How to Wear a Bike Helmet The Right Way


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If not worn the right way, a helmet cannot protect you as much as it’s supposed to be.

So how should one wear a bike helmet? Simply put, it should be on a level with your head and cover it properly. More precisely, the straps should be positioned below the earlobes and the chin strap must not be tight enough.”

That’s not all though!

And in this article, we take an in-depth look at everything you need to know to wear your helmet correctly.

Importance of Wearing a Bike Helmet Properly

There is a reason many states across the U.S.A have now made it compulsory for bikers to wear a helmet.

First of all, wearing a helmet properly reduces the risk of head and skull injuries to almost 51%. More than that, the study also suggests that it can reduce fatal head injuries by 69% and severe head injuries by about 65%.

Source: Jake Olivier: Bicycle Injuries and Helmet Use 

Not only that, but helmets with advanced protection technology cannot only reduce head injuries, they can also keep a biker comfortable enough.

Nowadays, advanced cycling helmets feature thick padding with a visor as well as full-face protection to ensure maximum safety to a rider.

For all these reasons we believe that wearing a bike helmet and that too the RIGHT WAY is extremely important these days.

Before heading into discussing how to wear a bike helmet, it’s important to talk about bike helmet sizing and types.

Let’s go through them briefly:

Choosing the Right Size and Type of Helmet

You must always select a bike helmet according to the circumference of your head.

For measuring the circumference, simply take a fabric measuring tape and wrap it around your head to get the actual size.

Find a helmet close to your size to increase your chances of wearing it the proper way.

Similarly, you should also consider the type of helmet you need depending upon the way you ride your bike.

If you are a daily commuter, a normal helmet (or inexpensive helmet) will do the job just fine for you. However, you should consider getting a mountain bike helmet (or an expensive helmet) if you want to ride bumpy terrains and gravels, etc. 

How to Wear a Bike Helmet Correctly?

Cutting right to the chase, if you have got a bike helmet to wear, let us get through some basic steps first.

Before you put on the helmet on your head, loosen all its straps or ratchets so that it can easily be adjusted later on.

Next, put it on your head in a way that the front of the helmet is just one or two fingers up from your eyebrows. In the meanwhile, the helmet should cover your head properly.

After going through the basics, let us explain the fitting helmet process next:

How to Adjust a Bike Helmet?

Adjust the Tightness

Many bike helmets come with an adjustment wheel that could be used to adjust the tightness.  Open the adjustable wheel fully, put the helmet on your head, and twist it till the fit becomes snug enough.

Make sure that the helmet is not too tight or else it will make you uncomfortable while you ride on different kinds of terrains.

Buckle the Chin Strap

Buckling and tightening the chin strap would be step number 2. Tighten the chin strap until the straps form a comfy V-shape around your ears. Keep buckling the chin strap till you become comfortable with the helmet.

Open Your Mouth Wide

After tightening the chin strap, open your mouth widely. While you do so, the helmet should press against the top portion of your head.

That means you have finally got a helmet that offers a snug fit according to your head’s circumference.

If the top of the helmet does not press, tighten the chin strap a little bit more and then repeat the mouth opening step accordingly.

Additional Fitting Tips for Bikers

Go with the Brand Sizing

Different brands may offer helmets with different sizing and different shape depending on multiple factors.

It would be better for a biker to just visit a nearby bike shop and try helmets of different brands to see what size fits the best.

Being a little brand-conscious just like you are when selecting sneakers would offer an advantage in this regard.

Go with a Smaller Size If You are Between the Sizes

For instance, if your head’s circumference falls between small and medium, it would be better if you go with a small size. Such a helmet will offer a better chance of a snug fit compared to a medium size.

Similarly, if you opt for large size and your head’s circumference is small, you can wear a beany or some kind of hat to adjust the sizing accordingly.

Regardless of these exceptions, we would suggest that you get the right fit according to the exact size of your head.

Go with a Snug Fit

Keeping all other factors aside, a helmet should always fit snuggly and not too tight.

It should be on a level with your head and not tilted too forward or backward. Similarly, it should maintain your comfort along with safety features at the same time.

How not to wear a Helmet? Avoid These Mistakes

Many beginner cyclists repeat some common mistakes while wearing a helmet. Not only that, but we have also seen many professional bikers committing the same mistakes.

Check them out and stop doing that if you want to protect your head from injuries:

Wearing Helmet Far Back on the Head

If you wear a helmet far too back on your head, your forehead will remain exposed to different injuries. AVOID this mistake at all costs.

Take Size of Helmet Serious

If your head’s too large for a helmet, it will obviously feel uncomfortable no matter how hard you try to get it adjusted.

Take the bicycle helmet size problem seriously and choose it carefully!

Wearing a Thick Hat under the Helmet

We understand that severe weather conditions will compel you to wear a hat, but it should not be extremely thick.

Many helmet manufacturers add extra padding to the inner liner so that the helmet can keep your head away from impact and keep it warm enough as well. 

All in all, if you still want to wear a hat under the helmet, go ahead, but it should not be too thick. 

Wearing Helmet on Open Hair

For those who ask how to wear a helmet with long hair, we recommend tucking the hair properly first.

Change your hairstyle (especially for women) if you need to and then wear your helmet accordingly.

Loose Chin Straps

Loose chin straps are an immediate Red Flag and you should never let them loose. Adjust and tighten the straps properly.

Wearing Helmet Back to Front

Why would you even do that? Just to look cool, eh? It does not work like that! You are wearing the helmet for protection and not to flex or look cool.

How to Take Care of Bike Helmet?

Just like any other equipment, a bike helmet also needs care and maintenance.

Cleaning a bike helmet every once in a while will not only offer you a fresh sense of feeling but can also increase the lifespan of the helmet.

Never use chemical solvents to clean the inner liner. Most helmet manufacturers recommend using a soft sponge cloth with mild soap and water to clean the liner.

Furthermore, you can also wash the removable pads separately and let them dry in the open air.

We do not endorse keeping a bike helmet in a garage, attic, or somewhere where there’s extreme heat production. If you do so, the helmet will become heat-damaged with frequent bubbles.

Do not loan out your helmet to other people as they will surely mess it up and then return it without any regret. (Pun Intended)

Bikers Also Ask:

How should a bike helmet sit on your head?

The helmet should sit level on your head plus its front should be just two fingers above the forehead. The head straps must form a V-shape and you should adjust them under your earlobes. Finally, the chin strap should be tightened but not too much.

How should a helmet feel on your head?

A helmet should not feel too uncomfortable or way too tightened on your head. It must offer comfort, ventilation, as well as protection to your head. That’s how it’s supposed to feel on your head.

How tight should a helmet be on your head?

Not too tight nor too loose! The helmet should offer a snug feel to the biker and for that purpose, cyclists should adjust their helmets according to their head’s circumference.

How do you secure your helmet to your head?

You must secure it in a way that covers your skull and forehead properly. Only then you can expect it to keep your head safe from unwanted crashes.

Can a helmet cause headaches?

If you know how to wear a helmet properly, it will not cause a headache or any other problem. However, if the helmet’s too tight, it can put pressure on your skull and that might lead to a headache if you keep wearing it for a long time.

Final Takeaways:

Wearing a bike helmet the proper way means you will be protecting your head from fatal injuries.

That said, we have already mentioned the crucks of wearing a bike helmet front and back with proper guidance.

Know that you can only improve your helmet-wearing habit if you practice it the right way.

Rest assured, you will easily get around with your helmet and keep on using it to get on those bumpy and adventurous trails accordingly.

Happy Cycling!

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Written By

From riding to school since the age of 13, attending BMX races and events with his dad to himself conquering 50+ trails across the globe. For Rob, his Giant Stance 29 2 2020 is the friend that makes everything better. He is also a proud member of the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA).

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