Bicycle helmets are indispensable safety tools. Without them, cyclists are at risk for serious head injuries.
However, every rider must recognize that helmets can eventually deteriorate. Once this happens, it severely compromises their effectiveness.
Exposure to the environment
The elements significantly contribute to helmet degradation. Over time, sunlight, heat and humidity impact the integrity of their materials, including foam and polycarbonate. UV rays, in particular, can make the outer shell weaken. Storing helmets in a cool, dry place helps mitigate Mother Nature’s damaging effects and prolongs their lifespan.
Impact of regular wear and tear
Helmets are subject to inevitable stresses every time the cyclists wearing them hit the road. Minor bumps and drops accumulate and jeopardize their structural quality. It takes a skilled eye to identify subtle flaws that could become the reason for a personal injury.
Importance of regular inspections
Biking enthusiasts should periodically inspect helmets for signs of damage, such as cracks, dents and loose parts. Other problems include frayed straps or a deteriorating outer shell. Additionally, the inner foam could be showing evidence of compression.
While it might be tempting to use a beloved helmet for an extended period, protection has to be the priority. Manufacturers typically recommend getting a new one every five years, even if the older helmet appears in good condition. This guideline ensures that cyclists are safe from blows to the head.
Anyone who enjoys bicycling should beware of the potential for helmets to lose their intended purpose. With the proper information, bike riders can tell when to ditch theirs and buy another.