Most bicycle helmets are similar in design and function, however, a few varieties are designed for special types of riding and protection. Depending on the type of riding you typically do, you can choose the helmet that is best designed to protect you against injury. Wearing the right helmet is an important part of taking the precautions required for a safe ride. The Consumer Product Safety Commission sets the safety standards for bicycle helmets manufactured or imported for sale in the United States.
Road Bicycle Helmets - Road bicycle helmets are meant for road cycling. These helmets have elongated and aerodynamic shapes to decrease drag. They also are heavily vented to reduce weight and increase airflow. Road helmets work in any cycling condition because they are versatile, lightweight and provide good protection.
Commuter Bicycle Helmets - Commuter helmets, sometimes called sport helmets, are more rounded than road helmets but are otherwise similar in style and function. They are generally more affordable than road helmets, whose speed-related features increase the price. Commuter helmets are designed for bicycle commuters and other casual riders who want basic protection and are not worried about reducing drag and gaining that extra second.
Mountain Bicycle Helmets - Mountain bike helmets provide more protection in the rear of the head than either road or commuter helmets. They're designed for off-road riding where potential for injury is greater. Mountain bike helmets often have visors and more intricate fit systems to ensure they won't slide around during a bumpy and grueling ride.
BMX Bicycle Helmets - BMX helmets come in both cap and full-face designs that offer advanced protection tailored to the dangers of BMX riding. They protect heavily around the back and sides of the head, thus covering more area than other bicycle helmets. BMX helmets offer very little venting, because BMX rides are generally shorter than other types of rides and riders are less likely to become overheated.