What's the difference between a skateboard helmet and a bicycle helmet?
Skateboard helmets come in two designs—those designed only as skateboarding helmets and those designed to do double duty as both bike and skateboard helmets. Traditional bicycle helmets (i.e., those designed only for biking) are a separate class. There are a few obvious and not-so-obvious differences between a skateboard helmet and a traditional bike helmet.
- Skateboard helmets have a round, bucket shape that covers more of the back of your head than the typical bicycle helmet. You’ll need this extra coverage in a backwards fall.
- Skateboard helmets don’t need the aerodynamic design of a bicycle helmet or quite as many huge vents
- Skateboard helmets typically have an inner liner made of soft foam. This protective liner that is meant to slow the force of multiple, low to moderate impacts
- Skateboard helmets are designed to sustain a series of small impacts at low speeds, while a traditional bicycle helmet is designed to withstand one big impact (like a crash)
Skateboard helmets vs. bike/skate helmets: Which is right for you?
Not sure whether you need a skateboard helmet or a dual-use bike/skate helmet (essentially a skateboard helmet for biking)? It depends on what you’ll be doing. If skateboarding is your only sport, you’ll be fine with a skateboard helmet. If you want a skateboard-style helmet that you can ALSO use for bicycling, you should purchase a skateboard helmet that also meets the CPSC safety certification for bicycle use.
In appearance, dual-use helmets look like a skateboard helmet, with a rounded, bucket-like shape that covers the back of your neck. The difference is in the interior protective liner. As stated above, skateboard helmets have protective liners made of soft foam that conforms to your head, providing comfort and absorbing multiple impacts. Dual use or bike/skate helmets, on the other hand, offer higher levels of impact protection with a protective interior liner made of stiff EPS foam but are not necessarily designed to absorb multiple impacts. The stiff EPS liner has greater impact absorption properties than the soft foam, because bike crashes tend to occur at much faster speeds than skateboarding.
My skateboard helmet doesn't have a certification. Does that mean it’s not safe?
ASTM specifications cover the design and performance requirements of helmets used for skateboarding and trick roller skating. A skateboard helmet may or may not have an ASTM safety certification. A skateboard helmet that has not achieved one of these minimum safety standards is not necessarily a bad helmet. This is a voluntary certification, thus some manufacturers do not seek to certify every one of their helmets because, like anything else, the certification can add additional cost to the price of the skateboard helmet. CPSC (Consumer Products Safety Commission) certifications cover bicycle helmet safety standards. In the United States, a helmet cannot be sold as a bicycle helmet unless it meets CPSC standards.
Do you still have questions about which skateboard helmet is right for you?
Discover more about the most important piece of skateboard protective gear--the skateboard helmet--at How to Choose: Skateboard Helmets
and Skate Helmet Certifications.
Then place your order for your skateboard helmet.