Helmets Dual-Certified to Both
Bike and Skateboard Standards
Summary: A list of the helmets that we think are certified by the manufacturers to meet both the CPSC bicycle helmet standard and the ASTM F1492 Skateboard helmet standard.
ASTM closed a loophole in 2011 that had enabled some manufacturers to put the F1492 on the box and not on a sticker in the helmet.
We no longer find many helmets on the market with both CPSC bicycle and ASTM F1492 stickers, including most of the ones we list below. Something has changed in the marketplace, and even manufacturers who have helmets that would pass both standards are not usually certifying to anything but the CPSC bicycle standard.
Consumers have to take special care when selecting a skateboard helmet. Some "skate style" helmets are not actually certified to a skateboard standard. If they meet the CPSC bicycle helmet standard they can legally be sold for bicycling and roller skating. Some manufacturers label their helmets for skateboarding and extreme or trick roller skating as well, but do not use the ASTM F1492 designation, so you do not know what you are getting. The ASTM skateboard standard requires a multi-impact helmet.
In-line skating is similar to bicycle riding--fewer crashes, and more violent ones when they occur. So our advice on skateboard helmets differs from that on inline skating helmets. Check our page on skate helmets for the difference. CPSC has a very useful chart of helmets matched to various activities on their Web site.
By law a bicycle helmet must meet the CPSC standard to be sold in the US market. But that law is unique to bicycle helmets, and there is no US law that says a helmet being marketed only for skateboarding has to meet any standard whatsoever. The manufacturers and retailers are mostly afraid of lawsuits if they don't meet a skateboard standard, but in fact they can sell anything at all as a skateboard helmet as long as they don't market it for bicycling. So for skateboard use look for the ASTM F1492 sticker. Until 2011 the ASTM standard had a loophole that permitted the manufacturer to leave out the F1492 on the helmet sticker, but that loophole has been eliminated.
Note that some helmet models may be certified only to F1492 in some sizes, and not in others. If the manufacturer makes one shell size and just uses thinner foam inserts for larger size heads, for example, the large may not be certified. Or it may be the other way around and the small is not certified. That sticker in the helmet is the only thing you can rely on. It must be there, or all bets are off.
One of the significant advantages to a dual certified helmet is that the CPSC bicycle helmet standard test line is lower in front than the F1492 skateboard standard, even though the skateboard standard has a lower test line in the back. So the helmet has to protect in front to a lower point on your head. It only has to offer bicycle protection (single impact) in that area, but at least it is tested at the lower point for one hard hit.
Our page on helmets for the current season has information on the models.
The list is short:
American Safety supplies bulk helmets for helmet programs, including a dual-certified skate-style helmet that meets both the CPSC bicycle helmet standard and ASTM F-1492 skateboard standard for only $11. Their minimum order is 40 helmets. Their Web site is clear that their other "multisport" models are not dual certified.
Bell's "skate-inspired" BMX/skate model is a 2004 hard shell design with a dual-density foam liner. In previous designs by LT back in 1991 this technique was used to take the sting out of lesser bumps with the softer layer, but backed up by a harder layer that could still perform on the big hits. In the Faction the technique is used to provide a different liner density in the front to meet the CPSC standard while avoiding a thicker helmet. The Faction has the round, smooth exterior of the classic skate helmet, with small rectangular vents on top, front and rear. Curiously, the weight is the same as the Bellistic full face model, 32 oz. Graphics include five different skateboard celebs and include visible white. This model was said by Bell to have dual certification to both the CPSC bicycle helmet standard and the ASTM F1492 multi impact skateboard standard, but only for the larger sizes. If so, it must at a minimum have F1492 on the box and a sticker inside that says it is "for skateboarding or trick rollerskating”" It retails for $30. For 2009 Bell added an extra small size called the Fraction. For 2011 the ASTM standard will require that they include "ASTM F1492" on the helmet's inner sticker, eliminating any mystery.
Bell Backlash, Rage, Mirra, Wicked
Three skate models in Bell's low-priced series, sold in big box stores and discount retailers. Their packaging says they are dual certified to the CPSC bicycle and ASTM F1492 skateboard standards, and they may be if they have "for skateboarding or trick rollerskating" on the internal sticker. All are less expensive than the Faction. Model names change quickly in this series, so the best bet is to check inside the helmet you see in the store for a sticker saying it meets CPSC and ASTM F1492. We found the Backlash at Wal-Mart in the $19 to $22 range.
Kong is an Italian climbing company. They have one helmet called the Scarab that goes beyond dual certified to be certified to European standards for rock climbing, skateboarding, bicycling, horsback riding and whitewater. All of those standards are easier to meet than the US equivalent, and the Scarab can't be sold in the US as a bicycle helmet unless it meets the CPSC standard, but it is an interesting concept. The Scarab has a ring fit system with dial adjustment. It appears to have external strap anchors. It retails in the US for about $150.
Nutcase is a graphics-driven helmet company producing mostly skate-style helmets with eye-catching graphics. They added the Crossover for 2012, a helmet that is dual-certified to the CPSC bicycle standard and the ASTM F1492 skateboard standard. It has an EPP foam liner for multi-impact. It sells for $60. They did not score well in Consumer Reports testing.
Pro-Tec was the pioneer skateboard helmet manufacturer many years ago, and most of their models are still the old-school style that skateboarders cling to. The shells are mostly similar skate style (Pro-Tec style) rounded ones, but the liners are very different from model to model. Some meet the CPSC bicycle and ASTM F1492 skateboard standards, and some do not. For 2011 Pro-Tec has resumed dual certification of some of their models. The Ace SXP and B2 SXP models are now listed as dual certified again, but the Classic and Odyssey models are certified only to the CPSC bicycle helmet standard. You will have to check for the sticker in the helmet to be sure.
This page was last revised on: April 20, 2013.