Skip links and keyboard navigation

Choosing accessories

Helmets

An image of a helmet.

Helmets help save lives and you must wear one under Queensland law.

When buying a helmet consider:

  • Fit and comfort
    A helmet needs to sit firmly on your head and be comfortable to wear. Ensure the shell fits with the padding removed, then use the padding and the straps to make fine adjustments. The straps are easy to adjust and should allow for a comfortable fit.

    The helmet should sit 10 to 15 mm above your eyebrows and be firm enough that you cannot move it forwards and backwards or side to side. Make sure the helmet doesn't obscure your vision. Buy a helmet from a bike shop or other retailer who can provide expert advice and assistance in fitting.

    Don't buy a helmet as a surprise present – the person who is to wear the helmet needs to be there to ensure a correct fit.
  • Australian Standards
    For helmets to be sold in Queensland they must meet Australian Standard 2063 and should have a sticker on the inside indicating this. If your helmet meets the standard you can be sure it will give good protection in a crash.

    Don't wear a helmet that doesn't comply with Australian standards – such as one you might bring from overseas.
  • Style
    Once you have found a selection of helmets that fit well and comply with the standard, other features to consider include:
    • ventilation – the helmet should have enough ventilation to allow you to remain cool on hot days
    • visibility – you can add to your visibility and safety on the roads by having a brightly coloured helmet – it could also have reflective strips for visibility at night
    • sun visor – a well designed visor can protect your eyes against sun and help protect your upper face from sunburn (there is more information in the cycling in the sun and heat section) – don't wear a cap under your helmet instead because it makes the helmet less effective.
  • Quality
    You should replace your helmet if it receives a hard knock in a crash, even if the damage is not visible. In a crash the foam in your helmet provides protection by absorbing the impact. After a crash or other mistreatment (such as falling on to a hard surface) the foam remains compressed so will no longer be effective. Some manufacturers have an accident replacement warranty, so check if this applies to your helmet.

    Don't buy a second-hand helmet in case it has damage that is not visible.

Apparel

An image of some bike shorts.

The main things you need from cycling clothes are for them to be comfortable and visible to other road users.

You can cycle in work or casual clothes, but if your work requires a high dress standard or if you build up a sweat commuting you might prefer to cycle in casual clothes or cycling gear and change at work.

Tips for comfort and visibility:

  • Cycling knicks are designed to be tight but yielding so that rubbing is reduced and chaffing avoided. They have a chamois insert so that the parts that do rub against you are as soft as your skin.
  • Avoid shorts or skirts with thick seams in the seat.
  • Long sleeve shirts and blouses reduce sun exposure; tight fits reduce flapping in the breeze and natural fibres like cotton are cool and comfortable against the skin.
  • Lycra is worn for comfort, stretch, aesthetics and low wind resistance. Bright or fluorescent colours are most visible during the day. White or light colours are most visible at night.
  • Reflector strips are good for extra visibility at night. Backpacks and shoes are readily available with reflective strips attached. Vests and ankle and wrist straps are also available.
  • Gloves give your hands extra padding from road shocks and can reduce grazing in a fall. They are available without fingers for summer and with fingers for warmth in winter.
  • Normal shoes or sneakers work fairly well for most people, though stiffer soled shoes are better at transferring power to the pedal and can be less fatiguing.
  • Pedals fitted with toe clips place the foot correctly on the pedal and increase efficiency of cycling.
  • Extending the idea of toe clips are a pedal and shoe combination where the shoe clips into the pedal. The pedals are called clipless pedals (because they don't have toe clips). Racing cyclists and many other keen cyclists prefer to use these but they can be expensive, may take a while to get used to and are not generally practical for riding in traffic where there are many stops and starts.

Other

There are many accessories you can add to your bike to make riding more comfortable and to make yourself more visible including:

  • lights – a legal requirement for riding at night (there is more information in the cycling at night section)
  • a bell – another legal requirement that will warn pedestrians of your approach
  • mirrors – can alert you to traffic behind you without straining you neck
  • flags – make you more visible
  • a pump – essential for flat tyres
  • water bottles – to keep you hydrated. There is more information in the cycling in comfort section)
  • cycle computers – great to measure the distance you have ridden and your speed
  • racks and panniers – a great way to carry things (there is more information in the commuting by bike section)
  • bright coloured or reflective clothing – to make you more visible.
Last updated
26 June 2018