Do you like the feeling of the wind blowing through your hair while out riding your bike? The vast majority of people would say yes. When it comes to bike safety, your answer should change. “If I had to pick one piece of equipment to make sure you’re always taking with you when you ride a bike, it would be a helmet. It not only protects your head and your brain from direct injury…”, says Dr. Ryan Mantooth with Washington Regional’s Emergency Department, “but there are certain types of technology that helmets will have. I would make sure you have a helmet that has what’s called MIPS technology, which helps prevent from rotational force injury and helps reduce concussion risk.”

Dr. Mantooth also state that it’s very important that helmets fit properly. “you want it snug against your head and then the chin strap should be tight enough that you can only fit two fingers between the strap and your chin. When it comes to bike injuries, the most common serious ones we’re going to see are those head injuries, so skull fractures, intracranial or head bleeds. Wearing a helmet will mitigate the vast majority of those.”

Dr. Mantooth also recommends performing a safety check on your bike before going on a ride. “One thing would just be checking all the bolts, especially the main bolts. Your axles, make sure they’re all tightened properly and nothing’s loose. Check your brakes, make sure they’re tight, working properly. Make sure your gears are shifting properly.”

Extra safety tips include wearing bright clothing, especially at night, having a tail light, or lights on both of your handlebars and helmet. ” If you’re on the roads, very important to be aware of your surroundings at all times, specifically for cars. And then if there’s alternate routes that don’t involve busy roads, certainly those are going to be better than trying to ride on a highway or other type of busy road.”