Can You Use a Bike Helmet for Skateboarding?


The types of injuries sustained by skateboarders and cyclists can differ considerably. It is for this reason that bicycle helmet and skateboarding helmet manufacturers need to comply with completely different safety standards when designing helmets.

Understanding these standards will help you to understand which helmets can be used only for skateboarding, which helmets can be used only for cycling, and which helmets can be used for both activities.

Boy wearing bicycle helmet falling from skateboard
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JUMP TO :
Bike Helmet Vs Skateboard Helmet
Helmet Durability
Skate and Bike Helmet Standards
Dual-Certified Skate and Bike Helmets
Conclusion
Frequently Asked Questions
++1. Is it weird to wear a helmet while skateboarding?
++2. Why do most skaters not wear helmets?
++3. What should I look for in a skate helmet?

In the United States, skateboarders will find the necessary head protection from any helmet meeting the ASTM F1492 (Standard Specification for Helmets Used in Skateboarding and Trick Roller Skating) standard. On the other hand, bicycle helmets sold in the United States must comply with CPSC 1203 certification.

The only time that a bicycle helmet can safely be used for skateboarding is when the helmet is dual-certified to both CPSC 1203 and ASTM F1492 standards.

So, to answer the question of whether you can use a bike helmet for skateboarding, the answer is ‘sure you can, provided the helmet has dual certification’.

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In Europe, CE EN1078 is the certification that covers pedal-powered bicycle helmets, skateboard helmets as well as roller skating helmets.

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Bike Helmet Vs Skateboard Helmet

Bicycle riding and skateboarding both involve their own unique actions and risks that influence helmet design.

For recreational bike riders, an accident can come from being hit by a car, a dog or another cyclist. A fall can also occur from hitting a bump or pot-hole in the road. Mountain bikers can likewise fall foul to bumps, holes and rocks or simply lose control from excessive speed.

When bike riders fall, they almost always hit the front or sides of their heads which is why the typical bicycle helmet is shaped like a cradle around the head. The helmet is shaped to provide protection to the parts of the head that are more likely to sustain an impact.

And, of course, mountain bikers who want to push the limits have the option of choosing a full-face helmet which may or may not be certified for downhill mountain bike racing as specified by ASTM F1952, but that’s something completely different.

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Meanwhile, skateboarders can receive impacts to the head from virtually any direction. However, falling backward and hitting the back of the head is a common concern for skateboarders, which is why skate helmets offer more coverage at the back of the helmet than bicycle helmets.

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Child lying on ground next to overturned skateboard
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There are numerous videos on Youtube of skateboarders pushing their luck, or trying tricks that are way beyond their skill level. In many cases, they fall backwards hitting the back of their head. Always keep in mind that you don’t need to be going fast to suffer a serious head injury.

You should also be aware of bicycle helmets that are advertised as ‘skate-style’ helmets. Unless they have dual certification, they are not suitable for skateboarding although they may look like a skate helmet.

In a shoot-out between bike helmet vs skateboard helmet, it would be ruled a no-contest as they are both suited to totally different tasks.

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Helmet Durability

Most beginner cyclists expect to fall, it’s all part of the wobbly-wheeled experience of learning to ride. Then, after we’ve got the art of balance worked out, we don’t expect too many falls after that.

Learner skateboarders have similar experiences akin to having a carpet pulled from under them when they first step onto a skateboard. But, unlike bicycle riding, skateboarders know that falling is an inevitable part of learning new tricks, even after you are experienced.

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Most bicycle helmets and skate helmets have an EPS (Expanded PolyStyrene) foam liner inside. EPS is not a soft foam, it is hard to the touch, but can crush to absorb impact during a fall. The downside is that EPS is only good for one major impact. After that, it’s time to replace your helmet.

If you wanted a foam liner that is multi-impact, you need to look for EPP (Expanded Polypropylene). EPP is sometimes referred to as ‘memory foam’ because of its ability to return to its original shape after an impact.

I have seen one website claim that skateboard helmets all have an EPP foam lining. That is simply not true. In fact, I can’t find any skate helmets that are made with EPP foam. (That is not to say they don’t exist, but I can’t find any among the big names).

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Teenage girl doing tricks on skateboard
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Skate and Bike Helmet Standards

Since 1999, bike helmets manufactured or imported to sell in the United States have been required to meet the CPSC 1203 (Consumer Product Safety Commission) standard as mandated by law.

The safety standard for skateboard helmets, ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) F1492, however, is not federally mandated and is only a voluntary standard. Nonetheless, as people have become more aware of safety issues, and the need for quality products, most consumers are choosing products that comply with safety standards.

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Dual-Certified Skate and Bike Helmets

If you love both skating and biking or just want a little extra protection in your bike helmet, consider getting a helmet that meets both the CPSC 1203 standard and the F1492 standard.

Dual-certified skateboard helmets help keep you safe whether you’re cycling down the road or skating up a ramp. They’re also really convenient for people who like to ride their bikes to their local skate park.

Just make sure you look closely at the label on helmets marketed as holding dual certification to make sure the certifications are the ones relevant for skateboarding and bike riding.

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Conclusion

Although all bike helmets are suitable for biking, you can use a bike helmet for skateboarding only if it also meets the ASTM F1492 standard. These dual-certified helmets offer more protection to wearers than helmets certified to only one standard.

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is it weird to wear a helmet while skateboarding?

It’s definitely not weird to wear a helmet while skateboarding. In fact, wearing a helmet skateboarding could be considered the ‘new normal’. When you take a look at skateboarders in your town/city, you will likely notice that almost every pre-teen is wearing a helmet, and most teenagers are now wearing helmets.

The ones who aren’t wearing a helmet are older teens who ‘don’t like being told what to do’. Unfortunately, some people need to learn the hard way. As mentioned above, there are plenty of videos on Youtube of skateboarders falling, hitting their head and having seizures.

You definitely don’t want the lead role in the next skateboarder having a seizure video, do you?

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2. Why do most skaters not wear helmets?

I’m not so sure that ‘most’ is the right word nowadays. It may have been true several years ago, but times are changing.
It’s normal for people to resist change, so usually those who are still not wearing helmets are the people who are resisting or they think that they are just too cool to wear a helmet.

Nowadays, many youngsters see Andy Anderson, Tony Hawke and many other of their skateboarding heroes wearing helmets and will follow suit.

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3. What should I look for in a skate helmet?

Apart from a great looking helmet in your favorite color, you should be looking for a label inside the helmet that says that the helmet has ASTM 1492 or CE EN1078 certification. Anything less than either of those certifications could be less than safe.

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