A bike helmet could last for a very long time, that’s a common thought among bikers. Having said that, how does one know when it is time to get that helmet replaced?
Foremost, having just one helmet for the longest time is not safe. It does not have an expiry date that’s true. Where safety is of utmost concern, then you may consider having an updated version handy.
Here’s a checklist of reasons to consider.
- You may not realize it but if your helmet has already been connected in a crash, then it needs to go no questions asked. Why? Even if the outer shell looks intact and the helmet looks fine, it became an accessory to an accident. If you can’t throw it away, you’ll still be able to use it as a garden pot maybe. Just don’t wear it again on your next ride.
- It may not seem obvious but a slight crack on the inner side of the helmet or collapsed foam means it is no longer in tip-top shape anymore. The point is the cushioning and shock absorption properties of the helmet are already compromised and most likely, will compromise your safety sooner than you think.
- In cases wherein you accidentally dropped your helmet from a considerable height, it got knocked off from a table or if you happen to bang it on the wall in a fit of rage, it is better to get a new helmet even if it still looks okay.
But what if your helmet has never figured in an accident at all? It gets tricky because it has no industry-set expiry dates.
Do read up your bike helmet’s manual to see if there’s a listed lifespan. MET Helmets of Italy, which has made bike helmets since 1987, generally advises replacing your helmet every three years. Your mileage may vary depending on your usage. During hot days, the sun’s harsh rays do take a toll on the helmet. If you notice fading colors on your helmet, it only means it has seen far too many rides than necessary.
As for actually choosing a new helmet, we’ve written a helpful post a few months back, so you may revisit that for your reference.
Just a friendly advice, do get a brand new helmet to replace your old one. You may fancy a nice deal of used helmet in a thrift shop, but it is just a waste of money. The fact that it’s been used before means you don’t have an idea about that helmet’s history.
Lastly, ask your biker friends if they’ve given a thought about replacing their helmets. You’d be surprised to know if they think the normal lifespan of a helmet is around 8 to 10 years! They may not realize how long they’ve been using their helmets until someone reminds them it is time to get a new one, and just maybe, that someone is you.