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How To Choose The Right Bike Helmet

Assisting Bicycle Injury Victims in Vancouver, Bellevue, and Kirkland

Washington state does not currently have a law mandating bicycle riders to wear a helmet. There are, however, many cities and counties in Washington that have chosen to enforce their own helmet laws. This trend towards mandatory helmet use is a direct result of the significant difference wearing a helmet can have in saving a cyclist’s life in the event of an accident.

Just as wearing a seatbelt prevents countless fatalities every day, bike helmets protect riders from devastating head injuries in crashes with motor vehicles. The choice to wear a helmet, regardless of the law, is a choice to be safe. If you are in the market for a helmet, consider these factors before making a purchase.

Safety Regulations

The Consumer Product Safety Commission is tasked with making sure helmets meet U.S safety standards. On the inside of every helmet there should be a tag that says “ASTM 1477,” “CPSC,” or “Snell B-95.” Some mountain bike helmets may also have the tag “ASTM F 1952 standard.” These are government-approved helmets that meet regulated safety standards.

Types of Helmets

Every type of bicycle helmet is slightly different.

  • Sport helmets cost about $45 and are the variety most commonly used by casual riders. (Skaters can use these helmet as well.)
  • Mountain bike helmets are slightly larger, and provide a greater degree of protection. These units can cost up to $130, but the superior protection makes the expense a good value. Many helmets of this style include visors and added protection for the back of the head.

Professional riders use road bike helmets. These are the most expensive models because they offer protection, but are, by design, light and aerodynamic.

Helmet Sizing

It is crucial to have the right size helmet to ensure maximum safety and effectiveness. To get the perfect fit, measure your head above your eyebrows. The diameter of your head should match the number inside the helmet. Don’t be afraid to ask for help at the store. A helmet that fits well will be snug, but not too tight. If the helmet fits well, test the straps to make sure they are the right length for you.

Helmet Components

There are many important components that make up a quality helmet.

  • Shell – This is the hard outer covering. The shell holds the helmet together if there is an impact. It is also puncture-resistant.
  • Ventilation – The design of the helmet determines how well it can ventilate and provide cool comfort to the rider.
  • Liner – The liner is the soft foam on the inside that rests against the rider’s head. The liner should rest comfortably on a rider’s head and be free of damage.
  • Straps – You will want straps that match the style of riding you do. Thin straps are all you need for normal road riding. Thick, sturdy straps are needed for off-roading.

Replacing Damaged Helmets

If your helmet has been hit hard, replace it whether or not there is visible damage. The integrity of the helmet may be compromised, which negates its protective qualities. It may be impossible to avoid all bicycle accidents and subsequent injuries, but having a protective helmet can greatly reduce the severity of your injuries.

The Bernard Law Group represents bicycle accident victims in and around the state of Washington. If you have been involved in a bicycle accident, please call us for a free consultation and comprehensive evaluation of your claim.


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