Every year people suffer traumatic brain injuries in bike accidents because they were not wearing a bicycle helmet. Adults, teens and kids often think they are too experienced to need a helmet or that they are just going for a short ride. That’s what many people thought on the day they got hit by a vehicle. Wear a helmet. A helmet may save your life.
A Bicycle Helmet Must be Worn by Those Under 18
In Alberta, those under 18 years of age are required by law to wear a safety helmet when cycling or riding as a passenger on a bike. A parent or guardian of a person who is under 18 years of age cannot authorize or knowingly allow the minor to operate or ride as a passenger on a bicycle unless the minor is wearing a safety helmet.
The Bicycle Helmet Must Meet Safety Regulations
The helmet must be worn properly and meet specific requirements outlined in the Vehicle Equipment Regulation. The helmet must have the mark of one of the organizations recognized in the Regulation in order to meet the safety requirements. A list of the accepted organizations, Alberta’s Vehicle Equipment Regulation can be found here.
The bicycle helmet must have a hard, smooth outer shell and be capable of absorbing energy on impact. The helmet must be securely attached to a strap that is to be fastened around the chin. Adjust your helmet so it fits properly and provides maximum protection.
Check the Fit of Your Bicycle Helmet
Check the fit of your child’s helmet. If the helmet is moving around and does not fit snuggly, the helmet may not be the right size or may need to be adjusted. A helmet that is not fitting properly will not be protective in an accident. Take a moment to check the fit of your children’s helmets and show them how the helmet is supposed to fit.
Time to Replace Your Helmet
When was the last time you replaced your helmet? Check your helmet and the manufacturer’s recommendations for the replacement date. If you have been in accident with your helmet, it needs to be replaced, even if it does not look damaged. In accordance with the Vehicle Equipment Regulation, a safety helmet must be free of damage or modification that would reduce its effectiveness.
Set An Example
Don’t go for a bike ride without a helmet. Make putting on helmets part of your family’s routine as you head out for a bike ride. For more tips to keep you and your family safe this summer, read our blog on Bike Safety here.
Before crossing intersections, take an extra second to ensure that you are visible to drivers. You may think you have the right of way, but if you have pulled up beside a vehicle, there is a chance the driver has not seen you. In bike accidents, cyclists are sometimes found to have contributed to or be partly at fault for the accident. Factors considered include whether the cyclists checked to see if traffic had stopped before crossing the intersection and whether the cyclist was wearing a helmet. Set an example for your kids. Always wear a helmet when riding a bike.
Follow the Rules of the Road
Be sure to follow all laws and regulations for bike riding. Teach bike safety to your kids right from the start so they take caution when riding on their own or with friends. For more information on bike lanes, shared pathways, and rules restricting biking on sidewalks, see the City of Edmonton website. Be sure that you follow the rules and regulations in the city or town where you are riding. Refer to the Use of Highways and Rules of the Road Regulation available online.
If you are in a bike accident, speak with an Accident Injury Lawyer so that you understand your legal rights.
Wear a helmet and enjoy biking this summer!