Choosing the Best Cycling Helmet for You and Your Family

Bicycle HelmetQuestion: I share your concern for bicycle safety and plan to insist all family members wear helmets while cycling. How do I select a good helmet? How much do I need to spend to get a safe one? Eric, Tarpon Springs

Answer: The good news is that there is not much safety benefit in buying a more expensive helmet. A CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) sticker ensures that nationwide standards have been met. Here are a few guidelines for choosing helmets for you and your family:

  • Make sure your helmet fits properly for maximum protection. The helmet should be level on your head, should touch all around, and be snug but not tight. It should not move more than about an inch in any direction, and should be impossible to pull off without releasing the buckle.
  • Check inside for a CPSC sticker. All helmets currently being sold are required to have these.
  • Choose white or a bright color for better visibility to motorists.
  • Avoid helmets with anything sticking out that might snag—rigid visors, for example. The shell should be rounded with adequate, but not excessive, vents—enough to keep your head cool, but not so many that the padded area is substantially reduced. Straps should not be too thin and should be easy to adjust.

Happy cycling! ~ Jim Dodson