How To Know When to Replace Your Bike Helmet

A bike helmet is a very important item if you are going to ride a bike. Falling off a bike without a helmet can be dangerous, especially if you are going fast or are hit by a car. There are some things you need to know about your bike helmet though. Sometimes it needs to be replaced. Luckily you can get decent bike helmets pretty cheap these days. This is how you know if you need to replace your bike helmet.

     

  1. If you have had a crash, you must replace your bike helmet. If you are not sure if you hit your head when you crashed, you will need to examine your bike helmet for marks or dents in the helmet. If you find anything at all, you should replace your helmet because if any of the foam has been crushed, your helmet may not work as well for you next time you crash and therefore won't protect you as well.
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  3. Look into your helmet with one hand on each side and pull gently as if you were trying to pull your helmet apart. If you see any cracks or light shining through where there shouldn't be light, then your helmet needs to be replaced.
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  5. Most manufacturers recommend that you replace your helmet every 5 years. Check the papers that came with your helmet to see what the manufacturer of your helmet recommends. The glue and other materials used in the manufacture of the helmet become degraded over time due to heat, sun and sweat. If you take good care of your helmet, or don't use it often, it may last longer than that.
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  7. Old helmets from the 70s or 80s definitely need to be replaced. Helmets get better each year and you want one that keeps you safe.
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  9. If the buckle breaks or a piece breaks off, replace the buckle or the helmet. If the straps become worn or frayed, the helmet--or at least the straps--need to be replaced.
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  11. Make sure you can see. When you put on your helmet, pretend you are riding your bike. Can you see? Look around and make sure you have good visibility.
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  13. The outside should be plastic. If your helmet is just foam or is foam covered in cloth, replace the helmet. The plastic coating is on the foam of your helmet for a reason and should be on it. If the plastic cover is missing, damaged or comes off easily, then you need a new helmet.
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  15. If you or your child outgrow your helmet or your helmet does not fit properly, then you should replace it. A helmet should be snug but not too tight. There should be no pressure points (places where the helmet squeezes your head more than other places). The helmet should be touching your head comfortably all the way around.
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  17. If your helmet does not meet CPSC, STM, Snell, or ANSI standards, then you should replace it.
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  19. Crash protection warranties are offered by some manufacturers. If you crash and your helmet is no longer good, check the warranty that may have come with your helmet. If there is one, you may need to send the helmet back to the manufacturer to get a replacement.
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  21. Recalled helmets should definitely be replaced. You can see a list of helmets that have been recalled at Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute.
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  23. If you hate your helmet, then chances are you won't wear it. It's important that you like what you are going to put on your head. It won't keep you safe if you don't wear it. If you truly don't want to wear your bike helmet then by all means, replace it.
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  25. When your helmet needs to be replaced, buy one that meets CPSC standards.

 

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