The role of cycling helmets is imperative: protect the brain. Our brain is suspended inside of our skulls and impacts can have severe consequences. From slight concussions to death, there is a real need to keep up with your helmet health and know when to replace it.
First, let’s talk about the basic parts of most helmets.
Helmets help reduce your risk for severe head injury by 65-88%
Wear & Tear
Now that you understand the parts of the helmet and why they are important, it’s time to talk about wear and tear. Most experts agree you should replace your helmet after three years. This is due to the foam, which is vital for the absorption of impacts. Foam breaks down over time due to sunlight, frequent use, and sweat, etc. If you look at your old helmet compared to a new one, you will probably notice a significant difference in the foam. The older one will be thinner with more grooves in it. The newer one will be plump, with the foam being mostly smooth.
There is some debate on whether a helmet should be replaced after every impact or if they should only be replaced after severe impacts that compromise the integrity of the helmet. Keep in mind that even small tumbles can hide big problems. Even if there is no outward damage there could be a severe integrity issue that’s being hidden by the hard plastic shell.
Protecting your head should be your number one priority. Make sure to keep up with your helmet's health and replace when needed.