Release date: June 5, 1997
Release number: 97-138

Release Details

As more and more cyclists take to the roads, trails, and paths this summer, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is releasing bicycle safety tips.

Each year, there are about 900 bicycle-related deaths in the United States and another half a million bicycle-related injuries treated in hospital emergency rooms. To reduce injuries, CPSC encourages riders of all ages to use helmets. Studies have shown that using bicycle helmets can reduce head injuries by up to 85 percent.

CPSC is developing a mandatory safety performance standard for bicycle helmets.

This standard would include provisions for general construction, labeling, peripheral vision, impact reduction, and chin strap strength. In the meantime, CPSC is enforcing interim standards and offering consumers the following safety tips for buying and using bicycle helmets.

- Buy a helmet that bears a label saying it meets the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standard Z90.40 1984; the Snell Memorial Foundation standard B 90,B 90S, N 94, or B 95; the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standard F 1447 93 or F 1447 94; or the Canadian Standards Association standard CAN/CSA D113.2 M89.

- Wear the helmet flat atop your head. Do not wear the helmet tilted back at an angle.

- Make sure the helmet fits snugly and does not obstruct your field of vision.

- Always wear the helmet with the chin strap firmly buckled. Make sure the chin strap fits securely and that the buckle stays fastened to provide impact protection. No combination of twisting or pulling should remove the helmet from the head or loosen the buckle on the strap.

- Do not use a helmet after it has been involved in an accident. Damage to the helmet may not be visible to an untrained eye. Even very small cracks in the helmet may greatly reduce a helmet's effectiveness in preventing injury. Either destroy the helmet and get a new one or have it inspected by the manufacturer. The manufacturer will tell you if the helmet needs to be replaced.

Along with using safety equipment, rider actions and reactions play a major role in contributing to injury-free cycling enjoyment. CPSC is offering consumers these additional safety tips to help ensure safe summer cycling.

- Protect your head...Wear a helmet.

- See and be seen...Wear bright fluorescent colors during the day.

- Avoid biking at night...If riding at night, equip your bicycle with head and tail lights and wear reflective clothing.

- Stay alert...Keep a lookout for obstacles in your path.

- Go with the flow...Ride with traffic.

- Check for traffic...Be aware of traffic around you.

- Learn the rules of the road...Obey traffic laws.

- Assure bicycle readiness...Is your bicycle properly adjusted?

- Check brakes before riding.

- Check your wheels..."Quick release" wheels should be securely fastened.

CPSC encourages consumers to access bicycle safety publications through the internet at

Media Contact

Please use the below phone number for all media requests.

Phone: (301) 504-7908
Spanish: (301) 504-7800

View CPSC contacts for specific areas of expertise