A common misnomer is that, as long as your helmet looks okay, then it is okay. Not true. Over time, the materials in your helmet will begin to break down. This includes the outer shell, the shock absorbing material in the shell as well as the strapping material. UV exposure, perspiration and body oils all contribute to this progressive decline. A good rule of thumb is to replace your helmet every 5 years. However, some manufacturers, like Bell and Giro, recommend that you replace your helmet every 3 years.
This is especially important to understand with helmets for our children. I think of when my kids were younger and growing so quickly. Much of their bicycle gear consisted of hand-me-downs. A great option for clothing, but not always so great with helmets. Be sure to learn the purchase date of a hand-me-down helmet and replace it after 5 years.
Is your helmet beyond the 5 year mark, perhaps 10 years or older (think hard shell Bell Biker)? Helmet technology has improved dramatically over the past decade, with newer helmets being considerably lighter, better ventilated and with better fitting systems. So stay safe and be sure your helmet will protect you.
And of course, if you should take a spill and land on your head, no matter how light the impact, you should always replace your helmet. Just because there are no visible cracks or damage to the outer shell, that is no guarantee that there is no damage to the all important absorbing material on the inside. This is one rule of thumb which should never be ignored. If in doubt, contact your helmet manufacturer, who may offer inspection or a crash replacement program.
Giro, Bell, Trek and Catlike are among the Bike Helmet Indianapolis which you can find Bicycle Garage Indy’s two locations, North (Clearwater area in Indianapolis) and South (just west of I-65 on County Line Rd, Greenwood)