Why do bicycle helmets sometimes fail to offer the proper protection needed to prevent head injuries during bike accidents?

Just like all products, bicycle helmets are designed to serve a particular purpose; in this case, that purpose is to protect riders’ heads during bike crashes. And, just like too many products, they sometimes fail to perform their designated function.

The next time you go for a ride on the Custis Trail or the C&O Towpath, there are a few things to think about before strapping on your helmet.

Why Head Injuries Still Happen in Minor Bike Crashes
  • Wrong Size: Helmets are uniquely designed to fit head sizes for children, men and women. Many come with universal-fit adjusters or extra internal padding to allow riders to size helmets specifically to fit their heads. If you don’t have the helmet sized appropriately, it won’t offer the proper protection during a crash.
  • Fit/Position: A helmet should fit snuggly on the head, and should sit level/straight across—never tilted at an angle.
  • Damaged Helmet: Helmets stored in excessive heat, cleaned with solvents, or exposed to extreme weather conditions, can become structurally compromised. Helmets should be replaced every five years.
  • Defective Components: There are many separate parts that make up a bike helmet. Each part works together to create a safe, protective helmet. If any single part fails, then the entire construction can be compromised. These parts include the liner, shell, molded construction, ventilation, straps, and a hair port. If the helmet manufacturer does not construct these helmet parts properly, then you could suffer serious head injuries in a crash.

If you do ever experience a head injury in a biking accident, remember that bike helmets are not a 100% guarantee against injury. If your helmet is defective in some way, it could fail to work in the way it was designed. The side effects from a head injury could have life-long consequences that cost you dearly.

Did you find this information helpful? Please pass this site on to your friends who enjoy bike riding in the D.C. area.

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