Buying and Wearing a Bike Helmet

From guest contributor Margaret Beltrami:

For this week’s post we are going to dive deeper into bike helmets. I will highlight how to find the perfect helmet, what to look for in a good helmet, and when to replace it.

First, how should a helmet fit? Overall, your helmet should fit snugly, level on your head, and not rock back and forth or side to side. 

To find the perfect helmet fit:

Make sure you have the correct size: Try on multiple different helmetsand adjust the fit ring (located on the back) until your helmet is snug.

Check to make sure your helmet is in the correct position: Your helmetshould sit level and pretty low on your forehead. Check this by placing one or two fingers above your eyebrow. If there is too much space, your helmet should be lower on your forehead to ensure the greatest protection. 

Check your straps: Your side straps should sit under and a little in frontof your ears (the straps should form a “V” shape). Adjust your chin strap so that only one or two fingers fit snugly under the strap. This part is very important, because you do not want your chin strap to be too loose!

Do an overall check to make sure your helmet is fitted correctly: Yourhelmet should not rock back and forth or side to side. On the other hand, make sure it is not too tight that it chokes you or is uncomfortable to the point that you won’t wear it. Another way to test your helmet fit is to open your mouth widely. Your helmetshould pull down on your head and you should feel pressure. Do these simple checks before you ride to ensure a perfect (and safe) helmet fit!

Other things to look for when buying a helmet:
Whenever you buy a helmet look for a sticker that says it’s CPSC certified. Do you know what a CPSC sticker is? CPSC stands for the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and they regulate and promote the safety of products. What this means for bike helmets is that the helmet has been tested and approved by the CPSC standards. Before you buy a helmet make sure there is a sticker on the helmet (usually on the inside of the helmet) that names the standard, and states specific information.

Take a look at the labels on these two different bike helmets to see examples of what this sticker can look like.

How to know when to replace your helmet?

The most important thing to remember is to replace your helmet after one impact. This means to replace your helmet if you ever fall from your bike, even if you do not visibly see any damage. This is because the foam material inside the helmet will crush to help absorb the impact from the crash and the materials will not be protective from another impact. This is why it is important to still replace your helmet after a crash even if visibly on the outside of the helmet it looks fine.

But should you replace your helmet after a long time of use even if it does not look damaged? Yes! A good rule of thumb is to replace your helmet after about every five years, because of the natural wear and tear. But be sure to also buy a new helmet if it looks broken or cracked. 

Taking care of your helmet:

Taking good care of your helmet is also crucial. Never sit or lean on your helmet, and never intentionally throw or slam it against the ground. Additionally, try and store it in a place that is not too hot or cold. 

That’s all for this week’s post! I hope you learned something new about helmets, or just had a refresher. Stay tuned for next week’s post all about properly fitted bikes, bike checks before rides, and tire pressure!

One Response to Buying and Wearing a Bike Helmet

  1. FancyBike says:

    I love this bike helmet. It is very lightweight with many great features.

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