U.S. customs is confiscating about twice as many counterfeit products as it did 10 years ago. The National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center believes the increase is partly due to the rise in e-commerce sites and the ease of online purchases.

According to NPR, many of these counterfeits are dangerous because the items do not have the same safety features or are not manufactured with the same care.

Fake bike helmets may not meet federal safety guidelines

One dangerous example is a fake bike helmet. At California-based Specialized Bicycles, the company has encountered many counterfeit versions of their helmets. Usually, the helmets look nearly identical, but are made much differently.

The authentic Specialized helmet is designed to exceed federal safety standards, while the fake helmets are not manufactured as carefully. At the company’s testing facility, a counterfeit helmet failed all three safety tests, and the third test split the helmet in half. The real helmet passed all the safety tests.

Here are a few signs that your bike helmet may be counterfeit:

  • The chin strap is cheap and stiff, and adjustment strap is bulky
  • A fake helmet is much lighter than a typical helmet
  • The foam lining of the helmet is very thin
  • It has a logo referencing European safety standards
  • It does not have sticker referencing U.S. safety standards
  • It has sizing standards that reference another country, like Asia
  • The price was much lower

A counterfeit helmet may also be missing a reinforcement roll cage, which protects the helmet and the wearer in case of impact.

Be careful when purchasing online or in-person

The National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center suggests you exercise caution when purchasing products in-person or online. Shop at legitimate retail outlet because auction sites or unknown retailers may be more likely to sell counterfeit goods.

A counterfeit product, like a fake bike helmet, can cause injury. If you were injured by a counterfeit product, you could have a product liability case against the manufacturer of the helmet and possibly the retailer. You may want to reach out to an experienced product liability attorney to discuss your options.