STATE—With warmer weather upon us, many people are taking to outdoor activities – bicycles, skateboards, scooters and in-line/roller skates. May is National Bike Safety Month and AAA New Jersey reminds all adults and children to practice safe riding habits, including wearing a helmet.
“While children and adults realize the importance of wearing a helmet while bike riding, they don’t often realize that it’s necessary to also wear one while using a skateboard, scooter or in-line skates,” said Michele Mount, director of public affairs for the Florham Park-based Club. “Head injuries are the most common and serious injury among bicycle riders. Using proper safety equipment can help protect riders in the event of a crash and 85 percent of all head or brain injuries can be avoided if cyclists wear proper-fitting helmets.”
AAA New Jersey recommends always wearing a helmet when riding any type of bike or scooter. Skateboarders, especially those who do more aggressive skating, should wear helmets made specifically for that sport. Typically, these helmets have stricter safety requirements, including full rear-head coverage. AAA also suggests that those using scooters, in-line/roller skates and skateboards wear wrist guards, and elbow and kneepads.
“You always want to make sure you’re properly protected before you ride,” continues Mount. “It’s extremely important that you wear a helmet that fits correctly.”
AAA New Jersey offers the following guidelines provided by the Brain Injury Association for purchasing the proper helmet:
- Measure your head from just above the eyebrows (or as the manufacturer suggests) to be sure you purchase the proper size. Place the helmet on your head and move it around.
- Adjust the fit with the removable pads. You may need a combination of thin and thick pads to get the best fit. Rock the helmet gently from side to side, then from front to back. It should not move around.
- Adjust the straps – front, rear and chin – to make the helmet level and snug. The front and back straps should make a “V” that comes together just under the ear. Buckle the snap.
- Test the fit by shaking your head slightly. There should be no movement when the head is shaken. The strap should feel tight but shouldn’t cause discomfort. You should be able to slide a finger under the helmet.
- Fine tune the fit by repeating steps one through four, if necessary, to get the best fit possible. Practice buckling and unbuckling the straps.
New Jersey law requires that all children 17 years of age and under wear a helmet when using a bicycle, skateboard or in-line/roller skates.
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