We all know it’s important to wear a helmet to protect heads while riding. Although, when it comes down to the details like fit, durability, and kids, it can get confusing to know the ins and outs of Helmet safety. To help you out before your next ride, Bern answered some frequently asked questions on helmet safety.
For e-bike riders, we recommend looking into a helmet that meets the NTA 8776 certification. This standard was designed to address the emergence of e-bikes and the potential for higher speed impacts. To make a long story short, e-bikes go much faster than regular bikes, so your helmet should be held to a higher standard. Helmets that meet the NTA 8776 standard are tested at speeds of 27 MPH – the speed that e-bikes actually go - as opposed to the 14 MPH threshold that a majority of helmets are tested at.
A few other safety features you should look for include:
Mips Protection: Mips is a low friction layer that allows the helmet to slide 10-15 millimeters in all directions, reducing some of the rotational motion to the brain vs. helmets without Mips. A majority of helmets on the market today come with a Mips option, and it’s definitely something that consumers should keep an eye out for.
Virginia Tech Safety Ratings: The Virginia Tech Helmet Lab is known for its bicycle helmet safety ratings. Through a series of impact testing, the Virginia Tech Helmet Lab calculates a STAR score, which sums the exposure-weighted risks for common cyclist head impact scenarios and their corresponding concussion risks. While not every helmet is listed on their website, consumers can search for helmets and view their test results before deciding if they’d like to make their purchase.
Any time you’ve been in an accident or crash, you should replace your helmet immediately. Even with minor impacts, it’s a good idea to do a thorough inspection to identify cracks and other deformations that may cause the helmet to lose its protective qualities. While a helmet may look okay after a crash, there’s always a possibility of internal damage that can’t be seen with the naked eye, so we always suggest erring on the side of safety and get a replacement.
A good rule of thumb is to replace your helmet every three years. This will increase the likelihood that you have a well-fitted helmet that is up to par with safety regulations, that hasn’t degraded over time.
If they’re old enough to partake in the ride, they’re old enough to wear a helmet. We recommend that kids always wear a helmet, whether wobbling around on a balance bike, riding their own two-wheeler, or riding in the carriage behind Mom and Dad. Fit is extremely important, and luckily there are plenty of helmet options for pint-sized riders of all ages and sizes. Be sure to secure your precious cargo before taking them out for a ride.
The best way to get your child to wear a helmet is to get them one that they actually enjoy wearing. To put it simply, kids are picky. If you’ve ever argued with a child about wearing a helmet, you’ve probably heard them say something along the lines of “it looks silly” or “it’s too heavy.”
Style and comfort are two huge factors when it comes to wearing a helmet. Luckily, there are tons of styles and colors available, it’s just a matter of finding one that fits your child correctly and matches their style.
(Oh, and it doesn’t hurt to have Mom and Dad wear a helmet too. Leading by example can show your child that everyone should wear a helmet when they ride.)
A helmet should fit snug, but not too snug. It should be loose enough that it doesn’t hurt to put on but tight enough that it doesn’t wobble around when you shake your head.
The best way to ensure a helmet fits is to measure before buying. Using a tailor's tape, a tape measure, or even a piece of string, measure around your head, taking the measurements just above the ears and about an inch above the brow line. Once you’ve got your measurements, head over to the size chart to find the right size.