The Importance of Upgrading Your Bike Helmet

So, you have a sturdy bike helmet from a few years ago. Do you really need a new bike helmet? It’s true that most bicycle helmets made within the past decade do an excellent job of protecting riders. On the other hand, however, newer models of bike helmets have been designed to protect riders based on the specific physics of a bike crash.

Crash Science

Bike helmet manufacturer, Giro, recently produced a video regarding the physics of a bicycle crash. There are many variables that can impact the severity of injuries from a bicycle crash, but the most important aspect to a crash is the different types of trauma could be inflicted on the rider’s brain. To put it simply, there are two different types of trauma; linear and rotational.

Most older helmets are designed to minimize damage cause by linear trauma. In these instances, the rider strikes a surface head-on or in a linear fashion. The helmet protects the rider by crushing under the impact and absorbing part of the blow. This can prevent the rider from sustaining a serious brain injury or at least minimize the potential damage.

However, only newer models of bike helmets also protect the rider from rotational trauma. In this instance, the rider crashes into a surface at an angle which causes the rider’s head to rotate suddenly and cause damage to the brain. Newer helmets have what are called slip planes which protect riders from this kind of trauma. A slip plane works by having a small degree of rotational lining on the helmet which will absorb forces from an angle.

The reality is that common bike crashes are a combination of linear and rotational impacts. Having an older helmet on while you ride is still a safe choice, but only provides a lesser amount of protection than newer models. Ultimately, the question that you should ask yourself is whether or not this extra protection in worth the 30 or 40 dollars it costs to buy a new bike helmet. It terms of preventing brain injuries, the money would be well spent.

Zac Pingle About Zac Pingle

Zac Pingle was born in Florida, and grew up in several places across the United States. From a young age, Zac developed a taste for writing, reading under trees and getting into trouble. Currently, Zac resides in Oregon as a college student where he aspires to become an English professor.