Modern bicycles helmets have become ubiquitous in cycling, and for good reason. Wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of a serious head injury by nearly 70% and for this reason enough some states require minors to wear a helmet when riding a bicycle.
As a general guideline, look for cracks or abrasions on the shell and inspect it for any fading or compromised integrity that might indicate it will not hold together during an impact. Press carefully over the shell to see if there is any movement.
There will be no movement in some helmets and a little in others, so what you want to look for is any area where there is a variation in movement compared to the rest of the helmet. An area of greater movement indicates damage. Check for wear and tear on the straps, buckles, clips and fasteners. If you find any flaws then replace your helmet.
Most riders know to replace a helmet after a crash where you hit your head but did you know that dropping it on a hard surface or rough handling during travel can damage it? If you’ve ever dropped your helmet, accidentally smacked it on a wall or your car, or scuffed it up while traveling then it probably needs replacing.
Is your helmet more than 5 years old?
Replacing your helmet at least every 5 years helps rule out nostalgic, soft shell, and other helmets that don’t meet current standards.