Pro-Tec and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) have announced the recall of the City Lite and Street Lite multi-sport helmets due to a potential safety risk.

“The buckle on the helmet fails to meet current federal safety standards, posing a risk of head injury,” the CPSC noted this week.

Consumer Reports first discovered this problem in its tests of the City Lite helmet last January and immediately notified the manufacturer. The Street Lite is included in the recall as well because the buckle system is the same, Pro-Tec explained.

Asked why putting the recall into action took several months, a spokesperson for Pro-Tec told us the company “coordinated this recall with CPSC and it took time.”

No injuries have been reported to the CPSC. 

What CR Found

The Pro-Tec City Lite’s helmet retention system—the chin straps and buckle that should keep the helmet securely on your head in the event of an accident—failed to work properly in three out of the four City Lite helmets we tested. In one case, the buckle broke; in two others, a strap detached from the body of the helmet.

This kind of failure can cause the helmet to come off of your head or get pushed out of position during an accident, says John Galeotafiore, Consumer Reports associate director of product testing.

What You Need to Know About the Recall

The Pro-Tec helmets involved in the recall were sold between February 2016 and January 2017 at Amazon.com, ProtecBC.com, and sports specialty stores including McCully Bicycle & Sporting Goods, Quality Bicycle Products, and Uncle Funky’s Boards.

The City Lite helmet costs about $80, and the Street Lite costs $60. Both helmets came in rubber black and gloss white, and the Street Lite was also sold in rubber red. Roughly 4,600 helmets were sold in all, according to the recall notice.

A few distinct features outlined in the recall notice can help you figure out if you own one of these helmets. The buckle in question has an “ERGO-LOK” marking and the “UTX D-FLEX” logo on it. A label on the inside identifies it as a “Pro-Tec City Lite” or “Pro-Tec Street Lite.” And there are two vent holes in the back of the helmets, with either an LED light or a plastic insert in the vent on the left side.

Pro-Tec is offering a full refund to customers who own one of the recalled helmets. To initiate your refund, you can call Pro-Tec at 844-368-3695 from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. PT Monday through Friday. 

Bottom Line

Wearing a helmet when you’re riding a bike is essential. If you already own a Pro-Tec City Lite  or Street Lite helmet, you should replace it as soon as possible and continue to use it only if you do not have access to another helmet and need to ride your bike.

At CR we believe using this helmet despite its flaws is better than riding without any helmet. Pro-Tec, however, told us that while the company implements the recall, it will advise consumers not to use the helmet at all, citing previous CPSC guidance.