How to Tell if Your Bicycle Helmet is Counterfeit

Counterfeit bicycle helmets put the safety of cyclists at risk. Recognizing an authentically-designed helmet vs a cheaply-made fake helmet could mean the difference between walking away from a bike accident with a few bumps or bruises, suffering permanent brain damage, or worse, dying.

The Danger of Counterfeit Bicycle Helmets

Bicycle helmets are designed to protect cyclists from head injuries. They must meet federal safety standards. A counterfeit helmet may look like an authentic helmet on its exterior. Its inner construction and the quality of materials used in its manufacturing are not the same as an authentic helmet, however. The fake helmet often does not meet U.S. safety standards and could easily crack with minimal impact.

Specialized Bicycles, a manufacturer of authentic bicycle helmets puts its helmets through three tests to ensure they exceed federal safety standards. The company has tested counterfeit helmets masquerading as theirs. Many appear identical on the outside. Unlike their authentic helmets that passed all the tests, the counterfeit helmets failed all three. The final test was the most critical. The third test gauges how the helmet will hold up if the rider were to fall and slam his or her head into a curb. The counterfeit helmet broke apart upon impact.

Wearing a counterfeit bicycle helmet puts the rider at greater risk for a serious or fatal injury if he or she were involved in an accident with a motor vehicle or were to fall and hit his or her head. Based on the results of Specialized’s third test, a real person wearing that counterfeit helmet would have likely fractured his or her skull and suffered brain damage or death.

The Lasting Effect of Traumatic Brain Injuries

With an increased risk of injury, adult cyclists and parents of children who ride bicycles should be careful when shopping for a bike helmet. Purchasing and wearing an authentic helmet could reduce the risk of a traumatic brain injury. If a cyclist is injured because of the inadequate protection a counterfeit bicycle helmet, the cost of emergency treatment, medical care, rehabilitation, and life-long care can be astronomical. Because it may be impossible to trace the seller or manufacturer of a counterfeit bicycle helmet, the injured party and his or her family could be left footing the bill.

How Do Counterfeit Helmets Differ from Authentic Helmets?

At first look, it can be difficult to determine whether a helmet is authentic or counterfeit. The first tip-off that a bicycle helmet may be counterfeit is its price. It is great to find a bargain, but if the price is drastically less than the list price of an authentic helmet it could be counterfeit. For example, an authentic Specialized brand helmet may retail between $200 to $250 while a counterfeit knock-off may sell on eBay, Craigslist, or Alibaba for $50.

Some sellers of counterfeit bicycle helmets may even be so bold as to sell them slightly below the price of an authentic one. It is recommended that before purchasing an inexpensively-priced helmet, buyers do their homework and compare prices from reputable retailers online.

If a helmet does not have the proper safety stickers issued by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), it is likely a counterfeit. The CPSC is responsible for setting safety standards for many products sold in the United States, including bicycle helmets. A product must meet the CPSC standards to be issued a safety sticker.

The weight of a counterfeit bicycle helmet is often lighter than an authentic helmet because they are not made with the same materials. If the sizing in the helmet is not American, for example, Asian sizing, instead, that helmet has not been approved by the CPSC.

Henderson and Nevada Bicycle Safety Legislation

The city of Henderson takes the safety of bicyclists seriously. Henderson recommends that everyone take steps to stay safe. This includes wearing a helmet to prevent injury. The city also requires bicyclists to follow certain rules including:

  • Keeping to the right
  • Obeying all traffic signs and signals
  • Using lights at night
  • Having working brakes
  • Using hand signals for turns and stops

While Nevada law does not require bicyclists to wear helmets, lawmakers have introduced a bill in the Legislature that would require anyone 17 years old or younger to wear a helmet if he or she is riding a bicycle, roller skating, skateboarding, or riding a scooter.

If the helmet legislation were to be put into law, after a first time warning, parents of violators would have to pay a $15 fine. This fine could be waived if the parent provides proof to the court that they obtained a helmet for the child before the fine is due.