While research varies, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, helmets are up to 85 percent effective in reducing head and spine injuries. Up to 2 percent of bicycle crash deaths involve motor vehicles. The most serious injuries among bicyclists killed are injuries to the head.
A properly fit bicycle helmet cushions the head when it hits the road, sidewalk or other hard surfaces. Inner crushable liners and cushions are designed to absorb and reduce an impact to the head.
Riders of all ages should be properly fitted for a bicycle helmet. It is important the helmet fits level on the head, the strap should form a "V" under the rider's ears and buckle tight enough so no more than two fingers fit between the strap and chin. Just as important, the helmet should not move more than 1 inch in any direction.
Helmets are designed based on particular sport. It is important to read the manufacturer's label to ensure the helmet meets CPSC safety standards and is suitable for bicycling.
Despite bicycle helmets' strong safety record and 22 states having laws surrounding their use, the NHTSA estimates only 20 percent to 25 percent of riders wear helmets.
Article Written By A.C. Bauer
A.C. Bauer is a seasoned adventurist with explorations spanning four continents, including hiking Machu Picchu, snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef, running the Ice Age Trail and road biking out of her front door. She has written marketing materials for eight years and worked for Red Bull, Disney and Dick's Sporting Goods, and received a master's in recreation and sport science from Ohio University.