With the warm weather approaching, more and more people will be hitting the streets on their bicycles and helmet safety is on the top of Central Saanich Police Corporal Pat Bryant’s mind.
“Wearing your helmet is really important but it’s also really important to make sure the helmet is in good condition and fitted properly,” he said.
According to Bryant, one of the most common issues he sees with bike helmets is that they are positioned too far back on riders’ heads.
“A well-fitting helmet shouldn’t sit too far back,” he explained.
“It should cover the front part of the head and sit snugly just above your forehead.”
Bryant, who spends much of his day as the school liaison officer greeting kids as they arrive to the various schools in Central Saanich, also noted that he frequently sees helmet wearers with their chin straps too loose.
“You should only be able to fit two fingers under the strap,” he explained.
“Any looser than that and you run the risk of the helmet slipping forward or back and not protecting the head the way it should.”
Corporal Bryant also touched on the importance of parents setting examples for their children when it comes to bike helmet safety.
“A lot of the time you’ll see a family out riding and the children will all be wearing helmets but the adults won’t be. It’s so important for parents to set an example for their kids because wearing a helmet is the most important thing you can do to ensure your safety on a bike.”
Parents should also be making sure children riding scooters, skateboards, longboards and rollerblades are also wearing helmets, he added, and that older helmets should be checked regularly for cracks or other damage.
“Any cracks in a helmet really render it completely ineffective so making sure your helmet is good shape, especially after being away all winter, is really important,” Bryant said.
If you’re in need of a new helmet, he continued, make sure the one you choose has Canadian Standards Association approval sticker on the inside, as helmets without approval from CSA may not protect as well.
Riders caught not wearing helmets can be fined $29 and parents can also be ticketed if they permit their children to ride without a helmet.
Helmet safety tips:
• Check for any cracks in the inner or outer structure of the helmet. Cracks in the body of the helmet will compromise its ability to protect your head.
• Make sure your helmet is approved by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) before you buy it.
• A well-fitting helmet will sit squarely on the head. Too big or too small and the helmet will slide to the back of the head leaving the front of the head unprotected.
• Helmet chin straps should be tight enough to only fit two fingers in between the strap and the chin. Any looser and the helmet may slide back and leave part of the head unprotected.
• When buying new helmets for children, don’t buy helmets to ‘grow into’. Buy an appropriately sized helmet to ensure the best protection.
• Remember anyone riding any type of bicycle, skateboard and even scooters should be wearing a helmet, it could save your life!