All Helmets Are Not Created Equal

Ahelmetst NextGen we prepare our Athletes for participation in USAT sanctioned races.  These races are officiated by USAT officials, observing the USAT rules.  See the excerpt from USAT rule book below, section 5.9, regarding Helmet.

At our kick-off meetinstickersg we mentioned helmets.  Many kids have the hard shell, rounder helmets billed for use with scooters and skate boards.  These are not the same as bike helmets, and some models may not carry the Consumer Product Safety Commission label inside, which is required per USAT rules (see rule excerpt below).  Presence of these label assures you of your helmet’s safety.  This is not to say USAT officials will check the helmets at every race, however your part as a parent is to ensure your child has proper and safe equipment.  The coaches will help enforce the use and importance!

5 reasons to wear a bike helmet… even at play!

  1. Protect your head from injury!  No explanation needed — it just makes good sense.
  2. Avoid a ticket!  Universal bicycle helmet laws do not exists in the United States. However, 21 states and the District of Columbia have helmet laws that apply to riders younger than 16 years. Some local ordinances do require helmets be worn by all riders, regardless of age. Make wearing a helmet a habit so you are always in compliance with the law no matter where you are riding.
  3. Help with visibility!  A high vis colored bike helmet with reflective strips can make you more visible to motorists, especially in the pre-dawn or early evening hours.
  4. Set an example!  Adults, especially parents, who wear helmets when riding set a good example for kids. In the “Journal of Safety Research,” a study published in 2010 found that from 2001 to 2003, just 48 percent of 5- to 14-year-olds wore bike helmets when riding. This age group is at the highest risk of bicycle-related injuries. Older children may be reluctant to wear helmets because they look uncool or are uncomfortable. If you don’t wear one, kids will have trouble seeing the value and importance of wearing a helmet.

5.9 Helmets.

(a) Type of Helmet. All participants shall wear a protective head cover, undamaged and unaltered, which meets or exceeds the safety standards of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), and which is clearly labeled by the manufacturer as satisfying such standards.  Helmets manufactured prior to March 10, 1999 must meet or exceed the safety standards of (i) the American National Standard Institute (ANSI Z-90.4), (ii) The Snell Memorial Foundation (Protective Headgear for Bicycle Users), or (iii) ASTM F-1446 or F-1447, and which is clearly labeled by the manufacturer as satisfying such standards. Removal of helmet cover, if required for that helmet to meet such safety standards, shall constitute an impermissible alteration in violation of this Section 5.9(a). Any violation of this Section 5.9(a) shall result in disqualification.

(b) Chin Strap Violations. The helmet must be fastened before the participant first mounts the bicycle, at all times when the participant is on the bicycle, and must not be unfastened until the participant has dismounted. Any violation of this Section 5.9(b) which occurs while the participant is in the transition area shall result in a variable time penalty. Any other violation of this Section shall result in disqualification.  This Section 5.9(b) shall be enforced at all times while at the event site on race day.