Prevention is key to safer roads and fewer traffic accidents
And while most cyclists who wear helmets believe that their helmet saved or can save their life, the percentage of cyclists who wear helmets in many European countries remains low.
The problem of rapidly rising number of people injured or killed while riding two-wheelers – motorcycles and bicycles has raised a debate about the compulsory wearing of bicycle helmets for children.
According to the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) “A large proportion of the deaths and severe injuries result from injuries to the head. Helmets are effective in reducing the likelihood of head injuries, as well as their severity. Increasing helmet use in a country is thus an important way of improving road safety.” For this reason it has published a multi-page text entitled Helmets: a road safety manual which summarizes the effects of the importance of the helmet on two-wheelers which includes evidence from major medical research as well as experiences from helmet promotion initiatives.
Some important points from the text of the W.H.O. concerning the importance of the helmet in cycling are summarized below. Obviously, the helmet is not a shield that can completely protect against a collision with a motor vehicle at high speed, the issue of claiming and imposing a vital space for vulnerable users and low traffic speeds is paramount. At the same time, however, according to the WHO, we should know that:
Cycling can be dangerous
About two-thirds of serious cyclist injuries require hospitalization and three-quarters of cyclist deaths are due to head injuries. These injuries can be the result of falls after a loss of control, from a fall in a pothole, or from a collision with another bicycle or motor vehicle. Head injuries are also a major cause of disability everywhere and place a huge burden on victims' families and society.
Wearing a helmet reduces the risk of head and brain injury
Preventing head injuries is a very important goal. The use of a helmet reduced the risk of head injury by 69%. Head injuries are a broad term that includes injuries to the scalp, skull and brain. In brain injuries alone - the most serious type of injury - helmets also reduced the risk of brain injury by 69%, and the risk of serious brain injury by 79%.
Helmets seem to be equally effective for all age groups, including young children and the elderly
Some people believe that helmets may not be effective for cyclists who are hit by motor vehicles. However, studies show that helmets are equally effective in motor vehicle collisions and non-motorcycle collisions. Helmets are also effective in preventing injuries to the middle and upper part of the face, the area above the upper lip. Helmets reduce the risk of injury to this part of the face by about two-thirds, possibly due to the "protrusion" of the helmet. Here you can see 19 accidents prevented by wearing a helmet.
“A boy’s bike helmet saved him from serious injuries after a crash, if not death.”
All injuries must be considered preventable. This also applies to cyclists' head injuries!
Promoting the use of the helmet finds a special response, especially in children. Training programs, helmet reduction programs and helmet regulatory legislation have had a positive effect. Such programs should convey a unique, clear message: “Wear a helmet!”
When buying a Helmet:
Check inside for a sticker with the production date and choose the most recent possible.
Try it and choose what is right for your head. Otherwise you’ll end up not wearing it.
Color is a matter of personal taste. Keep in mind however that those who wear
Tip! Light-colored helmets are 24% less likely to get involved in a car accident.
A properly worn helmet:
Is so tight that it stays firmly on our head, but not too tight to make us uncomfortable.
The side straps (V) hug our ear and the corner of the V is below the earlobe.
We fasten the helmet and loosely fit 1 finger between the strap and the bottom of our chin.
The distance of the helmet from our eyebrows should be two fingers.
Always change your helmet:
Three years after its purchase
After a fall (the helmet protects us only once) or if we see it heavily worn or broken somewhere.
Some info about the author
Maria grew up traveling extensively around the world, with a significant part of her childhood spent in Dubai during the late 80’s. She continues to travel as often as possible around the globe, with her family. She moved to Switzerland 7 years ago, shifting from a 10-year career in banking in Athens to a full-time mom of 3 children.
After the birth of her 1st child, she realized that various needs of parents traveling in Switzerland and many countries that she visited were not fully covered by the existing internet platforms. Focusing in particular on the need for families looking for things to do with small children while having fun, Maria took an entrepreneurial turn and partnered up with a talented team of developers to design Momizen.com, a technologically advanced web application for finding fun and educational things to do with kids on-the-go.
In her free time, she reads (mainly at-loud to an audience of 3), practices yoga, loves movies, sailing, surfing, skiing and most often can be seen cycling around her neighbourhood with her children in Canton Schwyz. Maria holds a degree in Psychology and a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Kent, in Canterbury. She is also a certified yoga teacher for adults and kids!
She can be reached by email at email@example.com.