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HomeSafety-March 2019
March 2019

Bicycle Safety



Helmets, add protection, but do not stop errors in riding to occur.

Trauma to the brain can occur as a result of an impact, which can cause a concussion. Even seemingly mild head injuries, where you don't lose consciousness, can cause permanent damage.

Studies have shown that wearing a helmet can reduce your risk of a serious brain injury and death because during a fall or collision, most of the impact energy is absorbed by the helmet, rather than your head and brain.

A bicycle helmet is the last thing you need.That polystyrene foam between your head and the pavement at the moment of impact will be nice in the event of a crash, but that’s exactly the point – it’s your last hope. 

Rather than the first thing you need to keep safe, it should be considered for what it is – the last line of defense.  It plays no active role in keeping you safe. A helmet is only your last hope when all else has failed.

It’s comforting to believe that wearing a helmet “keeps you safe,” but maybe it makes you less safe. If you ride more aggressively when you’re wearing a helmet because you believe the helmet “keeps you safe,” your faith in that helmet is misplaced and, because of it, wearing a helmet may actually make you less safe.

Ride like you’d ride without a helmet.

Helmet proponents do NOT believe that a helmet alone keeps us safe. Learning the skills and techniques of safe riding, not taking unnecessary risks, ensuring our equipment is in good working order, wearing appropriate and sensible gear, well-maintained roads and infrastructure – all of those things, and more, contribute to keeping us safe.

Ride at the level at which you feel capable based on our abilities, our trust in our equipment, the specific conditions, and our trust in those around us.

How Helmets Help Save Lives

  • Helmets absorb some of the impact against the head during a collision with the ground, a motor vehicle, or other surface.
  • Helmets help reduce the number of skull fractures and other surface injuries.
  • Helmets may help reduce the severity of closed-head traumas.

 You want to be as safe as possible every time you get on a bike. Wearing a helmet is always the safest option. But, always be sure to eliminate any distractions that could keep your eyes and ears off of the road. And remember, also, that your helmet only offers you some protection for your head. The rest of your body is still extremely vulnerable in a collision. Always ride safely and stay alert for cars around you.

Florida Bicycle Law requires that children age 16y.o and below wear a helmet. Even though Florida State Law does not require adults to wear a helmet, The Sarasota Manatee Bicycle Club requires all cyclists to wear a helmet on any of our 
group rides.

Safety Standards

While there are other voluntary testing standards floating around, the mandatory standard is the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) label, which is required for all helmets sold in the USA. Check for it inside any helmet that you but.

Proper Fit

No matter the safety certification, no helmet will protect you without the proper fit.helmet

The correct size helmet will sit low and straight on your forehead. Adjust the straps, so that the "V"  is over your ears with the V Tip right under your ear lobe. Also the strap that is attached under your chin should only be loose enough that you don’t feel restricted but not so much that you can’t fit more than a few fingers between the strap and your chin. Both of these measures help keep the helmet on your head if you fall.

The correct size helmet will fit comfortably onto your head, and but not move when you shake you head up and down.

4. Helmets aren't forever. 

Bicycle helmets are designed to protect against a single severe impact, such as a fall onto the pavement. The foam material in the helmet will crush to absorb the impact energy during a fall and can't protect you again from a subsequent impact. So even if there are no visible signs of damage, you must replace it.

Just remember that while helmets are protective, they aren't perfect: You can sustain a head injury even if you always wear one.


That's why it's important to further reduce your risk by exercising caution while riding, like adding lights to your helmet for better visibility on the road.


5. The most recent development for helmets is  “MIPS” Multi-Plane Impact Protection. One of the criticisms of bicycle helmets is they can increase the torque applied to the head in the event of a crash, MIPS is basically a layer of slick plastic that allows some slippage between the head and the helmet. Whether this makes a difference in the real world remains to be seen.