How to Choose a Bicycle Helmet

Three Parts:Following Certified StandardsChecking the FitWearing the Helmet

Wearing a bicycle helmet is an important part of safe cycling. There are a wide variety of helmets available. Many helmets are designed for a specific type of cycling. When selecting a bicycle helmet you need to consider the type of riding you will be doing, the environmental conditions you will be riding in, proper fit to your head, and of course your budget.

Part 1
Following Certified Standards

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    Select a helmet that is certified for bicycling. There are several standards for bicycle helmets including standards for many specific countries and internationally accepted standards. In the United States, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) publishes standards for helmet safety for a variety of sport activities including bicycling, skateboarding, snowboarding, equestrian, and many others. The Snell Memorial Foundation publishes standard for a variety of sport actives that are internationally recognized.
    1. From a consumer’s perspective ensure the helmet you are buying is certified to one of these standards. ​CPSC in the USA, Snell or other applicable standard outside the USA.
    2. All certified helmets provide the minimal level of protection, even the lower cost helmets. More expensive helmets provide additional features and may be more comfortable, but do not provide additional safety.
    • The following is a list of a few of the cycling helmet standards from around the world. [1]
      • US Consumer Product Safety Commission (US) Safety Standard for Bicycle Helmets. Final Rule that took effect as U.S. law on March 10, 1999. ("CPSC")
      • CEN European Standard Helmets for Pedal Cyclists and for Users of Skateboards and Roller Skates, EN1078, February, 1997. Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom ("Europe").
      • Japanese Industrial Standard, Protective Helmets for Bicycle Users. JIS T 8134-1982. Translation by Japanese Standards Association.
      • Australia/New Zealand: AS/NZS 2063:2008—Bicycle helmets.[2]

Part 2
Checking the Fit

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    Select a helmet that fits. For the helmet to be effective it must fit properly. The helmet should fit tightly enough to prevent it from coming off your head in case of an impact while allowing comfort for long term use.
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    Check that the helmet sits down about halfway on your forehead. In case of a forward fall, you want the helmet to hit the ground before your face. Do not cock the helmet back onto the back of your head.
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    Try it on to make sure it fits properly. If you are not sure, seek help. Proper fit is very important to ensure the helmet works when you really need it.
    • Choose an adult helmet for adults, and a child's helmet for children. As children grow, be sure to constantly reassess the head size and move on to the next size as needed.

Part 3
Wearing the Helmet

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    Select a helmet designed for your activity. Helmets come in a variety of styles, designed for different types of cycling. Road bike helmets are lightweight, while BMX helmets and mountain bike helmets may offer more protection and often include visors and more secure straps to keep the helmet properly positioned during extreme activities.
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    Choose a helmet that is comfortable enough to be worn for your entire ride. If you do not wear the helmet, it will not protect you.
    • Check the chin straps to ensure they can be tightened enough to hold the helmet securely without digging into your chin or face.
    • Make sure the head bands and/or padding are comfortable.
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    Wear your helmet all the time when riding. Even a low speed crash can cause considerable damage if you head meets the pavement or ground.

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