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There is no federal law in the United States that makes it mandatory to wear a bicycle helmet, but 20 states and more than 125 localities have helmet laws—and with good reason. Head injuries account for 75 percent of bicycle related deaths and permanently disabling injuries. So, if you've been riding without, run to your nearest bike shop and pick one up.
*When buying a helmet, look for a label or sticker that says the helmet meets the requirements of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission or those of one or more of the organizations that set bicycle standards like ASTM, Snell or ANSI.