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Bicycle Helmet Fitting

Cycling is a fun outdoor activity for Scouts of all ages. Helmets are required for all BSA cycling activities. It is important to note that this applies to adults also.

Your helmet isn’t going to do you much good if it doesn’t fit correctly. Here are some basic guidelines.

As a side note, many local police departments will do helmet checks. A local cycling club is also a good resource if you are doing a cycling focused meeting.

Bicycle Helmets


  • Before putting your helmet on, inspect it for any damage.
  • If it is damaged in any way, discard it.
  • If it was ever involved in an accident, you should discard it even if there is no visible damage.

Fit and Sizing

  • Put the helmet on. It should fit your head snugly. It should not rock side to side.
  • It might have come with pads. Attach these to the inside of the helmet to achieve a good fit. For children, the pads can be removed as they grow.
  • Some helmets come with a fit ring instead of pads. If you have this type of helmet, adjust the ring so that the helmet does not wobble.


  • Your helmet will not protect your head if it is not positioned on your head correctly.
  • The helmet should be worn low on the forehead.  It is a very common mistake to wear it too high.
  • Check the distance between your eyebrow and the bottom of the helmet. You should have no more than about 1 inch space there. You can check this using your fingers. If you can fit one to two finger widths in there, it is OK. If you can get more fingers to fit between your eyebrow and the bottom edge of the helmet, it is too high.

Buckles and Straps

  • Adjust the straps so the chin buckle is centered under the chin. You might have to pull or release the strap through the back of the helmet to get the chin strap the correct length.
  • The side straps should form a “V” under each ear. The V should not be on top of the ear, but on either side of it. Adjust the side straps as necessary to get a fit which is comfortable and makes the correct V shape around your ears.
  • After the straps are adjusted correctly, buckle the chin buckle. It should be snug. See how many fingers you can fit between the strap and your chin. If you can get more than two in there, tighten it up.

Recheck the Fit

  • After making all of your adjustments, recheck that the helmet does not wiggle back to front or side to side.
  • Recheck that there are still only two finger widths between your eyebrow and the lower edge of the helmet.
  • Recheck that you can’t fit more than two fingers under the chin strap.
  • If necessary, make additional adjustments and recheck again.
  • When it passes the recheck without further adjustments, you are ready to ride.


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