Helmet Safety

BJ Murray, VP of SaddleBrooke Cyclemasters

The value of wearing helmets while riding your bike is immense. Seems we all know of someone who has been riding a bike and been in a substantial accident. Many will point out that they are happy that they had their bike helmets on, some claiming to say that it saved their lives. This is why we in SaddleBrooke Cyclemasters require each person who rides with us to wear a helmet.

However, many of our members report back to us that they see people riding around SaddleBrooke without helmets. This can be an extremely dangerous proposition even if the rider is being very careful. A distracted driver (or one who just doesn’t see as well) could easily run into a cyclist.

Golf carts speeding around (with people who sometimes don’t even have a valid driver’s license) could also be distracted on the road. Bottom line is, we all just want our cycling enthusiasts to be safe, and wearing a helmet is one key way to do it.

The Cleveland Clinic reports that each year in the United States, about 800 bicyclists are killed and another 500,000 end up in hospital emergency rooms. About 2/3 of the deaths and 1/3 of the injuries involve the head and face. Wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of head injury to bicyclists by as much as 85 percent.

What safety information should I look for when purchasing a helmet?

Look for the Consumer Product Safety Committee (CPSC) sticker inside the helmet. This label or sticker ensures that the helmet will provide a high level of protection in the event of an impact. Helmets manufactured after March 1999 are required by law to meet the CPSC standard. The “ASTM,” “ANSI,” and “Snell” labels also meet the CPSC standards. (These were voluntary safety standards in place before 1999.)

Before purchasing a new helmet, it is also good to review the MIPS standards. MIPS stands for Multi-directional Impact Protection System. It is described as a “slip-plane” technology.

This works inside the helmet and is designed to reduce rotational forces that can result from certain impacts. More information on MIPS can be found on their website at www.mipsprotection.com.

Can I use a helmet that is used or a hand-me-down?

If you are considering a used or hand-me-down helmet, never purchase or use a helmet that is cracked, broken, or has been in a crash. Keep in mind that used or older helmets might have cracks you cannot see and might not meet current safety standards if they were manufactured before 1999.

Please, we want to ensure the safety of all the cyclists and HOA residents in our community. If you don’t wear a helmet currently please consider wearing one. Thanks from SaddleBrooke Cyclemasters!