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Tips for Buying a Cycle Helmet

Posted on September 1, 2010 @ 1:42 PM in Cycling

Buying a bike is a good time to buy a helmet which is so important to protect you and your child’s head. There are many types, colours and brands of helmets as well as the price range, from £7/8 to hundreds. A helmet is advisable but not compulsory in Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland, so here are a few reasons why we should wear them...

  • Evidence shows that 35%-40% of children taken to hospital after a cycling accident have head injuries
  • Wearing a helmet can reduce head injuries by 88%
  • Wearing a helmet can reduce facial injuries by 65%

A lot of helmets are made of EPS foam with a thin plastic shell. The shell helps the helmet skid easily on rough pavement to avoid jerking your neck. The shell also holds the foam together after the first impact. Some excellent helmets are made by moulding foam in the shell rather than adding the shell later.

A few things to think about when buying a helmet…I feel you should:

  • Take it out of the box and try it on if possible
  • Make sure there are plenty ventilation holes to keep you cool in warm weather, but not too many as this can reduce the protection
  • If possible buy a helmet with an adjustment at the back of the head as this will give a much better fit
  • A visor sometimes comes separate from the helmet, this is important as it protects your face in a fall. It is easily attached to the helmet.
  • Rigid visors can snag or shatter in a fall
  • Narrow straps can be uncomfortable
  • Dark helmets are difficult for motorists to see
  • Don’t buy a helmet which is too big for your child as it will not sit properly on their head
  • If possible get a helmet with a buckle which locks on the straps coming down around the ears, as the ones without the lock move about
  • A sticker inside the helmet tells you what standard it meets
  • Replace any helmet if you crash. Impact crushes some of the foam and the damage may not be visible.
  • The helmet should sit level on your head and cover as much as possible. Above all, with the strap fastened you should not be able to get the helmet off your head by pulling or twisting. If it comes off or slips enough to leave large areas of your head unprotected, adjust the straps again or try another helmet.
  • Keep the strap comfortably snug when cycling

Look out for more tips from Mary on cycling safety. For more information on Pedal Right and its services please click here.


Mary Kelly
Mary Kelly  Proprietor of Pedal Right

Mary is the proprietor of Pedal Right, a cycling school which teaches children and adults how to cycle safely. She is a mother and a grandmother who always had an interest in cycling. A few years ago she was made redundant and had the opportunity to train as a cycling instructor. Since then she has been travelling around the North West of Ireland working mainly in schools teaching children how to cycle safely.

She also spends alot of her time walking with her miniature Jack Russell around the lovely beaches in Buncrana and the surrounding countryside.

4 comments have been posted in reply to this article

Posted by pedro on October 11, 2010 @ 8:33 PM

cheap helmets not necessarily ensure the health, so helmet purchased should be qualified, what ever price

Posted by Red Bull Helmet on October 28, 2010 @ 6:42 AM

According to a research, biker has minimum chances of survival after colliding to someone at 50 mph. In that case if helmet helps in minimizing injuries to 12% (head) and 35% (facial), that could be a major factor in increasing the survival rate of bikers. I suggest all biker a controlled and safe ridding.

Posted by Pedals Cycling on November 18, 2010 @ 6:36 AM

All nice tips. I would really agree on the ventilation holes. Having a cycling helmet is important however, a cyclist must not rely his total safety upon it. A biker with a helmet but doesn't anything about existing traffic rules will still end up injured.

Anyway, such a cute little girl. Is she your granddaughter?

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