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Family Sports

Use Your Head

When school’s out, everyone takes to the streets and pathways on wheels at all times of the day and night. Wearing a helmet has never been more important, yet too many people make lame excuses not to strap one on.

“I’m careful.” “It’s too uncomfortable.” “It doesn’t look cool.” Excuses for why people don’t wear a helmet are almost as numerous as the dangers of NOT wearing one. Whether you’re riding a bicycle, scooter, motorcycle or horse, skating, skateboarding or razoring, a helmet can protect you from traumatic brain injury. It takes just one bad fall for you to damage the most important control center in your body.

  • In a recent study of bicycle fatalities conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 91 percent of bicyclists killed on the road weren’t wearing a helmet. Yet bicycle helmets can reduce your risk of serious injury by up to 88 percent. So why wouldn’t you wear one? If you think you’re careful, remember that accidents do happen. And they could happen to you.
  • If “it’s too uncomfortable” is your excuse, you might have the wrong size or type of helmet. Or maybe you just need to get used to it.
  • Bargain-priced bike helmets often come in one size only. Adjust the internal strap to be sure it’s snug but not painful.
  • Other helmets come in a variety of sizes, based on your head measurement. Use a cloth tape measure to take the measurement from around your head, just an inch or so above your eyebrows. Be sure the tape is level. That number will give you the size you need.
  • If you overheat easily or ride on hot days, be sure to get a style with plenty of vents.
  • Wear it low, level and snug. Check in a mirror to be sure:
  • The front of the helmet covers most of your forehead
  • The strap is snug but not tight. You should barely be able to fit a finger between your chin and the strap. The point of the “V” on the side straps  should be just below your ears
  • Wiggle the helmet. You shouldn’t be able to move it more than an inch if the straps are adjusted correctly.
Today’s helmets come in so many styles and colors that “it doesn’t look cool” is one of the silliest excuses ever. Go to a big sporting store for the best selection or search online for the coolest helmet you can find. Remember, you sure won’t look cool in the hospital.

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