Bicycle Helmet Safety from Calgary EMSOn February 22, 2017 by Calgary's Child
Bicycle crashes are the leading cause of brain injury in school aged children. The majority of bicycle injuries do not involve motor vehicles. Most often injuries occur when a cyclist suffers a fall, strikes a stationary object like a pole, or collides with a pedestrian or another cyclist. Unfortunately there are still a significant number of people that do not wear helmets, however it is Alberta law that anyone under 18 years of age must wear a helmet when riding a bicycle. It is also highly advisable to wear a CSA approved helmet when using a skateboard, in-line skates, or a scooter.
• Allow children to assist in choosing their own helmet– cyclists who choose their own helmet are more likely to wear them.
• Make a habit of wearing helmets early, even if young children are learning on a tricycle.
• One simple rule: no helmet, no cycling. Make the rule and stick to it consistently.
• Lead by example– always wear your own helmet!
• A helmet that has been in a crash must be replaced, even if it appears undamaged.
• Replace your helmet every five years even if it hasn’t been in a crash. UV rays will weaken the helmet over time.
Getting the Right Fit
• The helmet should rest level on the head, never tilted high or low over the forehead.
• The helmet should feel snug, but not too tight. It should not fall off when you shake your head from side to side while the straps are unfastened.
• Adjust the chin straps to form a “Y” below and slightly forward from the ears.
• Only one finger should be able to fit under the chin strap when it is fastened.
• Use the sizing pads included with the helmet to improve the comfort and fit.
• A brain injury is not like a broken bone – it may never fully heal.
• A brain injury can lead to permanent disability or death.
• The cost of a helmet is easily justified. Research demonstrates wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of brain injury by 85%.
• Statistics show that all cyclist fatalities in children under the age of 15 were unhelmeted.
• Remember: all cyclists’ crash eventually!
• Calgary paramedics are doing their part– every year the Calgary Paramedics Charity Society gives away 500 bicycle helmets to less fortunate children.
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