Bicycle riding is an activity that can be enjoyed at any age. There are significant advantages to bike riding. It is fun, relatively inexpensive, and provides cardiovascular exercise. Establishing a habit of riding early in life ensures healthy lungs, a strong circulatory system, a steady heart rate, and natural weight management. The exercise also strengthens the immune system, oxygenates the blood, and provides hydration to the skin. Bike riding is also a cost-effective and environmentally friendly mode of transportation. Proper safety gear, beginning with safe bike helmets, is essential to protect the body from impact in the event of an accident or crash.
Bike helmets are required by law for children in twenty-two States. Although there are no laws that dictate adult compliance, a helmet is strongly recommended for anyone who rides a bicycle. Wearing a helmet while riding with children takes on increased importance, since an injury interferes with taking care of the children, both short and long-term. It also reinforces the credibility of safety practices in general. The fit of safe bike helmets is instrumental to maximizing protective properties of the design. The rounded and smooth helmet should set level on the head, and be secured with a strong strap and buckle. A helmet that feels comfortably snug, without being tight, will stay in place during impact.
Several models of safe bike helmets can be found with high visibility tape strategically placed on the front, sides, and back. Selecting one that is white, or brightly colored will also increase visibility. There are four classifications of bike helmets including sports, road, mountain bike, and full face helmets. Sports helmets are the most common because they are created for multiple purposes, as well as everyday use. Certification from the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is required for laws, and recommended for all helmets. A sticker on the inside of the helmet will indicate certification. Not all helmets are certified, so pay careful attention when making a purchase.
Other safety gear that significantly improves chances of avoiding injury include padding for the elbows and knees, non-slip riding gloves, and rear view mirrors that can be attached to either side of the helmet. Placing a light on the bicycle also increases safety. Wearing a reflective vest for riding at night is a wise decision. Safety items are cost-effective, and readily available in stores and online. The benefits of riding are enhanced when safety gear is utilized because it ensures the rider will reach the final destination without severe injury.