Motorcycle helmets are amongst the most necessary riding gear, offering crash protection to a rider when they go on a ride. However, contrary to popular belief, even these helmets have a lifespan after which they must be replaced. So what do you do when you decide to upgrade or change your helmet? I always get confused about what to do with old motorcycle helmets? Here are some great ways to make sure your motorcycle helmet is reused and recycled.
You can donate the helmet to your local emergency services or exchange it for a discounted new helmet in a store or recycle your helmet or repurpose it for some DIY artwork or pottery needs. You can also hang them as a memory of your riding trips or use them for practicing stunts. And old helmets also make for good target practice if you are into shooting.
#1. Donate it to Emergency Services
A great idea would be to donate your helmet to your local emergency service if they accept them. This includes the EMTs, fire, and police departments in your vicinity. But these may leave you wondering why these services would need old helmets?
Well, these services need to train new recruits about first aid and other medical emergencies involving a helmet. This includes training them to remove a helmet to access the rider’s head safely amongst others. As a result, the helmet may not be usable at the end of the training period.
This is where the used helmets come in handy. They ensure that the services can give the proper training which may damage it beyond repair. However, it ensures better preparedness of the local emergency teams, which may be vital in the event of a serious crash.
#2. Exchange it with a new one from the Helmet Store
Helmet stores often accept old helmets and trade them in for new ones. Riders get good discounts as a result of their new purchase, making it a win-win for both the parties involved.
However, a damaged helmet can compromise the safety of the rider in an accident, which can prove to be fatal. As a result, most stores accept the helmets only if they are in good condition and have no damage whatsoever.
This is to make sure that these helmets can be resold to customers looking for second-hand helmets.
#3. Use it for DIY art projects for your Kid’s Homework
Helmets are the perfect canvases to unleash the creativity of the young budding artists at home. Plain-finished helmets give kids the chance to make innovative artwork around the helmet.
Not only does this help develop the child’s creative side, but also makes for the perfect bonding exercise with kids. You can use the conventional brush and water-based acrylic paints for small kids, to ensure they are safe and have fun doing this activity.
If you are a little more adventurous and you have older kids, you could try spray painting some cool patterns on your former helmet. You can read this detailed article about How to Pinstripe a motorcycle helmet by Badass Helmet Store from here.
#4. Open it up to see how Motorcycle Helmets protect the rider
Are you curious to know how a motorcycle helmet works? Do you want to gain knowledge about the materials within your helmet?
— Also read: Is it Safe to Wear Glasses Inside Helmets?
If you are someone who would like to know the answers to these questions first hand, then a used helmet can come in handy. You can slowly open up the helmet layer by layer, giving you an idea about the materials used and the design that kept you safe in previous rides.
You can also put your helmet through the process of safety tests, which will give you an idea of the quality of the helmet that you had. However, the helmet will not be in a condition to be used after these tests, as most of them are impact-based to check the point of failure.
#5. Donate to a new Rider if it is in good shape
Helmets are essential, but they can also be quite essential to get a good quality helmet that is comfortable and protective at the same time. Thus, if you have decided to upgrade to a newer helmet, you can always donate it to a fellow rider who may not have access to the existing quality of helmet you already own.
However, if you decide to do so, make sure that the helmet does not have any cracks or damage from the previous usage. This is to ensure that the helmet retains its protective properties to protect the rider.
Another good practice would be to wash the inner lining or get it replaced for hygiene purposes. Also, make sure that the helmet fits the person who will use it in the future properly.
#6. Recycle it
Helmets are largely made of polycarbonate plastic, fiberglass, and other materials, some of which can be recycled. As a result, a number of shops and helmet manufacturers accept old helmets, which are then recycled and used in new products.
Make inquiries at your nearest dealer or recycling unit if they accept old helmets. If they do, first confirm that the grade of plastic used in your helmet can be recycled. If it can be done, then take out the inner lining and cut the straps out, as these cannot be recycled. The outer shell of the helmet is the only recyclable part that will be accepted.
#7. Make it a Showpiece for your Old memories
Helmets are one of the most nostalgic pieces of riding equipment that many riders come across. They are part of the incredible experiences that the rider has been through. As a result, many riders hang up their helmets as showpieces in the living room for all to see.
Thanks to the shape of helmets, they are quite easy to hang up and put on display on a wall. All you need to do is find a hook that is strong enough to hold your helmet and you can put it on display.
In fact, some enthusiasts have a special wall displaying past helmets that they have used. Each helmet has its own story, which makes it a great way to remember the good times on your motorcycle.
#8. Reuse it as Hanging Basket or to grow small plants
The shape of helmets makes it very convenient for people to repurpose them for household activities like potting plants and making baskets. The durable materials used to make helmets make them great pots for small plants.
A little bit of work to seal the vents and cover the opening for the visor is all that needs to be done. Thanks to the waterproof outer lining, there is a reduced chance that your helmet pot will leak, making it ideal for an indoor garden
On the other hand, you can also repurpose it as a basket for daily use. You can make small holes in the side and string them using threads or chains to make an elegant strap. It can then be used as a convenient holder for goods purchased at the grocery store or pharmacy while being a unique style statement!
#9. Use it for Learning New Moves without worrying about damaging your Expensive Helmet
Helmets serve the primary purpose of protecting the rider’s head. However, some helmets are expensive because of the finish and livery on the helmet, for which some riders are willing to pay an additional amount.
In the world of stunt riding, safety gear is necessary, especially in the learning phase. Doing so with expensive equipment is good, but will mean that you may not be able to use them for too long.
This is because amateur stunt riders are more prone to accidents, which can cause damage to the protective gear. As a result, having an old helmet that still offers decent protection can be used in such situations.
This will give the rider confidence to try daring stunts without having to worry about damaging their fancy new helmet. Another advantage is that the older helmet fits the driver well, making sure it doesn’t take their focus off the road.
#10. Use it for Targeting Practice
Helmets are designed to be tough. In fact, some helmets are made of Kevlar, which is the same material used in the construction of bulletproof vests. As a result, helmets make a great target for those who love to shoot guns for fun.
The helmets are usually painted in Hi-Viz liveries for improved visibility on the road. Combining with the prominent shape, they can be placed at faraway distances and be spotted easily, making them ideal for long-range shooting.
The helmets will also be able to take a couple of hits from lower-powered guns, before shattering. This means you will have to spend less time having to replace your targets.
- Can you sell old motorcycle helmets? Yes! You can definitely sell your old motorcycle helmets. Some local riding gear stores have programs to buy back used equipment. However, there are a few terms and conditions that you will have to follow if your helmet is fit for resale.
- The helmet must be in good and usable condition. Apart from minor cosmetic damage due to usage, the helmet must have its straps and inner lining intact to ensure that the helmet can then be sold to another rider looking for a second-hand helmet.
- The helmet must not have been in an accident or crash whatsoever. This is because cracks may have formed in the protective shell, even if they may not be visible to the naked eye. This can seriously compromise the integrity of the helmet in the future, making it a safety hazard if a rider is in an accident while wearing it.
- Can you recycle old motorcycle helmets? Old helmets can be recycled depending on the type of materials used to manufacture them. Most recycling centers accept old helmets, especially those with a polycarbonate plastic external shell.
However, you must refer to the grade of the plastic used by the manufacturer, which will be indicated in the manual. If it meets the required standards, then you will have to cut out the straps and take off the inner lining of the helmet. Only after you have completed this process will the helmet be accepted by your nearest recycling center.
- Do motorcycle helmets really expire? Motorcycle helmets don’t have an expiry date, but the other manufacturers recommend their users replace the helmet after every five or six years of usage. Because their inner linings can get loose after these years of use.
It might come as a surprise to many of you, but this is true. Manufacturers usually recommend changing the helmet after a period of 5-6 years. However, if you use your helmet on a regular basis, it is ideal that you change it once in 5 years. This is the time period recommended by the Snell Foundation as well, a pioneer in automobile crash safety.
You may be wondering how these helmets expire though? Well, helmets are made by gluing various layers tightly together to create a protective shell that is capable of withstanding high-speed crashes and impacts.
However, over years of usage, the bond formed by the glue and resins used can be reduced. This is because of environmental factors like humidity and rain, as well as the secretion of body fluids and sweat. As a result, the protection the helmet offers is reduced, which is why they have an expiry date.
- Should you buy a used bike helmet? It is highly advised not to buy a used bike helmet. This is because there might be microscopic cracks formed within the helmet shell that are not visible to the naked eye. They can compromise the integrity of helmets though, making them a safety risk.
It is also highly unlikely that you are completely aware of the history of the helmet, which means you will not be aware of accidents and incidents in the past. Try to avoid buying a used helmet as much as you can. Do so only if the person you are buying from is someone you know very well, like a family member or close friend whom you can trust.
Buying used helmets from shops is something that you should avoid even more, as you will not be aware of the hygiene standards and inspection they have done to ensure the helmet is clean and safe for use. If you have no choice, make sure you are aware of the inspection procedure they follow when they buy such helmets.
Can you donate motorcycle helmets? Yes! You can donate used helmets to the local emergency services or to someone who cannot afford to buy a good quality helmet if your helmet is in good condition and you never had an accident with the helmet.
The emergency services train new recruits to administer first aid with the help of used helmets that are donated by the community. It also gives them the liberty to damage the helmet beyond repair, which may be critical in life and death situations.
On the other hand, riders who cannot afford good quality helmets are forced to sacrifice comfort while riding. If you are upgrading your helmet with the old one in good and usable condition, then you can donate the helmet to such a rider to put a smile on their face and ensure they are comfortable and better protected while riding.
We have made a detailed list of some of the best motorcycle helmets under the $300 price, you can check the list if you are looking for a new helmet. And here is the list of the best-selling helmets from Amazon.com.