A fellow rider and friend of mine is currently in hospital with a head injury from a training accident. I've found it quite triggering. My thoughts daily are very much with him and his family and I wish him a speedy recovery. 
This experience has made me ask questions about helmet safety that I hadn't thought of before. I just took for granted that I have a helmet on, it's a reputable brand and therefore I am relatively safe. Relatively safe doesn't cut the mustard anymore. Am I in the SAFEST helmet available is the main question on my mind. 
I started to do some research and found something very interesting. When it comes to cost I always thought that the more a helmet costs the safer it would be. Turns out I was wrong! I had just fallen into the marketing trap, more on that in just a moment.
During my research on helmets, I stumbled across a company called Virginia Tech they test and rate helmets from a range of sports. They are not paid by the manufacturers for the testing and are independent. Important when you consider the power that marketing can have. ​​​​​​​
As an example of this 'marketing' I have mentioned here is the 'top-rated' helmet from Cycling Weekly for 2022. Apparently, "There's no reason not to buy!". After all, it is "really good-looking". The next image shows that it scores 69th out of 178 tested helmets. It is below average for high impact and below average for low impact. This "really good-looking" helmet is on sale for £179 at sigma sports, the RRP is £289. I wonder how much Giro paid to hold the title of best road bike helmet at Cycling Weekly.
Note: the lower the score on the graph the better.  The Giro is below average for 5 star
The number 2 ranked helmet on Cycling Weekly I couldn't find test results for so I won't pass comment. However, the third-ranked helmet that CW is pushing is a Specialized Evade II. For this helmet, you are looking at around £250 and it comes in with a measly 4 star rating from Virginia Tech. Looks good though (rolls eyes).
Here is where it gets interesting. If you look at the number 1 ranked helmet on Virginia Tech in comparison it is £69. The price has no correlation to the safety rating achieved. My mind is officially blown! That helmet is a Specialized Tactic 4 (i've just bought one unsurprisingly) it's available at Certini Bicycle Company and is currently on sale.
The Specialized Tactic 4 is a MTB helmet and you might be after a road-specific one. Don't fear, here is the top-ranking road helmet, the Specialized Prevail 3. For the Prevail you are looking at around £275. I understand it's a fairly hefty price tag to get one of these so I did some more digging to find a more affordable option. 
The next top-ranked road helmets and the best prices I could find in order are linked below. They are all within the Top 10 helmets tested. The prices take you to the websites and the names take you to the safety ranking. None of the links are affiliated. I just want you to make a good decision and be safe.
For £32.99 I don't think you can argue against the Specialized Align II. The perfect gift this Christmas to keep your loved ones safe. 
In summary, I think it's important to remember that when choosing a helmet it's not about looks or aero claims that one is faster than another. It's about safety safety safety! The reason we wear a helmet in the first place is for safety. The reason your Mum wants to make sure you're wearing a helmet is for safety, she doesn't want to see you come to harm whilst you're out doing what you love. 
Don't fall for the marketing and make an informed choice! If in doubt show this blog post to your Mum and see what she says.
Stay safe - wear a decent helmet

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