How to Properly Fit a Bicycle Helmet

May 8, 2013 — By

In addition to publishing vehicle recalls, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) provides a lot of safety information for cars and other modes of transportation, including bicycles.  Knowing which government agency covers which types of products can be a bit confusing given that bicycle recalls are covered by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), but one thing is for sure, both agencies work hard to keep you as safe as possible.

Here are some simple steps from the NHTSA to help you make sure your and your child’s helmets fit properly.

Step 1 - Size
Measure your head for approximate size. Try the helmet on to ensure it fits snuggly. While it is sitting flat on top of your head, make sure the helmet doesn’t rock side to side.

Step 2 - Position
The helmet should sit level on your head and low on your forehead—one or two finger-widths above your eyebrow.

Step 3 - Straps
Adjust the slider on both straps to form a “V” shape under, and slightly in front of, the ears. Lock the slider if possible.

Step 4 - Buckles
Center the left buckle under the chin. On most helmets, the straps can be pulled from the back of the helmet to lengthen or shorten the chin straps. This task is easier if you take the helmet off to make these adjustments.

Step 5 - Chin Strap
Buckle your chin strap. Tighten the strap until it is snug, so that no more than one or two fingers fit under the strap.


Lastly, Check Again…  

Does your helmet fit right? Open your mouth wide…big yawn! The helmet should pull down on the head. If not, refer back to step 5 and tighten the chin strap.

Does your helmet rock back more than two fingers above the eyebrows? If so, unbuckle, shorten the front strap by moving the slider forward.
Buckle, retighten the chin strap, and test again.

Does your helmet rock forward into your eyes? If so, unbuckle, tighten the back strap by moving the slider back toward the ear. Buckle, retighten the chin strap, and test again.

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