Some people feel a sense of freedom bicycling without a helmet. Reality sets in when you fall and hit your head, which may not feel so bad at first. But many head injuries don’t reveal their symptoms until perhaps days later, when the underlying problem may be much worse. Concussions, skull fractures, swelling, internal bleeding, and traumatic brain injuries often have delayed symptoms that our bicycle accident attorneys are all too familiar with.
Fortunately, you can often avoid these by wearing a helmet properly. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has studied the impacts. In 2016, it reported there were 424 fatalities among people who wore a bicycle helmet, compared to 137 people with helmets who died in bicycle crashes. Australian research has found that a bicycle helmet can reduce the risk of head injures by as much as 70%.
But does any helmet offer that much protection? No; to be fully protected, the helmet must properly fit your head. It also requires proper care to maintain that protection.
Here are some tips to using your helmet properly:
- Measure your head before trying on a helmet.
- The helmet should cover your forehead and top of your head.
- The edge should be one or two fingers above your eyebrows.
- It should move very little when you move your head.
- A buckled helmet strap should form a V under your earlobes.
- Only one or two fingers should fit under the strap.
- The buckle should be under your chin
- The helmet should be removed to adjust the strap.
- It should not shift when you yawn.
Comfort is important, as you’re more likely to not wear an uncomfortable helmet. The helmet should be lightweight; you shouldn’t feel too much pressure on your head. It should also be ventilated so your head stays cool and dry.
How to Care for Your Helmet
Once you invest in a quality helmet, proper care will ensure it lasts. Clean it according to the manufacturer’s instructions, but most of the time, water and mild soap are enough. Avoid submerging a helmet in water for long periods of time. It should never be placed in a washing machine, dryer, or dishwasher.
Proper storage is important as well. Keep your bicycle helmet in a cool, dry place. While you may be tempted to leave it in the trunk of your car, high temperatures can degrade the material and reduce impact absorption. Bleach, ammonia, and other chemical products can damage the shell so keep the helmet away from these. Also, be careful about cameras and other attachments; straps and mountings can cause damage that interfere with the product’s performance.
Replace Your Helmet After a Crash
Bicycle helmets are designed to withstand a single strong impact. If it strikes the ground or an object in a crash, replace it right away, even if the collision doesn’t seem that bad. Otherwise, you could be vulnerable to future injuries.
Apply for Legal Funding in Los Angeles
As any bicycle accident lawyer in Los Angeles knows, helmets save lives. They also protect you in case you file a personal injury claim, as the at-fault driver in an accident may bear most of the liability if you’ve obeyed safety laws. But if your attorney is ready to file a lawsuit, contact FCA Legal Funding for a pre-settlement advance, cash advance refinance, or post-settlement funding so you can receive much-needed compensation. Application takes just minutes and you will receive a no-obligation offer within 24 hours of our contact with your attorney. Call us at (310) 424-5176.