Helmet Fit

Learn how to properly fit a helmet on you or your child's head, where to find a low-cost helmet, and more.

Different helmets fit differently-sized and shaped heads. Your helmet should fit snugly, but not so tight that it gives you a headache. If it does not fit snugly, try a different size, style, or brand.


Your helmet should be worn low on your forehead and level on your head. There should be no more than a two finger's width of space between your helmet brim and your eyebrows. You should not be able to push the helmet off your forehead.


Open your first two fingers into a ‘V’ position and place them alongside your head under your ears. Your helmet buckles should be placed right under your ears, where your fingers meet.  The proper placement of the buckles will keep the helmet from pushing off your forehead in a crash. Shortening the front straps will keep the helmet nice and low on your forehead.


Buckle and tighten the chin strap so it is snug. When you open your mouth wide, you should feel slight pressure on the top of your head. You should not be able to fit more than two fingers between the strap and your chin. Loose straps can allow the helmet to shift off your head in a crash.

Other suggestions:

  • Check the fit and readjust your helmet frequently.
  • Visor caps and hats will affect helmet fit. Re-adjust accordingly.
  • Helmets are one-hit-wonders. If your helmet sustains any impact from crash, you need to replace it, as an impacted helmet is less likely to protect you in a future crash.
  • The helmet materials degrade over time. Helmet manufacturers recommend replacing helmets every three to five years
Girl with bike helmet

 Where to purchase a helmet

Cascade Bicycle Club sells youth and adult helmets for $10 per helmet. Contact Amy Korver at amyk@cascade.org to schedule a time to pick one up from the office. 

Many other organizations in the Puget Sound region provide access to affordable helmets at community events and through other programs. Find a low-cost helmet provider in King County.

Cascade's Policy Position on Helmets

Whether for recreation or transportation, bicycling is a healthy activity that has proven to increase life-expectancy, decrease chances of heart disease and obesity, and increase one's happiness.

Like all activities, bicycling carries some risk of injury. One risk is crashing. The most common injuries from crashes are scrapes and bruises. Serious crashes, while rare, often involve head injuries.

We can see from this hierarchy of controls that, while important, helmets are actually our last line of defense in preventing brain injury in the event of a serious crash. That is why Cascade advocates for safer streets, has advocated to decriminalize helmets, and works with local transportation departments to design streets to be calmer, more predictable and safer in order to reduce the chances of collisions between road users. Cascade also provides education programs for youth and adults so we can all learn how to safely navigate the roadways on our bikes. Our goal is to prevent accidents and crashes in the first place.

Cascade requires all riders in its Free Daily Rides Program and major event rides to wear a helmet at all times, and encourages its members to comply with the helmet laws across the region. In order to be effective, the helmet should fit and be properly adjusted.

Visit the Washington State Department of Transportation's bike helmet requirements website which lists local requirements across the state. 

(updated on 11/15/2023)