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Features of a safe bicycle helmet

Helmet

Outer Shell Inner Shell Stabiliser Buckle Straps

Outer shell

Outer shell Description:

The hard plastic layer is glued or taped to the inner shell. Some helmets have ventilation holes (vents) and/or a plastic visor attached that is designed to detach in a collision. Helmets  come in a variety of colours and designs.  

Function:

  1. Protects the inner shell
  2. Helps the helmet slide easily across the road surface in a fall or collision. Less friction means that the rider’s head or neck  is less likely to experience a sudden jerk and cause injury.

Outer shell

 

What to look for:

The outer shell should be smooth with no damage.

Avoid helmets with

  1. Cracks or the inner shell peeling away  (see example)
  2. Stickers or attachments that were not part of the original design.

*Be wary of helmets with items such diamante stickers or soft foam spikes attached and/or with certification not relevant to bike riding.  They may be visually appealing but they are not safe to use. You may also find items such as a high vis cover, helmet hat or mirror attachments. These affect the function of the outer shell.


 

Inner shell

03 Description:

The Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) foam layer that is often black or white in colour. Most approved manufacturers attach the Australian Standard sticker with the code AS/NZS 2063 on the inner shell.. It is not recommended to remove the padding.

Function:

On impact protects the head from serious injury by absorbing the kinetic energy softening the blow to the head.

A helmet should be replaced if it has been involved in a crash. There may not be any noticeable signs of damage or indentation but the foam will not able to effectively compress and absorb another impact.

 

05

 

What to look for:

  1. The Australian Standards sticker. If it doesn't have the code AS/NZS 2063 then it is not safe or legal to use in Australia.
  2. No cracks or chunks of foam missing.

Straps

04 Description:

Made of strong material such as nylon or polypropylene and attached to the side of the helmet.

 

Function:

Hold the helmet to the riders head. In the correct position the adjuster should sit just underneath the ear.

 

What to look for:

  1. No fraying or damage to the straps.
  2. Straps can be adjusted for a correct fit.

Buckle

01 Description:

The black plastic clip found at the bottom of the strap.

Function:

To connect the straps and hold the helmet to the head.

What to look for:

  1. Check that the buckle snaps in properly  and stays secure when tugged.

Stabiliser

01 Description:

The knob or adjuster found at the back end of the helmet. It can be adjusted by twisting or pushing together to tighten.

Function:

Adjusts the diameter of the helmet for a snug fit on the head.

What to look for:

  1. Once adjusted in should stay in place and not loosen

If a helmet is still loose or tight after adjusting the stabiliser this means the helmet is not the correct size for the rider, and should be replaced.