How to Spot a Counterfeit Bike Helmet

One of the most important things you can do to stay safe when riding a bicycle is to wear a helmet. Whether you or a loved one are a regular rider, encourage helmet use as a way to prevent injuries or even death. While it may seem easy enough to purchase a helmet for you or your kids to wear when riding, you should know that there is a proliferation of counterfeit helmets on the market. Today, we want to review how you can spot a counterfeit bike helmet and where you can purchase one that will keep you safe during a bike accident.

Why are helmets necessary?

During the latest reporting year in the US, there were 857 bicyclists killed in traffic crashes across the country. During that same year in Oregon, there was a total of 764 bicycle crashes reported. Out of those incidents, there were ten fatalities and 786 total injuries. Looking at those numbers, we can see that a high percentage of bicycle crashes result in an injury or a fatality. Helmets are the best way to reduce the number of severe injuries and deaths in a bicycle crash.

Are counterfeits a problem?

With the rise in online shopping, people have the ability to buy pretty much anything from places like Amazon, eBay, etc. However, a recent NPR story sheds light on the dangers of fake bicycle helmets. These websites may make ordering bike helmets easier, but they also make it more difficult to spot a fake helmet. Fake helmets look just like quality certified helmets, and the listing online may even say they are certified. The problem is that many of the retailers who use online listings are located around the world, where standards are not the same.

Tests have shown that counterfeit helmets do not hold up in the event of a serious crash. Some of them split in half, putting the rider at serious risk of sustaining a brain injury or death.

Before you purchase a helmet online, consider buying one from a brick and mortar retailer instead so you can actually hold and inspect the helmet. If you do buy online, you can still order from a reputable store as opposed to an international or questionable seller. If you do buy a helmet online, there are some ways you can spot a fake.

  • Check the price before you buy it. Authentic helmets can cost anywhere from $200 to $250. If the price is significantly lower than that, it may be a fake.
  • Check the plastic inside the device. A fake helmet will be made of cheap, stiff plastic.
  • Check the weight of the helmet. Counterfeit helmets are typically lighter than a real helmet by about 45 grams.

All bike helmets sold in the US must meet certain compliance standards. Look for the following information when buying a bicycle helmet:

  1. A statement saying the helmet “Complies with U.S. CPSC Safety Standard for Bicycle Helmets for Persons Age 5 and Older” or “Complies with U.S. CPSC Safety Standard for Bicycle Helmets for Persons Age 1 and older (Extended Head Coverage).”
  2. The name, address, and phone number of the manufacturer or importer issuing the certificate of authenticity.
  3. The name and address of the foreign manufacturer (if it came from outside of the US).
  4. The serial number identifying the production “lot” of the helmet, along with the month and year it was made.