In Practice
12:32 pm
Fri August 15, 2014

Bike Safety Tips—Finding Right Helmet To Knowing Surroundings

Dr. Weinstein placing a bike helmet on Natalie Moya's head to check for proper fit
Dr. Weinstein placing a bike helmet on Natalie Moya's head to check for proper fit
Credit Sandy Roob

"Whether your children are biking to a friend's house, sports practice, school, or for exercise, there is something you don't want them to forget: A helmet," reports Sound Medicine's Sandy Roob. 

Dr. Elizabeth Weinstein, deputy medical director of Indianapolis Emergency Medical Services
Dr. Elizabeth Weinstein, deputy medical director of Indianapolis Emergency Medical Services
Credit Indianapolis EMS

Dr. Elizabeth Weinstein: The two things that are probably the most important in terms of keeping kids safe on bikes is wearing a helmet and staying alert. It's important that they not just protect their brains while they're on their bikes, but that they are aware what's going on around them, so that they can avoid hazards like cars and other bikers around them.

 Sandy Roob: Dr. Elizabeth Weinstein, director of Indianapolis Emergency Services for Children, says head injuries are the most common reason people die from bike accidents. Ninety percent of bike-related deaths occur in people who are not wearing a helmet. Reducing those statistics should be easy. Safety experts estimate that using a properly fitted helmet can reduce the risk of head injury by up to 88 percent. 

Weinstein: That's a really big number. And in fact, it's estimated that universal bike helmet use by kid, from ages 4-15, would provide as many as 45,000 head injuries, and up to 55,000 scalp and face injuries every year. 

Roob: That's why Charlie Revard, owner of the Bike Line in Broad Ripple, tries to sell a helmet with each new bike. He also suggests that customers replace old bike helmets each few years... He starts by grabbing a couple off the shelf for customers try on. 

Revard: Figure out what shape fits your head; set the straps up. A lot of new modern helmets that we sell have the lock-tight or zip-tight on the back so that they dial in and fit very easily. 

Charlie Revard, Owner of the Bike Line in Broad Ripple
Charlie Revard, Owner of the Bike Line in Broad Ripple
Credit Sandy Roob

Roob: Revard says if you can't get a snug fit, consider going down a helmet size. Or if you can't get it all the way down on your head, bump down a size. Once you have the proper helmet fit, you'll want to make sure you also wear brightly colored clothes so that you can be seen on the road or trail. As what not to wear while biking, it's best to not accessorize with headphones.