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A properly fitted bicycle helmet can save your life

With its many miles of bike lanes and paths plus year-round great weather, Orange County is just about perfect for bicycle enthusiasts.

However, Orange County is also full of traffic, and bicyclists are vulnerable. One of the best defensive measures is to wear a properly fitted helmet, which could literally save your life.

A little background

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, emergency department personnel across the country treat more than 600,000 injured bicycle riders each year. The most common cause of death and disability is a head injury. Many of the non-fatal injuries result in irreversible brain damage.

Helmet research

In Blacksburg, VA, the goal of research conducted at the Virginia Tech Helmet Lab is to help cyclists reduce the risk of injury. Testing focused on common injuries such as concussions. The style of helmet appears to play a role in reducing the severity of a head injury. The elongated “road helmets” with their aerodynamic shape perform better than the usual round “urban helmet” in offering protection. Proper fit is essential. For example, experts say that with the straps fastened, the front edge of the helmet should rest no more than one inch above your eyebrows, and it should fit snugly all the way around.

Benefit of a correct fit

In the state of California, bicycle riders under the age of 18 must wear helmets when riding on a street, bikeway, public bicycle path or trail. Fortunately, adults who ride often also wear helmets. Those who choose not to are taking an extra risk. Head injuries are common in bicycle accidents, which easily makes the case for wearing a helmet. A quote from Consumer Reports says it best: “When it’s on your head correctly, it could save your life.”

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