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Our guide to helmet safety

Hot Read Hot read Feb 19


We’re passionate about helping you stay safe while cycling. Heading out the door to cycle to work, riding the local trails or getting some longer distance road rides in, we all reach for a helmet but hardly ever consider its condition, unless it smells terrible.

The humble helmet, often neglected, is the one piece of kit designed with the sole purpose of keeping your brain safe while riding, but have you thought about whether it would protect your head if you crashed?

The basics of the ‘skid lid’ are the same for all cyclists:

  • It should be the right size;
  • It needs to fit well;
  • It needs to be in good working order;
  • And, it is required by law.

When to replace a helmet?

The Snell Foundation, a helmet certification agency, recommend replacing your helmet at least every five years even if it’s not damaged because:

‘Glues, resins and other materials used in helmet production can affect liner materials. Hair oils, body fluids and cosmetics, as well as normal ‘wear and tear’ all contribute to helmet degradation.’

In practice how often you ride and how careful you are with your helmet will determine how regularly you need to replace it. If you crash, or give it a solid knock, always replace your helmet. Even if you think the helmet came away unscathed give it a good visual inspection inside to make sure there are no cracks in the polystyrene (the main protective element of the helmet). It may not look damaged but if there’s any doubt, throw it out and get a new one.

Which type of helmet? Sport, Road or Mountain?

Cycling helmets come in three basic styles: sport, road and mountain.

Sport helmets: An economical choice for recreational, commuter, road and mountain bikers. This style of helmet is typically well priced and often come in a wide range of colours and/or prints. A great everyday helmet,  although ventilation for hot days or longer rides is limited.

Road bike helmets: This style of helmet is designed for speed and keeping cool, with generous ventilation, an aerodynamic design and lightweight materials.

Mountain bike helmets: Designed to ventilate well, even at low speeds, usually have a visor and generally cover more of the rear to ensure they keep their snug fit while riding over rough terrain and protect from more angles (branches and the like!). Also popular with road cyclists and commuters for the added sun protection.

Choosing your helmet?

The most important element is making sure that it is the right size for your head and that it fits properly.

If you have any doubts, drop into a local store and they’ll happily help you get a helmet that fits your budget and head.


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