Live to ride another day: Helmet safety

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - If you ride a bicycle, you've likely had a close call or taken a tough spill. If you've crashed, you likely wear a helmet, even though the state of Colorado doesn't have a law enforcing the use of a helmet.

Now, some areas across the county are looking at making it a law.

Riders say wearing protective gear will help you live to ride another day, but it's not a law here in Colorado. Experts say it doesn't matter what your skill level is-- you should always wear a helmet.

“I've fallen before and hit my head. I’ve had my helmet on every time; I was able to walk away," biker Zach Brill said.

Click it or Ticket: It's the big time motto for wearing a seat belt, but there isn't a similar law to promote safety while on a bike.

According to AAA Colorado, 628 bicyclists were killed across the United States and another 57,000 injured in 2010. In Colorado, there were eight fatalities in both 2010 and 2011.

“Wearing your helmet, it will protect you from injuries that you don't see coming, which are usually the worst kind of injuries when you can hit your head, and you only have to hit your head one time to severely injure yourself," Brill said.

Putting those helmets on before you ride is something that should be taught at an early age, and bike experts say they have helmets that range from all sizes.

"It's the most important thing we have. Before we can even get on a bike, it's the most important thing we try to teach our students," PE teacher Janet Ryan said.

"We have helmets here that go all the way down to infant size, for families that have them in their trailers and backpack type things, all the way up to helmets that will fit anyone," The Bike Shop employee Keith Kitchen said.

Cyclists say whether you’re riding a mountain bike, commuter or just a road bike, you should always wear the protective gear.

"[If you’re] mountain biking or you are just goofing around riding through your neighborhood, it's an easy way to get hurt," Kitchen said.

Biking experts say protective gear doesn't just provide physical safety. It also helps stand out to drivers with reflectors and lights.

They also argue getting too hot isn't an excuse to pass over a helmet, as they can actually help you stay cooler with ventilation and help shade out the sun when you are out riding.

According to traffic safety experts, bicycle helmets are 85 to 88 percent effective in decreasing the severity of head and brain injuries, making the use of helmets the single most effective way to reduce head injuries and fatalities resulting from bicycle accidents.

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