Use your noggin: helmet safety

Terri Flemmer
Alberta Health Services

It’s the time of year where Albertans are taking out their bicycles and enjoying the benefits of cycling. Wearing a bicycle helmet can reduce the risk of brain injury by 85 per cent.
Wearing a helmet while biking not only reduces the risk of injury, it’s also the law. All cyclists under the age of 18 must wear an approved bicycle helmet. The law applies to both riders and passengers, including children in bicycle trailers.
Be sure to buy a helmet that fits properly in order for it to reduce the risk of injury. Make sure the helmet is level from front to back when it is on and check that the front edge of the helmet sits 1-2 finger widths above the eyebrows. Add or remove sizing pads or adjust the ring fit system to make sure the helmet fits snug.
Adjust the straps to form a “V” just below and in front of the earlobes. Make sure to fasten the chinstrap each time you use the helmet. Adjust the chinstrap so that it can fit the width of 1 finger between the chin and chinstrap and make sure the helmet does not move when you nod or shake your head.
Replace the helmet every 5 years if it has not been in a crash. If the helmet has been in a crash, replace it immediately. Second-hand helmets are not recommended. Do not paint or put stickers on the helmet as this may affect the safety and integrity of the helmet.
Be careful to follow the manufacturer’s instructions, which will provide detailed information about the use and care of helmets. Wear the appropriate helmet for the appropriate activity. For example, remember to remove the helmet when playing on playground equipment. Many communities in the North Zone host bike rodeos. During the rodeo, children learn how to cycle safely and how to properly fit helmets.
More information on bike helmet safety and a variety of other health related topics can be found at and
Guidance and health advice are also available 24/7 by calling Health Link at 811.

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