When do you really need to change your bike helmet?

Many of us will probably change our bike helmets after an accident or accidental drop, but there are several other equally important reasons why you should consider replacing your old helmet.

No matter what purpose you are cycling for, one thing to keep in mind is that you should wear a helmet. But if your old helmet has been left in storage for too long, you may be wondering if it will still be as protected as it was when it was new.

When do you really need to change your bike helmet?
Wearing a helmet reduces the risk of head injury in crashes by up to 70%.

Wearing a helmet reduces the risk of serious head injury in bicycle crashes by almost 70%, but helmets are not indestructible. One thing the experts agree on is that if you’re in an accident, you need to change your bike helmet as soon as possible.

“The helmet can look good after a crash,” said Rich Handel, test project lead at Consumer Reports (CR), who was involved in testing bicycle helmets. coverage can return to normal, even if the foam inside has been damaged beyond your detection.”

He added: “Once the foam is compressed, the level of safety is greatly reduced and the helmet will now be less able to protect you.”

Aside from these breakdowns, many bike helmet manufacturers recommend replacing your helmet every 3 to 5 years. But there is no universally agreed upon standard for when you should throw away your helmet. For example, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission advises users that, unless the manufacturer recommends it, you should buy a new helmet every 5-10 years.

When do you really need to change your bike helmet?
You should change your helmet every 3 to 5 years.

The Snell Foundation, a standards-setting body and one of the most stringent in helmet safety regulation, says wear and tear over time is enough to recommend a helmet replacement every year. 5 years or so. Of course it will not apply to a helmet that is unused and stored in good condition. CR experts recommend replacing your used bike helmet every 5 years.

“But if you really like your old helmet and it’s in good condition, keeping it longer won’t necessarily get you into trouble,” says Randy Swart, director of the Institute for Bicycle Helmet Safety. risk”.

Swart is also a former vice president of ASTM-International, a voluntary, not-for-profit standards-setting organization. “My personal helmet is much older,” says Swart, although he said there are other good reasons to buy a new helmet, such as more protective technology.

Here’s why CR recommends replacing your cycling helmet about every 5 years, and what to know if you’re keeping it for longer than that.

According to Handel, CR recommends that people follow the manufacturer’s recommendations or wear a new helmet every five years because helmets can break down over time. A heavily used helmet will be exposed to ultraviolet rays from the Sun and it is also often stored in some places with high temperatures in the summer.

According to Handel, a worn-out helmet will protect you better than no helmet, but you’ll eventually want to replace it.

When do you really need to change your bike helmet?
Helmets will wear out at different rates of wear and tear, plus different environments.

Depending on where it is stored and how it is used, helmets will wear out to varying degrees of wear and tear, plus the environment, says Barry Miller, PhD and director of the Helmet Laboratory. temperature and humidity at Virginia Tech, which tests helmets for a variety of sports and studies helmets’ reductions in brain injury risk.

“We all assume a helmet’s protective performance will degrade a bit over time, but the more important reason to upgrade a helmet is because of technological advancements,” says Miller.

The new helmets will have a better fit and comfort, and they will feature new technologies that reduce rotational or concussion forces to the head. If your helmet has a broken belt or if you just want the latest in safety technology, buying a new helmet is a good idea.

According to Swart, even if you want to buy a new helmet for reasons of style, ventilation or new technology, you don’t necessarily need to change a helmet if you take good care of it.

This recommendation is based on research conducted by engineering company MEA Forensic which showed that, in tests with hundreds of used helmets, impacts did not significantly affect the performance of the protective foam. in helmets have a life expectancy of up to 26 years.

When do you really need to change your bike helmet?
The new helmet will fit and be more comfortable.

But even if the protective foam in the helmet doesn’t wear out, you need to pay attention to the straps, the adjuster that helps you tighten the helmet, or the hard plastic outer shell. There are also many other features to ensure the safety of the helmet. If the color of the hat begins to fade, it is a sign that the outer coating has been stripped from exposure to sunlight over time.

If your helmet is still in good condition and you’re worried about its durability, Swart points out, there are millions of bike helmets sold each year. This also means that millions of hats end up in landfills every year and it’s very damaging to the environment even though many hats are certainly still usable.

So, if you have a reason to buy a new helmet, Swart says, buy it, but if you want to keep a helmet longer and it’s still in good condition, it’s still a good way to protect yourself. physical.