Going out for a bike ride on a sunny California afternoon can be a real pleasure, as well as an effective form of local transportation and personal exercise. Sadly, going for a ride on public streets can put your safety at risk. You will need to take proactive steps to protect yourself from the possibility of a crash.
A bicycle helmet is arguably the most basic and universal bicycle safety equipment. Although state law does not mandate that adult cyclists wear helmets, many people who are avid cyclists do so anyway for their own protection. Many clubs and organized races require that participants all wear helmets.
It is easy to become complacent when it comes to your equipment or your overall safety when out for a ride. Whether you are gearing up for a local charity ride or thinking about upgrading to a different helmet, there are two things that you should probably be aware of when making choices about head protection for cycling on the road.
The product design doesn’t focus on car crashes
Unlike motorcycle helmets, bicycle helmets typically do not undergo safety testing that focuses on how they withstand collisions with motor vehicles. Instead, cycling helmets have a much lower standard for withstanding the force of an impact. Although a helmet can reduce the risk of severe injury or death, impact with a vehicle, especially at high speeds, can reduce what protection the helmet offers.
Helmets have an expiration date
Although there is not literally a specific date printed on the helmet packaging or the device itself, the truth is that they will not continue offering the same degree of protection indefinitely. Both the foam components and the hard plastic shell will degrade with age and use.
Experts typically recommend that you replace your helmet after any sort of collision, as the impact may make it less effective at protecting against severe injury in the future. Additionally, every five to 10 years, at the very least, you will likely want to replace your helmet to ensure that it is as strong and effective as possible.
Understanding the limitations of the helmet you wear can help you better protect yourself from the risk of severe injury related to a cycling crash.