Consumer Reports magazine reviewed several dozen bicycle helmets sold by online retailers to examine the overall safety of the equipment. The magazine’s findings are alarming. Consumer Reports determined that many of the bicycle helmets sold online fail to meet minimum safety standards maintained by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. In other words, wearing one of these helmets while riding is the equivalent of wearing no helmet at all. Therefore, consumers must pay attention to the bike helmets they purchase online to be sure that the equipment will help prevent injury in the event of a crash.
Selling bicycle helmets or any product that fails to meet the minimum standards set by the Commission is unlawful. Notwithstanding the clear command of the consumer regulations in place, retailers continue to sell helmets that will not protect a rider from a skull fracture in a fall or crash. Consumers should be able to rely upon a label on the helmet indicating that the manufacturer of the helmet satisfied the safety standards required by law. The lack of proper labeling suggests the manufacturer did not conduct the necessary safety testing before marketing the helmet.
Consumers must be wary about the products they purchase online, even if the product reviews claim that the item, in this case, a bicycle helmet, is safe. Consumers should examine labels thoroughly to determine if the helmet has labeling that indicates compliance with Consumer Product Safety Commission standards and, equally as important, recites all of the safety information the Commission says bike helmet manufacturers must include in their helmets.
Consumers who purchase bicycle safety equipment online must be aware of another problem to which even the savviest consumer might fall prey: counterfeit goods. Consumer Reports noted that counterfeit bike helmets are readily available online, and bike enthusiasts and novices alike must be mindful of the reputation of the seller and do their research.
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