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The Official's Word - The Rules on Helmets


Continuing our series on the rules surrounding multi-sport, Pete Lambert, the London Region Rules Co-ordinator, answers questions on the use of cycle helmets.

What are the rules?
Quite simply, your helmet must be on your head and secured before you remove your bike from racking and remain that way until you return from the bike course and the bike is securely racked again.
Why can’t I undo the strap or remove my helmet when I get off the bike?
We see more incidents of competitors tripping or colliding with barriers and other competitors at the bike mount / dismount line than at any other point on the course so it is important that your helmet is securely fastened at this point. 
There have also been several accidents in the transition area where competitors have tripped or slipped as they go out or return with their bike. In one instance a competitor’s helmet was smashed as he fell and fortunately he was not hurt.
Even experienced triathletes have been seen unfastening or removing their helmet as they come into the transition area. If the rules were amended to allow helmets to be removed at the dismount point we would undoubtedly get instances where competitors would start to remove their helmet whist they were still riding their bike.
Are there any other rules regarding helmets?
Your helmet must be an approved ANSI Z90.4, SNELL B90, EN 1078 or equivalent standard and this can be checked by looking inside your helmet. Note that a CE mark is not an approved standard.
At many events you will be asked to wear your helmet when you arrive to set up in the transition area. This is not to make sure you look good or to check your helmet matches your bike! It is to check your helmet is properly fastened as all too often we come across helmet straps that are hanging loose and quite simply the helmet would fall off in an accident.
The check is quite simple - you should be able to get two fingers between the strap and your chin and if you can fit three then the helmet is too loose.
Lastly, the helmet should be on the right way round. Yes, we do get instances of helmets on back to front, even the streamlined helmets!
What are the penalties?
Generally we try not to give a penalty for a helmet violation and will stop you and make you correct the error before proceeding. In some cases we will ask you to fasten the helmet and go back to the point where it was unfastened. We do get instances where we are questioned regarding the offence. We are quite happy to spend the next five minutes debating the rules but it is your time that matters not ours.
In extreme cases if we are ignored or for a repeat offence, then we may give a two minute time penalty but please remember, the rule is there for your safety and protection.
Article edited by Chris Holland, a member of Westcroft TC and the Triathlon England: London Region media team.

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