Bicycle helmet is a safety device that delivers any protection in individual falls to no more than 20 k/h.

There are two types of helmet, the so-called integrated helmets, hard cover and thin or soft cover helmets. The first are widely used in extreme cycling as the descent. Others, more lightweight and better ventilation, are preferred in track, route and the city. Thin cover helmets are designed and certified to protect the head from impacts arising from falling or individual events to no more than 20 km per hour.

Helmets are tested to meet safety standards. The more rigorous is the norm SNELL (SNELL B90 and B95 SNELL), standard used in USA along with the CPSC and ANSI. In the United Kingdom and Europe in general, standard is used in 1078 (less demanding than the SNELL standard). Inside the case you will find stickers that identify the type of certification that has. If you don’t have it, leave it on the counter and leaves the store.

The helmet is designed for when the worst has happened, shock or falling. This is why that this element of security should not be taken as a guarantee, as users of the bike we must be attentive to driving. It is intended for when our ability in the driving and communication with the transit and the environment have failed.

The base of the helmet component is expanded polystyrene, that in the event of impact, contracts, slowing down the head. The thickness of the polystyrene allows the structure to absorb a number of specific energy, until it reaches a point that cannot absorb more. Is this to have been used in a fall, they must be replaced immediately, although the damage is not evident.

They protect on impact in a straight line, but there is no evidence that deliver protection in impacts involving Rotary movements, so they are not designed to provide protection in case of impact with a car. In an impact 60 km per hour (maximum legal speed in Chile), just energy will reduce 45 km per hour. This is why we should not consider the town as a panacea in security.

Another aspect important, relative to the effectiveness of the helmet, redica in its correct use. It touched me see countless times to Riders wearing the helmet incorrectly, poorly adjusted, loose and tumbled forward, back or to the side. It is used under hats and worse still, hanging from the handle. The town has certified its absorption capacity when it is tight on your head, so it is important that you follow to the foot of the letter the manufacturer’s instructions. The helmet should be perfectly comfortable, adjusted to the size of the head, anything to move it there is no game.

On the other hand, the helmet is questioned. It is really an element that provides protection to the rider?. There are some experiments that have come to determine the effect of compensation of irrigation, i.e. cyclists wearing helmet, to feel artificially protected, behave more daring. Likewise, motorists, seeing a “protected” cyclist relate less care. (See article, wear helmets is dangerous.) In English)

In about 90% of transit where he participates a cyclist accidents, a motor vehicle is involved. Given this, not worth to take the flag that celebrates the town as the great savior of lives. It is more useful to channel that energy to find and learn methods that make the routes and the city a safe space, taking people as protagonists, not to machines. Likewise, it is extremely important that the comportamiendo on a bicycle is responsible, develop skills that permit avoid situations of risk and at the same time, enjoy this excellent vehicle that is the bike.

Some data, according to the report”BICYCLES INVOLVED IN CLAIMS OF TRANSIT
DURING THE YEAR 2006″(document PDF) of CONASET “.

  • In Chile, the increased participation of the bikes on transit sinietros is associated with collisions with other moving vehicles, corresponding to the 87.45% of the total claims.
  • Cyclists falls correspond to the 0.29% (s in the falls where the town offers any protection.)
  • The 95.45% of deaths of cyclists are associated with collisions with moving vehicles
  • 60.89% of the causes of accidents on cyclists are associated to the recklessness of the driver

Complementary information

  • A rough test bike helmet with his truck
  • Car front of a bicycle with a wall (with snowman test)
  • Tests carried out on bicycle helmets
  • Video of the manufacturer of Specialized helmets
  • Town of cycling in Wikipedia
  • Increase the safety bicycle, without implementing the mandatory use of helmets

Bibliography

  • Hurst, Robert. The Art of Urban Cycling, lessons from the street
  • Forester, John. Efficient cycling

The helmet is not a guarantee of security. If it actually sought the safety of cyclists and people, it should be attacked the problem at its source, i.e. decrease rates highest in the city and roads, traffic calming and reducing the use of the car.

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