When to Replace Your Helmet
Have you thought lately about replacing your bicycle helmet, ski helmet, or skateboard helmet?Bicycle helmets have become so ubiquitous that itís more of an unusual occurrence to see a cyclist without a helmet. Ski and snowboard helmets have also become increasingly accepted as a standard piece of equipment on the mountain.
Most of us wear our bike helmet, ski / snowboard helmet, or skateboard helmet season after season and donít think about helmet replacement unless it's visibly damaged (or we see a new one that we really want). But just like the rest of your equipment, bicycle helmets and ski helmets do age and lose effectiveness as they get older and suffer use/abuse. How do you know when itís time to replace your helmet? Click on a link below to learn more about when to replace your bicycle helmet, when to replace your ski helmet, when to replace your skateboard helmet, or how to inspect your helmet.
Cycling and snow helmets are exposed to different elements and environments, so we look at them separately. We also have a section on how to inspect your helmet. Because bike helmets and ski helmets have similar constructions, you can use the helmet inspection checklist for both types of helmets.
Remember that although a helmet may look undamaged from the outside, its protective capacity may be compromised. If the helmet has sustained any sort of major impact (a hit that made you say, "Wow") it should be replaced.
A message from Jim, the owner of XSports, regarding the debate about helmet replacement...It's a fine line between a healthy and interesting debate and something, well, not as healthy. (To clearly state the obvious, I have a financial interest in helmet sales, so discount my comments if you want.)
But.....I think it's useful to point out the underlying issue that creates honest disagreement between thoughtful riders, boarders, and skaters. The "helmet replacement decision" comes down to your own assessment and comfort with unknowns, probabilities, and risk. It relies on three things, two of which are unknowable:
You Still Have to Decide, so What Do You Do?At the end of the day, it's a decision that must be made with incomplete information (the specific engineering data from your particular helmet impact event), plus unknowable information (if, where, and how hard on your helmet a future impact may occur).
There is no "right" answer. No one can tell you anything at all, other than the most obvious - if the helmet is visibly compromised, you know for certain it has lost protective capability in that area. Any advice beyond that is simply personal opinion, based on one's own estimate of possible damage, future probabilities, and tolerance of risk of a possible future injury.
Just some food for thought.