The New York State Division of Consumer Protection (DCP) and the New York State Governor's Traffic Safety Committee (GTSC) alert New Yorkers, of all ages, the importance of wearing a helmet when riding a bike. The warmer weather provides individuals more opportunities for outdoor activities. During National Bike Safety month, New Yorkers are urged to make safety a priority by wearing helmets which will reduce the risk of severe head injury and save lives.
“Helmets are vital safety gear that saves lives, when we are exercising and enjoying a bike ride with family and friends,” said New York Secretary of State Robert J. Rodriguez. “As the summertime is upon us and we enjoy the warm weather biking in New York’s many beautiful bike trails, parks and on the streets, I urge all New Yorkers to be smart while having adventures on two-wheels by wearing a helmet and proper gear while riding a bike.”
In 2021, according to preliminary data from the Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research (ITSMR), there were 1,455 police-reported bicycle crashes statewide in which a helmet was used. Of those, seven crashes resulted in at least one fatality, and 121 crashes resulted in at least one serious injury. In comparison, there were 3,946 police-reported bicycle crashes statewide in which a helmet was not used. Of those, 32 crashes resulted in at least one fatality, and 378 crashes resulted in in at least one serious injury.
“The statistics clearly show that wearing a helmet while bicycling significantly reduces the chances of death or serious injury in the event of a crash,” said GTSC Chair and NYS DMV Commissioner Mark Schroeder. “Please wear a helmet every time you ride a bicycle. It could save your life.”
Consumers stay safe by choosing and wearing their helmets safely:
- Pair the activity to the helmet. You shouldn’t wear any helmet to go bike riding. Different activities can result in different impact to your head. Use a helmet that fits the activity, so if an accident occurs, you are better protected.
- Read the directions. With helmets, it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Every helmet can fit and operate differently.
- Make sure it fits. Bike helmets should have a snug but comfortable fit on the rider's head. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) also has a guide on properly fitting bicycle helmets, helmet certifications and laws, and more.
- Buckle up! A helmet only works when it is worn properly for the duration of an activity. Make sure your helmet has a chin strap and buckle that lays flat and stays fastened. Wear your helmet level on your forehead, not tilted back.
- Conform to regulations. The CPSC oversees helmets for many activities, including bike riding. For instance, bicycle helmets must conform to five separate standards. When buying a bike helmet, look for the label that reads: “Complies with U.S. CPSC Safety Standards for Bicycle Helmet.” Don’t add anything to the helmet, such as stickers, coverings, or other attachments, that didn’t come with the helmet upon purchase. These could affect the helmet’s performance.
- After a crash or injury, replace. Once a helmet protects a person from a fall, it should no longer be used. Any damage to a helmet can reduce its effectiveness. Replace it before the next ride.
- Replace your helmet when needed. You should follow the manufacturer’s guide for when to replace your helmet. If no guidance is provided, helmets should generally be replaced within 5-10 years of purchase if properly cared for and stored. If there are cracks in the shell, worn foam lining, or other such imperfections that may occur during regular use, you should consider replacing it.
More details and tips from the CPSC: https://www.cpsc.gov/safety-education/safety-guides/sports-fitness-and-recreation-bicycles/which-helmet-which-activity.
About the New York State Governor's Traffic Safety Committee
The New York State Governor's Traffic Safety Committee coordinates traffic safety activities in the state and shares useful, timely information about traffic safety and the state's highway safety grant program.
About the New York State Division of Consumer Protection
The New York State Division of Consumer Protection provides resources and education materials to consumers on product safety, as well as voluntary mediation services between consumers and businesses. The Consumer Assistance Helpline 1-800-697-1220 is available Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 4:30pm, excluding State Holidays, and consumer complaints can be filed at any time at www.dos.ny.gov/consumer-protection.
 ASTM F1447, F18981 (A helmet that complies with this standard is designed for use by infants and toddlers in activities involving non-motorized wheeled vehicles.); Snell B-90A, B-95, N-942 (A helmet that complies with this standard is designed to withstand more than one moderate impact, but protection is provided for only a limited number of impacts. Replace if visibly damaged (e.g., a cracked shell or crushed liner) and/or when directed by the manufacturer.)