Bicycle Helmet Testing – IIHS & VA Tech

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.

Bicycle Helmets

Buckle Up a Helmet to Save a Life
October 23, 2017
New York Times

Even a careful cyclist is likely to crash about once every 4,500 miles and, based on personal observation, many city cyclists are anything but careful. Although reliable details are lacking on bike share accidents in New York or elsewhere, one shattering statistic reported by New York City for cyclists in general stands out: 97 percent of cycling deaths and 87 percent of serious injuries occurred to people who were not wearing helmets.

“A very low-speed fall can be just as dangerous as a fall at higher speeds,” said Randy Swart, director of the consumer-funded Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute. “All it takes is gravity – the distance to the ground – to cause a head injury.”

If you are traveling the USA, here is a handy link, map of USA states by bicycle helmet mandatory law

A neuropathologist has examined the brains of 111 N.F.L. players — and 110 were found to have C.T.E., the degenerative disease linked to repeated blows to the head.

110 N.F.L. Brains
New York Times
July 25, 2017

A broad survey of her findings was published on Tuesday in The Journal of the American Medical Association.

Of the 202 players, 111 of them played in the N.F.L. — and 110 of those were found to have chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or C.T.E., the degenerative disease believed to be caused by repeated blows to the head.

Don’t make bicyclists more visible. Make drivers stop hitting them.

Don’t make bicyclists more visible. Make drivers stop hitting them.

Washington Post

[…] Mandatory helmet laws and glow-in-the-dark spray paint just show who really owns the roads. […] Please. Cycling head injury statistics are so ambiguous that even the federal government has been forced to stop exaggerating the effectiveness of bicycle helmets under the Data Quality Act. […]

Nebraska's motorcyle helmet law is still needed

Nebraska’s motorcyle helmet law is still needed

[…] Due to the decrease in helmet use for the under-21 group, the NHTSA found, the incidence of serious traumatic brain injury for riders in that age group was 38 percent higher than in states with a universal helmet requirement. […] The number of injury crashes involving motorcycles increased from 1,146 in the two years before the change to 1,571, an increase of 37 percent. […]

California Mandatory Bicycle Helmet Law Would Make Riding Less Safe, Advocates Say

California Mandatory Bicycle Helmet Law Would Make Riding Less Safe, Advocates Say

Huffington Post

Legislation that would make California the first state requiring adult bicyclists to wear helmets has some biking advocates worried the mandate would discourage people from becoming bike commuters. […] Balmer said cycling in Australia sharply declined after an all-ages helmet law took effect. […]

What Can A Bicycle Helmet Do?

Why Cycle UK

A good site and a good piece on the pro’s and cons of bicycle helmets.

[…] Cycle helmets are only designed and tested to withstand an impact equivalent to an average weight rider travelling at a speed of 12 mph falling onto a stationary kerb shaped object from a height of 1 metre. Helmets are not tested nor expected to be able to offer full protection if you come into contact with a vehicle which is moving. […]