CONSUMER REPORTS — Lots of people have rediscovered bike riding, but whether you’re biking, scootering or skating around town, safety should always come first and that means protecting your head.
But as CR tests reveal, some bike helmets protect better than others.
At CR, experts rigorously evaluate helmets in the lab, testing how well they absorb impact at about 14 miles per hour to simulate how a biker might fall in an accident.
“We repeat the test four times,” said Peter Anzalone with CR. “We impact the helmet on the front, side, rear and crown to simulate a rider falling off their bike and hitting those parts of their head.”
After all the tests, the best bike helmet for adults is the Giro Register MIPS, which comes in at just about $60.
“So, this Giro helmet comes with MIPS technology, which stands for multi-directional impact protection system. It’s a plastic layer inside the helmet that helps prevent transmitting rotational energy to the head if you get into a crash. And that’s supposed to help against getting concussions,” said Anzalone.
For adults who prefer a more commuter style helmet, CR recommends the LEM Boulevard.
“So, in addition to doing very well in impact performance testing, this helmet did
very well in ventilation. Typically commuter or urban helmets do not have great
ventilation, and this one did,” said Anzalone.
For kids, at under $50 CR recommends the Bontrager Tyro, which gets top marks for impact absorption, ventilation and ease of use.
One more important safety tip: If you’ve fallen and hit your head while wearing a bike helmet, or see that it has been damaged, it is time to get a new one. The absorbing material may no longer protect you.