Being a responsible cyclist is one of the most important things in life because it may just save your life. When out enjoying your favorite activities, the last thing you want is to have a collision with an oncoming car. As with many equipment items, there exists a wide array of prices for bike helmets to protect your head from road dangers.
However, the difference in price isn’t necessarily because they are made with better materials or more durable construction — the complex nature of bike helmets means there are significant costs involved in the engineering and materials, and the costs of safety certification, marketing, and retail all contribute to the final costs.
So, what makes bike helmets so expensive?
Many bike helmets consist of an outer shell and a protective inner lining that absorbs the impact force in case of a fall, and the expense comes from researching ways to do this better or differently and the time it takes to engineer it.
Many bike helmets are also one-size-fits-all, which means they have to be easily adjustable so as to fit multiple head sizes while also being comfortable to wear regardless of how big or small the wearer’s head is.
Furthermore, many bike helmets make use of special types of foam that can absorb impact forces without cracking or breaking, which makes them safer than other types of helmets.
Extra features like visors, face shields, and ventilation holes are also thrown into the mix, which increases the time it takes, and the effort required to create each helmet.
Need for Safety
Another reason why bike helmets are so expensive is because of their popularity as a safety item. Because bikes have become more popular as a mode of transportation over the years, there has been an increase in bike-related accidents involving cars or pedestrians.
Reports have shown that about 210 people die in bicycle crashes every year on average in the United States — and around 33% of those deaths involve a head injury.
In response to these statistics, many states and municipalities have implemented laws requiring bike riders to wear protective headgear such as helmets.
Furthermore, many advertising and promotional campaigns have been launched to spread awareness about the importance of wearing a bike helmet.
In 2015, the most popular bike helmet brand sold more than 47 million helmets in the United States alone. Although the number is not available for other countries, it’s safe to assume it is also a very large amount.
Most of these helmets are sold at places like local bike stores, bike shops online, or even at online outlets like Amazon.
One of the most important factors that drive up the price of bike helmets is the engineering effort required to create them. Engineer hours mean higher production costs and bigger profit margins than simple products like jam jars or chairs.
These helmets are made from different materials and have different designs depending on the manufacturer and purpose.
Their prices are also affected by design elements such as ventilation holes and additional features like visors or face shields.
On average, an engineer spends about 2-5 weeks on one bike helmet design. However, it can take months or even years to work effectively on a helmet design and the cost is finally reflected in the price when the final product is ready for sale at stores.
Another important factor is that the helmet must be tested again and again for its effectiveness. Because often, they’re not manufactured by mass production facilities, bike helmets are tested on human volunteers after having passed strict quality tests.
The tests determine if materials used in making a helmet are safe for human use and if they’ve been subjected to all possible impact conditions.
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Another important factor is the certification of the helmet.
Most bike helmets are designed to meet the safety criteria of the consumer goods industry’s standard, ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials).
The best bike helmets are certified according to specific rules by a third-party organization such as Snell or NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration).
The price of bike helmets can be considerably higher when they’ve been certified because these organizations conduct their own tests and look for more ways to improve safety.
These certifications also show that they’ve passed an independent test, which means additional efforts were put into making them safer.
The price of bike helmets is also affected by marketing strategies used to promote them. These days, a lot of companies release fliers or adverts that highlight other safety products that go well with their bike helmet.
This is a way to gain more attention for the bike helmet, which in turn increases the demand and sales.
Many people buy bike helmets after reading reviews by product experts and even celebrities. So advertising is also another important factor that affects the price of a bike helmet because a company that advertises more heavily typically finds it easier to attract customers and satisfy them.
The Bottom Line
According to one estimate, an average bike helmet costs $25-35 — but can cost up to $200 for specialty designs.
The price of a regular bike helmet is also influenced by the cost of labor, retail, shipping, and other costs.
The design, safety testing, and marketing costs make it difficult for the price of helmets to go down. Even though they have been made mandatory in many countries and regions, there are still not enough reasons for manufacturers to lower the prices because of the trend towards increased bike riding.
So, if you’re looking for a new helmet, you shouldn’t be discouraged by the high cost — but think about how important it is before choosing one.