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Enjoy the Ride But First Put on Your Helmet

Many cyclists, regardless of age, think that only children and inexperienced riders need to wear helmets.  Not true!  By Florida law, bicycle riders under 16 years of age must wear a helmet that is properly fitted, is fastened securely, and meets the federal safety standard for bicycle helmets.  For all other riders, it’s a matter of common sense to protect your head.  The use of a properly fitted bicycle helmet is proven to be 80-90 percent effective in preventing brain injuries in the event of a fall or accident. 

This information along with steps to properly fit a helmet, bicycle safety and inspection were taught at Helmet Certification and Bicycle Safety Training class conducted by Lyndy Moore, retired Orlando Police Department community service officer, and Randi Topps, Orange County Public School physical education teacher. Attendees from the City of Orlando, Seminole County School Crossing Program, Seminole County Health Department, Orlando Health and Bike/Walk Central Florida completed a 7-hour course for certification to fit bicycle helmets at outreach events.

Lyndy Moore teaches proper helmet fitting and bicycling safety

The five basic steps to properly fit a helmet:

  1. Measure your head just above the eyebrows to be sure your purchase the proper size.
  2. Adjust the fit with the removable pads.  You may need a combination of thin and thick pads to get the best fit.  Rock the helmet gently from side to side, then from front to back.  It should not move around.  The helmet should be 1-2 finger length above eyebrows.
  3. Adjust the straps – front, rear and chin – to make sure the helmet is level and snug.  The front and back straps should make a “V” just under each ear.  Buckle the strap.  The strap should feel snug but not uncomfortable.  You should be able to put 1 finger between your chin and strap for the proper fit.
  4. Test the fit to ensure there is little movement when the head is shaken.
  5. Fine tune the fit.  Go back to steps 1 – 4, if necessary, to get the best fit possible.

And remember…

  • Double check the fit of the helmet every time you ride.
  • Adjustments will need to be made because of changes in hair length and styles or as the child grows.
  • Replace a helmet that becomes too small.
  • Replace a helmet that has sustained damage – “One crash and the helmet is trash”.
  • Don’t store helmets in a hot car or garage.

For more information on bicycling laws, visit www.dot.state.fl.us/safety/ped_bike/ped_bike.htm

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