In 2004 725 bicyclists were killed and an additional 41,000 were injured in traffic crashes. The 14 and under age group accounted for 18% of those fatalities. Males age 14 and younger accounted for 75% of the bicyclist fatalities.
(Source: NHTSA Bicycle Safety Tips)
Columbus has passed an ordinance that requires all children from age 1 year to age 18 years to wear a bicycle helmet every time when riding a bicycle or participating in wheeled sports.
Tips for Buying a Helmet
The most important thing you can do to protect yourself while riding a bicycle is to protect your head with a helmet. A bicycle helmet reduces the risk of serious head injuries by 80 to 85%. It’s not enough to buy and wear a helmet, you need to make sure that it fits properly.
- Purchase a helmet that meets or exceeds the safety standards developed by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
- Select a brand and size that fits your child’s head now, prior to adjustments. Adjustable sizing pads are often included to help ensure a better fit.
- The helmet should be comfortable and attractive. Your child will be more likely to wear it.
- Replace any helmet that is involved in a crash or if it no longer fits properly.
Fitting a Bike Helmet Properly
- Put the helmet on your head so it sits evenly between the ears and rests low on your forehead – it should only be about 1-2 finger widths above your eyebrows.
- Use your eyes to look up. You should be able to see the rim of the helmet.
- Use your ears to make sure the helmet straps are correct. The straps should come to a point right below your ears and form a “v”. Adjusting the position of your straps is important to help keep your helmet from sliding around.
- Use your mouth and open it as wide as you can. If you don’t feel your helmet tug down on your head, you should tighten the chin straps a bit. This will help keep your helmet on your head while you’re riding.
Safety Tips While Riding Your Bicycle
- Wear a bicycle helmet on every ride. Make sure it fits and your child knows how to put it on correctly.
- Make sure the bicycle fits your child’s height, weight and age. When he/she sits on the seat, his/her feet should be able to touch the ground. There should be about 1 inch of clearance between the bike frame and the child’s groin when the child’s feet are flat on the ground. Also, make sure the bike is in good repair – reflectors are secure, brakes work properly, gears shift smoothly and tires are tightly secured and properly inflated.
- Wear light, bright colors.
- Ride so drivers and other cyclists can see you. Bikers should ride one behind another, on the right side of the road and with the traffic.
- Look left-right-left for oncoming vehicles before turning or crossing a street. Go only when it is clear.
- Use appropriate hand signals and follow the rules of the road by respecting traffic signals. Stop at all stop signs and stoplights and watching out for pedestrians.