Bicycle safety begins with a helmet

Health and Fitness, Topics, What You Should Know
Summer is finally here -- time to get outside and enjoy the season. People of all ages, from toddlers to adults, can ride bikes and take advantage of the exercise, weather and fun that goes along with it. However, it is important to realize that your bike is not a toy. It is a vehicle and must be driven safely. 

The most important thing you can do to make your bike ride safe is to wear a helmet. In a crash, a helmet absorbs the force of the impact and spreads it out over the whole helmet, reducing the impact on the head and brain. According to Safe Kids Worldwide, wearing a properly fitted helmet can reduce the risk of head injury by 45% and brain injury by 33%. 

When choosing a helmet, try on several to compare the fit before purchasing one. The best fitting helmet should be snug all the way around the crown of your head. The helmet should be worn low on the forehead, about two fingers above your eyebrows. Make sure the chin strap fist around your ears and under your chin. When the chin strap is buckled, no more than two fingers should slide under it.

Caring for your helmet is also important. Check your helmet regularly for scratches, dents or cracks. These could weaken the helmet during a crash. Store your helmet away from sunlight. The ultraviolet rays can damage the polymers used in bicycle helmets, making them brittle over time. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and replace your helmet if it becomes damaged or the straps become frayed and worn.

Need a helmet? Snell certified helmets are available for purchase at the McLaren Port Huron Foundation office year-round. Staff fit the helmets and explain how they should be worn. They carry sizes from toddler to adult and the cost is $5. You can call to make an appointment or drop in during the office hours listed below. 

McLaren Port Huron Foundation
1201 Stone Street, Suite 11
Port Huron, MI 48060
Office hours: Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.