When to change your helmet

Q. My wife has recently completed her CBT course and was told that “cheap helmets have a shelf life of around two years, with more expensive ones having a shelf life of around five years, after which they should be replaced regardless of whether they have been dropped.” Is this right?
Richard Lloyd, email

A. Helmet manufacturers give their helmets a “life” of about five years with “average” use, so that advice was essentially correct.

But I don't think that “cheap” helmets have a life 60% shorter as all helmets use broadly the same materials in their construction to comply with the relevant safety standards like EC2205.

The term “shelf life” is also misleading, as a helmet’s life is deemed to start when it is first used, so you can buy a helmet that has been manufactured a few years before as the clock doesn't start ticking properly while the lid is stored in a cool, dark place at a steady temperature.