How to Choose the Right Bicycle Helmet

How to Choose the Right Bicycle Helmet
A bicycle helmet is an important piece of safety gear that can protect you from serious injury. Every bicyclist and mountain biker should wear a helmet. A crash is a very real possibility, and getting the right bike helmet will keep you protected.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Step 1
Make sure the helmet meets the appropriate safety standards. Helmets sold in the U.S. must meet safety standards set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Inside, you should see a label with one or more of the following: CPSC, ASTM 1477 or Snell B-95. Standard mountain bike helmets don't differ from other bike helmets in regard to safety standards, but full-face mountain bike helmets used for downhill and freeride mountain biking should meet the higher ASTM F 1952 standard.
Step 2
Select a helmet or several helmets that have smooth, round, plastic shells without snag points.
Step 3
To protect your head effectively, the helmet needs to fit. The right fit will also ensure the helmet is comfortable while riding.
Step 4
Tighten the chin strap so it fits snugly around your chin. You should only be able to fit a finger or two between the strap and the chin. The front and back straps should form a triangle that meets just below your ear. If the helmet has a control wheel or other mechanism on the back, tighten it so the inside of the helmet is snug. Alternately, adjust any sizing pads to fit your head better. The helmet should sit level on your head, perpendicular to your forehead about one or two finger widths above your eyebrows.
Step 5
Shake your head forward and backward, and from side to side. Ensure the helmet stays in place and feels comfortable. It should stay put without much motion. Try pushing the helmet from the front and back to be sure it doesn't move too much. Adjust the straps as needed to tighten the helmet. A helmet that fits will be comfortable but remain secure on your head without wobbling.
Step 6
Venting is somewhat of a Catch-22. While you want to ensure your head is cool, too much venting can limit the helmet's efficiency in a crash, particularly if you're off-road, as rocks and other jagged objects could penetrate through the vents. Purchase a helmet that has enough venting to keep your head cool, but avoid vents that are too large or numerous.
Step 7
While color seems like a trivial characteristic, getting a bright, visible helmet is important if you plan to ride on the road at night. Also, purchasing a helmet you like will encourage you to wear it every time you ride.
Step 8
Consider the overall features and design. Helmets are pretty simple, but some things you should keep in mind are whether you want a visor, if there's enough padding to make the helmet comfortable and absorb sweat, and how easy the helmet is to adjust to the perfect fit.

Tips & Warnings

 
If you are involved in a crash with your helmet, it should be replaced as its integrity would have been compromised. Inspect your helmet regularly to check for fractures or breakages that could render it ineffective.
 
If you are involved in a crash with your helmet, it should be replaced as its integrity would have been compromised.
 
Inspect your helmet regularly to check for fractures or breakages that could render it ineffective.

Article Written By Joe Fletcher

Joe Fletcher has been a writer since 2002, starting his career in politics and legislation. He has written travel and outdoor recreation articles for a variety of print and online publications, including "Rocky Mountain Magazine" and "Bomb Snow." He received a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Rutgers College.

Keep Me Informed

Weekly newsletters, announcements and offers from Trails.com to your inbox.

Sign me up!

We HATE spam and promise to keep your email addresses safe and secure.