WHAT ARE THE ESSENTIAL ACCESSORIES FOR THE CYCLIST?

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Although there is no legal requirement for cyclists to wear any safety equipment other than helmets for those under 12 and visibility jackets for those riding outside built-up areas and at night, the following is a non-exhaustive list of safety equipment that everyone who is supposed to be riding a bicycle should wear.

Helmet

Simple helmet, folding helmet, illuminated helmet, helmet with indicator .... The helmet market is booming because the number of cyclists is increasing and because it is the most important accessory, although surprisingly it is not compulsory for everyone.

The French law says that only drivers and passengers under 12 years of age of a cycle in circulation must wear a helmet ... attached. Are our heads harder after 12 years? Certainly not in the event of an impact with a vehicle or the ground. Injuries due to impact on the skull remain the leading cause of death among cyclists (3 out of 4 deaths).

According to the road safety state agency (ONISR), the risk of a cyclist being involved in an accident is three times higher than for a car driver. The risk of being seriously injured is sixteen times higher. Wearing a bicycle helmet is therefore strongly recommended, regardless of your age or the routes you travel.

It should be noted that helmets are compulsory for adults who ride a speedbike (a bicycle that goes faster than 25km/h and up to 45km/h because it is then considered a moped).

                                                    Overade foldable helmet

                                                                                  Overade foldable Helmet

What are the standards for a bicycle helmet?

It is not advisable to use a used or second-hand helmet, as it is not possible to know what damage it has sustained. It is also advisable to change helmets regularly because with time and UV rays, the shock absorbing materials can harden and no longer be as protective.

There are standards governing bicycle helmets such as homologation or CE marking. The latter must be accompanied by other information such as

  • the number of the standard
  • The name of the manufacturer or brand
  • The date of manufacture
  • Size and weight.

According to the European standard EN 1078, the helmet must

  • Fit the cyclist's head properly according to its size (from 53 to 60 cm)
  • Cover perfectly the different parts of the head such as the forehead, temples, sides, back and top, especially for children.
  • Be equipped with very resistant shock absorbers

It is possible to add comfort options such as ventilation to air the skull, a foam and a knob in the inner shell for more comfort and better readjustment of the helmet, a visor to avoid glare or a light.

In all cases, the helmet must meet the requirements of either

  • Either the NF EN 1078+A1 standard which refers to helmets for cyclists as well as those using roller skates and skateboards
  • Or NF EN 1080 which refers to impact protection helmets for young children

In which countries is it compulsory to wear a helmet?

Helmets are compulsory in Australia, New Zealand, Namibia and Argentina. It is also compulsory in Finland and South Africa, but there is no fine for forgetting. Helmets are compulsory for children in France, Iceland, Austria, Slovenia, Sweden, Japan and Taiwan.

                                           Where bike helmet is compulsory?

The retro-reflective waistcoat

Wearing a certified retro-reflective waistcoat is compulsory for all cyclists and their passengers when riding outside built-up areas, at night or in poor visibility. It does not need to comply with the EN20471 standard reserved for professional clothing. This waistcoat allows the wearer's visibility distance to be multiplied by 3 during the day and by 6 at night.

So why limit this obligation outside built-up areas? The visibility of a cyclist in town, at night and even during the day, is still very limited.  Are motorists not required to wear a waistcoat by day and by night as soon as they get out of their vehicle on a motorway? Wearing a retro-reflective waistcoat is therefore strongly recommended everywhere and all day long.

Gloves

Anyone who has ever crashed a bike will tell you that wearing a pair of gloves is more than necessary. However, this is not compulsory for cyclists, although it has been for drivers and passengers of motorised two-wheelers since 2016. Fortunately, winter temperatures are pushing many cyclists to at least equip themselves to protect themselves from the cold. 

The air bag jacket

The air bag jacket for cyclists has just arrived on the market. In the event of the slightest impact or fall, it inflates in a few milliseconds to protect the chest and spine. It is the ultimate safety item for which you will have to invest a few hundred euros.

The anti-pollution mask

Even if they are not protective elements in case of shock or fall, anti-pollution masks remain the best way to protect your respiratory tract from airborn particles linked in particular to exhaust fumes, but also from pollens in the spring and the cold in the winter. It is recommended to use a mask with a filtration standard of at least FFP2, such as the Frogmask anti-pollution masks with FFP2 filters that block particles down to 0.4µm. The neck attachment system provides comfort without pulling on the ears and makes it easy to wear a helmet.

                                                black & white Frogmask picture

Also note. It is forbidden to wear any device that can emit sound (headphones, earpieces or headphones) in the ear. The use of hand-held telephones is also prohibited. There are no devices that allow cyclists to make phone calls on the road at the moment, so entrepreneurs beware!

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