How To Wear Bicycle Helmet? [Everything You Should Know]

How To Wear Bicycle Helmet

Most people are aware of the necessity of wearing a bicycle helmet while cycling. But many people are not concerned or aware enough of how to wear bicycle helmets correctly. It becomes a huge issue as fastening a bicycle helmet is a bit complex compared to other helmets. Thus riders often avoid wearing a helmet considering it troublesome while other riders end up wearing it in the wrong way. 

To avoid both situations, you need to know how to wear a bicycle helmet correctly. Due to the lack of instructions and guidance, you may have found it complicated to wear a bicycle helmet to date. 

Nothing to worry about as I am here to resolve all your queries and confusion regarding bicycle helmets. I am going to provide a complete guide showing the steps of how to put on a bicycle helmet correctly. Once you follow the guide, you will find it super easy. 

Let us start!

5 Simple Steps To Wear Bicycle Helmet:

Bicycle helmets have open front and back parts, unlike a motorcycle helmet that covers the back portion of your head. It means you don’t get any support on the backside of your head wearing a bicycle helmet. In fact, the helmet only covers the top part of your head, not even your ear area. 

This is why you get a set of straps and bands in your bicycle helmet so that you can fasten and adjust them to tighten the helmet on your head. So, you need to learn how to position the helmet on your head and adjust the straps properly to get the best fit. 

However, here are the 5 simple steps to wear bicycle helmet:

Step 1: Find The Right Helmet Size:

Since this is not a buying guide, I won’t suffocate you with a lot of information regarding how to select the right helmet. But what is really important is to find the right size of helmet. Because otherwise, you can’t really make the helmet fit your head perfectly.

Since everyone has a distinct head size, you must check the helmet size and make sure that it is not too loose or not so tight on your head. Choose the one that snugly fits your head and the rest of the fitting would be done by the adjustable straps in the helmet. You can take help from this chart:

Bicycle Helmet Sizing ParametersInchesCentimeters
Extra LargeAbove 24.75 InchesAbove 63 Centimeters
Large23.25 Inches to 24.75 Inches59 Centimeters to 63 Centimeters
Medium21.75 Inches to 23.25 Inches55 Centimeters to 59 Centimeters
Small20 Inches to 21.75 Inches 51 Centimeters to 55 Centimeters
Extra SmallBelow 20 InchesBelow 51 Centimeters

Bicycle Helmet Size Chart: Know Your Size And Fit

Step 2: Position The Helmet Correctly:

Positioning the helmet becomes crucial as the next steps depend on this. If you can’t position the helmet correctly on your head, you can never get a comfortable fit. And generally, people don’t understand how to place the helmet on the head in the right way. Well, you need not worry. I got you!

First, let me tell you what mistakes you may do while positioning the helmet so that next time, you can promptly figure out if you are doing a mistake. So, you probably can do these below mistakes:

Position It Too Forward:

You may position the helmet in a way that covers your entire forehead. Now, you don’t see any problem with that right? But there are two problems that are associated with wearing a helmet too forward. 

Firstly, you are opening up the back part of your head by moving it towards the front. It means, if your back hits the ground, it would get harmed as the helmet isn’t there. Secondly, covering the forehead means your vision would be disrupted and so is your concentration. It not only gives you discomfort but is risky too. 

Position It Too Backward:

Another mistake you may do is to place the helmet too backward that your forehead gets exposed. Here, the problem is that if your forehead hits the ground, it is getting no protection from the helmet that can be severely injured. Not only it’s dangerous and risky, but it would also be uncomfortable for you too. 

Tilt It On A Side: 

Your helmet may tilt on one side if the size of the helmet is not correct. This is why I mentioned earlier that you should get the right helmet size. If the helmet tilts on one side, the other side would be exposed. The loose-fitting would cause discomfort and won’t protect your head from injury at all. 

So, now you know how you should not wear your helmet. Now, let me tell you the right way:

Right Way Of Wearing Bicycle Helmet:

You should position the helmet in a way that leaves a gap of one or two fingers between the upper line of your eyebrows and the lower line of the helmet. This won’t block your vision and also protect your forehead as well as the back part of your head. 

Step 3: Fix The Occipital Cradle At The Back:

Once you position the helmet correctly, now is the turn to fix the fit. The first task is to fix the occipital cradle at the back to make the helmet sit on your head firmly.

The occipital cradle has a radial dial and two ratcheting buttons. You need to rotate the radial dial to fix the fit. Rotate the dial until you think that the helmet has securely settled on your head. Don’t make the dial too tight so that it suffocates you on a long ride. Take it to the extent where the helmet doesn’t fall off your head. 

Now, lock the buttons to finally fix the fit. Once you lock the button, fastening the occipital cradle is done. 

But, you now need to check if it has been rightly fitted or not. With the occipital cradle fastened, your helmet should not tilt anymore to any side. It should be settled on your head securely if the cradle has been fixed correctly. 

So tilt your head sideways, forward, and backward to see if the helmet is fixed on your head or not. If not, you should probably need to tighten the radial dial a bit more. 

Step 4: Fix The Side Straps:

You can find two straps hanging from both sides of the helmet. Now is the turn to fix them. It is super easy as modern helmets have flap locks that can be secured in a second. 

First, make the straps flat so that they don’t get tangled. You would find two straps coming down to your ear that are secured with a flap lock. The two straps would meet in the flap lock which you must place just below your ear lobe. This means, your ear would be in the middle of the two straps. Now, pull the flap up to fix it just below the ear lobe and lock it. 

Repeat this step for the other side too. Do the same steps to fix and lock up the flap just below your ear lobes. Fix the flap in the same position to balance the fit and maximize comfort. 

So, your side straps are secured now. Let’s move on to the last step. 

Step 5: Fix The Chin Strap And Buckle:

The side straps are still loose till you fix the chin buckle. The chin buckle is what secures the side straps from two sides together. The side straps meet the chin buckle and now you need to fix the buckle to tighten the straps. 

The chin buckle can be different in different helmets. Some have magnetic buckles. Others have two-side snap-lock buckles while some have ratcheting plastic buckles. Whatever the type is, read the manual and learn how to lock it. 

So first, you need to lock the buckle. The two side straps are now together secured by the buckle. Once that is done, hold the buckle with one hand and use the other hand to pull the strap up. Pull the strap until the buckle touches the chin. 

And yes, you are done with fastening the chin buckle. But you need to check the fit. To do so, try inserting two fingers between the chin and the buckle. If you can do that with ease, the fitting is correct.

Remember, if the buckle is too tight, it will suffocate and choke you. And if it is too loose, you wouldn’t feel secure and comfortable. So, to make the fit ideal, put two fingers between the chin and the buckle and check it. 

Now there is another step to follow here. After fixing the chin buckle, the end part of the strap must be hanging from the buckle, right? You need to fix this as it would otherwise look awkward and uncomfortable. 

You can see a retaining buckle attached to the chin buckle. You have to pull the retaining buckle up to the strap ends. Now lock the buckle at the end of the strap so that it doesn’t hang in there anymore and cause any discomfort or disturbance. 

And you are done!

Extra Tips:

If you still find any difficulty with the fit, you can use the extra strap pads that come with the helmet. Your helmet already has sweat-absorbing pads attached inside it around the vents for added comfort and ease. 

But in case you need much tighter fitting, you can attach the extra strap pads inside the helmet for a more personalized fit.

How Tight Should A Bicycle Helmet Be? 

A good fit doesn’t mean getting a tight fit. People are often confused between these two which is why they end up having an uncomfortable and suffocating fit. 

A tight fit means it would suffocate and choke you. Think of the tight side straps pushing against the sides of your ears or the chin buckle tightly fixed in your chin. It surely would give you comfort but end up choking you. 

Similarly, a loose fit means that there is always the risk of the helmet falling off your head. You would feel less confident and assured when the helmet loosely sits on your head. Also, a loose helmet fails to give you protection during an accident. 

Therefore, ideally, a helmet should amply and warmly sit around your head. It would comfortably grasp your head inside it but won’t suffocate you. Also, the fit shouldn’t be too loose to fall off. 

Fixing the fit becomes easier due to the multiple straps attached to the helmet. You can adjust them according to your comfort and make the best fit for you. Don’t tighten or loosen them too much. Leave a gap of at least a finger between the skin and the straps so that they don’t suffocate you. 

How To Know The Front And Back Of A Bicycle Helmet?

Since the front and back sides of a bicycle helmet look more or less the same, people often get confused and make mistakes. It is very normal for a new bicycle rider to make such mistakes. So, you need not worry. 

You can learn if you have correctly placed your helmet or not by looking at the straps. If the helmet’s front part is in the front, then you should get the straps just right down your ears on both sides. Also, you would find the occipital cradle at the back. 

If you have placed it incorrectly, then you would find the occipital cradle at the front with the side straps hanging around your cheeks, not down your ears. 

This is the easiest way to find the front and back sides of a bicycle helmet by noticing the positions of the cradle and straps. 

How Can You Make Your Bicycle Helmet Fit Better? (6 Tips)

Fitting is the most important part of wearing a bicycle helmet. The right fitting would give you comfort as well as make your ride safer and enjoyable. 

Here are my personal 6 tips that will help you to make your bicycle helmet fit better:

  1. You must choose the right helmet size. Before purchasing, you have to check if the helmet fits your head or not. As different helmet sizes are available, you can easily find the right size for you.
  1. Position the helmet correctly. Make sure that the helmet is not too forward or not too backward. Leave a gap of two fingers between your eyebrow and the helmet to get the ideal position for the helmet.
  1. Fix the occipital cradle to make the fit right. The occipital cradle is the best addition to a bicycle helmet that can be used to let the helmet firmly sit on your head. Adjust the dial and get the best fit so that the helmet doesn’t fall off your head.
  1. Adjust the side straps carefully using the flap lock. Make sure that the lock settles just below your ear lobe. This would give you a tight and balanced fit.
  1. Adjust the chin buckle so that the side straps are fitted on both sides. Lock the chin buckle and pull up the strap until the buckle touches your chin. Fasten it in a way so that you can effortlessly insert two fingers between the chin and the buckle.
  1. If any other issues appear, you may like to add the extra strap pads inside the helmet for more comfort and to allow the helmet to sit on your head firmly. 


Now you have learned how to wear a bicycle helmet and get the best fit by adjusting the straps and finding the right helmet size. All you need to do is to follow the steps and fasten the helmet.

So, get ready for a secure and pleasant cycle ride by putting on a comfortably fitted helmet!

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Shamim Ahmed

My journey with cycling started in 2011 and I have been cycling since then. I am a self-taught bicycle enthusiast who has collected a lot of knowledge about it through the years. On this blog, I share my passion and experiences with cycling, as well as insights and recommendations. This blog is also useful for any riders out there who want to improve their cycling skills and techniques.

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