5 Reasons You Should Wear a Helmet
September 19, 2022
In New Jersey, minors must wear helmets while biking, skateboarding or roller/inline skating. Adults aren’t required by law to wear helmets, but they’re important and potentially life-saving.
Helmets help to protect the head when involved in many types of crashes or falls while engaged in active sports. Helmets are also research-proven to reduce the risk of serious injury and death.
Wearing a helmet every time you bike, skate or skateboard may save your life.
“Some adults think they don’t need helmets because they’re proficient cyclists or skaters,” says Kevin Crutchfield, M.D., neurologist at Hackensack University Medical Center. “Even if you do everything right, something can always go wrong.”
These are five important reasons why you should wear a helmet:
1. Helmets Reduce the Risk of Serious Injury or Death
Falls from bikes and collisions with cars may cause serious injury or death. Wearing a helmet reduces this risk.
A study published in 2018 found that bike helmets reduced:
- Head injuries by 48%
- Serious head injuries by 60%
- Traumatic brain injuries by 53%
- Injuries to the face by 23%
- The number of seriously injured or killed cyclists by 34%
2. Helmets Absorb Some of the Energy Produced by Impact
Helmets are designed to absorb some of the power of an impact. Whether your head hits a road, tree or vehicle, you’ll experience less harm.
Helmets have hard exteriors, but the insides are soft, to cushion people’s heads. They can’t prevent concussion but may prevent serious brain injury.
“Concussions occur because the speed of impact makes the brain move within the skull,” Dr. Crutchfield says. “No helmet can stop the force associated with concussion, but it should reduce injuries.”
3. Helmets Increase Your Visibility on the Road
A brightly colored helmet may make you stand out more. Drivers may notice you from farther away, then give you room when passing by.
“By choosing a red, pink or fluorescent green helmet, you’ll catch drivers’ attention,” Dr. Crutchfield says. “Something colorful and fun that you love wearing makes you more visible.”
If you ride or skate at night, choose a helmet with reflectors. You’ll make it easier for drivers to spot you from a distance.
4. Helmets Provide Some Protection From the Elements
Some people need to ride their bikes, rain or shine, to get to work. Others are diehard exercise enthusiasts who never skip workouts because of the weather.
Helmets may help to protect you from different types of weather:
- In the rain, helmets may keep your head drier
- On rainy days, the visor may help keep rain out of your eyes
- On sunny days, the visor may help keep the sun out of your eyes
5. Adults Who Wear Helmets Set Good Examples for Kids
Do you eat vegetables and say “please” and “thank you” around your kids? Wearing a helmet is another way to model good behavior.
Kids listen to what parents say, but what they see may have greater impact. Wearing a helmet when you bike, skateboard or skate together sends the right message.
“Tell your kids that helmets are an essential piece of safety equipment,” Dr. Crutchfield says. “Remembering to wear yours when you ride together should encourage your child to follow suit.”
Tips for Selecting a Helmet
Safety experts want cyclists, skaters and skateboarders to know that:
- The safest helmets have Consumer Product Safety Commission (CSPC) or Snell labels.
- Helmets are only meant to withstand one collision; after an accident, get a new one.
- Different helmets are available for skiing, football, horseback riding, baseball and more.
Next Steps & Resources:
- Meet our source: Kevin Crutchfield, M.D., Neurologist, Hackensack University Medical Center, Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Neurology, Hackensack School of Medicine
- To make an appointment with Dr. Crutchfield, or a doctor near you, call 800-822-8905 or visit our website.
The material provided through HealthU is intended to be used as general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your physician for individual care.
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