Helmet manufacturers usually state their helmets should be replaced every three to five years. The reason for this is the increased viscosity of the foamy material – it grows harder over time in the air and even faster as it absorbs the rider’s sweat. As a result, helmets are less likely to absorb life threatening impacts over time because what used to crunch softly and absorb starts to harden and force those impacts into the rider’s head. Not a good thing obviously.
I see a lot of decades-old helmets on riders – riders who commute all the time. My experience has shown me that when I mention this fact to these helmet wearers, they reply by saying they have not had any crashes and they don’t see any cracks in their helmets. Except most of the meaningful wear in one’s helmet is invisible to the eye for the aforementioned reasons. The more the helmet is worn, the closer to the 3 than 5 will be the time for that particular rider’s helmet’s replacement.
Image Courtesy of kval.com (accessed 16 June 2013)
OK, let’s say the rider has heeded my (and others’) safety advice and bought a new helmet. Now it needs to be worn correctly. I cannot count the number of incorrectly worn helmets I see weekly on my rides and commutes. Correct placement of the helmet on the head is level to the ground. This will involve reading the little booklets included with EVERY helmet purchased. Those strap adjusters that come together should be set just below the ears after the straps have been adjusted accordingly to balance the slight forces coming together from straps being brought from different angles to one single strap that then goes under the chin (not too tightly 🙂 ). I hope this makes sense.
Image Courtesy of trafficsafetystore.com (accessed 16 June 2013)
Just a thought. Ride safely. Have fun.
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