Cycling is a healthy form of exercise and a lot of fun, but it is also a potential catalyst for injury. A bicycle helmet is the most basic form of safety equipment that most people wear every time they go for a ride. Many cycling associations require helmets during races and many people wear helmets consistently for their own well-being.
Although state law does not require a helmet when cycling, it is still a smart choice to wear one even on the shortest bike ride. Some municipalities have ordinances requiring that those under 18 wear helmets. Still, cyclists also need to remain aware of the limited protections provided by a bicycle helmet when making choices about their gear and cycling habits.
Bike helmets aren’t designed to withstand the impact caused by car crashes
What many cyclists do not know about bicycle helmets specifically is that the design and testing process used when manufacturing them typically does not look at their ability to withstand a car crash.
Although it may seem negligent to ignore such an obvious risk, not performing those tests simply makes sense. A helmet often does its job best when someone gets thrown off of their bike or takes a tumble, as opposed to absorbing the impact of an entire motor vehicle. Testing for those kinds of force will result in better overall protection.
Cyclists who are aware of these functional limitations on their safety equipment can make better choices in traffic and possibly even smarter decisions about what safety gear they purchase. Investing in better-rated helmets is a possibility for those who worry about their safety when sharing a line of traffic with motor vehicles.
While it may disappoint some cyclists to learn that their helmets won’t necessarily stand up to the impact of a car crash, that certainly doesn’t mean people should ride around without helmets.
Cyclists who invest in the best safety equipment and who keep their bikes in excellent condition will not only have an easier time protecting themselves but will also be in a better position to advocate for compensation if they do ever get hurt in a crash. Learning about risks and safety options available to protect those who might experience a car-bicycle collision can help people stay safe and better handle the consequences of an accident if/when one occurs.