Buying a bike helmet: what to consider?

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A bicycle helmet is essential for safety and often required by law. Modern designs are lightweight and sturdy. Choose a certified helmet that fits snugly and sits two inches above the eyebrows. Replace after an accident and avoid helmets with protrusions or excessive ventilation.

A bicycle helmet is essential safety equipment for cyclists, whether they are cycling in the countryside or in the city, and in many areas, riding without a helmet is illegal. There is no excuse for riding without a helmet – not only could it save your life in the event of an accident, but you are also setting a good example for children and members of your community. Modern developments in helmet design have produced lightweight, sturdy helmets that are not as bulky as older styles.

There are different types of bicycle helmets, some of them designed for specific purposes such as racing or mountain biking. However, a basic helmet is sufficient for most riders – for specialist helmet advice, contact the staff at your local bike shop. Most staff will have experience with multiple helmet types and can recommend the best helmet for your needs. Either way, buy a helmet that’s been certified by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, which has safety standards for helmets that ensure they’ll hold up in most crashes.

A bicycle helmet is designed to protect the head in the event of an accident, usually with polystyrene foam. A plastic outer shell helps hold the protective foam together in the event of a collision, while softer foam pads are fitted inside for comfort. If you are thrown from a bicycle or hit by a car, a bicycle helmet can help prevent brain damage. If you are involved in a collision, you should replace your helmet immediately, as the protective foam will be weakened and less effective in the event of an accident. Look for an evenly textured helmet with no protrusions to get caught in a crash, as you may suffer from whiplash. Also, try to find a helmet that is well-ventilated, but not overly ventilated: vents are weak points in the helmet, which translate into soft spots on your delicate skull.

When purchasing a standard bicycle helmet, the most important consideration is fit. You want the helmet to fit snugly and evenly, but not feel tight. Try the helmet on at the bike shop and be prepared to adjust the straps to fit your head and chin snugly and use the provided padded inserts to further adjust the fit of the helmet for safety. A bicycle helmet should sit approximately two inches (five centimeters) above the eyebrows and should be level with the head. There shouldn’t be any areas of tension or pressure, and if you open your jaw wide, you should be pulling the bike helmet down – adjust the straps if not.

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