Can You Use a Bike Helmet for Skateboarding: The Ultimate Helmet Guide

Explore the skate vs. bike helmet debate. Delve into helmet safety standards, and find the best helmet for your skate journey.

When it comes to thrill-seeking activities, both biking and skateboarding rank high on the list. And with the thrills come the inevitable risks, making helmets a crucial part of our safety gear. But does a helmet designed for one sport suffice for the other? Strap in and get ready for an enlightening ride!

What’s the difference between a skateboard helmet and a bike helmet?

Skateboard helmets are designed with a rounder shape and provide more coverage, especially at the back, to protect against falls from multiple angles typical in skateboarding. They are made to endure multiple low-force impacts. On the other hand, bike helmets have an aerodynamic design with ventilation and are built primarily for single, high-force impacts, like those from high-speed crashes.

Image of a skateboarder wearing a purple skate helmet. Source: unsplash
Image of a skateboarder wearing a purple skate helmet. Source: unsplash

The foam in bike helmets is intended to crush to disperse energy during such impacts, necessitating replacement after a significant hit. While both helmets protect the head, they are optimized for different types of falls and impacts relevant to their respective sports.

Key differences between a skateboard helmet and a bike helmet:

Whether cruising down a serene bike trail or mastering tricks at a bustling skatepark, head protection remains paramount. Though they may appear similar at a glance, skateboard and bike helmets are designed with distinct features tailored to the unique challenges of each sport. Look at our comparison table below to understand the subtle and not-so-subtle distinctions.

FeatureSkateboard HelmetBike Helmet
DesignRounded, covers more of the back of the headAerodynamics often has vents for cooling
Impact ProtectionDesigned for multiple low-force impactsDesigned for a single high-force impact
Certification StandardsCPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission), ASTM F1492Typically, it should be replaced after a significant impact
Chin StrapsTypically more robust to ensure the helmet stays on during tricksLighter and often adjustable for comfort
CoverageFull-coverage, often with a deep rear fitTypically, it should be replaced after a significant impact
VentilationFewer vents due to the need for more surface protectionNumerous vents for airflow during cycling
LinerSofter liner for multiple impactsHarder, single-impact foam liner
Typical Use CasesSkate parks, vert ramps, and street skateboardingRoad cycling, mountain biking, racing
Durability After ImpactSits higher on the head may not offer as much rear coverageTypically should be replaced after a significant impact
WeightSlightly heavier due to extra protectionLighter for rider comfort during long rides
Key differences between a skateboard helmet and a bike helmet

To sum it up, skateboard and bike helmets were created with distinct sports in mind, each with its own set of risks.

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My favorite helmet (at the moment):

Triple Eight Sweatsaver Helmet

Can you use a bike helmet for skateboarding: the ultimate helmet guide | 81jj4khws9l. Ac sl1500 | skateboard salad
My favorite helmet (at the moment):

Triple Eight Sweatsaver Helmet

I’ve seen too many slams to know you need a helmet—seriously! Anyway, here’s my favorite one. And yes, the vent holes make a world of difference on a hot day. Pro tip: If you care about not looking dorky, a darker helmet will look more natural than a lighter one.

Is a dual-certified helmet a solid choice?

A resounding yes! Investing in a dual-certified helmet, which is ASTM-approved and CPSC-certified, is just smart skating. Now, what are these standards, you ask? Well, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) are organizations that vouch for the safety of your helmet.

Make sure their seal is there, shouting safety from within your helmet. Trust me, it’s worth considering if you want that killer cross-compatibility between skateboarding and biking. However, no solution applies to everyone; you must consider your regular activities. Are you experimenting with some gnarly rail slides? Or are you skating and biking casually in your neighborhood?

If you’re keeping it light and you won’t be dealing with extensive force, then a dual-certified helmet might be your new BFF. If you’re a vert skater pulling insane air tricks, you might need more specific gear. Ensure you thoroughly inspect any helmet post-impact to ensure your safety remains top-notch. If there’s even a hint of a crack, it’s time to break up with that helmet. You’ll find impressive replacements right here.

Is the helmet foam a big deal?

Yes, the type of foam used in helmets is a big deal. The foam plays a crucial role in absorbing and dispersing the force of impacts, thereby reducing the risk of injury. Here’s why the helmet foam is significant:

  • Impact absorption: A helmet’s primary purpose is to absorb an impact’s energy, reducing the force that reaches the skull and brain. The foam’s density and thickness determine how much energy it can absorb.
  • Safety standards: Different activities have different impact scenarios. For instance, a skateboarder might experience multiple low-force impacts, while a cyclist might encounter a single high-force crash. The type of foam, its density, and its configuration are chosen to meet the safety standards appropriate for each activity.
  • Comfort and fit: Foam contributes to the comfort and fit of the helmet. The inner foam lining can provide cushioning, while the outer foam plays a role in the helmet’s overall shape and size.
  • Durability: As mentioned, some foams, like EPS, don’t handle multiple impacts well. If a helmet with such foam experiences a significant impact, the foam compresses loses its structure, and won’t provide the same level of protection in subsequent impacts.

If it wasn’t, we wouldn’t be talking about it, would we? Jokes aside, helmet foam is a pretty big deal. Like the Tony Hawk of helmet internals, they handle energy management and impacts like a pro. Skater or biker, you’ll be thankful for these foamy saviors. The most popular helmets you see rolling around the park typically feature Expanded PolyPropylene (EPP) and Expanded Polystyrene (EPS).

Types of foam

  • EPS (Expanded Polystyrene): Commonly used in many helmets, including bike helmets, this foam is lightweight and has excellent impact absorption properties for high-energy impacts. However, it doesn’t bounce back after compression, so helmets with EPS foam usually need replacement after a significant impact.
  • EPP (Expanded Polypropylene): Found in some skateboard helmets, EPP is more resilient than EPS. It can recover its shape after an impact, making it suitable for multiple minor impacts.
  • Other foams: Some helmets incorporate additional materials or technologies to enhance protection, such as memory foam for comfort or MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection System) layers to address rotational forces.
Image of a red bike helmet. Source: unsplash
Image of a red bike helmet. Source: unsplash

My opinion

From a novice’s perspective, the best advice is perhaps to tread on the safer side and get a helmet specifically designed for skateboarding, especially when there are slices of uncertainty like micro-fractures and impact restoration. It’s not worth taking a chance. Yeah, a multiple-impact helmet sounds epic, like having a Hulk-proof shield.

“Skateboarding and biking may appear similar at a glance, yet they each command their own unique array of daredevilry. Looking at the helmets designed for both activities, the key lies in understanding the level of your involvement, risks, and needs. Equip yourself with the right knowledge, and you’re one step closer to a killer ride.”

But, in reality, there’s no way to predict its ability to sustain the next blow if it’s already taken a few. Safe skating is still the best! Plus, if looking cool is part of your agenda, you’ll find advice on how to look like a good skater right here. Skateboarding is an evolving art; it’s about expressing yourself, breaking the norms, and embracing the whole culture, equipment included!

Dos and don’ts of skateboarding helmets

In the grand scheme, getting everything right about your helmet can drastically jerk up your safety level. Here’s a quick cheat sheet on what to do and what not to do when it comes to skateboarding helmets:

DosDon’ts
Choose helmets that provide coverage for the back of your headDo not use any old bike helmets; the safety standards differ
Make sure your helmet is dual-certified to CPSC 1203 and ASTM F1492 if you plan to use it for both biking and skatingDo not use any old bike helmet; the safety standards differ
Regularly inspect your helmet for damages like cracksMake sure your helmet is dual-certified to CPSC 1203 and ASTM F1492 if you plan to use it for biking and skating.

Remember, the best helmet adheres to safety standards, fits snugly, and is tailored to your adventure needs.

Data on helmets’ impact resistance

What’s inside your helmet carries the weight of your safety. Different foams are used for various purposes and have diverse effects on impact resistance.

Foam TypeUsed inImpact ResistanceRestores after Impact
Expanded PolyPropylene (EPP)Skate helmetsMulti-impactYes
Expanded Polystyrene (EPS)Bike helmetsSingle, extreme impactNo
Knowing your helmet’s capabilities can be a potential game-changer. Align your needs with the right helmet for a safer skating experience.

Advantages and disadvantages of using bike helmets for skateboarding

When choosing headgear for your skating saga, the debate can get heated, and for good reasons. Let’s slice and dice the pros and cons of considering a bike helmet for skateboarding:

Pros

  • Bike helmets are stellar at handling extreme forces, much like how your favorite action hero takes a punch.
  • They’re designed for comfort and better ventilation, allowing you to breathe easier during those sweat-breaking sessions.
  • A dual-certified helmet could save you some bucks without compromising safety if you’re both a cyclist and a skater.

Cons

  • Bike helmets might not cover the back of the head. That can be sketchy for a skater because you need extra protection during bailouts.
  • They’re designed for a single, hard impact. You hit hard, and that’s pretty much it. You may have to bid goodbye to your helmet after that.
  • The thin shell of bike helmets might not withstand multiple impacts compared to the thick shell of skate helmets.

Choosing the right helmet essentially boils down to understanding your skating needs, considering safety grades, cost, and comfort.

If you are a visual learner, check out the video below from YouTube.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

In the realm of skateboarding safety, helmets spark numerous discussions and queries. Below, you’ll find some frequently asked questions about using a bike helmet for skateboarding that we haven’t touched on yet:

Does a bike helmet offer enough protection for skateboarding?

While bike helmets are designed to withstand extreme force, they don’t truly fit the bill regarding the multifaceted ways one can fall while skateboarding. They’re typically not designed to handle multiple impacts and often don’t offer enough coverage at the back of the head, which can be problematic when skating.

It’s less about whether a bike helmet is enough and more about whether it’s the right tool for the specific risks of skateboarding. Suppose one must choose between wearing a bike helmet or no helmet while skateboarding; using the bike helmet is better than going without. However, using the right gear for the specific activity is always best.

How often should I replace my helmet?

Replace your helmet if it has been through a severe crash or impact. Regular inspection for any damage, such as cracks in the shell or any discrepancy in the foam, is crucial. If your helmet foam doesn’t restore after a major impact, it’s time to say goodbye. Also, replacing your helmet every five years is generally recommended, as materials degrade over time.

Are dual-certified helmets as safe as sport-specific helmets?

Dual-certified helmets meet safety standards for biking and skateboarding, making them versatile. However, they’re designed to strike a balance, and you could argue that they may not offer the same level of sport-specific protection as dedicated skateboarding or biking helmets. Ultimately, your choice should align with your participation level in each activity.

Final thoughts

Given the grit, grinds, and possible gnarly falls, picking the right helmet for skateboarding is no small decision. Your spirit of adventure needs a companion for safety, and while using a bike helmet is possible, it’s not necessarily the optimal choice. To navigate the adrenaline-infused paths of skateboarding, a helmet tailored specifically to its challenges is your best ally.

What are your thoughts on using a bike helmet for skateboarding? Did concepts like helmet foam certification standards get you stoked, or are they too much trouble? In the comments section below, I read and reply to every comment. If you found this article helpful, share it with a fellow skater. Thanks for reading, and remember, every pavement is an opportunity to skate the talk!

Key takeaways

We’ve shredded through the skate and bike helmet debate in this article. Here are some key takeaways to remember:

  • Bike helmets can be used for skateboarding, provided they are dual-certified to CPSC 1203 and ASTM F1492 safety standards.
  • Skateboard helmets cover the back of the head, offering additional protection from the common falls in skateboarding.
  • Helmet foam type and its resistance to impacts are important. EPP, found in skate helmets, is made to sustain multiple impacts.
  • Regular helmet check-ups are an essential part of your safety routine. Replace your helmet if there are signs of damage or after a significant impact.
  • While dual-certified helmets are convenient for biking and skating, they might not offer perfectly tailored protection for each sport.

Helpful resources

Steven Portrate
Written by Steven Sadder, Staff Writer

Hey! I'm Steven, a lifelong skater, and proud New Yorker. I’ve been skating since I was a teenager. I may be a bit older now, but I'm not slowing down. Follow me for skating tips and latest gear reviews.

Nick eggert.
Edited by Nick Eggert, Staff Editor

Nick is our staff editor and co-founder. He has a passion for writing, editing, and website development. His expertise lies in shaping content with precision and managing digital spaces with a keen eye for detail.

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