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Should you put stickers on your bicycle helmet?

While opinions of bicycle helmets vary from rider to rider, many researchers see them as vital pieces of personal protective gear. In fact, according to a recent study, helmet usage cut the number of rider head injuries by 48% and serious head injuries by 60%.

If you wear a helmet when you ride, you may want to personalize your generic headgear by affixing stickers or decals. Still, you should be careful when making any modifications to your riding helmet.

The makeup of your helmet

Before attaching stickers or anything else to your riding helmet, you should read its label or owner’s manual to determine the makeup of its shell. On some helmets, the outer shell is vulnerable to damage from the adhesives that back stickers and decals. If yours is one of these, its instructions should warn you not to affix stickers.

The functionality of your helmet

Even if stickers or decals are not likely to damage the outer shell of your helmet, you must be certain your artwork does not interfere with the functionality or fit of the helmet. That is, you should not attach stickers that block vents, visors, straps or other working components. If you do, your helmet may not offer the level of protection its manufacturer promises.

The cleanliness of your helmet

Sweat, salt and other contaminants can weaken the integrity of even the strongest riding helmets. Consequently, you should follow the manufacturer’s instructions for regular cleanings. If you are too afraid of damaging your attached stickers to clean your helmet thoroughly, it is probably better to affix the stickers to something else.

Your helmet may be your most effective line of defense against a catastrophic head injury. Ultimately, by prioritizing your helmet’s integrity and condition, you do your part to stay safe behind the handlebars.