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You should be responsible for your safety.

Wearing a helmet while cycling is now mandatory. All cyclists should be imposed a “no helmet, no ride” rule.  

The survival rate of cyclists sustaining head injuries while wearing a helmet is higher than those who take a direct impact on the skull.  It is common to see many Malaysian cyclists wearing helmets, however, a great many cyclists are wearing them incorrectly, or improperly fitted.

Like all pieces of personal protective equipment, a helmet is only effective if it is worn correctly.  Incorrect adjustment of the straps, or a wrongly sized helmet, can be more dangerous than going without. 

Helmets are made from expanded polystyrene foam molded into shape, with a hard plastic outer shell.  They absorb the impact by deforming and crushing, preventing the majority of the force of the impact from reaching your skull. 

If you have hit the ground with your helmet while wearing it, the helmet should be retired immediately, and replaced with a new one.  Helmets also degrade over time with use, and exposure to sun and sweat, hence should be replaced on at least a bi-annual basis, whether they have sustained any impact, or not.

1. Sizing your helmet

Helmets come in a variety of sizes to suit various head shapes.  Cheaper helmets tend to be one-size-fits-all with an internal adjustable strap, while higher-end models have different-sized shells with a smaller range of adjustment.

Your helmet should sit square on your head, with about an inch gap above your eyebrows.  You can take a rough measure by using 2 fingers placed above your eyebrows.  The helmet should not sit too far back on your head and must cover your forehead.  It should not rock from side to side.

2. Adjusting the straps

Strap adjustment is critical in ensuring that your helmet will protect you the way it was designed to.  First, center the left buckle under your chin.  Adjust the length of the strap using the buckle.  It may be easier to take the helmet off for adjustments, then to check the fit by placing it back on your head.

For the side straps, adjust the slider so that it sits about an inch below, and slightly forward, of your ear.  Repeat for the other side.

Buckle the chin strap, and adjust the tightness till you can just fit one finger under the strap.

3. Ready to ride

Check your fit.  The helmet should sit snugly on your head, and not move side to side to rock forward and back.  If this happens, adjust the straps till the correct fit is achieved.  A loose helmet can slide backward or come off in a crash, so take the time to adjust the straps.

Tuck away loose ends of the straps, or cut to trim excess.

4. Caring for your helmet

Helmets as personal protective equipment must be cared for to ensure they work properly. 

After every ride, wash with soap and water, and air dry.  Foam inserts may be removed and washed separately, or replaced if perished.

  • Check straps for signs of wear and fraying.  Replace if any strap is worn or torn.
  • Check the helmet shell for cracks or dents.  Replace if any cracks or dents are seen.
  • Check the helmet inner for signs of deformation.  Replace if necessary.

If you take any impact on your helmet in a crash, replace the helmet as soon as possible.  Crash damage may not be seen, but the helmet’s performance may be compromised.

 Lastly, buy a helmet based on its fit and suitability for the way you ride.  A helmet that fits comfortably will let you enjoy the ride.  Spend your money on the best possible helmet you can afford, and check to see that it complies with current safety standards.

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