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How to fit a bicycle helmet

July 17, 2013 by Steven M. Gursten

Bicycle helmet safety tips for safe riding this summer

Bicycle helmets save lives. And they reduce the risk of head injury by 85%, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

But they have to be fitted properly in order to do so. Today I wanted to share this video from the NHTSA on tips to find a safe bicycle helmet that fits right:

Here’s a quick takeaway list from the video:

  1. Always wear a bicycle helmet: That goes for adults and children alike, on every bike ride.
  2. Make sure your helmet is approved: If you’re buying a new helmet, make sure your bicycle helmet is CPSC certified before you purchase it. If you are using an older helmet, make sure it is SNELL or ANSI approved.
  3. Size: Measure your head and choose a certified helmet. Then adjust the sizing pads or fitting ring for a custom fit, without any rocking from side to side.
  4. Fit: The helmet should sit level on the head and low on the forehead, no more than one or two finger widths above the eyebrow.
  5. Buckle: Adjust the length of the straps so the buckle is centered under the chin.
  6. Side straps: Adjust the slider on both straps to form a V shape under and slightly in front of the ears. Then lock the slider if possible.
  7. Chin straps: Buckle the chin strap and tighten it until it’s snug.
  8. Double check: Double check to make sure the helmet is secure. Ask yourself the following questions to be sure:
  • Does your bicycle helmet fit right? Open your mouth wide, like you are yawning. The helmet should pull down on your head. If not, tighten the chin strap.
  • Does your helmet rock back more than two fingers above the eyebrows? If so, unbuckle and retighten the chin strap and test again.
  • Does your bike helmet rock forward into your eyes? If so, unbuckle and tighten the back strap by moving the slider back toward the ear. Buckle and retighten the chin strap, and test again.
  • Roll the rubber band down to the buckle. All four straps must go through the rubber band and be close to the buckle to prevent the buckle from slipping.

Remember, it may take a little more time to ensure a proper bike helmet fit, but your life is worth it.

For more information, here’s a guide from the NHTSA to “Fitting Your Bike Helmet.”

Related information:

Bicycle helmet safety for kids

13 tips for safe driving around bicycles

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