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How to Choose a Bike Helmet: Darth Vader Wears One, You Should Too

Before we give you a hand on choosing a bike helmet, let us start by mentioning the importance of wearing one. Some studies done on the subject have shown that wearing a bicycle helmet can reduce the risk of head injuries by 48%. If you are an enthusiastic biker or want to be one, you ought to know that you can never be too safe while practicing this relaxing sport. Without further ado, we’re going to help you make the best choice in this direction.

Bike Helmet Features

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Bike helmets are not just a hard hat you strap on your head; some details go into designing them as safe and comfortable as possible. However, not every helmet is worth buying and using. There are three significant factors you should consider when choosing a bike helmet.

Protection

This is obviously one of the most crucial factors of a bike helmet. What makes a bicycle helmet safe is the polycarbonate shell over the foam. The shell is designed to crack and spread throughout the shell and not towards your head. The foam of a helmet is of quality when it is stiffer in hard impact places and softer in low impact ones. So definitely look for this when choosing a bike helmet. 

Ventilation

Keeping in mind that you might be cycling in hot and cold weather, you do need ventilation. In hot weather, your head needs to be aerated from the heat. And in cold weather, ventilation is necessary to remove the moisture. So aerodynamic helmets are crucial for a better, safer ride. 

Visor

Consider a visor like a helmet for your face. Visors are essential when cycling on a hot summer day, and you don’t want the sun to get in your face. And an even more protective scenario, when you’re cycling through woods, especially if you’re going at a swift pace, low tree branches can damage your face if you don’t have a visor on your helmet. 

How to Choose a Bike Helmet?

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Protection, ventilation, and visor are three of the most important features of a bike helmet. Yet some others might get overlooked and they shouldn’t. 

Fit properly

Much like our clothes, bike helmets have sizes too, and not choosing one that fits you right could have serious consequences. So to pick one that is the right size, you must consider that the helmet needs to sit an inch above your eyebrows to protect your forehead. Even if it covers your forehead, always tilt it from side to side to see if it’s too tight or too loose. 

Be appropriate for the cycling that you do

There are different types of cycling, and there are different helmets for each of them. For example, BMX cycling is very different from tandem cycling, which means their helmets differ for factors such as ventilation, visor or lack thereof, and overall design. So remember to do some research for the type of helmet you need for your upcoming cycling trip. 

Be comfortable 

Just like a right-fitting helmet, a comfortable one is also important for your safety. It is comfortable if it fits snug but not too tight so that you have a problem strapping it on. Remember, a very tight helmet doesn’t mean a very safe one. 

Protect your head

You’ll know if a bike helmet is safe to buy if it has the Consumer Product Safety Commission sticker. All helmets in the US manufactured after 1999 must have this sticker to prove that they provide protection against head injuries. 

What Bike Helmet Should I Buy?

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Choosing a bike helmet shouldn’t be too difficult since the main result you’re looking for is safety. Studies at Virginia Tech have shown that aerodynamic helmets provide more protection from head injuries than round helmets. The reason is that in case of an accident, the air absorbed through the holes spreads the impact through the helmet, saving you from a severe head injury. With rounder helmets, this can be more difficult since they don’t have any ventilation areas. So picking an aerodynamic helmet is the best choice.

How Should I Take Care of the Helmet?

Looking after your helmet is one of the essential steps of preserving and using it for a longer period of time. The first stage is keeping it clean; you do this by hand-washing it with cold water and soap and then letting it dry. If you go cycling regularly, we advise you to wash it at least once a week during the summer days and once a month during the winter. 

Another way to take care of your helmet is by leaving it in the right place after you take it off. Do not leave it on the ground where there’s a risk of stepping on it is high or somewhere where it might easily fall on the ground and possibly crack. One place you could leave it is to hang the strap of the helmet to your bike’s handlebars. You could even use it as a bowl to leave things in it on a table so you don’t use your biking gear and keep your helmet safe.

Can I Use a Second-Hand Helmet? 

We recommend you don’t buy second-hand helmets or other safety gear. We say this because we have your best interest in mind. You do not know if that helmet has crashed at some point or fallen on the ground. On the outside, it might look decent enough to use but you cannot guarantee if and how much protection that helmet will give you. So the best solution is always to buy a brand new helmet.

When Should I Replace a Helmet?

Depending on how much you use your helmet and how well you maintain it, it is recommended that you replace your helmet every 3 to 5 years. The reason is that the foam inside the helmet will eventually degrade due to the hot weather, moisture, and sweat. 

In case you had the misfortune of crashing with your helmet, you should immediately replace it. Even if the helmet still looks usable and intact, the foam inside is made for one-time use, and it won’t have the same impact it used to have, so do not risk it, get a new helmet. 

At the end of the day, all we want is to enjoy our bike ride without any worries. So the best way to give yourself that level of relaxation is to wear a proper helmet, no matter how short your bike trip might be. The safe way is the best way!

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