This study was an attempt to investigate the socio-economic determinants of helmet wearing in an urban setting of India. A household survey using multistage cluster random sampling was conducted among 9014 individuals in Pune city from March 2008 to February 2009. Among 2259 individuals who reported driving two-wheeled vehicles, 1509 (66.8%) reported possession of a helmet, and among those who had reported possession of a helmet, only 700 (46.0%) reported regular use of helmets. The results of multiple logistic regression analysis showed that residence, type of family, gender and socio-economic status were significantly associated with possession of helmet, and gender, residence and family type were significantly associated with regular helmet use while possessing one. In conclusion, this study showed that helmet-wearing behaviour is mostly influenced by the neighbourhood environment and norms and family and peer influence on behaviour rather than education and economic status.