When you’re riding an electric bike, as opposed to a regular bike, you’re bound to go much faster because of motor assistance and/or throttle. Depending on your e-bike, you might even be able to go up to 28 mph.
So, it’s understandable to question whether you need a special bike helmet when riding an electric bike.
In general, you are not required to wear a special helmet when riding your e-bike. However, you should wear the highest-quality safety helmet you can afford (preferably with MIPS technology) due to the higher risks of head injury from riding a fast electric bike.
Truthfully, how well a helmet protects your head has a lot to do with how fast you ride and the type and level of impact that happens when it’s hit.
Find out in this article what you need to know to get the best helmet for electric bike riding. For instance, do you know if you need a MIPS helmet? Or what safety features should you have?
I’ve included a list of the best cycling helmets to choose from below and what you need to look for when it comes to keeping your head safe when riding at fast speeds.
Plus, take a look at my own affordable e-bike helmet… it might be perfect for you too.
What’s Different About an Electric Bike Helmet (is it special)?
To clarify, it’s not that the helmet is somehow different, it’s the electric bike that sets itself apart from a regular bicycle. Riding an e-bike is what’s special.
Because motor-assisted electric bikes are faster and more powerful than standard bikes, you need to take extra care to protect your head from serious injury in a crash. That’s why high-quality electric bike helmets with added protection, such as MIPS, are recommended for most e-bike riders.
What Are Bike Helmets Made of?
Typically, bike helmets are made of Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC), a Polycarbonate shell (PC), and a durable EPS foam liner (expanded polystyrene).
The difference between an inexpensive e-bike helmet and a more expensive one is in part due to how it’s made with these materials. A higher-end bicycle helmet often has added technologies and increased reinforcement within the EPS foam itself.
Additionally, even hard foam is not created equal. Depending on the density, it can crush by small impacts or only larger ones.
Bike helmets made with thicker, sturdier EPS foam will offer greater protection than a cheaper one with less foam density. Further, added protection in the helmet liner or shell is typical in the best e-bike helmets (see MIPS below).
Ultimately, an electric bike rider should consider what helmet will best protect their brain in a high-speed crash, as that is where the main difference occurs when compared to a regular bike rider.
Do Bike Helmets Need to Be Certified?
If sold in the USA, all bicycle helmets, regardless of whether they’re for e-bikes, are required to have certification from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). This means that they all have a minimum standard of handling head impacts.
Many other countries, such as Canada, also uphold these standards or have their own certifications.
For example, the Netherlands has NTA 8776 certification while bike helmets sold in Europe must meet the CE2205 – E10 safety requirements.
If you are buying a helmet online, make sure it is from a country that has certification standards. All helmets sold in the US should be certified by CPSC, but you can never be too careful about protecting your head from harm.
Is a MIPS Helmet Necessary for an E-Bike Rider?
Having a MIPS helmet is necessary if you want to increase the protection of your head and brain in an e-bike accident. Safe e-bike riding should be your first priority.
Generally, the best e-bike helmet will be high-quality and should have extra safety features that you can afford including:
- High-quality impact-resistant material (sturdy EPS foam)
- Bright, easily visible color
- Integrated rear light (such as LED lights)
- Comfortable straps and closure
- Easily adjustable snug fit (with a dial fit system)
- Eye protection shield (important when riding at high speeds on an e-bike)
- Attached visor to protect your eyes from the sun and rain
- Great ventilation (keeps your head cool)
Additionally, a great helmet may have features that make it more comfortable and enjoyable to wear. The best e-bike helmet for you may be lightweight, have an adjustable airflow (some vents can be closed), allow you to listen to music or have conversations, and have a reasonable cost.
Without a doubt, the best e-bike helmet also fits snugly on your head, covering the top of your forehead and protecting the back of your skull.
Perhaps getting all of these features is what makes a truly special helmet for electric bike riders!
But, even if you don’t buy one with all of the best features, you can still get the right helmet for you. If you get one that fits you perfectly and has MIPS, then you’ve done yourself a big favor.
Take a look at my top pics above and you’re bound to find a good choice with a MIPS system.
How Much Does the Average E-Bike Helmet Cost?
Bike helmets that are perfect for e-bike riding typically cost $55-$195. However, you can get a MIPS helmet for as low as $30 and as high as $300. In general, you need to spend $25-$30 more to get one with MIPS.
So, the thing to know is that you can get the best e-bike helmet, with MIPS, for a reasonable price.
Are Helmets Required for Electric Bikes (is there a law)?
In most places, it’s not legally required for an adult with a Class 1 or 2 e-bike to wear a helmet. Generally, each country, state, city, or county, has its own set of laws. However, Class 3 e-bike riders and children are typically required to wear bike helmets.
So, for example, in the United States, federal law doesn’t require adults over 18 to wear bike helmets, even if they’re riding an electric bike. But each state (or each locale in the state) may have its own set of helmet laws.
Ultimately, it’s your responsibility to understand the helmet laws in your city or state. You can find more information on what’s required in the United States by going to Helmets.org.
What is a Class 3 Electric Bike (and why does it require a helmet)?
In the United States and some other countries, there are 3 defined classes of e-bikes:
- Class 1- This is a motor-assisted bike that goes a maximum of 20mph without a throttle
- Class 2– This class of e-bike also goes a maximum of 20mph motor-assisted, but is also powered by a throttle.
- Class 3– A Class 3 e-bike, however, can reach speeds of up to 28mph with motor-assistance
As you can see, Class 3 electric bicycles are able to go substantially faster (with motor assist) than Class 1 and 2. Many local laws, therefore, define riding one as higher risk, which is why these riders must wear a helmet. Additionally, there are other restrictive laws regarding Class 3 electric bicycles.
So, in some places, there are laws requiring you to wear a helmet when riding a Class 3 electric bike.
Find out more about the three classes of e-bikes and whether you need a license to ride!
Do Stylish E-Bike Helmets Have the Features I Need?
You can choose to buy an electric bike helmet based on how it looks and what added features it has, but you should still put safety first by looking at a helmet’s performance.