Friday, July 18, 2008

Safety First!

I recently realized my helmet is getting old and had always heard that you should replace a helmet every 5 years or so. On the left is my Black Bell Forza-2 (serial # A11057317, large, dated November 2001). I purchased it when I bought my Landrider Autoshift Bike for recreational riding. I am replacing it with the Silver Bell Impulse (serial# A3360467, 54-61 cm, dated 06/08) on the right.

Everyone recommends replacing a helmet after 1 crash. Bell, the helmet manufacturer recommends replacing every 3 years. Snell, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to research, education, testing and development of helmet safety standards, recommends replacement every 5 years. The Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute does not have a specific recommended time interval.

My helmet is nearly 7 years old. The inside padding is worn out and it did not have an adjustable headband like the new helmets. The Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute identified a good value helmet. " Wal-Mart has a round, smooth Bell Impulse for $25 that is molded in the shell, a high quality construction technique." BHSI recommends rounder helmets with less vents because they will have more foam and probably result in better crash protection.

So I purchased the Bell Impulse for $24.88 at Walmart. It is easy to adjust and fits well.

I am thinking about crash testing my old helmet and cutting it up to see how it performs. Any suggestions on testing methods would be appreciated!

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