A used motorcycle helmet may not save your life. This is the most important fact to be considered if you are thinking of buying or borrowing a used motorcycle helmet. You have no idea what has happened to that helmet during it’s life, so don’t trust your life to it. Although crash helmets may seem expensive when they are new, how much is that cost when you compare it to your continued existence?
A crash helmet’s outer skin is generally made of polycarbonate or of a similar material. Simply by dropping a crash helmet made of this may render the helmet useless. Can you be sure that the used helmet you are considering hasn’t been dropped? In addition, such material can sometimes become degraded by glues used on stickers etc. A potential seller may have taken some stickers off and cleaned the surface so you have no way of telling that the nice shiny surface of your prospective purchase is in fact chemically damaged.
Any helmet that has chips or scratches on it’s outer surface has its integrity damaged, and therefore it’s ability to save your life is extremely reduced. In addition, unless the helmet is made of fibreglass, if it has been painted or sprayed, again know that paint chemicals can also damage the outer skin of your prospective purchase, so again, walk away. Also, think about what that paint may be hiding regarding damage too.
The inside of the crash helmet will contain a material similar to polystyrene. This is designed to compress on impact during an accident. If the helmet has already been worn in an accident, then compression may have already taken place, meaning that your protection will have been reduced. Again, another reason for not buying a used crash helmet. In addition, straps and buckles may also have been stressed in the same accident, reducing their security too.
A used helmet that has been cleaned up may also have its safety accreditation stickers removed during the cleaning process, or, the helmet may have never met the required safety standards. How can you be sure? Any helmet that does not show its safety accreditation should never be worn, let alone sold on to someone else.
Another thing to be considered is hygiene. Because you can never be sure of the personal hygiene of a helmets previous owner, you have no way of knowing if you are letting yourself in for head lice or other unpleasant cleanliness issues.
Buy a new helmet and have the peace of mind that your head protection is the best you can afford and is in the best condition it can be when it comes to your safety.