Don’t Be a Fool; Wear a Helmet

via. York Region
via. York Region
  Sure, you may think that wearing a helmet looks kinda lame–but don’t!  Helmets save your life, and it’s the only thing  protecting you from a high speed collision with a car or the road. There are plenty of reasons you should wear a helmet, and if you read this post and still think you’re too cool for one…then maybe you should get your head examined. Just look at the numbers.  75% of all bicycle deaths are caused by head injuries.  Every year about 400,000 children ages 14 and under are treated in emergency rooms for bicycle-related injuries.  In 2011, 677 bicyclists died on US roads, and 48,000 were injured.  When you wear a bike helmet you’re reducing the risk of head injuries by 63-83%.  So why wouldn’t you wear one? Riding a bike on the road is fun, but it’s also dangerous. So where do helmets come from? Helmet is diminutive from the Medieval word helm which means combat protective headgear. The Medieval helm covered the whole head and was accompanied with a camail that protected the throat and neck as well. It also looked pretty freakin’ cool.  Originally, a helmet was a helm that only  covered the head partly.  Helmets protect the user’s head by absorbing mechanical energy and protecting against penetration.  Which, when in battle, that was the ideal body part to protect. Now, when it comes to bicycle helmets there are different types of helmets suited for different needs.  Road helmets are suited mostly for  bicyclists. They have an elongated shape with air vents on the top and sides, and are made of EPS foam covered by a thin plastic shell.
Image source: Jurvetson on Flickr, http://www.flickr.com/photos/jurvetson/
Image source: Jurvetson on Flickr, http://www.flickr.com/photos/jurvetson/
The soft pads inside of the helmet improve the helmet’s fit and make it more comfortable to wear. The helmet is held on the cyclist’s head by adjustable straps that snap together beneath the rider’s chin. There are also multi-sport helmets that are designed for people who not only bicycle, but also skateboard or Rollerblade  These helmets are more rounded in shape  and have fewer air vents.  The exterior plastic shell is thicker than a road helmet.  Since these helmets have less ventilation and a thicker exterior, they might be a little less comfortable than the traditional road helmet. BMX and downhill mountain bikes also have their own helmets.  These helmets provide additional protection based on the specific sport. They look a lot like motorcycle helmets, and have a chin bar for face protection. BMX and downhill mountain bike helmets are made of stronger materials than the original road helmets, because these helmets are designed to withstand strong crashes. So why aren’t you wearing a helmet?  There are so many other reasons you should strap one of these babies to your melon. If children ages 4 to 15 wore a helmet every time they rode a bike, it would prevent 39,000 to 45,000 head injuries, and 18,000 to 55,000 scalp and face injuries every year.  Bicycle helmets decrease serious head injuries by 85-88%.  It’s just plain silly to get on a bike without a helmet! Helmets are cool, because they save your life. (duh!)  You can always decorate your helmet with some stickers to make it your own. Just don’t forget your helmet before you hop on your bike!  Don’t become another bicycle injury statistic. Image credit: StreetAnatomy.com

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