Bike helmets don’t last forever. In fact, even if you aren’t in a crash your helmet can become less protective. Here are four things to think about when deciding if it is time to get a new helmet.
Impact: It might sound obvious, but you should always replace your helmet after a crash. Bike helmets are designed to absorb one impact. Even if you don’t see a noticeable crack on the outside, the material inside is likely compromised. Once a helmet has had an impact, it won’t protect your head the way it was designed.
Expiration: Just like the produce in your refrigerator, bike helmets don’t last forever. This is true even if your helmet hasn’t been in a crash. Helmets are made of foam in a plastic shell. The foam absorbs the impact saving your head. But over time the foam dries out and becomes brittle making the helmet less protective.
We often get the question of when to replace your helmet. A good rule of thumb is 3-5 years. If you ride a lot or your helmet has withstood extreme temperatures (hot or cold), you should replace it more regularly. If you aren’t riding a lot, you should still get a new one at least every 5 years. And keep in mind this is 5 years from the manufacturers date, not when you purchased it.
One other thing to keep in mind is storing your helmet. Your garage is a bad location because of the temperature fluctuations in the summer and winter. Also avoid leaving it in direct sunlight for prolonged periods. The best spot is in your house where the temperature is more consistent. A closet is a great spot, out of the sun, and hopefully out of the way so the helmet won’t get banged around.
Technology: Finally, it might be time to upgrade your helmet for the new safety features. Two new developments that we are really excited about are…
Fit: the final consideration is fit. If your helmet doesn’t fit you, it is time to get a new one. If your helmet is uncomfortable, making riding less fun, it is time to get a new one. If you don’t like the style, meaning you are less likely to wear your helmet, it is time to get a new one.