If you ride a bike, you need to wear a helmet. Why? According to the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute, wearing a proper fitting, Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) certified helmet could prevent 85 percent of cyclists’ head injuries.
There are two ways to find the right size helmet for your head. The first is measuring the circumference of your head just above your ears. This number, ranging from about 50 to 60 centimeters for the average adult, correlates with different sized helmets. Try the one on where your circumference falls in the range of the helmet size, typically labelled on a sticker on the inside of the helmet.
The second way to find the right size, provided you have an assortment of sizes to choose from, is to just try them on and see how much space is between your head and the helmet. With both methods you don’t want any more than one to two fingers to be able to fit in-between the helmet and your head.
If there’s too much room your head will actually be knocked against the inside of the helmet in the event of impact which can also cause injury. If there’s not enough room, the helmet simply won’t be comfortable and will likely sit too high on your head not protecting you as well as it should.
Most riders probably won’t admit it, but the look and feel of the helmet is just as important as how well it protects their grey matter. Some things to consider are color(bright colors are good if you are still riding during hunting season); cut (do you need something that covers the back of your head, or a full face mask for downhilling?); and ventilation (if you overheat easily, the more vents the better). Do you care to have a visor on the front of the helmet? Generally speaking, roadies don’t, mountain bikers do. But that is a matter of personal preference. These are not the most important decisions you’ll make if you take a hard fall. But how you look and feel out on the trail is still something to think about.
Wear it right: Low, level, and snug: That’s how your helmet should sit on your head. Here’s how to get a perfect fit.
– Look in a mirror. Your helmet should sit level on your head, and the front of the helmet should cover most of your forehead. If the helmet tilts back and exposes your forehead, it’s not going to protect you.
– Connect the chin strap, and tighten it so that it’s snug beneath your chin-you should barely be able to fit a finger between the strap and your chin. Adjust the side straps so that the point of the V sits just below your ears.
– Push the helmet back on your head. Can you move the helmet more than an inch? Tighten the straps in front of your ears (loosen the rear straps so that the V points still sit just below your ears). If you can push the helmet forward, adjust the straps behind your ears. In the end, you shouldn’t be able to move the helmet more than an inch in any direction.
Helmet straps tend to loosen, so give your helmet a quick wiggle-check before every outing. Tighten the straps if you can move the helmet more than an inch in any direction. Then enjoy the ride.