There is no legal requirement for a cycling helmet to be worn when cycling on the road and despite the weight of evidence, which suggests that the risk of head injury is reduced by 85% (Insurance Institute of Highway Safety 2009), there are still those who remain unconvinced.
At Spokes, we favor the wearing of helmets (who are we to argue with the Tour de France and the British Triathlon Association), but the decision is for each rider or parent to make. We will teach a child either way, providing their parent has made their preference clear.
The wearing of cycle helmets became compulsory on the Tour de France in 1996 after a fatal crash the year before.
Here are some useful tips if you want your child to wear a helmet
- Buy one that conforms to BS EN 1078 (UK safety standards 1997)
- Go to a retailer that knows what they are talking about. Independent cycling specialists are usually best.
- Try on a few to establish the right fit (see below)
- Pick one your child likes (they're more likely to wear it)
- If your child does have an accident, replace the helmet immediately, even if it doesn't look damaged.
Making sure your helmet fits correctly
- The helmet should be a snug fit, and positioned squarely on the head, sitting just above the eyebrows
- It should not be worn tipped forward, or tilted back
- Straps should be securely fastened and not twisted
- You should be able to put 2 fingers between the strap and your chin. Any more and it is too loose.