It’s about time that bicycle helmets got more rigorously tested, say, like motorcycle helmets have for years.
Bike helmets in the U.S. are required by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to pass a series of tests in which helmets are struck against an anvil at a set speed. The only requirement is that the helmets prevent head impact accelerations over 300 g, a level associated with skull fracture or severe brain injury. There is no requirement for helmets to limit concussion-level forces, which are more common among bicyclists in crashes.
A few take aways: more expensive isn’t better, more coverage isn’t better.
Perhaps surprisingly to some, the “urban” style helmets that look like they cover more of the head appear to provide less protection than the sleeker road helmets, the Virginia Tech team said.
The researchers found that bicycle helmets offered different types of protection. Not all bicycle helmets protected well against concussion. Bicycle helmets also may not protect adequately for the way cyclists often hit the ground at an angle. With cyclist fatalities up 20% in the last ten years, improving and formally testing bicycle helmets is a huge step forward.
Urban-style helmets — which have nearly solid covers with few vents — and those that haven’t adopted the latest anti-concussion technology were more than twice as likely to result in injuries, researchers from Virginia Tech and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found in a study released Tuesday.
All bicycle helmets sold in the U.S. must meet basic impact protection standards, but new tests from @BEAMvt show that some provide better protection than others. https://t.co/an8jTLlnae pic.twitter.com/9WPMXoF9Sj
— IIHS (@IIHS_autosafety) July 11, 2018