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Do Ebike-Rated Helmets Make You Safer on an Ebike?

Updated: May 8

Ebikes are faster and heavier than regular bicycles and carry a greater risk of serious injury. This raises the question: Are regular bicycle helmets adequate for ebiking?

 
ebike helmet NTA-8776 with MIPS



Helmets 101: How They Work & Why They Matter

Before we look at the different types of helmets and compare their technology and value for ebikers, let’s have a quick refresher on how the helmet, a simple yet crucial piece of gear, can mean the difference between a minor bump and a serious head injury.


The science behind helmets

It's all about energy absorption. When your head hits something hard (like the ground, a car, or a wall), the helmet's outer shell spreads the force of impact over a larger area while the inner liner compresses to absorb energy. This helps to minimize the acceleration your brain experiences, reducing the risk of concussion or other traumatic brain injuries. 


Helmet safety statistics

How much do helmets really help? 


  • Wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of head injury by 85%.

  • Helmet use is estimated to prevent 75% of cycling deaths.

  • 98% of bicyclists killed were not wearing a helmet at the time of injury.


All helmets are not created equal

You probably have several helmets in your garage: hockey helmet, batting helmet, skateboarding helmet, ski helmet, motorcycle helmet with a full face mask, the helmet you wore when you got your first two-wheeler, and maybe even more. 


And while you could use the motorcycle helmet while ebiking, is it in good working condition, and does it fit you correctly? 


When it comes to helmets, you have to do it right. An ebike or bike helmet with the appropriate certifications that is correctly sized, positioned, and buckled is a must.


vintage motorcycle helmet


Ebike Helmets

Yes, ebike helmets are a thing! And all ebikers should consider getting an ebike helmet with an NTA-8776 rating. 


What makes an ebike helmet an ebike helmet?

By design, ebike helmets better protect your head from impacts at higher speeds and cover a larger portion of your head, which matters when you’re traveling at 20+ miles per hour (mph). 


Ebike helmets are designed for greater impact protection and energy absorption, especially on the sides and the back, to protect the temporal and occipital areas better. Most ebike helmets also have removable reflectors and visors.


What is NTA-8776 certification?

Helmets with NTA-8776 certification are the only helmets specifically approved for ebike use. 


NTA-8776 helmets undergo rigorous testing to ensure they can withstand and protect when impacts occur at higher speeds (up to 28 mph) and with greater force. This NTA-8776 certification also considers impact resistance, stability, and field of vision to ensure that ebike riders are adequately protected during a crash. 


So, if you're serious about ebike safety, opting for an NTA-8776-certified helmet is the way to go.


Are ebike helmets required by law?

No. Most US states have bicycle helmet laws, but no state has adopted a law requiring an NTA-8776 helmet when operating an electric bicycle. So whatever your state’s bike helmet laws are, those same laws apply to ebikes. 


How much do ebike helmets cost?

It varies by brand, but helmets with an NTA-8776 rating run approximately $90 - $200. 


girl on an ebike wearing an ebike helmet


MIPS Helmets

Most MIPS (Multi-Directional Impact Protection System) helmets look like regular helmets, but MIPS is a newer type of head protection. 


What are MIPS helmets?

Unlike traditional helmets, which only provide linear impact protection, MIPS helmets have a low-friction layer that allows the helmet to slide relative to the head upon impact. This helps to reduce rotational forces, which are a leading cause of brain injuries in angled impacts. 


In other words, MIPS helmets offer an extra layer of defense against head injuries from the most common types of falls and collisions.


MIPS is not a certification (so don’t go searching for MIPS-certified helmets). MIPS is a technology or a safety system. But as far as certification goes, all MIPS helmets sold in the US are required to meet regular bicycle standards. 


Which is better, MIPS or ebike helmets?

It's tough to say because depending on the type of collision your head experiences, one or the other could be a better choice. But luckily, you don’t have to choose between them. There are some MIPS helmets on the market that are also NTA-8776 certified. 


How much do MIPS helmets cost?

MIPS helmets range from $45 - $300. 


MIPS helmets with NTA-8776 certification usually cost between $140 - $300.


POC MIPS helmet


Bike Helmets

If you’re involved with an ebike accident or collision, wearing a certified bike helmet – instead of an ebike or MIPS helmet – is definitely better than no helmet at all. 


Bike helmet certifications

If you’re going with a regular bike helmet, ensure it’s certified. 


  • CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) is a must. CPSC certification means the helmet has been tested and meets US federal safety standards. All bike helmets sold in the US must have CPSC certification by law. But don’t assume that the helmet you’re buying is CPSC. Helmets designed and marketed for other purposes – like skateboarding or snowboarding – are not required to meet CPSC standards. 


  • ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) and SNELL (Snell Memorial Foundation) are two more certifications to look for. US law does not require ASTM and SNELL certifications, but since they test differently than CSPC, it’s worthwhile to have a helmet certified but two or even all three. 


How much do bike helmets cost?

You can find bike helmets without MIPS or NTA-8776 certification for $25 - $100. 


Teenage girl on an electric bike wearing an ebike helmet


So, do ebikes require different helmets? Or are bike helmets OK to use?

In short, the law does not require ebikers to wear ebike helmets, but for safety, helmets designed for the unique demands of ebiking are strongly recommended. 


If you’re buying an ebike helmet, look for the NTA-8776 certification. For extra protection, consider an NTA-8776-certified helmet with MIPS technology.  


But regardless of which type of helmet you choose, make sure it’s sized and positioned correctly, and wear it buckled every time you get on your ebike. 



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