Women & Bicycles Tip: Your Helmet May Not Be Protecting You

e6MXyK7ObZyMVaWZ7KTNlYi1U8M0BlyNV1r6XhihuwIThis is part of our Women & Bicycles blog series,  part of WABA’s initiative to build a stronger women’s bike community and get more women on bikes.  These posts aren’t exclusive to women, but they’re produced with and through the Women & Bicycles’ programming. Click here to learn more and get involved. We recommend and teach responsible, predictable, confident biking. We teach you to bike where you are most visible,  bike in visible clothing, and bike so that other road users can predict your behaviors. We also teach that helmets are really your last line of defense on the road. So we definitely recommend them. But there’s a good chance your helmet isn’t protecting you at all, because so many people don’t know how to fit them properly. If your helmet is not fit to your head properly, it’s not doing you any good.  

Six Common Helmet-Fit Problems:

Helmet 11

Problem 1.)  You forget to buckle your helmet! If it’s not buckled, it’s the same as wearing no helmet at all.

Problem 2.) You have not adjusted the helmet clasps (the plastic piece that joins the two straps on one side) to fit below your ears. This woman’s helmet clasps are nearly below her chin.

Problem 3.)You have not shortened the helmet straps to sit snug around your face so that the buckle sits securely below your chin. The straps should be tight enough such that you can only fit two fingers between your chin and the buckle.

Helmet 3Problem 4.) You’ve adjusted your helmet properly, but you put it on backwards, a mistake countless bicyclists in the D.C. area make every day.

Problem 5.) Your helmet straps are too loose, so the brim of your helmet isn’t sitting level across the top of your eyebrows.

Helmet 6 Problem 6.) Your helmet straps and clasps are too loose, so the brim of  your helmet is not just above your eyebrows. This woman’s helmet is sitting at the top of her forehead instead of just above her eyebrows.  Her forehead would not be protected in a crash.

Perfect Helmet Fit Looks Like This:

The helmet is facing forward and buckled The helmet clasps sit right below her ears The helmet buckle is snug below her chin The helmet brim is level and  just above her eyebrows

  To make sure your helmet fits properly, click here to watch a tutorial by the League of American Bicyclists. And please remember, just because you’ve strapped a helmet, doesn’t mean you’re any more safe on our roads. Fit your helmet properly and attend a WABA class to practice visible, predictable, and confident biking (classes are $10 and hosted throughout the region).