Wearing a helmet while riding a bicycle is proven to lower the risk of serious bodily injury in the event of a crash. A study published in 2009 in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews concluded that bicycle helmets reduce the risk of serious brain and neck injuries by a whopping 63 to 88 percent. At Clark & Martino, P.A., this information comes as no surprise to our Tampa bicycle accident lawyers, who have long represented victims of serious bicycle accidents. We are avid cyclists ourselves who recognize helmets for what they are, namely our most important piece of safety equipment.
In the United States, bicycle helmet design is regulated by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Here is a brief summary of bicycle helmet requirements in plain English:
- A bicycle helmet must not block the rider’s peripheral vision (peripheral vision test)
- A bicycle helmet must not come off in the event of a fall (positional stability test)
- Bicycle helmet straps must not stretch enough to cause the helmet to fall off in an accident (retention strength test)
- A helmet must significantly reduce the force to the head when it comes into contact with a hard surface (impact attenuation test)
Also, by law, every bicycle helmet sold in America must come with instructions informing the consumer how to wear it properly, and how to choose a helmet of the correct size. A testing certification label must also be affixed to the helmet, along with a serial number and the name, address, and telephone number of the manufacturer.
The CPSC offers the following tips on how to correctly wear a helmet:
- Wear the helmet flat atop your head, not tilted back at an angle.
- Make sure the helmet fits snugly and does not obstruct your field of vision.
- Make sure the chin strap fits securely and that the buckle stays fastened.