While only children under age 12 are required by law to wear a bike helmet in Pennsylvania, everyone should wear them for safety reasons. “All bicyclists should wear properly fitted bicycle helmets every time they ride. A helmet is the single most effective way to prevent head injury resulting from a bicycle crash,” according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Proper fit is crucial to a helmet’s efficacy, as is the helmet’s quality and specific intended purpose. If you’re in the market for a new helmet for you or your child, follow the simple steps below to help find the perfect match.
Step 1: Choose the Correct Type
Manufacturers make helmets for different intended purposes. If you primarily ride on the road, you’ll want to select a road bike helmet. These are lightweight and ergonomically designed for speed. If you ride off-road or on trails, you’ll want a mountain bike helmet. These usually have a visor and extra coverage in the rear of the helmet. If you ride on various terrains, you can select a multi-use helmet, sometimes referred to a sport helmet. These helmets typically work for all types of sports, from biking to skateboarding.
Step 2: Measure Your Noggin
Multi-use helmets may be one-size-fits-all, but most helmets will be sized from extra small to extra large. To ensure a proper fit, you’ll need to measure your head carefully to determine which size you require.
To measure your head, place a flexible measuring tape around the largest circumference of your head — about one inch above your eyebrows. If you don’t have a measuring tape, you can use a piece of string and measure the string using a ruler or straight tape. Once you know the circumference of your head, you can check the helmet labels and find one that corresponds to your size. Most helmets are categorized as follows.
- Extra-small – less than 20 inches
- Small – 20 to 21.75 inches
- Medium – 21.75 to 23.25 inches
- Large – 23.25 to 24.75 inches
- Extra-large – More than 24.75 inches
Step 3: Adjust the Helmet
Once you place the helmet on your head, you’ll need to adjust it to fit securely. Use the adjustable straps and internal sizing ring until it’s firmly in place. Recreational Equipment, Inc. explains, “A good-fitting helmet should be snug but not annoyingly tight. It should sit level on your head (not tilted back) with the front edge no more than one inch (a width of approximately two fingers) above your eyebrows so that your forehead is protected.”
Find More Interesting Articles
For more interesting articles for cyclists, visit Cordisco & Saile LLC’s Pennsylvania bicycle blog.