Buying Bicycle Helmets

When buying cycling helmets, the first thing to take note should be the safety aspect. Usually how safe a bicycle helmet is depends on how well the helmet fits to your head. When you go to a bike helmet shop, always ask to try on the bicycling helmets of your choice. Make it a point to shortlist a few and pay attention to the safety aspects. All cycling helmets sold in cycling stores in Singapore have to be approved with the Consumer Goods Safety Requirements regulations by SPRING Singapore (The Standards, Productivity and Innovation Board – previously known as PSB, Productivity & Standards Board), under the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) of Singapore. They should comply with Singapore Standard SS9, a test to measure their construction safety and performance on impact forces.

Take Measurement of the Head Circumference

Before you head out to any bicycle shops, you may just want to use a measuring tape to go around the widest part of your head, at your forehead area, and measure the circumference of it for record first. This measurement determines your helmet size and will come in handy when you want to helmet fitting and buying helmets.

Level & Comfortable Fit

When it comes to helmet shopping, ensure that you choose one that sits level on the head comfortably. It should not tilt backward or forward, suggesting a wrong or loose fit. The helmet should also extend down to the level where there should still be room for the width of about two fingers above your brow level without blocking your vision. You should still be able to see the edge of the helmet’s brim at the upper edge of your vision. The fit should feel snugged even without fastening the strap, and not moving about but not too tight either. You should always try on a few selected choices from various cycling helmet makers so as to choose one that best fits the shape of your head.

Straps Adjustments

Now that you have tested the general feel or fit of the helmet, the next step is to fine-tune the fit by adjusting the straps under the chin by tightening them to ensure there is no slack in any of them. You want to be able to wiggle a finger through the space between your chin and the strap. The V straps at both sides of your face should set at just below the ears. The strap that is behind the ear controls the extent of how much the helmet will tilt forward and the one that is in front of the ear controls how far it can be slide backwards without it falling off. The ideal allowance for such tilting movement should not be more than one inch. The securing of the straps is very important. Loosely fastened straps not only cause movements around the head which can be hazardous distractions to a cyclist, they may also cause neck injury should the helmet slips out with the straps entangling around your neck. Tighten the rear clasp or ratchet as well if your helmet is equipped with one, this is to prevent the helmet from tilting side to side.

Free from Visual, Hearing & Movement Obstructions

A good and safe helmet should not only interfere with your sights and vision, it should also not affect your hearing, head movements as well as your wearing of any eyewear such as spectacles or sunglasses.

Know When to Buy a New Helmet

Obviously, you know it is time to buy a new helmet when your existing one has already experienced some impactful forces. Even if your helmet is kept free from knocks or collisions, it usually can last at its best, up to a few years. However if the straps or buckles are broken or faulty, then even if the helmet shell is in good condition, it is time for you to consider a new helmet for your own safety.

Some damages may not be visible; while the outer shell looks ok after a hard drop against the ground, internal cracks can happen within the helmet structure. Additionally, heat and sunlight, detergent and chemicals can weaken the structure of the helmet.

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