We don’t usually think of biking as being a dangerous activity, but you may be surprised. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that in 2018 alone, there were 857 bicyclists killed in traffic crashes in the U.S. The National Safety Council (NSC) notes that between 2009 and 2018, deaths from bicycle accidents increased 30 percent, while the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) states that most of the 80,000 cycling-related head injuries treated in the emergency room each year are brain injuries.
Here’s another startling fact: while bicycle trips account for only one percent of all trips in the U.S., bicyclists face a higher risk of crash-related injury and deaths than occupants in motor vehicles. Unfortunately, more than half of adults report never wearing a helmet, and more than half of the cyclists killed in crashes in 2016 weren’t wearing one. Yet a major study on bike helmet use showed that they reduced the risk of a serious head injury by nearly 70 percent. Other studies have shown similar findings, with helmets found to provide a 66-88 percent reduction in the risk of head, brain, and severe brain injuries for all ages of bicyclists.
You can protect yourself and your family members by making it a house rule that you don’t ride your bike without wearing a helmet. If you’re not sure which one to get, we recently reviewed dozens to determine those that are likely to work best for you. We looked for things like certification labels (all helmets should have the CPSC certification level to show they meet the federal safety standard), size adjustment, impact protection, comfort, and of course, price. All of these top-rated bicycle helmets can be purchased online at Amazon.
We’ve identified the Basecamp Bike Helmet as our number-one option. It carries the CPSC certification and includes some extras that keep you safe on today’s roads.
The 5 Top-Rated Bike Helmets
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*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change
Best Bike Helmet Overall: Basecamp Bike Helmet
The Basecamp Bike Helmet gives you everything you need to ride safely on most any type of road, from rural streets to city blocks. It complies with CPSC and SE safety standards and includes in-molding technology, thick EPS foam, and an outer polycarbonate shell to reduce the risk of head injury.
These are things any basic helmet should provide, but Basecamp goes beyond that to give you several additional features that will make it easier for you to stay safe. You get a detachable visor that helps with visibility and sun protection, an LED safety light with three lighting modes, and magnetic goggles that block ultraviolet light, as well as protecting your eyes from dust and wind.
This combination makes riding a lot easier and provides increased visibility to traffic around you. The helmet also comes with 28 breathable vents and a lightweight design to make it comfortable to wear and has an easy-use adjustable knob at the back to provide a snug fit. If you get hot and sweaty while riding, don’t worry–you can detach the washable liner padding for a fresh ride next time out. An extra portable carrying backpack is included to keep all these extras together.
Basecamp Bike Helmet Key Features:
- CPSC certified to give you the protection you need
- Includes LED light, magnetic goggles, and a detachable visor
- Lightweight and vented for a comfortable ride
- Washable liner padding
Best Smart Bike Helmet: Coros Linx Smart Cycling Helmet
The Coros Linx Smart Cycling Helmet gives you all the modern technology you might need while you’re out cruising the town. Using the built-in Bluetooth connection, you can connect the Coros Linx smart remote (which you mount on the handlebars) to your smartphone. The app allows you to track your rides and ride history, as well as your distance, time, and average speed. It has many other features as well, including an SOS emergency contact feature that automatically calls the contact you designate if you should get into an accident. (The helmet senses the impact and sends the call.)
This helmet also covers the basics: It’s CPSC certified and made with EPS foam to provide superior impact protection. It’s equipped with an adjustable knob to create the best fit and uses bone-conduction technology to deliver the best audio through your cheekbones, so you can stay alert to the traffic even while enjoying your music or calls.
If you enjoy long rides, you’ll be happy with this one as it has a reported eight-hour battery life. Skipping tracks, pausing and playing music, and controlling volume are also all possible with the handlebar remote.
Coros Linx Smart Cycling Helmet Key Features:
- Enjoy your music while riding
- Easily answer calls with the included handlebar remote
- CPSC-approved for safety
- Long-lasting battery
- Optional two-way radio accessory allows communication with other riders (sold separately)
Best Budget Bike Helmet: Schwinn Thrasher Bike Helmet
If you’re just looking for a basic bike helmet that will keep you and your family members safe, the Schwinn Thrasher Bike Helmet is the way to go. You can get the adult version for about $20 (it’s available in youth sizes, too), and for that, you’ll enjoy an adjustable fit system, full-range padding, and a comfortable fit. It comes with a visor, which helps to shield your eyes from the sun, and has 20 top air vents for comfortable ventilation on hot days.
It’s easy to get a good fit with this helmet—simply turn the knob at the back. It will give you 360-degree adjustability so the helmet fits snug on your head, or on the heads of your children. You may also find peace of mind purchasing from this brand, as it’s been around since 1895, and is a well-known quality brand for bikes and bike accessories.
Reviewers love this helmet, with many sharing their stories of collision in which the helmet saved their heads.
Schwinn Thrasher Bike Helmet Key Features:
- Budget-friendly safe bike helmet for everyone in the family
- Lightweight and vented for comfort
- 360-degree adjustable fit
- Includes a visor to increase shade while riding
- Available in a wide variety of sizes and colors
Best Mountain Bike Helmet: Demon United Podium Full Face Helmet
Mountain biking, as most enthusiasts will tell you, often involves a more aggressive and athletic type of riding than road riding. Add in all the obstacles along the way and you significantly increase your risk of falling and getting hurt.
A mountain bike helmet, therefore, should go beyond a standard bike helmet to keep you safe. The Demon United Podium Full Face Helmet does just that. It comes with the usual EPS foam liner and polycarbonate shell for lightweight safety, but it’s also designed with the reputed MIPS (multi-direction impact protection) brain protection system.
This system was engineered to add extra protection to a helmet and is found inside the helmet between the comfort padding and the EPS layer. In general, it’s made to reduce harmful forces transmitted to the brain and is particularly helpful when you land with your head at an angle, which is very dangerous for the brain. The MIPS system can reduce rotational motion and the risk of brain damage.
This helmet is also lightweight with 13 air-flow vents and comes in nine different color options. On top of all that protection, it’s also pretty stylish we think. But safety is key—one reviewer mentioned that he went “over the bars” during a ride and hit his head on a rock, but the helmet “took the impact and I barely felt it.”
Demon United Podium Full Face Helmet Key Features:
- Made with MIPS to provide extra protection against head injuries
- Lightweight and vented for comfort
- Washable inside liner
- Comes with a helmet bag
Best Combination Helmet: Retrospec CM-1 Multi-Sport Helmet
Athletes who love all sorts of wheels typically don’t want to have to buy multiple helmets. The Retrospec CM-1 Multi-Sport Helmet will protect you no matter which vehicle you’re on today. It’s CPSC certified with a formed ABS shell to keep you safe, along with the standard EPS foam to absorb shock.
The helmet is also lightweight, vented for comfort on warm days, and has a classic design that been tested and approved for use on bikes, skates, and skis. It comes with two sets of interchangeable pads for a custom fit, and interior padding that wicks away sweat and bacteria.
You don’t have to sacrifice style on this one—it comes in a wide variety of colors and three different sizes, and works for youth and adults age 14+. Reviewers love the helmet for its safety, comfort, and style.
Retrospec CM-1 Multi-Sport Helmet Key Features:
- Tested and approved for multiple wheeled-vehicles, including bikes, skates, and skis
- Comes in a variety of sizes and colors
- CPSC certified and made to protect your head
- Helps you save money as one helmet fits all activities
As you can see, there are many helmet options out there, so there’s no reason not to wear one. If you want to outfit yourself with an electric bike to go with it, check out review of The Best Electric Bikes, or choose a new pair of inline skates from our reviews of the Best Inline Skates for Women or the Best Rollerblades.