Should Mountain Bikers Wear Helmets?

Thanks to some equal parts crazy and talented riders—such as New Zealand’s Kelly McGarry, whose 70-foot canyon gap backflip won him the Best Trick award in 2013’s Red Bull Rampage along with more than 75 million YouTube views—mountain biking is getting a lot more attention these days. With that attention, and particularly considering the outrageous dangers of some mountain biking trails, many wonder about using safety gear, especially helmets. Here are a few reasons wearing a helmet is a must, brought to you by the mountain sports experts from ASO Mammoth, your one-stop shop for trail info, safety gear, and bike rentals in Mammoth.

Injury Prevention

Every cyclist faces the risk of falls and collisions. The stakes are perhaps higher for mountain bikers, especially on technical and downhill trails, where gravity and speed are factors. Mountain biking trails can measure less than a dozen inches in width and feature uneven, dense, and rocky terrain. When you combine all the above with high drops, sharp corners, strong reliance on braking systems, and minuscule room for rider error, the risk of devastating head and brain injuries is significant. Studies have shown helmets can reduce the odds of head injury by 50 percent and are up to 88 percent effective at preventing brain injuries.

Financial Protection

Helmets aren’t just for your physical safety. They protect your finances, too. An emergency room visit can cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars, and a hospital stay can easily add up to the cost of a new vehicle. With significant injuries, you may also be facing months or years of costly rehab and needing assistance with the activities of daily living. With or without insurance, medical bills can easily leave you in dire financial straits.

Legal Requirements

While there aren’t any statewide helmet laws concerning bicycles and adult riders, many local cities and counties have adopted their own helmet ordinances. The consequences of not abiding by these helmet laws can be some fairly hefty fines.

Legal Protection

A 2008 case involving Simon Reynolds and his employer made legal history as the first bicycle injury case in which a rider’s personal negligence (he wasn’t wearing a helmet) lessened the other party’s liability, and it did so by two thirds. If you do suffer a mountain bike injury that involves another party’s negligence, your failure to wear a helmet could drastically influence your legal case and limit any compensation you receive.

Improved Vision & Face Protection

A helmet with a visor can lessen the impact of environmental conditions such as dust, wind, rain, sun, and snow on your vision. It can also shield your face from sunburn and prevent stray rocks from hitting your face. In the winter, a helmet insulates your head to keep you warm. When you’re riding with others, a brightly colored helmet increases safety by making you more visible to other riders.

If you’re going to hit the trails on your mountain bike, use common sense, follow safety rules, and make sure to start with high-quality equipment. ASO Mammoth is the place to go for Mammoth bike rental, gear, and safety tips from the experts. We have everything you need to make your mountain biking experience a safe and memorable one. Drop in or give us a call at 760-965-3444.

Leave a Comment