Bike helmet guide

Your bike helmet is an important piece of sports equipment. A certified helmet can reduce the risk of serious head injury by up to 85 per cent. Your helmet needs to fit well so that it remains in place and protects your head if you are in a crash or fall.

When buying a helmet, look for:

  • One that is an approved for cycling.
  • One that is certified by CSA, CPSC, ANSI or Snell.
  • One that fits your budget.  The price of bike helmets can range from $10 to several hundred dollars.  As long as the helmet is certified, it meets the safety standards. So just because a helmet is more expensive, it doesn't mean it offers more protection.
  • One that fits your head.  Head sizes and shapes vary so try different models to find the one that fits you best. When buying a helmet for your child, buy the size that fits your child right now, not a helmet that he/she will grow into.
  • Features such as straps and webbing that are easy to adjust, airflow vents to keep you cool on hot days, and a visor.
  • One that you like!

Note:  As of May 2013, there is a new law in Manitoba that children and youth under 18 years of age must wear a helmet. This includes infants and toddlers riding on bike trailers or bike carriers. Helmets are also required for toddlers on tricycles. Infant and toddler helmets are available at many local retailers. See our bike helmet safety information for infants and toddlers page for more information.

Find a helmet that fits

For your helmet to protect you, it must fit you properly. 

Choose a helmet that fits snugly. Select the size that fits as tight as possible without being uncomfortable. Then use the sizing pads or adjustable band to fit the inside of the helmet to size and shape of your head.  Your helmet fits properly when:

  • It does not wobble from side to side, or tilt from front to back.
  • It does not move when you shake your head in any direction, even when it is not done up.
  • The helmet stays level across the forehead just above the eyebrows.

Adjust the helmet according to the 2V1 Rule.

  • The helmet should be no more than two finger widths above the eyebrows.
  • The straps should form a "V" under each ear.
  • One finger should fit between the chin strap and the chin.

Straps can loosen over time.  Regularly check the fit of your helmet and your child's helmet.

Take care of your helmet

You need to take care of your helmet so it continues to offer good protection for its lifespan. 

  • Be careful not to drop your helmet which could cause damage.  Avoid storing your helmet in a hot place like the trunk of your car since heat can cause the foam to deteriorate. Also, avoid applying stickers to your helmet as this can weaken the plastic.
  • Replace your bike helmet at least every five years because the materials deteriorate over time. Some manufacturers recommend replacing it every three years.
  • Cycling helmets are intended to withstand one hard impact.  If your helmet has been worn in a crash, or if it has had a hard fall, replace it, even if it does not appear to be damaged.

Follow the manufacturer's recommendations for cleaning your helmet.

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