ASTM and Snell
The US has two helmet safety standards, American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) and Snell. ASTM accounts for 70 percent of the worldwide bicycle helmets certified, while the Snell Foundation, founded in 1957, is the tougher of the safety certifications.
Safety certifications mean nothing unless the helmet fits properly. According to the NHSTA (National Highway Traffic and Safety Association), the size, position, buckles, side straps and chin strap all must fit correctly.
Weather and Sun
The Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute suggests being aware of degradation to the helmet materials if they are exposed to extreme cold or sun. Helmets can lose integrity and become unsafe if exposed to harsh weather conditions for prolonged periods.
Age can also break down the materials of the bicycle helmet, compromising safety. Check your helmet at the beginning of each season for degradation, and replace it after two or three seasons of use.
If you are teaching your child to ride a bicycle, set a positive example for the child by wearing your properly fitted helmet.
Article Written By Eric Cedric
A former Alaskan of 20 years, Eric Cedric now resides in California. He's published in "Outside" and "Backpacker" and has written a book on life in small-town Alaska, "North by Southeast." Cedric was a professional mountain guide and backcountry expedition leader for 18 years. He worked in Russia, Iceland, Greece, Turkey and Belize. Cedric attended Syracuse University and is a private pilot.