No questions asked on this – If you ride a bike, you have to wear a helmet. Why? Well, a study done by the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute found out that 85% of the head injuries caused to bicyclists was because they weren’t wearing helmets. Another parallel study done in New York proved that 97% of road cyclist deaths happened to cyclists who decided to give their helmets a skip.
The truth is, its easier than ever to be safe on your bike. And much more comfortable, stylish and convenient that it was a few years ago! If one is armed with basic knowledge regarding how to pick a bicycle helmet, then making the right choice is not difficult.
Most of the helmets in the lower end of the price range come with a universal fit. They contain dials at the back of the helmet and adjustable straps that can be fine tuned to fit the needs of almost all riders. Other helmets come in sizes based on the circumference of the head of the rider. It’s supremely important to choose the right fit for a helmet and this is something that must not be compromised.
Now a days, most of the helmets available to us are made of expanded polystyrene foam (EPF) and a tough-but-thin plastic shell outer casing that is either glued to the EPF (for helmets at the lower end of the price spectrum) or moulded into the EPF (for helmets at the higher end of the price spectrum). Both the helmets are safe. Though moulded helmets are lighter and have more vents. On impact, its the EPF that gets crushed and hence ends up protecting your skull. Its important to replace ones helmet after a crash. The helmet might not show any exterior damage, but the interior structure of the EPF would have weakened considerably. Hence rendering the helmet unsafe for use.
Now a days helmets come in a variety of styles. Be it their purpose of use (commuter, road cycling, mountain biking, downhill, time trial etc) or simple things like colours and design. Road cycling and cross country helmets will be light weight and have more ventilation. MTB helmets offer more protection on the back of the head. Downhill helmets are full face helmets. Time trail helmets are designed to be as aerodynamic as possible. For commuters, the focus should be on buying a helmet from a reputed brand (they are put through strignent quality testing).
How to measure head circumference?
Take a measuring tape and wrap it around your head so that –
- There is a two finger-width gap between the top of your nose and the tape.
- The tape at the left and right sides of your forehead should be passing from the point one-finger-width above the top of your ear.
- Note down the reading shown by the measuring tape and then pick the appropriate helmet.
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