Sports and Leisure: A Helmet Only Works If You Wear It

Twenty years ago, 121 cyclists died in traffic collisions. In 2006, only 73 cyclists were killed in traffic collisions across Canada according to the latest Transport Canada report on Canadian traffic collisions. Cycling is more popular than ever and yet, there is a notable decline in deaths. We must be doing something right! Wearing properly fitted helmets is part of the equation.

When there is a serious cycling collision or even a simple spill, there is no doubt that a cyclist’s head is at great risk of injury. A brain protected by a second skull (so to speak) would suffer less impact and injury when coming into contact with the pavement (or any hard surface). The value of protection offered by wearing a Canadian Standards Association (CSA) approved helmet is indisputable. Studies have shown that in the event of a collision, the shell of a helmet is designed to reduce the friction and prevent penetration while the interior-foam absorbs and spreads the force of an impact which lessens the extent of the injury. It may even save your life.

Two thirds of all cyclist deaths involve head injuries. In a spill, the forehead usually hits the ground first. Head injuries cause most bicycle-related deaths and can result in serious injury such as brain damage. Up to 85 percent of serious head injuries could be prevented by wearing a helmet.

The unpredictable actions of other motorists and pedestrians sharing the road represent a factor that is not within anyone’s control. Bicycling accidents will happen. Precautions to minimize the risk of injury include: practicing safe cycling skills, following the rules of the road, keeping the bicycle in good working condition (well-maintained tires and brakes, etc.) and wearing a safety helmet. Helmets are not a substitute for responsible cycling, but they will maximize the level of protection. The price of a helmet is affordable and should be considered indispensable.

Since we insist that children wear protective helmets, it is also crucial that adults be good role models by wearing their helmets. Children will be the first to advise their parents to be safe and wear their bicycle helmets. They care for the well-being of their parents and would like to have them around for a long time.

So, don’t rattle your brains over this safety issue; wear a helmet and enjoy an affordable, safe and healthy activity.