A Tiny History of Bike Helmets

It was actually the professional sports areas of biking, such as the mountain bikers and the Olympic athletes, who first used helmets when they rode. The UCI—Union Cycliste Internationale, the ruling body of cycling, never required mandatory helmet use and they left it up to individuals to make that choice. However, as one began the trend, so did other’s follow. Eventually, the sporting world did make it mandatory and this led to a review of the general laws around the world.

After studies and surveys it became necessary to review the laws because there was a serious correlation between cycling accidents and the risk of head injury. It has long been known that a motorcyclist can be killed or seriously brain damaged because of a road traffic accident on their bike. Most people tended to presume that because cyclists were slower on the road the risk of injury was reduced. However, this has been proven to be incorrect, and therefore it is mandatory in many countries for cyclists to wear a helmet.

Many countries actually maintain that it is illegal to ride a bicycle on any public thoroughfare without a legally acceptable bike helmet. In Canada, USA, Australia and New Zealand—among others—it is illegal to ride a bicycle on a road, pavement or public area without using a helmet, regardless of age. In other countries there are laws to prohibit the use of bikes on roads if the rider is not wearing safety gear, but in other countries again, there are no laws whatsoever. The United Kingdom, for example, have consistently refused to pass any laws to make cycle safety-wear mandatory, despite the best efforts of many groups and lobbyists.

Design and Technology

Most cycle helmets are extremely lightweight and durable. They are not nearly as clumsy and heavy as a motorcycle helmet and most cycle helmets are made up of aerodynamic shapes with very light materials, such as polystyrene. 1975 saw the very first successful cycle helmet design. It was made from polystyrene and has a hard shell. At the time there were no international standards, but ten years later, in 1985, Snell B85 was introduced and became the widely adopted standard for bike helmets and safety gear. For the best prices in bike helmets,  for a list of their costs, options and styles, as well as their range of adult and kid helmets.

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