SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Bicycles remain a popular holiday gift purchase but the gift would be incomplete without a bicycle helmet according to Willa Williams, 4-H youth specialist in Greene County with University of Missouri Extension and a League Cycling Instructor.

“When people are thinking about buying bicycles this holiday, remember to include a bicycle helmet,” said Williams. “All bike riders should wear bicycle helmets.”

Each year in the United States, about 800 bicyclists are killed and another 500,000 end up in hospital emergency rooms. About two-thirds of the deaths and one-third of the injuries involve the head and face. Wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of head injury to bicyclists by as much as 85 percent.

Missouri 4-H has a new curriculum about traumatic brain injury and proper helmet fit is a key to injury prevention according to Williams.

“If a helmet is fit properly, it is comfortable and can help prevent injury to your face as well as your brain,” said Williams.

To fit a bicycle helmet, remember the two-finger rule.

With your helmet snuggly on your head, it must be level and about 2 fingers’ width about your eyebrows.

Make a peace sign and place below your ears. “Your ear straps should be next to your ears so they can catch if you fall,” said Williams.

Close your chin strap. With your mouth open wide, your chin strap should fit 2 fingers between your chin and the chin strap.


Missouri 4-H is University of Missouri Extension's youth development program. The 4-H program helps to create opportunities for young people to be valued, contributing members of their community. To learn how to get involved locally go to

Residents of southwest Missouri can contact any of these 4-H youth development specialists and educators with MU Extension for  information:  Krista Tate in Howell County, (417) 256-2391; Bob McNary in Dade County, (417) 637-2112; Karla Deaver in Lawrence County, (417) 466-3102; Velynda Cameron in Polk County, (417) 326-4916; Willa Williams in Greene County, (417) 881-8909; or Janice Weddle in Wright County, (417) 547-7545.