No question, a bike helmet can be a real lifesaver. Ninety percent of the bicyclists killed in the past two decades were not wearing a helmet.
Consumer Reports just tested 23 helmets and found good choices for both adults and children.
Consumer Reports crash tests helmets to see how well they will protect you in an accident. A sensor detects how much force would be transmitted to the rider’s head in a crash. A second Consumer Reports test checks the strength of the chin strap.
One helmet, the Cannondale Teramo, didn’t pass and may pose a safety risk because it could come off in an accident. In four of the five samples tested, the buckle snapped or broke into pieces. Consumer Reports is not aware of any injuries as a result of the Cannondale Teramo buckle issue.
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The company says it stands behind its third-party independent test results, but Consumer Reports does not recommend buying the Cannondale Teramo.
A spokesperson for Cannondale Teramo released the following in response to Consumer Reports' findings:
The safety of our consumers using our products is our number one priority. We use independent third party professional test labs, certified by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, to test and certify that our products meet, and exceed, all current safety standards. These independent third party professional test labs, based in the U.S. and around the world, test in accordance with the required protocol and have verified that the helmets in question have passed all testing, including additional testing performed within 24 hours of the Consumer Reports tests. We have complete confidence in the quality and safety of our helmets.
Michael DeLeon, Director, Global Integrated Marketing & Communications
However, Consumer Reports did find several good choices.
Top-rated is the Scott Arx Plus for $150. It scored Excellent in impact resistance and fit adjustments. It was Very Good for ventilation, and it’s also a lightweight helmet.
And Consumer Reports found several other Best Buys that cost far less, including the Lazer Cyclone for $45 and the Schwinn Merge for just $12.
Consumer Reports also tested children’s helmets, and top rated the Bontrager Solstice Youth for $40.
Consumer Reports says be careful how you handle your helmet. Don’t just toss it into the trunk of your car, because heat can affect performance. And you don’t want to get even minor dents into the lining, which is what absorbs the impact.
If you are ever in an accident, even if you can’t see any damage to your helmet, replace it.
You can get information on the right way to fit a bike helmet on ConsumerReports.org.
Complete Ratings and recommendations on all kinds of products, including appliances, cars and trucks, and electronic gear, are available on Consumer Reports’ website.