Need a helmet. Recommendations?

I bought a b*ke to get to my job faster than the buses in my city will take me. But I don’t have a helmet, and I’m not quite prepared to defend myself against the hordes of bias on the internet compelling me to buy the newest latest 2012 carbon-fiber aerodynamic ventilating beefcake 9000 for more money than I spent on the bike. Anyone have any good (read: situations that would have been devastating but weren’t) experiences with helmets in road-riding in proximity to motor vehicles?

Well, the more venting, the cooler and lighter the helmet will feel on your head. Brand doesn’t matter so much, Bell makes most of them anyways and puts a different sticker on the outside.
I have a Giro Pneumo that fits very well and is light, it has a sliding system called RocLoc and it ratchets snug at the rear of your lower head area(above the neck) and works so well that you could really get away with not snapping the chin strap and it would stay on in a crash.
I also have a Bell skate helmet, less vents, very hot, and doesn’t fit my head as well. I wear it sometimes depending on the bike and situation(it looks more in line with uni & my fixie riding).
I wore both for commuting, the Giro is way cooler temp wise. My vote is to get something with as many vents as you can. And no, it doesn’t have to be crazy expensive or fancy. My hubs has a Schwinn one with nearly as many vents as my Giro and it came from Walmart. And was also made by Bell, just like my Giro is.

Take a look at the Fox Flux. It has more coverage than the average bike helmet, but its still light and comfortable with plenty of vents. On top of that, it has really nice styling and I got it on Amazon for less than $70.

Do not buy a helmet online without trying it on in the store first because everyone’s head is shaped different so what works well for one might not be so good for another. I like my Bontrager way better than the Giro I had at first. I do wish it had more coverage in the back like the Fox Flux or other similar “mountain bike” specific helmets. I recently had a friend take a fall off her Penny Farthing and, even though she was wearing a helmet, got hurt pretty bad due to inadequate rear coverage. Like others have said, if you live where it’s hot, ventilation is paramount. Otherwise, I’d wear a full face helmet as not to undo the orthodontia work my parents shelled out for.

You pay more for style, and more holes. Excellent protection can be had for $20-30, but not necessarily coolness. I recommend going to one or more stores that have lots of models to choose from and trying them on. It all boils down to which one you like. I chose based on color, comfort and looks. All bicycle helmets provide roughly equal protection (except maybe in the back). If you want more protection, go for a skate helmet.

Bike helmets have to meet the same safety criteria, so they are all at a minimum “the same”, but how they attach to your head, the fit and stability on your head, that will matter most if you have to use it in an accident.

Like Clay, I’m a Fox Flux fan, now on my third one, it is a great helmet that fits my head well, nice mix of weight, ventilation, and coverage.

The best helmet is the POC, that’s all me and the family use for skiing, it’s a little heavier and not as well ventilated, also they are expensive,but second to a motorcycle helmet, the POC is the boss.

My favorite:
BELL INFLUX

Lots of vents, and $40

The one you are wearing

The best helmet is the one that you are wearing when you unexpectedly need it. The fact that you are asking is a good start. Wear anything…

Most of them will protect your coconut. Just remember that if you drop the helmet the integrity of it may be compromised, and it should be replaced with new. Think of helmets as disposable, and replace whenever you question it’s ability to save your life.

I happen to have a 661 Recon Stealth. It works for me, but I’ve never “tested” it.