Not All Bicycle Helmets are Created Equal

Not All Bicycle Helmets are Created Equal

By David Hersh
July 22, 2019
5 min read

Bike Helmet Warnings – by David P. Hersh, Shareholder.

Not all bicycle helmets are created equal.  If you are interested in protecting your brain, you will need to educate yourself about the attributes of various bike helmets before you buy.

Finding the Best Helmet for You

Many factors are important in bike helmets:  ventilation, weight, fit, aero, off-road vs road, and yes, even color.  The best helmet for you is the one that fits you and the one you will wear.  If you (or your kids) “hate” that helmet, the temptation will be to skip wearing it “just this one time”.  It is important to get a helmet that fits you and which you can wear properly (you may need to read the manufacturer’s instructions on how to wear a helmet – it is amazing what you can learn from such an exercise).  How you wear a helmet is important.  Google or YouTube it if you don’t know, or have your LBS (“local bike shop”) teach you how to wear the helmet.

Understanding Helmet Standards

While bicycle helmets must meet certain minimum standards by testing agencies, those minimum testing standards do not guarantee maximum protection.  To make matters confusing, different bicycle helmets are rated or assessed against different standards – some by DOT, some by the CPSC, some by labs like Snell and Bell, and some under the ASTM protocol. You will need to investigate what manufacturer offerings are available to you to protect against the kind of impact you fear the most.

Protecting Your Brain

Think about it this way – if your head hits a solid object, and the helmet allows that object to break your skull (bone), you are going to be seriously injured.  So a solid or rigid helmet may provide significant protection against skull fractures or breaks.  Significantly, however, a rigid helmet may transmit a significant amount of force (in the process of protecting the skull) to the brain that is inside the skull.  Think about putting an egg inside a rigid protective cage and then dropping the whole thing:  the rigid cage may “protect” the egg, in the sense that the cage remains intact and does not “break”, but the fragile egg inside the cage (in this illustration, your brain) may in fact scramble as it gets bounced around.  When your bike crash causes your head to hit the pavement (or tree or wall or whatever) you need to protect your skull from cracking, but you are also going to want to protect your brain from bouncing around too much inside your skull and you are going to want to protect from rotational forces being applied against the brain (which tend to cause “shearing” injuries, which many neurologists will tell you are bad stuff).

What Happens When You Have a Concussion

Doing Your Research

So when buying your helmet, it pays to do some research, talk to a knowledgeable bike helmet “geek” at your local bike shop, and make a serious effort to ascertain which helmet is best suited to your needs and will provide the kind of protection you are likely to need.  While not the “be-all” and “end-all” of research, the following sites can provide some important information for this process.  Also, the manufacturer’s web pages are increasingly providing engineering information and safety data.  Third-party evaluations (various bicycling publications) publish evaluations of helmets that can be helpful.

Replacing Your Helmet

Helmets have a limited life span.  Bicycle helmets age, wear out and need to be replaced.  If your helmet has been involved in a crash and it has been materially impacted, it needs to be replaced.  A damaged helmet will not protect you in a subsequent crash.  And while an “only slightly damaged” helmet may still protect you, why take that chance for a couple of hundred dollars?

Making Smart Choices

A final word from David P. Hersh, shareholder at Burg Simpson and avid cyclist:

“The best helmet for you is the one you wear.  I have heard all kinds of explanations from those who choose not to wear a helmet while bicycling, and all I can say in response is that my friends down at the Emergency Room have a name for those who ride without a helmet:  they call them “organ donors”.  Wear your helmet.”

If You Have Been Injured in Bike Crash

What to do if you have been injured in a bike collision?  Call Burg Simpson as soon as possible and schedule a Free Consultation with our lawyers at Burg Simpson — Call us today at 303 792 5595

David Hersh and Burg Simpson’s team of personal injury lawyers have a proven history of obtaining results for clients who have been injured in bike accidents. Burg Simpson can investigate your bicycle crash, prepare your insurance claims, negotiate your settlement, and can litigate for you in court for you against the parties who are responsible for your injuries.

Burg Simpson has a national reputation for fighting for individuals in courtrooms across the country. With offices in seven states and more than 65 attorneys, Burg Simpson has the experience and resources to fight for you and obtain the compensation you deserve.

If you have been hurt in a bicycle crash and you need help, call us at 888. 895.2080 to schedule a free consultation. Or just fill out our Free Case Evaluation Form and will we will get in touch with you to discuss your options.

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