If you’re anything like the thousands of cyclists who get around on a bicycle, either as a hobby or as your primary form of transportation, there’s a good chance you also own a helmet.
But do you use it?
Wearing a helmet is one of the most primary safety tips we all hear when we learn to ride a bike, yet over half of all cyclists opt not to wear one.
“Everyone has their own excuses not to wear a helmet – some say it’s inconvenient to carry around, or that they want to avoid the ‘helmet head’ look, but helmets are too important to neglect,” said Jennifer Li of Bike Rental Central Park, “but it’s important to your health and safety.”
Here are four reasons you must wear a helmet when you’re riding a bike.
- You’ll be protecting your head and your brain.
If you regularly ride a bike, at some point you’re going to fall off of it–and it doesn’t matter how careful as you may be, and whether it’s someone’s fault or an unavoidable situation.
Don’t believe it? Ask any seasoned rider and they’ll tell you about a time they crashed. It’s almost inevitable
And when cyclists do get into accidents, head trauma is one of the leading causes of death. But bicycle helmets are about 85% effective at preventing these injuries when accidents do occur. That’s a huge reduction in risk.
You can’t protect yourself from everything while you’re on the road, but you should take steps to prevent what you can. That’s why Bike Rental Central Park encourages helmet use when biking in NYC.
2.You increase your visibility.
Helmets can help you see better and help others see you.
Cycling helmets typically have a bit of a visor that extends over your forehead. So if it’s raining, snowing, or just too sunny, the helmet can help keep all of that out of your eyes. If you can see better, you’ll have an easier time preventing accidents.
Helmets can also improve your visibility to other motorists. Many helmets are constructed with reflective material. And even if they aren’t, you can add a couple strips of reflective tape so motorists are more likely to see you.
While it won’t be enough to prevent these accidents in all cases, it never hurts to give motorists an extra indication that you’re there. This is especially important if you tend to ride between dusk and dawn when road visibility is bad.
- It’s a responsibility to your health–and brain
Let’s face it, there’s a bit of a stigma when it comes to wearing a helmet. It might start with teenagers being worried about helmet hair and looking cool when they’re getting around town, but those concerns become ingrained in cyclists’ brains and we avoid wearing helmets for the rest of our lives.
But being called a helmet head is a pretty small price to pay when you think about what can happen to you after a serious head injury.
If all cyclists wore helmets in the first place, there wouldn’t be such a stigma around being a helmet head. Most people don’t avoid wearing their glasses just because they were teased in elementary school. Why? Because they’re vital to their wellbeing. Helmets shouldn’t be any different.
Normalizing helmet use will encourage others to wear them too, increasing safety for everyone.
- You’re helping to avoid legal troubles
If you’re ever in a bicycle accident and not wearing a helmet, you could be ruled at fault or partially at fault for your own injuries. This can happen even if you weren’t breaking any rules of the road and did nothing to cause the accident.
When you’re ruled at fault, the compensation for your medical bills and lost wages can be significantly reduced, leaving you without the funds to cover your recovery costs.
In some places, the law even requires that cyclists wear helmets. In NYC all children under the age of 14 are required to wear one while biking.
Wearing a helmet can save your life. Whether you’re renting a bike for a quick ride or commute on one every day, helmets should always be worn.