A helmet can protect cyclists from serious injuries. So far there is no obligation to wear head protection. One group would be particularly in favor of introducing this, as a survey shows.
Almost three quarters (71 percent) of the German population have an overall positive opinion of compulsory helmets on normal bicycles. That is the result of a representative Forsa survey on behalf of the Tüv Association (VdTÜV).
44 percent are “fully in favor” and a little more than a quarter are “more in favor” (27 percent). Around one in ten (11 percent) are “completely against”, while 17 percent are “somewhat against”.
Elderly Germans seem to be fueling the need for a mandatory requirement for helments
When it comes to electric bicycles, the approval of mandatory helmets is even greater, at 85 percent. At 62 percent, more than half are “completely for” and almost a quarter are “more in favor” (23 percent). On the other hand, almost every tenth (9 percent) is more likely, every twentieth (5 percent) is completely.
In the age group of over 60s, the popularity (“totally / rather for”) with regard to normal bicycles is particularly high at 80 percent. When cycling with e-bikes, it is even 88 percent. In contrast, the younger generation is less popular. Among 16 to 29 year olds, 57 percent are in favor of normal bicycles and 81 percent of electric bicycles.
What percentage of cyclists in Germany have worn a helmet so far?
The popularity among cyclists is somewhat lower. Around two in three (65 percent) are in favor of compulsory helmets. However, around a third (35 percent) reject them for normal bicycles (“rather / completely against”). When it comes to electric bicycles, they are in favor of 83 percent and only 16 percent are against.
Most of the cyclists surveyed (39 percent) currently never wear a helmet. About a third (36 percent), on the other hand, always wear head protection. Most of the time, 13 percent still wear it and around one in ten (12 percent) rarely wear it. A helmet can protect against head injuries, but it is not mandatory for bicycles and normal pedelecs that provide electrical assistance up to 25 km / h. In May 2021, Forsa interviewed 1,004 people aged 16 and over by telephone.
How do you choose a bicycle helmet?
Size of the helmet
The size of the helmet is the most important criterion. In order to provide optimal protection, a helmet should neither be too small nor too large. A helmet that is too small would cause discomfort, whereas if it is too large it could move over the head in the event of a fall. The helmet should be straight and cover both the top of the forehead and the back of the head.
To choose the right helmet size for you, you can measure your head circumference. Place the tape about an inch above the eyebrows and over the most bulging part of your skull at the back to get the most accurate measurement possible.
The helmet should wrap around the head well without creating any free space. Some models have removable cushions that allow customization of the fit to ensure optimal positioning and increased comfort. Make sure the straps fit properly around the ears and under the chin.
When a helmet is the right size and worn correctly, it can prevent most head injuries and can be the difference between a small bruise or a hospital stay.
Other factors to consider
Compared to “cheap” bicycle helmets sold in big box stores, those sold in specialty stores:
- are made of lighter materials;
- allow a greater number of adjustments to ensure better comfort;
- will be more aerodynamic and better ventilated;
- are even designed, in some cases, to offer better impact resistance.
In addition, if you practice mountain biking, you could consider purchasing a helmet equipped with a visor to protect you from the sun and branches and equipped with a chin guard.
When should a bicycle helmet be replaced?
There is no expiration date on a bicycle helmet, but manufacturers recommend replacing it after three to five years depending on use and degree of wear. The interior material of which it is made deteriorates and loses its effectiveness over time due to the sun, heat, cold and salt from perspiration. The straps and their attachment points also weaken over time.
To maximize your investment and increase the longevity of your helmet:
- Wash it only with water or mild soap;
- Avoid leaving it in your car during hot weather;
- In winter, do not store it in the cold in your shed;
- Store it in a fabric bag or in its original packaging.