While most of us are taught to do it from a young age, the simple act of wearing a bike helmet can be the difference between injury and safety and life and death when a cyclist is involved in an accident. Every year in the US, anywhere between 700-1,000 people are killed in bicycle accidents, many of which involved cyclists who were riding without a helmet. A recent study in New York City showed that 97% of cyclists who lost their lives in an accident were not wearing a bike helmet.
Every year about 350,000 children under the age of 15 are rushed to hospital emergency room departments with injuries from bicycle accidents, many of them with head injuries that can cause brain damage and life-long challenges. Many of these injuries are preventable if a child is wearing a bike helmet. Children are still developing their fine motor skills and the ability to react to sudden situations, leaving them more susceptible to bike accidents. It’s imperative that adults encourage children to wear a helmet when cycling.
We’ve answered some frequent questions about children wearing bike helmets:
Since 1999, by law, all bike helmets must meet the uniform safety standards issued by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, so the focus then shifts to whether or not the helmet fits the child. It’s important to find a helmet that fits the child’s head snuggly but not uncomfortably. It also needs to be a helmet the child will be excited to use. Find a helmet that has colors and designs the child is drawn to.
All the straps should be buckled and the helmet should fit snugly. The chinstrap should be secure but loose enough to slide a finger under the strap easily. If the helmet can be pushed off the child’s forehead, the straps need to be tightened. The helmet should sit flat on the child’s head, not tilted back.
Especially with younger children, being an example of correct helmet use can go a long way. When a child sees an adult always putting a helmet on before a ride, they will be much more likely to follow suit. For older children, explaining that a bicycle accident could cause serious injury or even death without a helmet can be convincing. Encouraging a child to make the helmet “their own” by decorating it with stickers also increases the likelihood they’ll ride their bike with a helmet.
While a bike helmet can go a long way towards safe cycling, it’s far from the only precaution cyclists can take. Visit our Utah bicycle accident safety tips page for more easy tips to keep you and your cycling family safe on the roads.
If you or a loved one have suffered injuries from a cycling accident in Utah give us a call at 1-800-404-9000 for a free consultation on how an experienced Utah bicycle accident lawyer from Craig Swapp & Associates can help you.