Helmets

Helmets reduce the risk of injury

Wearing an approved bicycle helmet can greatly reduce your risk of permanent injury or death if you’re in a collision or fall from your bike. A correctly worn helmet can reduce your risk of head injury by up to 85%.

The Right Fit for Kids
Does your child’s helmet fit properly? Download our Check your bike helmet poster (PDF 63KB) to be sure.

Head injuries are the #1 cause of serious injury and death to kids on bicycles. All cyclists, regardless of age or biking experience, should wear a bike helmet when riding.

While wearing a helmet is important, it doesn’t replace safe riding skills, a safe bike and proper supervision.

How a helmet protects your head

If you fall from your bike and hit your head, your helmet will absorb the impact and spread it out over the whole helmet. Spreading the impact reduces the effect of the impact on the skull and brain.

Buying a bike helmet

DO DON’T

Buy a brand new safety-approved helmet that has one or more of the following stickers on it:

    CSA (Canadian Standards Association)

    Snell (Snell Memorial Foundation)

    ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials)

    CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission)

Buy a helmet with paint, stickers, cracks, dents or damage. (Solvents used in sticker adhesives can weaken helmet plastic.)

Buy a used bike helmet: it might have hidden weak spots from previous crashes.

Substitute another kind of protective helmet, such as skateboard or a hockey helmet. (Other kinds of protective helmets aren’t designed to absorb impact of crashing your bike and hitting your head.)

Finding the right helmet fit

A poorly-fitting helmet won’t protect you from head injuries, so follow these guidelines for a proper fit:

  • Helmets should fit level and snug on the head, two fingers above the eyebrows (helmet sizing pads can be used if needed).
  • Helmet straps should come into a “V-shape” under the ear and fit snug. Only one finger should fit between the chin and chinstrap.
  • High ponytails, baseball hats and ear phones should not be worn under a helmet.

Caring for your helmet

  • You can use a helmet that isn’t impacted by a fall or collision for up to 5 years. A helmet that is hit with force might have damage that you can’t see, so you must replace it after any impact.
  • Never paint or put stickers on your helmet: the chemicals from the paint or adhesive can corrode and weaken the shell.
  • Use only mild soap and warm water to clean your helmet. (Some cleaners contain solvents that can damage a helmet’s shell.)

No helmet? Parents can be fined

Ontario law states that every cyclist under the age of 18 must wear an approved bicycle helmet at all times while cycling.

Parents can be charged if they knowingly allow their children who are under 16 to ride without a bicycle helmet. The set fine is $60. Cyclists who are 16 or 17 can be fined directly.

Sources:
Safe Kids Canada
Young Cyclist’s Guide from the Ontario Ministry of Transportation

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