Helmets have been around almost as long as bicycles. Once paved roads threatened head injury, cyclists began wearing pith helmets. By the 1900s these were being replaced by purpose built helmets consisting of a network of leather straps. Later motorcycle and hockey helmets were used. It was not until the 1970s that standards came into being. Polycarbonate hard shells with foam liners were introduced and designs became progressively lighter and more sophisticated. When BMX bicycles took off in the 1980s, helmets were designed with a focus on impact protection rather than aerodynamics. Additional coverage was added to the back and sides of the helmet to protect those areas in sideways and backwards falls.
Today, helmets are designed to meet the needs of each of the different BMX disciplines. On BMX racing becoming an Olympic sport, its popularity boomed leading full protection to the head and to the chin and jaw in the fullface helmet.
The BMX helmet should reach just above the eyebrows and touch the head all the way round. The chin strap must fit against the chin with the Y meeting just below the ear. To find the right size, measure around the forehead above the eyebrows and ears keeping the tape measure level all round. Padding and liners are interchangeable to ensure a snug fit. A child’s helmet must fit properly for correct protection – never for him/her to grow into.
Several well-recommended companies have product lines which include BMX helmets. Bell Helmets, founded in 1954, began manufacturing auto-racing helmets and moved into bicycle helmets in 1975. Giro has been producing cycling and winter sports helmets and apparels for over thirty years. Punisher Skateboards manufactures helmets for skateboarders, street and park BMX riders, as does Pro-Rider, Protec and Bern Unlimtted. Fox Racing makes motorcross and BMX helmets. The Giro Fraction and the Bell Sanction lines include helmets designed for children.