Five-Step Helmet Fit Test
(Make sure to check out the links listed at the bottom of the page!)
  1. With one hand, gently lift the front of the helmet up and back.

    If helmet moves back to uncover the forehead: Tighten front strap to junction. Also adjust padding thickness and/or position, especially in back. Make sure chin strap is snug. If this doesn't work, the helmet may be too big.
  2. With one hand, gently lift the back of the helmet up and forward.

    If helmet moves forward to cover the eyes: Tighten back strap. Make sure chin strap is snug. Also, adjust padding thickness and/or position, especially in front.
  3. Put a hand on each side of the helmet and rock from side to side. Shake your head "no" as hard as possible.

    If helmet slips from side to side: Check padding on sides and make sure straps are evenly adjusted.
  4. Open your mouth (lower jaw) as wide as possible, without moving your head. The top of your helmet should pull down.

    If helmet does not pull down when opening your mouth: Tighten chin strap. Make sure the front and back strap junction is under each ear.
  5. Check to see if the front edge of helmet covers your forehead. The front edge of the helmet should not be more than 1 to 2 finger-widths from your eyebrow.

    If helmet does not cover the forehead: Position helmet no more than 1 to 2 finger-widths above eyebrows. tighten any loose straps. Make adjustments so the helmet stays over the forehead.

Have someone else test your helmet fit by doing the 5-Step Test outlined above. Hold your head still during the test. Your helmet should pass each of the 5 steps.

Replace any helmet that has been involved in a crash regardless if the shell is dented or not! It is recommended that you replace your helmet approximately every 2-3 years regardless if it has been involved in an accident. Helmets are made of high impact foam under the shell. Over time this foam will degrade and weaken.

It is not recommended that you buy a used helmet. If you do choose to do this, buy from someone you know and trust. Find out how old the helmet is and if it has ever been involved in an accident. If the helmet has been in an accident and/or more than 2 years old, you should NOT buy it.

Note: Not all helmets involved in an accident will show external damage, but the helmet under the cover will have been compromised and most likely won't handle another accident to the best of its ability.

This is one of those safety issues that most likely will dictate buying a new helmet. Helmets range in price from reasonable to expensive. As long as you are buying a helmet that has the approved safety standards mentioned above you will have a safe design. Cost is not relative to a better made helmet. The rule of thumb: the more vents the more expensive. More vents allow the air to cool your head more efficiently. The cost to produce a helmet with more vents is reflected in the price you pay. No matter how many vents your helmet has it will protect your head in the same manner.

Proper Helmet Fit Medium

For more helmet information visit these links:
Helmets for 2006,
Consumers Guide to Bicycle Helmets,
Quick Answers to Helmet Questions,
How to Fit a Helmet,
Consumer Reports 2004 Helmet article,
Types of Helmets,
Helmet Sizes,
Standards for Helmets,
Helmet Laws,
Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute,