Online shopping offers convenience, both time-wise and financially. Buying everyday items on the Internet can save you money, and for some people, it is just easier. Aside from the obvious benefits, there is a dark side to online ordering. Personal injury is a start.

NPR recently shed some light on the dangers of fake bike helmets. The counterfeit equipment is often found on sites such as eBay. While the helmets are cheaper than others and – for the most part – look identical, the quality does not match.

Tests show counterfeit helmets to split in half from direct impact, putting a rider at risk of brain damage or death.

There are ways to identify fake bicycle helmets, such as:

  • Check the plastic. Take a look at the plastic fit retention device, found on the inside of the helmet. A fake helmet will be made with cheap, stiff plastic.
  • Check the weight. According to Specialized Bicycles,counterfeit helmets are usually lighter than the real thing, by 45 grams. The foam is typically thinner, as well.
  • Check the price. Authentic, high-quality helmets can cost anywhere from $200 to $250. Websites that offer similar helmets at an extremely low price are most likely selling counterfeits.
  • Check the standardsRead any stickers on the helmet. Authentic helmets meet the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission standards. Fake helmets usually indicate European standards.

A good rule of thumb is to stick with legitimate outlets for important purchases, such as protective accessories. There is far more to lose when buying a fake bicycle helmet, compared to purchasing counterfeit sunglasses or purses. A high-quality helmet could be the difference between life or death for many cyclists.