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Take the bike helmet YES Test: How to properly fit a helmet for biking

​​Wearing a bike helmet every time you ride your bike can save your life. It can also lower your risk of a head injury by 40%, and lower your risk of a serious head injury by 60%.

A properly fitted helmet is the best protection for your head. Below is a checklist to help you buy and fit a bike helmet.​

Buying a helmet for biking

Before buying my helmet:

  • I measure around my head at eyebrow level to know what size of helmet to look for.
  • I decide which type of helmet I need:
  • a bike helmet​, since ​I will just use it for biking.
  • a multi-sport helmet that is approved for biking, since I want a helmet I can use for biking as well as for other activities (such as skateboarding or inline-skating). 
  • I will read the helmet manufacturer’s guidelines and manuals to know which activities the helmet can be used for.​
  • I try on different styles and brands of helmets to find the best fit.
  • I check that the helmet is safety approved for cycling and meets safety standards such as CSA, CPSC, Snell, or ASTM.
Fitting my helmet
  • I make sure the helmet is level from front to back when I put it on.
  • ​I check that the front edge of the helmet sits 1 to 2 finger-widths above my eyebrows.
  • ​I add or remove sizing pads or adjust the ring fit system to make the helmet fit snugly.
  • I adjust the straps to form a “V” just below and in front of my earlobes.
  • I do up the chinstrap.
  • I adjust the chinstrap so that there's only 1 finger-width between my chin and the chinstrap.
  • I fit the helmet tighter if it moves when I nod or shake my head.
Using my helmet
  • I wear my helmet every time I ride a bike.
  • I don’t wear a hat or cap between my helmet and my head.
  • I treat my helmet carefully and never drop it..
  • I follow the manufacturer’s instructions for how to store my helmet.
Replacing my helmet
  • I replace my helmet if it's been in a crash.
  • ​Many helmet manufacturers recommend replacing helmets after 5 years.

More about bike helmets

  • The manufacturer’s instructions tell you exactly how to use and take care of a helmet.
  • Bike helmets protect riders of all ages. It's the law in Alberta that everyone younger than age 18 years must wear a helmet. The law is for both riders and passengers, including children in bicycle trailers or carriers.
  • Adults should always wear their helmet. Being a positive role model helps to ensure that children will wear their helmets too.
  • Adults, youth, and children who choose their own bike helmet are more likely to wear it every time.
  • Second-hand or used helmets are not recommended.

Wear a helmet for every ride. Age makes no difference—helmets save lives!​​​

Current as of: February 23, 2021

Author: Provincial Injury Prevention, Alberta Health Services