CONSUMER REPORTS — Going for a bike ride? You’ve got your bike, inflated tires, and your helmet. But you might want to ask yourself, is that helmet still good? Will it actually protect you when you need it the most?
“Bike helmets aren’t indestructible,” said Kevin Loria of Consumer Reports.
Loria says bike helmets are most effective at preventing injury when fitted and adjusted correctly and the helmet itself hasn’t been injured.
“If you’ve been in a crash, you need to replace your helmet as soon as possible,” Loria said.
A helmet can look fine after a crash, but there could be damage in the helmet that you can’t see. Even if you’ve never been in a crash, you may still need to replace your helmet. CR’s experts say you should replace your helmet every five years or so, since the protective foam and plastic materials can break down over time.
Another way to tell if it’s time to replace: Give the helmet a good, thorough examination inside and out.
“One obvious sign is if you see any cracks in the foam. A more subtle sign you may need a new helmet is if the colors have started to fade. It’s likely a sign that the helmet could have been weakened by heat and sun exposure over time. And check the chin straps too to make sure they’re in good shape,” said Loria.
If you’re ready for an upgrade, two helmets that scored well in CR’s rigorous tests are the Giro Register MIPS and the LEM Boulevard.