If you ride a bicycle or a motorcycle, take note

The continued increase in fuel price is motivating more and more people to dust off their old or buy a new, bicycle or motorcycle for work and/or leisure travel. 

The Automobile Association (AA) urges cyclists to wear a safety helmet at all times.

“More and more people are using bicycles as these offer cheaper alternatives to motor vehicles or public transport. There is a growing need to educate and inform the public on the necessity of helmets, and the safety they provide. It is no longer acceptable that people ride bicycles without these essential pieces of safety equipment,” notes the AA.

National Road Traffic Regulations dictate the rules applicable to cyclists and state the legal requirements for helmet use.

“Helmets are designed to help prevent head injuries. A serious fall or crash can cause brain damage or even death. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the first large, case-control study of helmet effectiveness estimated 85% and 88% reductions in head and brain injury, respectively, for helmeted cyclists relative to un-helmeted cyclists. In addition, studies showed that every year 41 000 cyclists die in road traffic related incidents worldwide.

“The hard plastic shell on the outside and foam on the inside of a helmet ensures that if you hit your head, the helmet assists to dissipate the force and energy of the impact, which reduces the force applied to the skull.

“People should also realise that cycling helmets have expiry dates. The older the helmet is the less likely it will offer protection. It must also be remembered that once a helmet has been involved in a crash, even if the damage is not visible, it is advisable to replace that helmet as the inner lining to absorb shock may have been damaged,” says the AA.

There are four elements that one can use as guidelines to purchase an effective helmet. It must have a strong outer shell, it should have an impact-absorbing liner, it should have comfortable padding, and it should have a good retention system.

The AA further states that wearing bright coloured helmets and clothing should be the norm for all cyclists as this will increase visibility and reduce the risks involved with cycling, especially during early morning riding.

Source: AA

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