5 On Your Side

Bike helmets require routine care, maintenance to keep you safe

Posted July 3

— When they're not on your head, it's important to make sure bike helmets are stored and maintained properly.

Bike helmets are protectors, and they're designed to absorb impact. But, since they are built to be lightweight and practical, they are quite vulnerable to damage.

The fit of a bike helmet is its most important factor, but how it's stored is equally crucial. Experts at Consumer Reports say, ideally, bikers should find a spot that's cool and dry – and never keep a bike helmet in a car.

"It gets really hot in your car, especially in the summer," said Rich Handel, a representative from Consumer Reports. "It could degrade the foam and compromise the integrity of the helmet."

Experts also state not to clean helmets with harsh chemicals like ammonia and bleach that could damage the foam and shell. Just stick with simple soap and water.

It's also important to inspect your bike helmet for damage regularly, because even a small dent could make the helmet less effective if you crash.

"A bicycle helmet is designed to take one impact, and that's it," said Handel. "If a crash happens, replace the helmet whether it appears cracked or not."

Experts at Consumer Reports also suggest replacing your helmet every five years, even if it has never been in a crash.

Need recommendations for helmets? Consumer Reports made a list of some of the best.


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