Bicycle Helmets

To Prevent Death or Serious Injury While Cycling

There is no Federal Law in the United States which requires cyclists to wear helmets, but there are State Laws.Click Here! to find bicycle helmet laws for individual States.

For maximum safety, your helmet must fit properly and be worn every time you ride. A helmet that fits poorly, can make injuries worse in certain conditions.

How to fit a bicycle helmet

Guidelines for Purchasing and Fitting a Helmet:

Make sure that the helmet you buy is approved by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Make sure that the helmet you are buying is the right size.

Different people have different sizes and shapes of heads. Helmets come in various sizes, and sizes can vary between manufacturers.  Shop around. Try on different helmets until you find one that fits "comfortable snug".

Your bicycle helmet should fit snug, touching your head all the way around. It should sit as low on the head as possible, and be level, with the strap comfortably snug. Your ear should be between the straps.

If you're not comfortable adjusting the helmet yourself, then buy your helmet from a bicycle retailer that can help with helmet selection and proper fitting.

Tips For Fitting A Bicycle Helmet:




Measure your head to find the approximate size of helmet to start with. Find your "Hat Size". Using a tape measure, start one inch above your eye brows and go around the widest part of your head. Be sure to measure around the largest diameter of your head, including the tips of your ears to ensure a proper fit.

Once you know your "Hat Size"- find that measurement on the helmet manufacturers size chart to determine the "Helmet Size" that is closest to your "Hat Size" measurement. (Remember this can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. So find the size chart for each manufacturer your are considering.)




Try the helmet on to ensure it fits snuggly. The helmet shouldn't be too big or too small. The helmet should fit "comfortably snug" all the way around your head. While it is sitting flat on top of your head, make sure the helmet doesn’t rock side to side. Minor adjustments can be made with straps and buckles. Foam pads can also be placed on the inside of the helmet to make sure that the helmet fits "snuggly" all the way around the head.




helmet position



The helmet should sit level on your head. One or two finger-widths above your eyebrow. (A common mistake is to push the helmet onto the back of the head, leaving the face and forehead exposed.)

Once the helmet sits snuggly on your head in a level position, you need to adjust the straps and buckles to keep it in place. You should only need to make these adjustments once.




position the helmet strapsposition the helmet buckles


With the helmet in position on your head, adjust the length of the rear straps and the length of the front straps so that the "Y fitting" where the straps come together is located just under your ear and the buckle is just under your chin. That may involve sliding the straps across the top of the helmet to get the length even on both sides.




adjust the bicycle chin strap



Then adjust the length of the chin strap so it is comfortably snug. A snug chin strap is only thing that will hold your helmet on during a crash. Buckle your chin strap. Tighten the strap until it is snug, so that no more than one or two fingers fit under the 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.




checking bicycle helmet fit



When you think the straps are right, shake your head. The helmet should fit snugly and move as one with your head. It should not bounce around independently.

Push up and back on the front of your helmet. If you can you move the helmet more than an inch from level, exposing your bare forehead, then you need to tighten the strap in front of your ear, and/or loosen the rear strap behind your ear, making sure that the Y remains just below the ear. Adjust the straps so that one passes in front of your ear and one behind. If both straps pass the ear on the same side, the straps won't hold the helmet on properly.

Reach back and pull up on the back of your helmet. If you can you move the helmet more than an inch, tighten the rear strap.

The helmet should be level, feel solid on your head, and be comfortable. It should pass the eye-ear-mouth test.


When you look upward the front rim should be barely visible to your eye.


The Y of the side straps should meet just below your ear.


The chin strap should be snug against the chin so that when you open your mouth very wide you feel the helmet pull down a little bit.