Bicycle Helmets Prevent Head Injury


Bicycle Helmets Prevent head Injury

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento bicycle accident lawyer. Safety is an important concern when using a bicycle for fun, work or school. Since head injuries are a common and devastating injury, bicycle helmets are an essential component of a biker’s gear.

Head Injury Statistics

Statistically, approximately 75 percent of all fatal bicycle accident deaths were the result of a head injury. Close to 100 percent of cyclists killed did not use a helmet. While the odds of being killed in a crash with a motor vehicle are dependent on helmet use, many cyclists still choose not to wear one. Laws in 21 states and in Washington D.C. require that younger individuals wear a helmet. However, there is no legal requirement for adults to wear a helmet while riding a bicycle in any state even though the likelihood of wearing one would be greater if it was the law.

California Laws

Under California Vehicle Code 21212, all bicycle riders under the age of 18 must wear a bicycle helmet. The helmet must be worn on any street, bike trail or public bicycle path. The helmet must fit correctly, have a strap and meet the federal standard for bicycle helmets. Helmets must be labeled as to their conformity with the standards. Helmets cannot be offered for purchase if they do not meet the standards. If they are, the seller may be fined $25. If the person to whom the helmet was sold is a minor, the parents or guardian of the minor shall also be held accountable.

Testing of Bicycle Helmets

All helmet brands are tested for their conformity to the standards. This means the helmets have the following::

  • Impact attenuation test: A helmet must decrease the impact a blow to the head would have when hitting a hard surface.
  • Retention strength test: The helmet straps must retain their position without stretching in order to keep the helmet on a cyclist’s head.
  • Positional stability test: A helmet must not be able to disengage from the rider’s head upon impact.
  • Peripheral vision test: The rider’s vision must not be blocked by a helmet.

Standards for Bicycle Helmets

There are several standards for bicycle helmets:

The Consumer Product Safety Commission Standard: This standard came into effect in 1994 and has become the most widely used standard in this country and around the world. It is the standard for those helmets made after 1999. The lab test for this standard assures a bicycle helmet is protective when dropped two meters on a flat, hard metal surface and 1.2 meters on a curved or round surface. Compliance with this standard is certified by the CPSC.

The American Society for Testing and Materials: This is the ASTM F1447 standard for bicycle helmets made prior to 1999. It is the same as the CPSC standard in all aspects except one. This certification was not related to any laws since certification for bicycle helmets was not legally required. Manufacturers using this standard could certify the helmet themselves.

The Snell Foundation Standard: This standard was developed in 1957 after the demise of Peter Snell, a cyclist. The standard is the strictest of all standards and boasts a higher impact level. Manufacturers pay for the foundation to test their helmets and do follow up tests on the helmet obtained from retailers. In the mid-1990s, many manufacturers dropped the standard due to the high cost.

How to Wear a Helmet

After choosing a certified helmet, it is important to wear it properly. Straps should always be fastened, and the helmet should be worn level on the forehead. The chin strap should be worn as directed, and twisting or pulling should be unable to loosen it. Remember, helmets are required for other riders on the bicycle as well.

Sacramento Bicycle Accident Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento bicycle accident lawyer. Helmets can be life-saving. However, an accident can still cause significant injury to riders. When this happens, you want the help an experienced bicycle injury lawyer can provide. Reach out to me either online or by phone at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400, and I’ll provide you with friendly and free advice.

I’ve practiced law in Sacramento and all of Northern California since 1982, helping residents with bicycle accidents and wrongful deaths. The financial burden can be steep after an accident, and it is necessary to obtain just compensation for damages.

You may like to see how I helped other clients. Go to my verdicts and settlements page.

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