Buckle up for the best protection

Group of cyclists with foreground cyclist wearing helmet correctlyThe right stuff: wearing your helmet correctly gives it a better chance of protecting you if you come off. Photo: Helen Cronin

I once saw a fellow riding towards me on the other side of the road who didn’t seem to be wearing a helmet. When we got alongside each other I could see that he actually had it perched so far back on his head that it had been hidden.

Apart from being mighty uncomfortable, it was possibly the worst example of helmet fitting I’ve yet seen. It’s actually quite alarming that something that’s supposed to protect our most precious asset is often worn very badly.

If it’s to do its job properly, your helmet must fit properly. The rim should sit on your forehead with about two finger spaces to your eyebrows. If your helmet is tilted towards the back of your head it will not protect you properly. It should be firm enough that you can’t move it easily forwards, backwards or sideways. Some helmets come with extra foam to help make them fit more snugly.

Once you have it sitting on your head in the right place, you need to make sure the helmet stays there. Industrial hard hats are designed to protect you from something hitting you from above, so they don’t need straps. Bike helmets are designed to protect you when you hit the ground or another object. Straps are there to make sure your helmet stays put when you come off the bike. Leave them undone or tuck them behind your head and you may as well not wear your helmet at all.

Straps come with lots of adjustment to allow the helmet to be fitted snugly to a range of head shapes. The front and back straps should meet just under your ears – not your chin. There shouldn’t be any slack at the back or under your chin. If yours is a bit sloppy start loosening or tightening the back straps, then work the front straps into the right position.

Sometimes it’s easier to put your helmet on and have someone else fiddle with the straps to get them right. When you finish the buckle should sit under your chin with only enough slack that you can fit two fingers between your chin and the buckle.

Straps are not a set-and-forget item It’s a good idea to check your helmet adjustment occasionally as the straps can stretch and tend to slip with general use over time. Check your kids’ helmets regularly too.

See you on the road soon, God willing.
I once saw a fellow riding towards me on the other side of the road who didn’t seem to be wearing a helmet. When we got alongside each other I could see that he actually had it perched so far back on his head that it had been hidden.

Apart from being mighty uncomfortable, it was possibly the worst example of helmet fitting I’ve yet seen. It’s actually quite alarming that something that’s supposed to protect our most precious asset is often worn very badly.

If it’s to do its job properly, your helmet must fit properly. The rim should sit on your forehead with about two finger spaces to your eyebrows. If your helmet is tilted towards the back of your head it will not protect you properly. It should be firm enough that you can’t move it easily forwards, backwards or sideways. Some helmets come with extra foam to help make them fit more snugly.

Once you have it sitting on your head in the right place, you need to make sure the helmet stays there. Industrial hard hats are designed to protect you from something hitting you from above, so they don’t need straps. Bike helmets are designed to protect you when you hit the ground or another object. Straps are there to make sure your helmet stays put when you come off the bike. Leave them undone or tuck them behind your head and you may as well not wear your helmet at all.

Straps come with lots of adjustment to allow the helmet to be fitted snugly to a range of head shapes. The front and back straps should meet just under your ears – not your chin. There shouldn’t be any slack at the back or under your chin. If yours is a bit sloppy start loosening or tightening the back straps, then work the front straps into the right position.

Sometimes it’s easier to put your helmet on and have someone else fiddle with the straps to get them right. When you finish the buckle should sit under your chin with only enough slack that you can fit two fingers between your chin and the buckle.

Straps are not a set-and-forget item It’s a good idea to check your helmet adjustment occasionally as the straps can stretch and tend to slip with general use over time. Check your kids’ helmets regularly too.

See you on the road soon, God willing.

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