Is this helmet safe?

I just noticed this damage on my helmet which occurred a few weeks ago. I did’t crash into the ground but rather a large tree branch. I was coming down a narrow gravel road and a truck was coming up. I was trying to stay as far to the right as possible and didn’t notice a low branch. I didn’t knock me off the bike but bonked my head pretty good. The dent does extend into the foam. Just wondering if it’s new helmet time?

I’d get a new helmet…once the foam is compressed, it is compromised.

Is it possibly, even probably, still OK? Quite possibly….but is it worth the risk? One big crash on compromised foam = nasty outcome.


Another vote for “new helmet time”!


Sort of how I was leaning since helmets aren’t that pricey.


That one is easy: you need to get a new helmet.


If you care about helmet standards and warrantees then it’s definitely time.

If you think helmet warrantees are useless jokes, and the companies selling helmets will never shell out for failing to have a significant effect on your safety, then no.

You pays your money, you takes your choice.

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Are you referring to being able to sue the company if you become a vegetable from a failing helmet?

I don’t quite understand.

It’s not a simple question, if you really look into it.

I think consumers should be able quantify the risks of cycling, and quantify the effectiveness of the mitigating controls companies are selling them. Such as: a new helmet. As this is not the case, yet, the answers to the OPs question are all unreliable.

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Sure, hold companies to a high standard with specifications, quality control, standards etc. I don’t agree that the answer is suing because a damaged helmet didn’t provide the level of protection as new.

I will just say, cycling helmets provide only a level of protection, not total guarantee of safety, it’s up to an individual what level of risk to take, but I wouldn’t want to test the limits of a damaged helmet.


Not looking to sue. More or less looking for some confirmation that I need to replace the helmet and not being ridiculous.


I can’t tell which company this is from, but may want to contact them and see if they have a crash replacement program.

Never know and can’t hurt asking. Right?!


I would wear it if it was mine. I’d check inside, make sure the foam isn’t cracked, and that the helmet seems structurally stable.

I know someone is already getting ready to type to tell me that im not an expert and the only way to know is to X-ray… I get that. I ride motorcycles and when a helmet is even dropped it can be compromised. That said, bike helmets are a different thing. They aren’t designed to offer the same level of protection that a motorcycle helmet is designed to provide. Many helmets unless wearing them uncomfortably tight will shift in a massive crash. And, your entire forehead and face is exposed and I’d never wear an open face helmet on a motorcycle.

Or use it as an excuse to buy a newer lighter more comfortable helmet.

Don’t sue me if you get hurt


Is it ok to crash in? Probably. Would I replace it if it were mine? Yup.

Even the most expensive helmet you can buy is cheaper than rehab from a concussion. At least in the US.



Doubting if your helmet is safe? Then replace it. You don’t need to be thinking about whether it will fail on you if you crash.


No comment on specifics, but I do wonder if there are any robust data on helmet safety after minor knocks (guessing not). Same for carbon frame resilience after minor offs.

The dominant narrative from manufacturers is that if it’s visibility damaged, it’s time to replace - wonder what the motivations are behind that message… :grinning:

The interior of most (all) is something like EPS foam, a material that can only be compressed once. Such dings could hide cracks, which, in turn, can grow over time. I don’t think helmet manufacturers do this to line their pockets with our cash. It just seems prudent advice. Plus, most of them offer a crash replacement rebate.

Even without obvious damage, the material becomes brittle over time. So it is recommended to exchange helmets every few years even if they seem visually fine.


Thanks - does make me wonder if there are more robust (but equally effective) materials out there.

If the material is supposed to be reusable and had to be stable (i. e. not goo), then it has to be largely elastic. It seems to me that then most of the energy from impacts is transmitted to your head and/or spine.

If you look at crash structures in modern cars, most of them are designed the same way, they are meant to crumple. In cars you can replace those separately — assuming that the frame hasn’t sustained too much damage in the process. For a helmet, I am not sure this separation would make much sense. AFAIK also motorcycle helmets are constructed in the same way, they are just a lot tougher than bike helmets.

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I think a couple days off for a bad crash would cost more than a helmet and even if you don’t pay per visit a concussion is really terrible for you health.

There’s no rehab for concussions, generally it just takes time to heal. Also, a helmet is not likely going to prevent a concussion. It may prevent death or a serious injury, but it can’t prevent your brain slamming up against your scull.

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