June 16th, 2024

Viva Vitality: Cruising confidently – mastering helmet safety

By Kiana Farrell on April 12, 2024.

With the weather beginning to warm, many people will start bringing out their bicycles. So, what is the most important item to wear when riding a bike? That’s right, a helmet! Here in Alberta, it is legally required that anyone under 18 years of age wear a bike helmet when riding a bike.

Using an appropriate bike helmet could help reduce your risk of head injuries by more than 40 per cent, serious head injuries by 60 per cent, and traumatic brain injuries by 53 per cent. Additionally, proper helmet use can reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries by 34 per cent.

To prevent serious injury to yourself, ensure your helmet is the right fit. You can check this by using the 2V1 rule – ensure there is room to only fit two fingers between your eyebrows and helmet, ensure that the straps form a V under your ears, and lastly, only one finger should fit between the strap and your chin.

Once these steps have been taken, shake your head side-to-side and front-and-back. If the helmet properly fits it should not move around. To ensure a proper fit, never wear hats, toques, hairclips, or headphones, underneath your helmet.

Keep your helmet in top condition:

Ensure your bike helmet is being replaced every five years as the plastic begins to dry out and become brittle making it less effective at protecting you from injury.

Replace a bike helmet after a crash where the cyclist hits their head.

Do not buy a second-hand helmet, as you do not know if it was in a crash or how old it is.

Do not use a helmet that is missing parts.

Do not put stickers on a helmet as the adhesive of the sticker may have a solvent that may cause the plastic of the helmet to weaken.

Remember to always wear the helmet that is appropriate for the activity you are participating in. Take the steps to protect your head!

For more information and resources visit parachute.ca/en/injury-topic/helmets.

Kiana Farrell is a practicum student with the Alberta Health Services South Zone Population and Public Health team.

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