What should you do if your helmet is damaged? What should you do if your helmet is damaged?

  • A. Let a passenger wear it

  • B. Throw it away and replace it

  • C. If there is no crack in the helmet and it's still under warranty, it's still safe to use

  • D. Sell it

  • E. Patch it with superglue and fibreglass tape

    The correct answer is B
    You should discard the helmet and purchase a new one. Even if it's been in a crash but there's no visible damage, it might have microscopic cracks that weaken it.

What should you do if your motorbike helmet is damaged?

While all helmets must achieve a specific strength, some helmets are more resistant in an accident. Helmets are rated by SHARP in the UK. They give a helmet a rating out of 5. The higher the rating the greater the impact it will take. However, if a helmet takes a knock it can create microscopic fractures invisible to the eye which seriously reduce its strength, and could mean the helmet fails if you have another accident.

Gluing is not an option because a) you don't know where the fractures are, and b) many glues contain compounds that will weaken the shell, not strengthen it. This is also the reason not to place stickers on your helmet. Certain types of stickers are OK for placing on a helmet, but check with the manufacturer of the sticker. Examples include stickers that can be used to convey emergency information, or stickers specifically designed to decorate a helmet.

Other forms of damage to helmets include fraying straps and worn out Velcro. The strap is the main thing that will keep the helmet on your head in an impact; if the strap breaks your head will be vulnerable to a secondary impact.

The polystyrene inner is designed to deform in a crash. If you've had a good, solid hit to the helmet, this polystyrene could be partially crushed already and therefore if you get another hit there, it won't protect your head.

It's important that you get a helmet that protects your whole face. Riders that choose open face or half helmets are at risk of serious facial injuries. Check out this Icon Airframe for where impacts occur on bike helmets.


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