How does a helmet work?

The foam crushes when you hit the road - that cushions the blow and usually saves your brain. The shell makes it skid on the street so your neck does not get jerked. The shell also keeps the foam in one piece. The straps keep it on your head.

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1. What is a bike helmet?
2. How does a helmet work?
3. Why wear a helmet?
4. How do I pick a helmet?