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  1. #1
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    Aug 2009
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    venice, california
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    Question Skateboard helmet vs bicycle helmet?

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    I am in the market for a helmet, maybe. I am happy to spend up to $50 for a helmet that will keep my brain in place.

    I currently use a skateboard helmet, partly because it was from my skateboarding days, and partly because I read somewhere that these helmets are actually more protective than bicycle helmets.

    Is this true?

    Other than speed and weight, is there a reason why I would want to switch to a bicycle helmet, and if so which ones provide the best protection?

    Or is there another acceptable helmet (like a bicycle/skateboard hybrid) that I don't know about?

    [protection is most important to me as I ride in heavy car traffic and do not trust LA drivers]

    Lol, my research led me to this link:
    http://www.raisethehammer.org/blog.asp?id=297
    ughhhh

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
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    507
    Ventilation?

    Most skateboard/street BMX helmets are solid plastic outers with a few holes in them. Bicycle helmets have more ventilation and also more adjustment fit wise.

    All helmets should meet a safety standard (they have to be tested to achieve this) so if the helmet has one it means its safe. A $60 helmet is just as safe as a $200 helmet if they both have safety standards, just one might be lighter, made with carbon bits, looks better etc.

    That said Specialized has got a MTB specific helmet that comes down lower on the back of the neck, because you fall differently than road biking- I'm not sure if that is true.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    Belgium
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    You don't trust the heavy traffic, but you are still wondering if a skateboard helmet is good enough? Seriously? Buy that cycling helmet now!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    Uncanny Valley
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    From the Snell Memorial Foundation's website:

    You may think that activities like bicycling and skateboarding are pretty much the same, wheeled, non-motorized vehicles that are used on paved surfaces. In some ways they are alike but, they also differ in some important aspects. Studies have demonstrated that the the head impacts that cyclists receive are more frequently located on the front third of the helmet down near the lower edge. This is likely a result of the dynamics of how people ride and the design of bicycles. A rider who is about to be involved in an incident is also likely to be using their hands and arms to try to maneuver the bike rather than for the natural act of protecting their head and face.

    Skateboarders generally have less maneuvering capability and thus less active control, except for perhaps those who have an expertise in the activity. The environment that these items are used are commonly less controlled, with a larger variety of unknown hazards. Unlike bicyclists, skateboarders and those who rollerblade, rollerskate and the like are more likely to fall backwards making impacts to the back of the head more common. Their arms and hands are usually free to naturally react and cover at least the front and sides of the head helping to diffuse the impact. It becomes more important that a person on a skateboard, rollerblades or skates have a helmet that offers more protection for the back of the head.
    It's too early in the morning for me to look up the difference between the CPSC's standards for bicycle and skateboard helmets, although the Regulation does reference skateboarding helmets as something to be distinguished from cycling helmets. 16 CFR 1203.4(b)(2). And it's tough to find a Snell bici helmet in the USA these days, since the CPSC standard became mandatory. But their summary gives you a pretty good idea.



    ETA: to KiwiStoker, in the USA, helmets do NOT have to be independently tested. That's why the Snell certification remains important. But it's expensive, and few manufacturers bother with it any more since the CPSC standard became mandatory. And WRT other certifications, even if a helmet has the same model name in other countries as it does in North America, with motorcycle helmets it's definitely not the same helmet - they make lookalike helmets with the same model names, but differently constructed to met CE or other requirements - so if you're in the USA, don't rely on the fact that a bici helmet model has CE certification unless the exemplar in your hands actually bears a CE sticker, and vice versa.
    Last edited by OakLeaf; 09-17-2009 at 05:00 AM.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    3,867
    Bell has a nice helmet called the Citi which looks more like a skate helmet, with more vents.

    Karen
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Switzerland
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    Yakkay Helmet-Hats - they are basically skateboard helmets with a cover.

    Their "Smart One helmet is certified to the tough European helmet safety standard EN1078"
    http://www.redferret.net/?p=14964
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by aeiea View Post
    Lol, my research led me to this link:
    http://www.raisethehammer.org/blog.asp?id=297
    ughhhh
    That "study" (if you can call it that - one guy with a wig) has been widely criticized. Many of the reasons are summarized in the comments to the link you posted.

    If you want to accept his results, put a fright wig on the outside of your helmet.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Memphis, TN
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    996
    Another difference in helmet design is that a bike helmet is made for crashing at higher speeds than a skateboard helmet. In my totally unscientific view, a skateboard helmet offers you a shell with some padding to absorb impact, whereas a bike helmet is a hard shell with hard foam that's designed to break instead of your skull.
    Because not every fast cyclist is a toothpick...

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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    More from the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute [all emphasis added]:

    Unfortunately, some "skate style" helmets are not actually certified to a skateboard standard. If they meet the CPSC bicycle helmet standard they can legally be sold for bicycling and roller skating. But some manufacturers label their helmets for skateboarding and extreme or trick roller skating as well, and the helmets are not certified to ASTM F1492, which requires a multi-impact helmet.

    In-line skating is similar to bicycle riding--fewer crashes, and more violent ones when they occur. So our advice on skateboard helmets differs from that on inline skating helmets. Check our page on skate helmets for the difference. CPSC has a very useful chart of helmets matched to various activities on their Web site.

    By law a bicycle helmet must meet the CPSC standard to be sold in the US market. But that law is unique to bicycle helmets, and there is no US law that says a helmet being marketed only for skateboarding has to meet any standard whatsoever. The manufacturers and retailers are mostly afraid of lawsuits if they don't meet a skateboard standard, but in fact they can sell anything at all as a skateboard helmet as long as they don't market it for bicycling. So for skateboard use look for the ASTM F1492 sticker inside the helmet if it is a "skate" helmet in addition to any CPSC sticker it may have. Note that some helmets may be certified to F1492 only in some sizes, and not in others. If the manufacturer makes one shell size and just uses thinner foam inserts for larger size heads, for example, the large may not be certified. Or it may be the other way around and the small is not certified. That sticker in the helmet is the only thing you can rely on. It must be there, or all bets are off.

    Never accept anyone's statement that the helmet passes without a sticker. That goes for whatever the manufacturer has put on the outside packaging. We are still finding helmets with "ASTM F1492" on the packaging, but not inside the helmet. The ASTM F1492 skateboard helmet standard requires that there be a sticker inside the helmet. If there is no sticker, the helmet therefore does not meet at very least the labeling requirements of the standard. Any statement just on the packaging (which they know you throw away) is not a certification and means nothing. Packaging and helmet models can be mismatched at the factory, and you don't know what you are buying if you rely only on the box. The manufacturer may have changed the helmet, degrading its performance, but still be using up some old packaging. We do not accept any manufacturer's statement that the lack of a sticker inside is just an oversight.

    One of the significant advantages to a dual certified helmet is that the CPSC bicycle helmet standard test line is lower in front than the F1492 skateboard standard, even though the skateboard standard has a lower test line in the back. So the helmet has to protect in front to a lower point on your head. It only has to offer bicycle protection (single impact) in that area, but at least it is tested at the lower point for one hard hit.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
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    venice, california
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    Quote Originally Posted by papaver View Post
    You don't trust the heavy traffic, but you are still wondering if a skateboard helmet is good enough? Seriously? Buy that cycling helmet now!
    Hey, as I noted in my original post, I read somewhere that skateboard helmets pass the same safety tests as cycling helmets, and then I read that skateboard helmets are supposedly safer though bulker and more less ventilation than bicycling helmets.

    This is the reason why I kept the skateboard helmet.

    And, since I'm now going faster than I did on my mountain bike, I figured I should do further research before continuing on. Which is why I'm posting here, for starters.

    Thanks to everyone who provided info that can help me make an informed decision. Also, those helmet hats are adorable!
    Last edited by aeiea; 09-17-2009 at 08:27 AM.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
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    101
    While the helmet hats are indeed adorable they totally defeat the purpose of the helmet being able to slide and thus not catch and result in broken neck. Not advised!!!

  12. #12
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    Dec 2005
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    WA State
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    Quote Originally Posted by szsz View Post
    While the helmet hats are indeed adorable they totally defeat the purpose of the helmet being able to slide and thus not catch and result in broken neck. Not advised!!!
    I highly doubt those helmet hats would stick to the ground.... the helmets that were found to be dangerous in that respect were the short lived (though I occasionally still see someone tooling around in one!) all foam with no covering at all models. The problems was that the polystyrene could actually stick to the pavement for an instant and in that split second snap your neck. They could be made safer by the addition of a lycra cover, but were still never a very good idea and did not last long on the market.

    The helmet hats have a slippery hard shell on the helmet itself and I would doubt that the hat covering would pose a risk either, even if it were firmly attached to the helmet, which I think it is not.
    Last edited by Eden; 09-17-2009 at 10:49 AM.
    "Sharing the road means getting along, not getting ahead" - 1994 Washington State Driver's Guide

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  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    35
    The Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute website http://www.bhsi.org/index.htm has a lot of good info. I looked at when researching helmets and I actually ended up buying a skateboard style helmet which meets all the safety standard stuff.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Weir, TX
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    I love my Giro Skyla and it's a $40 helmet

    That said, now that it's getting cooler I like it a lot more than I did about 2 or 3 months ago I think next spring when it warms up I will look at spending a little more and upgrade to one with maybe a bit more ventilation.. but it's very comfortable and it fits great.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Chagrin Falls, OH
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    1
    Hi aeiea,

    Great advice on this thread regarding the differences between "skateboard" and bicycle helmets. You really have to be careful, as there is a difference between "styling", "marketing", and "safety/certification standards."

    If you are bicycling, then you really should be wearing a helmet that meets the CPSC bicycle helmet safety standard. Look for the sticker inside the helmet that declares this - typically with the letters "CPSC", but at least with a statement like "this helmet meets the requirements of the Consumer Product Safety Commission safety standard for bicycle use..." The CPSC standard is mandated by Federal law for any helmet sold in the U.S. as a bicycle helmet.

    Skateboard helmets CAN meet a certification (from ASTM - the F1492 skateboard helmet certification), but ARE NOT REQUIRED to pass any testing at all. So, anyone can make a helmet and sell it as a "skateboard helmet" without passing any test. Not that this is wrong...There are very good quality skateboard helmets on the market that are not certified to anything - they don't need to be.

    With that having been said, many brands market helmets as "skateboard helmets" - including skateboarders on the box and/or "skate" text on the package. But typically, if you look closely, you'll see that the helmet meets the CPSC bicycle standard (and maybe even the ASTM skate standard, too), but is marketed and sold as a "skateboard" helmet. This is a case where the helmet has skate styling, and skate marketing, but it's certified to the bike standard. If you really want the "skate" look, and/or the extended coverage on the back of your head, choose one of these....

    And finally, I'd be remiss if I didn't ask you to check the inside of your current helmet. If it does not have a sticker with the CPSC language, you really should find yourself a bicycle certified helmet - even if it has the skate styling you like. For $35, you can pick up a Bell Faction or Giro Flak - good examples of "skate style" helmets that meet the CPSC bike standard. Want lighter weight and a more bicycle oriented style? Something like the Bell Citi or the Giro Xen have a skate influence, but still have tons of venting and light weight. They are bicycle helmets that incorporate a skater style...

    I hope this helps you and others. It can be confusing. The bottom line - if you're bicycling, wear a helmet that meets the CPSC safety standard. Whether that helmet looks like a skate helmet or not is totally up to you!

 

 

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