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Now that spring has finally come, bicyclists across the state are gearing up to hit the roads and trails of Michigan. When you are tuning up your bike this spring, don’t forget to check your helmet. Is it time for an update?
When you hit the road on two wheels a good helmet is essential. Drivers are often not aware of the bicyclist riding beside them. Add that to uneven pavement or exposed roots on off-road trails, and there is a real chance for a crash.
That’s why having a well-fitted helmet is so important. But just because you bought one years ago doesn’t mean it isn’t time for a change.
Any time you take a hit to the head, you will want to replace your helmet. The foam inside is made for one-time use. Any impact will compact the foam and keep it from being effective in a future accident. So if you took a fall last fall, your spring tune up should include a new helmet.
Even if you didn’t take a fall, your helmet may have. If the plastic or foam on your helmet is cracked at all you will want to replace it. Storing your helmet in an attic, garage, or trunk where it gets too hot can also cause it to bubble and crack. Many manufacturers will inspect and replace cracked or crashed helmets for a nominal fee.
Especially for child riders, a helmet that fit well last year might not sit quite right this spring. A good fitting helmet should sit level on your head and be snug but not too tight. When you open your mouth your chin strap should pull the helmet against your forehead. If your kid’s helmet has gotten too tight (and can’t be adjusted), then it is due for an update.
Bike helmets wear out over time. UV light, pollution, and weather can weaken components. Over the years, the bike safety industry has also invented new technology that better protects the skull and brain from crash impacts. Older helmets won’t measure up to modern safety standards. That’s why bike helmet manufacturers recommend replacing your helmet every 5 years.
Spring is a great time to give your bike helmet a tune up. Depending on your history, you may need to replace your helmet because of a crash, crack, or age. A well-fitted helmet could protect you from severe brain injury if you get into an accident in the coming biking season.
David Christensen is an accident attorney at Christensen Law in Southfield, Michigan, represent bicyclists who suffer accidents with motor vehicles. He and his team can help riders recover their medical expenses from the drivers and their insurance companies. If you or someone you know has been hit while riding a bicycle, contact Christensen Law today for a free consultation.