pull down on your head when you do. If your helmet rocks back more than two finger-widths on your forehead or rocks down onto your eyes, retighten the chin strap.