Can you use a bike helmet for skateboarding or skating? That’s a serious question because we know the importance of a sporting helmet in head protection from injuries. Skate helmet vs. bike helmet: I will discuss whether the two can be used interchangeably.
Also called headpiece, a helmet is a protective head covering equipment usually made of hard material to resist impact. During collision, the protective headgear disperse the force of impact, reducing its effect on your skull and brain.
It could also be referred to as a padded hat that covers and protects the head. Most helmets are made from resin and plastic.
However, not all injuries are prevented with helmets. For instance, it has not been proven scientifically that helmets can completely prevent concussions and other traumatic brain injuries.
Have an insight about Concussion Vital Signs to know when you are at risk or someone else around you.
So what are those helmet features that can permit you to use a skate helmet and bike helmet interchangeably? Let’s look at each helmet critically to bring out the differences and draw conclusions.
Bike helmets are worn when riding a bike. It reduces the impacts of an injury in case of an accident. It minimizes side effects, such as interference with peripheral vision.
Currently, there is ongoing scientific research about protection offered by bike helmets in the event of head injuries during bike accidents.
Types of Bike Helmets
Initially, bike helmets were made for bicycling on roads and road racing. With the evolvement of these helmets, they mostly had an elongated shape, usually with vents, and are often made with EPS (polypropylene ethylene) foam covered by a thin plastic shell.
They are the most-used helmets in the entire world and millions of them are sold every year. Interior foam can be EPS, EPP (expanded polypropylene) or a variation of the above.
Commuter bike helmet
A commuter is a type of bike helmet. It is a helmet with a rounded shape, rather than the elongated road style helmet. It has vents and sometimes accessories like winter ear flaps, mirrors and rear blinkers that are useful for commuting.
Trail bike helmet
Trail identifies helmets with blocky lines and vents which appear to be lower coverage in the rear. Not every helmet in this style actually has additional rear coverage.
Toddler bike helmet
This kind of helmet is made for very young children. It is typically round and smooth. It is expected to pass the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) standard if the helmet is designed for children under the age of 5.
The child should be supported by a pillow behind, if the foam is thick in the rear. Other types or categories of bike helmets include: Stylish Bike Helmet, Mips Mike Helmets, Bike Helmet with Lights, Mountain Bike Helmets, and Adult Bike Helmet.
Skate helmets are the best shape for hitting pavement at high speed. They began as round smooth hard shell helmets in the 1970s and skateboarders cling to that shape till today.
Skateboard helmets were once made using a type of foam that works in lesser impact but then cannot handle the energy of a full hit from skateboard crashes. The shell is made of hard ABS plastic material.
Skate helmets withstand over one very minor hit. The hard shell on most skateboard helmets holds up under multiple impact. A helmet softens the impact when the foam inside it crushes.
Skate Helmet Design Features
There are 3 main types of skateboard helmets: classic, full-cut and full-face
Classic helmets shells cover the head from the middle of your forehead to your neckline. The best skateboard helmets feature is the ABS (engineering plastic) outer shell.
They have ventilation holes at the top, front and back. They also feature ear cutouts. Full-face helmets are high protection models for the most extreme riders and they are like the ones used by motorcyclists.
Full-cut helmets offer a more head-and-face coverage, covering ears further down the neck. They are slightly heavier than the classic helmets.
ABS plastic is the most common outer shell material in the world thanks to its durable nature. Its major function is to absorb shock during collisions of the head with hard objects.
The pads and liners
The interior of the helmet comprises high-impact ready EPS (polypropylene ethylene) foam, soft and extra thick padding, removable liners and adjustable chain straps with side release buckles.
EPS foam liners suffer more of the impact of a crash, protecting your skull from severe injuries. These foam liners are found in most certified helmets.
These head protective systems are often lightweight, durable and meet up with maximum safety standards.
The ventilation system
Ventilation systems will help keep your head cool and minimize sweating. Safety rear lights ensure car drivers see you, even in the dark.
Bike Helmet Design Feature
This gives shape to your helmet. They are usually made of thin plastic or hard-shell. Shells often have reflective materials at the back of the helmet that can enhance visibility. The shell spread the impact force during collision, reducing the effect of the force on the skull and brain.
Chin strap and Buckle
A helmet’s buckle helps to securely hold your helmet’s strap together under your chin. The chin straps keep your helmet tight, making it less likely to move off your head in case of any impact.
The strap divider allows the strap to fit comfortably around your ears.
The inner part of most helmets is often filled with EPP or EPS. This high-density foam absorbs shock and protect your head injuries.
Vents are an integral design feature of a bike helmet. They help to keep bugs and tree debris out of your helmet. Ventilation is just holes in a helmet which allow full airflow. Vents help to keep the head cool and well-ventilated.
As cyclists travel faster, the vents keep the air flowing. This explains why bike helmets have vents that are in front and at the back in order to work with the airflow.
Visor or no visor
Visors are helpful both on sunny and rainy days. They protect you from the sun and, on rainy days, prevent rain from dripping onto your face.
Adding some reflective details to your helmet can help you stay visible during dawn and dusk rides. Bike helmets make provision for that while goggles and visors don’t really go well with skate helmets.
The fit system is a series of straps and fasteners that tighten the helmet comfortably around your head. Sizing adjustment wheel on the back of the helmet can be adjusted to fit the size of your head.
Difference between Bike Helmet and Skate Helmet
We all know the primary aim of wearing a helmet is to protect your head from injury. The most important fact about wearing a helmet is to wear the right type and wear it correctly.
Helmets save lives; a helmet can reduce the odds of a severe traumatic brain injury by 51% upon impact? Now, to be on the safer side, it is preferable to wear the right helmet for the right activity.
Below, we will discuss the differences that exist between a skate helmet and a bike helmet and also the functioning of each helmet.
Bike helmets are made using foam that deforms upon a single impact, hence, you need to replace your bike helmet after only one impact. while skate helmets withstand multiple impact.
This is logical since skaters practice tricks that will cause them to fall several times whereas cyclist don’t practice a fall often. So a skate helmet is a multi-impact helmet while a bike helmet is a single impact helmet and must be replaced after a single crash.
One of the key differences in helmet is their shape. Though bike helmets are more aerodynamic, studies show that it has little effect in non-race environments.
So is there a particular reason skate and bike helmets are shaped differently? The answer is yes! Bike helmets rarely cover the lower back of the head, the reason being that bike readers hardly or never fall backward off the bike.
In the event of a crash, a biker is much more likely to continue moving forward than fall backward.
Riding on a mountain implies jumping and moving over an uneven road at a high speed, which means falls can happen in any direction. Therefore, mountain bike helmets provide protection that cover the head’s back and the full face.
Given that skaters are likely to fall off backward, skate helmets typically protect the lower part of the head.
I totally agree to where some people like to look good when biking or skating, but then fashion should not play an important role in selecting a helmet. Skate helmets are more versatile.
You can use them for other activities, while bike helmets can be used only for bike riding. They are considered more stylish than bike helmets.
Bike helmets are more aerodynamic. Bike helmet have better ventilation. Skate helmets have vents, but the vents are smaller than those in bike helmets and are not designed in a way that air can easily flow through them. Regardless of the ventilation, helmets can sometimes feel warm the longer you wear them. This warmth is because of the foam lining; foam keeps heat, but with a good ventilation structure, most of this heat reduces.
Good Fitting Tips for Bike Helmet
Just like shoes or clothes, helmets have sizes and measurements. When choosing a helmet, the first question to ask is “does it provide the right protection for the activity I want to do?” Follow the tips below.
- Buy the right size helmet and adjust it properly
- Replace it after a major hit or 2, even if the damages are unseen.
The helmet fits properly when
- It does not move when you move your head in any direction.
- It does not wobble from side to side, or tilt from front to back.
- The helmet stays level across the forehead, just above the eyebrows.
- The straps are tight and the chin strap feels snug when you open your mouth.
Try it on in the store before buying, to make sure it fits properly. It won’t protect you if it’s just hanging on your handlebars.
Good Fitting Tips for Skate Helmet
- The skate helmet should have a strong strap and buckle so that the helmet stays on your head.
- There should be no space between the foam, the pad and the skateboarder’s head. Always remember to fasten it.
- Make sure it is up to standards. There’s a sticker inside the helmet that tells what standard it meets. The best skate helmets are “dual-certified” to both the ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) and CPSC standards. Helmets that meet up to these standards are tested for skateboarding.
- If you are not sure of the size of your head, use a measuring tape to measure the circumference of the widest part of your head. If you don’t have a measuring tape, use a string, then measure the length on a ruler.
- Check how many vents the helmet has. You’ll like to keep it cool and not sweat too much.
- Consider the weight of the helmet; sometimes you’ll have to wear your helmet for a long time.
Safety should be your major priority. If looks are a priority for you, then you should go for the skate helmets. They are thought to be more youthful and “street” looking. It is mostly casual cyclists, mountain bikers and commuters that prefer this type of helmet.
Aside from the differences, skate helmet and bike helmet a have a lot of similarities. They are both made of the same elements, they both have removable liners, and they are often adjustable in similar ways.
Full-face skate helmets are high protection models for the most extreme riders and they are like the ones used by motorcyclists.
So, it is important to wear helmets and most especially use the helmet meant for the activity you want to do. For instance, if you want to go skateboarding, buy a skateboard helmet, not a bike helmet or a snowboard helmet. You will get better coverage and protection when using a helmet built for skateboarding.
Frequently Asked Questions about Skate Helmet vs. Bike Helmet
When Should You Replace a Helmet?
It is always a good idea to know when exactly to replace your helmet, since a helmet plays an important role in protecting your head. No matter the type of helmet you have, be it skate, bike or multi-use, if you are involved in a high-impact collision, you will need to replace your helmet.
Most of the damage is unseen. For example, if you fall off your bike and the helmet hits the pavement, you may only see scratches. meanwhile, the helmet’s interior components may have been damaged. Some cracks are invisible to the eyes.
Bike helmets are not designed to crack. Instead, they compress upon impact. Once the foam is compressed, it deforms and can’t compress again. Therefore, they are onetime use helmets.
Examining your helmet daily is the best course of action you can take in order to know whether to change your helmet and stay safe
Red flags to look for :
- Poorly working straps or buckles.
- Scrapes, bumps, or cracks on the outer shell,
- Adjustment mechanism issues,
- Cracks or aging signs on the inner shell.
If you notice any of these, then it is time to get a new helmet. Also, if you notice that the foam on the interior of your helmet is degrading, it is time to replace it. It is advisable to replace a frequently used helmet at least every three years, regardless if it’s been in an accident or not.
Replacing a helmet after three years is not based on the purchase date, but the manufacturing date. Modern helmets have the manufacturing date printed on the interior of the helmet so that you can keep track of when to get a new helmet.
Other aspects you should take into consideration are;
- Did you store it properly while you weren’t using it?
- Does it still fit correctly?
- How often do you use it?
Why is it important to Wear a Skate Helmet?
It is of utmost importance than you put on a skate or skateboard helmet while skateboarding to avoid traumatic head injuries, brain trauma and concussions.
It is the new standard for avoiding head injuries like skull and jaw fractures on a skateboard that you have to wear your helmet. You can fall many times and still be safe if you are putting on your headgear.
In most skate parks, riders are required to wear pads and helmets before entering. No matter how experienced you are, wear a skateboard helmet.
Regardless of the helmet brand you decide to go with, it should include protective padding, not shift around while skateboarding. In order to protect your head, ensure that you have a properly measured your head for the perfect fitting skateboard helmet. Learn to replace your helmet regularly, especially after a major hit.