Yes, folding or collapsible bike helmets can protect your head if you fall or crash, provided they meet the standards set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) for regular bike helmets. A helmet that passes testing should have the CPSC sticker inside. The only drawback is that most are pricey, usually $100 to $150.
Credit: Closca Fuga
A collapsible helmet can come in handy when you have to carry it around—for instance, if you are flying, don’t want to check luggage, and have limited space in your carry-on bag. And if you use an urban bike-sharing program, it’s handy to be able to tuck a helmet into a small shoulder bag, purse, or briefcase before and after you cycle.
The following are some CPSC-certified brands:
- The Morpher helmet collapses down to barely three inches thick. It won the Popular Science innovation award in 2014. Made of the same hard plastic and foam as traditional helmets, Morpher’s segments fold down the middle; magnets keep it flat when folded.
- The Brooks Carrera helmet isn’t truly foldable but can be collapsed somewhat when not in use and can be secured by a carrying strap.
- The Closca Fuga helmet uses a patented design with mobile concentric rings to fold flat and is lightweight. Until recently, this helmet has been sold at the shop at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, a mecca for snazzy design.
- The Overade Plixi is hinged to fold up somewhat, though not flat.It’s the only foldable that Consumer Reports included in its 2016 review of bike helmets; its impact performance was rated as only good (not very good or excellent) and its ventilation and fitadjustability as poor, with an overall score of only 22 out of 100 points.
Not recommended but interesting: The WeShine helmet is in a class of its own since it’s made of recyclable, foldable cardstock paper. It’s only $36 but, as you might expect, but it isn’t CPSC-certified.
Also see 12 Tips for Better Cycling.