Wear Your Bike Helmet Right (Not Like This Kid)

Wear Your Bike Helmet Right (Not Like This Kid)
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It’s a legal requirement to wear a helmet when cycling — so wear it right. If your helmet doesn’t fit properly, you can end up with a preventable injury.

Photo by John Brooks

In a recent Consumer Reports survey, 10% of adult bike riders at an event in New York City were wearing their helmets like the kid in this picture: pushed way back on their heads, exposing their foreheads. That doesn’t protect the front of your head, and it usually means your straps are also too loose (20% of adults at the event had loose straps). There should only be about two fingers of space between your eyebrows and the helmet.

So fix your helmets already — and if you have kids, check their helmets out too. Kids’ helmets are even more likely than adults’ to fit badly. I know, it’s hard to get the right fit on a squirmy child, especially when they feign choking noises as you snug up the strap. Suck it up, kids, and you’ll live to squirm another day.

Check out these tips on buying and adjusting a helmet for yourself, and this video on checking the fit on a child’s helmet.


    • Isn’t it the law across Australia – making not wearing one an expensive mistake – and of course not wearing one properly could be worse.

    • Anyone who doesn’t want to get brained by a low-speed impact. Just falling from your bike stationary is enough.

    • I do, and correctly as well. I understand the arguments against the compulsory helmet laws in Australia, but I’m on the bike for up to 10 hours per week and do come off every now and then. I’d rather not have my wife push me around in a wheel chair and have my kids have a vegetable for a father.

      I see plenty of idiots who think that not wearing one is “cool” only to have it on, but not strapped up or even hanging from the handlebars. If you are just pootling around the local park, I think the risk is fairly low, but anything more than that and you should wear one.

    • I frankly don’t care if people wear them or not, but if your in an accident, id expect you to foot every cent of the bill from the ambulance all the way to the people that clean your grey matter off the road.

      I hate cyclicts that ride on the footpath (little kids excepted), sometimes i just want to clothesline them as they pass by (and the wankers, around here anyway, never use their bell, i doubt they even know they have one or what its for)

      Cyclists that don’t wear a helmet, ride on the foot path and disobey road rules give ALL cyclists a bad name.

      • I ride on the footpath all the time. It is legal in the ACT and it takes me off the roads and out of the way of cars. I also pose no problem to pedestrians and give them a wide berth. I rarely use my bell unless necessary because I find it easier for all concerned if I go around them rather than they move for me.

        I also walk on footpaths frequently and have never had problems with a cyclist.

        It’s either you and you have unrealistic behaviour expectations or you are talking about a subset of cyclists with poor behaviour, in which case hate poor behaving cyclists instead of lumping everyone in together.

        Unless you are 6’0 and over 100kg I suggest you don’t act on your violent tendencies though. I’d probably react very poorly to someone doing that to me. I’d probably be very injured which would be your only hope though. Seems a pathetic thing to want to do to somebody who by definition passed by you and thus did not bring force upon you.

        • It shouldn’t be legal to as you are just as dangerous to pedestrians as cars can be to you, if not more so because a lot of cyclists don’t believe they are, and they can often very quiet so you don’t know they are coming, i nearly got bowled over whilst avoiding crap on the path and the cyclist came up behind me without any warning.

          The bell isnt “get out of the way before i plow through you”, its “hello, silent fast moving object coming up behind you dont make any sudden moves”. When you are walking along with your tiny kids the last thing you need is bike to go whooshing past at 15ks an hour.

          Perhaps there are less morons in the ACT than in melbourne (my informal observations here being 90% of riders without a helmet and even one dumbass the other day riding a bike with a helmet but without the helmet strap done up).

          I am talking about almost every cyclist that has ever ridden past me in the previous 10 years in a half a dozen melbourne suburbs.

          I’m not stupid, id break my arm if i was to clothesline a cyclist, not to mention its assault. That’s the feelings inconsiderate cyclists can infer on normally docile people. I’m not blaming you personally i don’t know your riding style, but as i said, the bad eggs give you all bad names. Just like the bad drivers give us bad names with cyclists.

          • Well if you live a life of fear at everyday occurrences like bikes existing then you have my sympathies.

            As for your need to lump people into groups, society is moving past that kind of mentality and I encourage you to do likewise. I’m not saying you are a nazi but I’m pretty sure you probably look like an angry version of Charlie Chaplin.

            While I’ve never had a problem with cyclists or pedestrians I run into idiots who cause me grief constantly. I blame those specific idiots. I don’t blame all of humanity.

          • I never said i live a life of fear i just said i hate morons on bikes that think they have right of way on a foot path / just zip past you without any courtesy.

            I don’t know what society you live in, but im pretty sure the ones that live on planet earth still tend to generalize, if the majority of cyclists seen are dipshits on the footpath, don’t wear helmets and disobey road rules, then more often than not, us humans tend to utter “bloody cyclists” knowing fully well that not all cyclists are like that. I have seen a good number of cyclists on the road with helmets riding at a respectable distance from the traffic and obeying road rules, they just pale in comparison to the morons.

            Despite your hyperbole, you more than likely have done it yourself with regards to babies/kids, lawyers, politicians, americans, youtube commenters, elderly/volvo drivers, etc. Lumping people ‘who lump people into groups’ into groups in with the nazis (despite your obvious weasel words) is both lumpception and stupid but im sure you said it “just for the lulz”.

            And just because they are idiots causing you grief doesn’t mean you should run into them 🙂

          • HA I did do it ‘for the lulz’. To be honest I just wanted to make a reference to the film ‘The Great Dictator’ that day and this thread was the best opportunity.

            I’ll admit I’ve lumped youtube commenters into one group but…mate, come on! Have you seen those things? It’s like the cursed earth down there!

        • I also walk on footpaths frequently and have never had problems with a cyclist.
          It’s either you and you have unrealistic behaviour expectations or you are talking about a subset of cyclists with poor behaviour, in which case hate poor behaving cyclists instead of lumping everyone in together.

          In Sydney that’s a lot of cyclists. Between those commuting, and those that a couriers, it’s pretty bad.
          I find it easier for all concerned if I go around them rather than they move for me.
          Pedestrians who are often listening to music and looking at phones? You never know when they are going to move in a different direction, stop, or burst in to song – so you know, maybe don’t try to think for them.

          • If they are listening to music then how would my bell help?

            I was lucky enough to be born with eyes and a very powerful brain. I know that people have legs and have the ability to change direction. I factor that into my decision matrix when riding.

            I guess I just find all these things very easy. I can see how a moronic pedestrian paired with a moronic cyclist would be a recipe for disaster but people like that are going to find themselves immersed in some sort of grief at some point so the methodology (cycling on a footpath) seems like nothing more than a meet cute.

    • People who are smart.

      I don’t think it should be compulsory, but it’s definitely the way to go.

  • I had one of those pumpkin helmet’s as a kid. Kind of like a motorcycle helmet with the bit below the visor missing. But nowhere near as cool looking.

    Also, if you have a good crash, you should get a new helmet. The helmet is meant to break instead of your head.

  • I see riders with them on backwards, pushed back (as above), wearing other hats underneath them so they’re sitting uselessly on top, straps undone etc.
    I against mandatory helmet laws (they’re not very effective), but if you’re going to wear a helmet, at least wear it properly.

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