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Do Bike Helmets Work?

  • Bikes

Bike helmets have actually been a point of contention between cyclists. To wear or not to wear? Yes, they are an incredible safety equipment but bike riding isn’t intrinsically dangerous so what difference does it make? In this blog, we uncover the benefits plus teach you how to get the most bang for your buck with bike helmets.

Do Bike Helmets Make a Difference?

Yes, bike helmets do work to protect the head from soft tissue damage. In fact, several studies have shown that bike helmets considerably reduce the odds of traumatic head injuries. It all depends on how well the bike helmet suits your needs and how perfectly it is adjusted to your head.

All the Different Types of Bike Helmets

Easily zero in on a bike helmet personalised to your style of riding by choosing one of the three categories of bike helmets:

Road Bike Helmets

A road bike helmet is made for utility riders, racers, daily commuters and recreational bikers. They are durable, well-ventilated and aero but not as impact protective.

Mountain Bike Helmets

A mountain bike helmet is a heavy-duty bike helmet that isn’t so much ventilated as it is impact protective. It is made for steep climbs uphill and downhill riding.

Gravel Bike Helmets

A gravel bike helmet is a mix of road and MTB helmets. It is impact protective, exceptionally ventilated and made for off-roading on unpaved roads.

How to Properly Fit a Bike Helmet?

The best way to ensure the effectiveness of a bike helmet is to properly secure it. Here’s the steps on how to do it.

Know Your Head Size

First, take a tape measure and wrap it around the head, keeping an inch above the brow. This is the circumference of your head. Match it to the sizing range given. If you’re in between sizes and have a narrower head, size down. For rounder heads, size up.

Adjust the Dial

Once you have the bike helmet on your head, adjust the fitting dial until the rear cage hugs the back of the head in a snug but comfortable fit.

Tighten the Straps

Lastly, make sure the helmet is level on your head, the triangle webbing of the straps sandwich the ear and buckle under your chin. It should be loose enough to fit two fingers and snap back into place after removing them.

Different Safety Technologies For Bike Helmets

There are three leading safety technologies on the market for bike helmets and each one is described below:


Available on most brain buckets these days, MIPS bike helmets are incredibly durable and serve to disperse the rotational impact forces upon a crash which improves crash safety. They do tend to cost more but with a little digging, you can find MIPS bike helmets for less than $100 (hint: it’s Giro Foray MIPS).


Introduced by POC, bike helmets with SPIN work similar to MIPS but additionally reduce the impact of linear forces. POC Ventral Air SPIN is one of the best aero helmets with this safety technology.


A production of Bontrager, bike helmets with WaveCel promote safety against linear impact forces as well as rotational impact forces. Some say bike helmets with WaveCel perform better than MIPS. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do Dutch cyclists not wear helmets?

Bike riding isn’t generally a dangerous activity unless you’re a MTB rider or an enduro cyclist. The Dutch promote safer cycling routes and have standardised laws in place for bike riding. So, the odds of a fatal injury due to collision are reduced and it removes the need to wear bike helmets.

How long are bike helmets good for?

Generally, bike helmets last around five years after which they must be replaced. The padding wears down and the outer shell isn’t as impact protective. If the bike helmet gets into an accident, it is advised to replace it immediately even if there are no visible dents.

Is it illegal to ride a bike without a helmet?

It depends on the residence and the age of the cyclist. The UK does not have laws imposed for bike riding or speeding but 22 states in the US do and 13 don’t. Whereas, in Australia it’s mandatory to wear a bike helmet while riding – neglect can lead to fines up to $2200. Most state and local laws target youth cyclists aged 18 and under.

Final Thoughts

Bike helmets effectively shield against fatalities but it is to be noted that they aren’t a substitute for safer bike routes, protected bike lanes and mindful driving. Remember you prepare for the slide, not the ride.

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