The following is a guest post submitted by Cara Zukewich, Child Injury Prevention Program Coordinator, Saskatchewan Prevention Institute
The research evidence is clear about the importance of children using bicycle helmets when cycling. Head injuries, with the potential for death or long-term disability, are a particularly serious outcome of cycling-related incidents. Bicycle helmets protect against head, brain, and facial injuries.
Bicycle helmets are made to absorb the force of a crash or fall and spread the impact over the entire helmet. Wearing a helmet that fits properly will help to protect your face and head from injuries like skull fractures, cuts, and bruises. A helmet can protect your brain from an injury that may last throughout your life.
Proper helmet fit: Follow the 2V1 rule.
2 – The front of the helmet should be 2 fingers above your eyebrows.
V – The side straps should form a “V” around the ear.
1 – Only one finger-width should fit between the chin and the chin strap.
Bike helmets are so important that the government has created safety rules for them. Your helmet should have a sticker that says it meets the rules set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
Despite the proven protective effect of helmets, many cyclists (parents and children) still do not wear them. There are many components to riding safely: wearing a helmet, making sure your bicycle is the right size for you and in good working condition, and following the rules of the road. The Saskatchewan Prevention Institute recommends that riders of all ages wear a helmet when riding a bike. It is not enough to tell children to wear a helmet or point out that a child is not wearing a helmet. Children are much more likely to use helmets in the presence of adults wearing helmets.
Parents and other adults in the community are responsible for the safety of children. Encouraging the use of helmets, teaching cycling skills, and helping children learn the rules of the road are important roles that they can take on.
We all need to continue to raise awareness of the risks of head injury and the benefits of wearing a helmet for cycling. Injury prevention begins with you. For more information on proper helmet use, visit www.skprevention.ca.
Have fun and ride safe!
Editor’s Note: Saskatoon Cycles recommends helmets for all young riders. For adult cyclists, we support helmet use but believe it is a matter of personal choice.