Thursday, October 28, 2010

ARB Sharing Article #3: How to choose your bike helmet

Most statistics suggest a different perspective. For example, another study found almost three-quarters of fatal crashes (74%) in New York involved a head injury and nearly all bicyclists who died (97%) were not wearing a helmet. It seems clear that helmets = safety and it doesn't take a brain surgeon to recognize this. But just in case, Dr. Charles Tator--a brain surgeon--has also found helmets to be 85% effective in preventing head injury.

1. Choose a style you like: sport, road, or mountain bike.

2. Find the right size. To help, we'll call on the experienced folks at REI: "To determine your size, wrap a flexible tape measure around the largest portion of your head--about 1 inch above your eyebrows. Or, wrap a string or ribbon around your head, then measure the length of string with a straight-edge ruler or yardstick. Look for a helmet that matches your measurement."

3. Adjust the fit. According to, "You want the helmet touching your head all the way around. It should be snug and secure but comfortable. It should sit level so that the top of the helmet comes off your forehead at a 90-degree angle. It should be no more than an inch over your eyebrows and just barely visible to you when you are wearing it." After correctly fitting the helmet, shake your head vigorously and be sure it stays snug and secure.

4. Pimp your helmet.

5. Know when to replace your helmet. If you should crash, you'd likely want to replace the helmet immediately. But even a crash-free helmet should usually be replaced after five years. In the meantime, keep it clean with non-toxic cleaners and do self-repair when necessary. When you finally decide it's time for a new helmet, the old one makes for a nice planter.


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