Helmets Save Lives
The first thing you need to know? Helmets save lives. They are an essential part of electric scooter safety gear.
Electric scooter riders are in danger of losing control and falling or crashing their vehicles, and they are also put in jeopardy by cars, bikes, and other vehicles and pedestrians around them.
Even if we consider ourselves expert riders who never make mistakes, we can’t control what everyone around us does. We need to ride defensively, wear visible, protective gear, and especially, protect our heads.
Head impacts and concussions can lead to Traumatic Brain Injury (TMI), a serious condition with severe, even fatal effects. Even a relatively mild concussion can affect one’s quality of life for months or years. High-impact head injuries can alter a person’s functioning for the rest of their life.
Also, the data is in – the vast majority of electric scooter injuries reported in emergency rooms in Canada and the U.S. involve head injuries. In nearly all cases, riders were not wearing helmets.
These facts alone should convince us to wear a helmet when riding an electric scooter.
But let’s say we’re already convinced wearing a helmet is the way to go. We know head injuries are no fun and we care about our brains and faces. Still, we might have questions....
What Kind of Helmet Should You Get?
Are there special helmets for electric scooters? Should you get a lightweight bike helmet or do you need a full-face motorcycle helmet with a mirror-tinted visor? Are there options in-between these extremes?
The answer to the first question is yes. There are folding electric scooter helmets. They use similar design principles and protection levels as lightweight bike or skateboard helmets and should only be worn in similar riding conditions.
Specialized head protection designed for skateboards, snowboards, road bikes, mountain bikes, BMX, motocross, and motorcycles can all work perfectly well for scooter riding, provided they meet helmet safety standards established by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and other safety authorities.
Below, we’ll look at the different kinds of helmets that electric scooter riders wear, and why, and we'll discuss the best electric scooter helmets for you.
Find Your Fit
The first thing to consider is that wearing a helmet should never be an afterthought like throwing on a hat for a sunny day. Helmets are specialized pieces of equipment that must fit properly in order to function properly.
Fitting and buying a helmet should ideally be done in person. A helmet can be of no use in a crash if it’s loose and you don’t know how to adjust it.
Getting a helmet fitted at a skate shop, bike shop, or motorcycle dealer can ensure a good fit. Going to a reputable retailer also ensures a quality product.
There are many helmets sold online that don't meet minimum levels of safety protection, and they might make false claims about their certifications.
If you want to find a better price online, it never hurts to try a few different types of helmets at a shop so you know which type fits your head best before you order one from a distributor you trust.
At the very least, you’ll want to know your hat size so you can correlate it with your helmet size in terms of small, medium, large, or X-large.
You’ll also want to get familiar with some of the different helmet safety certifications and levels of crash protection.
Decide Your Level of Protection
Determine the level of protection you’re likely to need given the kind of riding you do.
If you’re an occasional rider who never exceeds 20 mph on your scooter and mostly stays away from car traffic, you might consider wearing a folding electric scooter helmet or high quality skateboard or road bike helmet.
On the other hand, if you ride high performance electric scooters like the Apollo Phantom at speeds over 20 mph/32 kph, do any off-road riding, or find yourself riding frequently around cars, you'll want to invest in a high quality downhill or full-face helmet.
The options can seem overwhelming, but the best electric scooter helmet is one that offers the best fit and best protection for your needs as a rider.
Under 20 mph/32 kph
Designed, like many electric scooters, for maximum portability, a folding helmet like the Closca can meet the same CPSC impact protection standards as other shell-style helmets. These are good choices for space-saving, obviously, but they should not be worn at speeds over 20mph.
A high quality skateboard helmet like this popular model is usually made from a rounded ABS plastic shell. These types of helmets are not particularly well ventilated but they can also look more fashionable than mushroom-shaped cycling helmets, and many scooter riders prefer them for this reason.
A regular bike helmet for road biking is usually made from fiberglass and has a light, lattice-like structure for maximum ventilation. These can be a good choice as a lightweight helmet that will keep you cool on hot days.
Mountain bike helmets without a chin bar will have similar designs but are often made of an ABS outer shell and have an adjustable visor built-in.
Standard bike helmets and skateboarding helmets are comfortable and light, but they can offer plenty of high-impact protection for all areas of the brain in the event of a crash.
Over 20 mph/32 kph
Downhill MTB and BMX Helmets
What a bicycle helmet or skate helmet doesn’t offer is face protection, something you’ll definitely want to consider if you’re riding faster scooters, off-roading, or frequently riding around cars.
You’ll find the minimum level of face protection in a downhill mountain bike helmet or BMX or motocross helmet that wraps around the sides of the face and lower jaw (also called a “halo” helmets).
A downhill or BMX helmet is designed to not only encase your brain pan in fiberglass or ABS plastic, but also to protect your face and teeth, which can be extremely vulnerable in a crash and show high rates of injury for electric scooter riders.
Full Face Motorcycle Helmets
For even higher levels of protection you’ll want to consider a full-face motorcycle helmet. While they cost several hundred dollars, they are also the best way to protect your head and face, not only from accidents but from bugs, debris, high winds, rain, and sun.
If you’re riding at speeds above 20mph, riding on the road with car traffic, and riding frequently in bad weather, Apollo highly recommends that you wear a full-face helmet with visor for the ultimate protection.
Do you always need to wear a helmet when you ride an electric scooter? Absolutely. Just as cyclists and other riders of small vehicles should always protect their heads, so too should e scooter riders. But not all helmets will offer maximum protection for all riders.
A general rule of thumb to follow is this: if you're riding under 20mph, encountering little car traffic, and staying on pavement, then folding electric scooter helmets, regular bicycle helmets, or skateboard helmets can work well.
If you're riding above 20mph (32kph), then you'll need a helmet with a chin bar, at least, to protect your face. Downhill mountain bike helmets and BMX helmets can work well, combined with appropriate eye protection like riding goggles or wraparound sunglasses.
The best protection will always come from full face helmets with visors. These protect your brain from traumatic injury and shield your eyes, mouth, and other particularly vulnerable areas from harm as well. They also keep your head warm and dry in cold, wet weather!
To learn more about electric scooter safety, check out our ultimate guide to the safety while using electric scooters on the most common kinds of accidents and best practices for staying safe on your scooter.