When bicycling, make sure your helmet fits properly!

With the warm weather we are all excited about enjoying our favorite outdoor activities. For many of us, that means riding our bikes with friends and family. Fortunately, Maine features miles of trails dedicated to cycling, but we also are likely to spend time on roadways from time to time.

Safety should be a top priority for all of us when it comes to cycling. Wearing bright clothing, following the rules of the road, wearing a helmet, having front and rear lights, and being aware of your surroundings are always important.

We want to focus on something that is often overlooked, and that is making sure your helmet fits properly. Below are some important tips to keep in mind when purchasing and fitting a new cycling helmet.

  • Level - The helmet should be level on the rider's head.
  • Rim barely visible - The front rim should be barely visible to the rider's eyes
  • Y below the ear - The Y of the side straps should meet just below the ear
  • Snug strap - The chin strap should be snug against the chin so that when the rider opens their mouth very wide the helmet pulls down a little bit.
  • Skin moves a little - Move the helmet side to side and front to back, watching the skin around the rider's eyebrows. It should move slightly with the helmet. If it does not, the fit pads are probably too thin in front or back, or the helmet may even be too large.
  • Stabilizer snug - If there is a rear stabilizer, adjust it until it is snug under the bulge on the rear of the head.
  • Palm test - Have the rider put their palm on the front of the helmet and push up and back. If it moves more than an inch, more fitting is required.
  • Shake test - Have the rider shake their head around. If the helmet dislodges, work on the strap adjustments.
  • Comfort - Ask the rider if the helmet is comfortable and check to make sure there are no comfort issues that still need to be addressed.
  • Be ready to switch! Not all helmets fit all heads. Be prepared to use a different helmet if the one you are fitting just will not work for this rider.

Even if you already have a helmet, please consider taking the time to make sure you follow the guidelines to ensure it fits well and will provide maximum protection. If your current helmet does not fit you well, it’s certainly worth considering investing in a new one. After all, traumatic brain injury is something to be avoided if you can help it!

*Fitting tips courtesy of the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute