Test 4

There are plenty of good reasons to jump on your bike, whether you are commuting to work, hitting a new trail, getting ready for your next race, or just cruising around town with friends or with kids. But to protect yourself—even if you are not going far—don’t forget to wear a helmet while you ride.

Bike riding has been on the rise. During the pandemic, a lot of people set out on two wheels for the first time in at least a year, according to survey data from industry group PeopleForBikes. But cycling injuries have risen along with the number of cyclists on the road. And whether you take a tumble while out on a trail or are involved in an incident with a vehicle, a helmet can dramatically reduce your risk of head injury or death. In fact, in 21 states and the District of Columbia, kids are required to wear bike helmets, according to the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute. And many cities and towns have other mandates for kids or even adults requiring helmets.

All the helmets in our ratings are rigorously evaluated in the lab by our expert testers.

To test how well a helmet will absorb an impact, it is strapped onto a head form and dropped from a little more than 2 meters in the air onto a steel anvil—at a speed of about 14 mph. This test is performed four times, to evaluate the impact absorption at different positions on the helmet. It simulates what would happen if a cyclist fell and hit his or her head on the front, the side, the rear, or the crown.

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