Wear a helmet – and not just on the trails

Summer means people ditching the cars and getting the two wheels out.

Summer means people ditching the cars and getting the two wheels out.

Great for your health, and great for the environment, cycling is definitely something to be encouraged, but don’t forget, a helmet is not optional.

Most people put a helmet on to go hit the trails, but many don’t think about it if they are just wheeling down to the grocery store or a friend’s place in town. But a helmet isn’t just for gnarly downhills. Pedaling round town means contending with traffic, and hitting the pavement can do a lot more damage than flying headfirst into bushes on a Ridgemont trail.

Helmets now come in all shapes and sizes. If you, or your child, don’t like wearing one because it is uncomfortable, try a few different ones on until you find one that sits comfortably.

Also, make sure it is worn properly. It needs to sit level on your head, with no more than one or two fingers’ width above the brow.

The straps should form a “V” under each ear with the buckle centered under the chin.

Lastly, when you open your mouth, the helmet should pull down. Don’t let your helmet sit tilted back on your head. That frontal lobe needs protection too.

It should fit snugly. You should be able to shake your head back and forth without the helmet moving even before you strap it on.

Also, keep in mind it is recommended that your helmet be changed every three to five years because of general wear and tear, or when the interior foam has deteriorated.

Without this foam, the helmet can just smash into pieces if you hit the pavement.

Most companies put the manufacturing date on the inside of each helmet so you can be sure. If in doubt, take it to one of the bike shops downtown so they can check it out and make sure it’s still safe.

Encourage others to wear a helmet. Kids need to be shown that it is the normal thing to do and get in the habit of putting it on before they get on the bike; like a seatbelt as soon as they get in the car.