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How to Properly Wear a Helmet for Max Protection

Wearing a helmet is important to protect your head and brain, but only if it's the right fit. Having the proper helmet can mean the difference between life and death in a collision. Wearing it incorrectly can cause injury or have negative effects on your body. We've put together this quick guide to help you properly wear your helmet for maximum protection. 

Helmets came into existence for a reason. To keep your head and brain safe in the event of an accident by reducing the severity of the injury. The helmet should always be worn. It should sit level on your head and should not rock back and forth when you move side to side. If a helmet is slipping, it's simply not the right size or you have adjusted it improperly. There are multiple sizes available for helmets to allow for a better fit, but even adjusting straps will not fix an ill-fitting helmet. 


Steps to Finding the Best Helmet to Ensure Maximum Protection

Step 1: Fitting Your Head 

How to wear a helmet will solely depend on the correct size of helmet for your head.


Step 2: Checking the Helmet's Fit 

Take a mirror and slowly spin around so that you can see all sides of your head. Be sure to check all areas, such as: 

The back of your neck, the middle of your forehead, the bridge of your nose, the side and front of your face. Make sure the helmet isn't pressing or rubbing on any part of your head or neck. You should be able to bend at the waist without feeling any pressure or pain in any part of your body. 


Step 3: Whether to Wear a Helmet 

Helmets are designed for the correct head size. If you don't need a protective helmet, it's best to skip this step. 


Step 4: Getting the Correct Fit 

Visit your local bike shop, department store or online retailer that sells helmets. It's important to have the right helmet for your head size and riding level. The bicycle shop staff will measure your head (using a measuring tape) and let you know what size helmet is recommended based on your measurements. 


Step 5: Adjusting the Fit 

Your helmet should feel comfortable on your head. If not, you may need to change the way it fits. This is done by adjusting the helmet straps and pads inside. If your helmet has an adjustable sizing dial, be sure to turn it so that it fits properly on your head. 


Step 6: Straps 

It's important to check that the chin straps are secure and fit properly under your ears around your jawline. 


The Importance Of a Helmet

A helmet is the most important piece of gear that you can wear while riding your bike. A proper helmet will keep your head safe and can even save your life. But, a poorly worn or incorrectly sized helmet could actually cause serious injury to your head or body. 

Helmets are designed to protect against skull fractures, brain damage, and other severe injuries. Wearing a helmet can provide significant protection in the event of an accident or near-miss. Research has shown that wearing a helmet can reduce severe brain injuries by over 90%. 


What to Consider When Purchasing a Helmet

How much protection is the helmet you want to buy? 

When selecting a helmet, consider the types of crashes you might be in and how fast you're traveling. Bicycle helmets are built for various standard speeds. 

There are four basic types of crashes: 

Impact: When an object like a car hits your head. The size and strength of the impact determine how much protection a helmet provides. 

Concussion: When your head moves at high speeds (greater than 20mph) while in contact with an object like dirt or pavement. Concussions can be avoided by wearing and properly fitting the helmet, which absorbs the shock and stops your head from moving much. 

Head-On: When you're riding your bike, and an oncoming vehicle tries to hit you from the front, the size and strength of your head determine how much protection this type of collision provides. 

Side-Impact: An object hits your head from the side. The most common example is when you hit trees or lampposts. 

 

portrait of woman wearing a helmet

 

How to Correctly Wear A Helmet For Maximum Protection

The best way to wear a helmet is like a baseball cap, and it needs to stay that way. If you're going to remove the helmet during the ride, put it back on before you stop. Likewise, when getting off the bike, make sure you remove the helmet before taking your hands off it. 

The front of your head mustn't be covered by your helmet when you're riding. This is because your brain constantly moves about 1-3 mm inside your skull every second, which can cause serious damage. 

You can test your helmet to see if it fits properly by grabbing it with both hands and shaking it back and forth. Moreover, if your helmet doesn't feel comfortable on your head, it likely doesn't fit properly. 

If you have to remove your helmet for any reason, like during a stop sign, roadwork, or traffic signal, you need to undo the snaps near the top of the straps. Otherwise, your helmet must be properly positioned on your head when you're riding. 


How to Adjust the Fit of a Helmet

There are two ways to adjust your helmet: one, by loosening and tightening the straps, and two, by adjusting the sizing dial on the back of your helmet. First, tighten or loosen the straps to firmly put your helmet in place without being too tight. This ensures that wearing your helmet is way more comfortable and makes you less likely to take it off throughout your ride. 

If you want to adjust your helmet's fit further, push the sizing dial in until it stops. Then, adjust the straps so that they are snug and not loose. 


How to Tell If Your Helmet Fits Properly

There are a few simple things you can check to make sure your helmet is the right size. Check to see if your helmet: 

Is in proper position by turning your head side to side without it tipping forward or back on your head. 

The straps are correctly in place, and the main strap is around your chin, not the bottom of your ear, not too tight, and definitely not hanging loose. It should not be tilting back on your head where the front of the helmet is touching behind your neck. If it is, tighten the chin strap slightly. 

The sizing dial fits correctly against the back of your head without moving freely. 

Ensure that the back of your helmet does not touch or rub on any part of your neck or back when you ride. 

With a mirror, you can look at the back and sides of your head to make sure that there's no bulging from the helmet and that it sits level on your head from front to back without turning too much side to side. 

Your ears are not holding up the helmet or your chin, are the straps are positioned properly under your ears so that there are no visible gaps that press against or bulge out of your head. 


How to Clean Your Helmet

Routinely clean your helmet to remove dirt and grime. Dirt can get trapped in the vents and build up along the straps and buckles on your helmet, which can cause it to become heavier and less effective when you need it most. 

The easiest way to clean a helmet is by using mild soap and warm water. Then, choose a spray cleaner specifically made for helmets, goggles, and other types of sports equipment. Using household cleaners can damage your helmet's surface, so be careful if you decide to try one.


Where to Wear a Helmet

You should always wear your helmet where there is the greatest number of vehicles. You should wear it when riding: 

  • On the road. 
  • On a city street, bike path, or anywhere else where vehicles could crash into you. Not just when riding on the sidewalk. 
  • When riding at night, to protect your head from objects like a crowbar that could be dropped by a driver. 
  • When turning or stopping quickly. Even if you think you have time, a vehicle can come around a corner and hit you before you know it's there. 

What You Should Avoid When Wearing a Helmet

When you're in a crash, you need your helmet to protect your head from damage. For this reason, it's very important that you never do the following: 

  • Ride without wearing a helmet. 
  • Ride with a helmet that's not the right fit for your head or size. 
  • Drive faster than the speed limit of traffic. The law requires helmets to meet minimum safety standards and if you can ride faster than those standards, riding with your helmet may not be safe. 

Conclusion

Helmets can help you avoid serious injuries that you might face in a bike accident. A properly fitting helmet protects your head from injury and can provide a sense of security for many cyclists. There are different types of helmets to fit bike riders' wide range of needs. The most crucial part is choosing a helmet that fits properly and adjusting it to stay firmly in place. Lastly, always buckle your helmet up when you get on your bike and put it back on before you stop riding.