Consumer Reports tests bike helmets

Testers find several price points to recommend

SAN ANTONIO – No question, a bike helmet can be a real lifesaver. Ninety percent of the bicyclists killed in the past two decades were not wearing a helmet.

Consumer Reports just tested 23 helmets and found good choices for both adults and children.

Consumer Reports crash tests helmets to see how well they will protect you in an accident. A sensor detects how much force would be transmitted to the rider's head in a crash. A second Consumer Reports test checks the strength of the chin strap.

One helmet, the Cannondale Teramo, didn't pass and may pose a safety risk because it could come off in an accident. In four of the five samples tested, the buckle snapped or broke into pieces. Consumer Reports is not aware of any injuries as a result of the Cannondale Teramo buckle issue. The company says it stands behind its third-party independent test results, but Consumer Reports does not recommend buying the Cannondale Teramo.

However, Consumer Reports did find several good choices. Top-rated is the Scott Arx Plus for $150. It scored "excellent" in impact resistance and fit adjustments. It was "very good" for ventilation, and it's also a lightweight helmet. And Consumer Reports found several other best buys that cost far less, including the Lazer Cyclone for $45 and the Schwinn Merge for just $12.

Consumer Reports also tested children's helmets, and top rated the Bontrager Solstice Youth for $40.

Consumer Reports says be careful how you handle your helmet. Don't just toss it into the trunk of your car, because heat can affect performance. And you don't want to get even minor dents into the lining, which is what absorbs the impact.

If you are ever in an accident, even if you can't see any damage to your helmet, replace it.

You can get information on the right way to fit a bike helmet on ConsumerReports.org.

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