Neat Facts About Bicycle Helmets

Neat Facts About Bicycle Helmets
Bicycle helmets have become ubiquitous in cycling, and for good reason. As they gain more acceptance with the general public, they have the potential to save more lives. What are they made of and how did they originate? Here are some neat facts about bicycle helmets.


The first bicycle helmets were made of pith, the spongy center section of plants, in the 1880s, said Randy Swart, director of the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute. At the turn of the 20th century, riders began using padded leather strips to cover their head, Swart said. The modern bike helmet didn't come into existence until the 1970s.


According to the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute, anywhere from 45 to 88 percent of cyclists' head injuries could be prevented by wearing a helmet.

Famous Ties

A black bicycle helmet that features Lance Armstrong's autograph sold at a charity auction for $650.


Most bicycle helmets are made up of a shell that covers expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam. As Bicycling magazine points out, that's the same foam that picnic coolers are made of.

Fun Fact

In 1998, Bell, a prominent helmet manufacturer, unveiled a bicycle helmet for people with exceptionally large heads, Swart said. They named it the Kinghead, and it fit up to the size 8 1/4. It has since been removed from their catalog and can only be special ordered.

Article Written By Shane Farver

Shane Farver is a former newspaper reporter looking to immerse himself in freelance writing. Farver's interests lie particularly in writing about the outdoors and recreation, but he has a solid background of writing about politics, crime, and military issues. Being a former college instructor, he also enjoy writing pedagogical articles.

Keep Me Informed

Weekly newsletters, announcements and offers from to your inbox.

Sign me up!

We HATE spam and promise to keep your email addresses safe and secure.