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Your bicycle helmet may save your life

Warmer weather in New York prompts people to get out bicycles and travel on two wheels to enjoy the fresh air, get some exercise and take advantage of fuel-free transportation. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the most recent statistics show that this activity is not without its serious risks. In fact, bicyclists make up approximately 2 percent of annual traffic deaths.

Per the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute, 75 percent of these bicycle fatalities are due to head injuries. Bike helmets are designed to absorb the shock of a blow and can reduce or even eliminate the chance of an injury in a crash. Choosing the right helmet can make all the difference.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued standards for helmets made in America, and a CPSC sticker indicates that these have been met. Beyond the basic requirements, though, there are many factors that could compromise safety. These include the following:

  •          Fit: Helmet movement in a crash may leave the head vulnerable.
  •          Shape: Pointed aerodynamic designs may snag on concrete rather than skidding.
  •          Color: Bright or contrasting shades improve visibility to motorists.
  •          Vents: Although important for air flow, they reduce the amount of padding against the head.

In a crash, a rider’s head may receive multiple impacts. Although the foam is the protecting factor, the shell keeps it intact for subsequent hits. The strap and pads keep the helmet snug against the head so that it is in the proper position to prevent injuries in a crash. However, the foam strips do not contribute to shock absorption. 

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