Impact Performance of Certified Bicycle Helmets Below, On and Above the Test Line

Photograph of the 12 helmet models tested

DeMarco, A.L., Chimich, D.D., Bonin, S.J. et al. Impact Performance of Certified Bicycle Helmets Below, On and Above the Test Line. Annals of Biomedical Engineering (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10439-019-02422-x

Bicycle helmets are effective in reducing many head injuries, but their effectiveness could be improved if they provided protection over a larger range of impact locations.

We sought to quantify the impact performance of 12 helmet models below, on and above the CPSC prescribed test line. All helmets were drop tested at an impact speed of 6.2 m/s. One helmet adequately attenuated impacts below the CPSC limit of 300 g for all impact locations tested below, on and above the test line. Five helmets met this limit for impacts on or above the test line as required in the CPSC standard, but failed to meet it below the test line (not required in the standard). The remaining six helmets failed to meet the criterion on and/or above the test line.

Our findings indicate that consumers should not assume that all portions of a helmet provide adequate and equivalent protection. Our findings also suggest that the CPSC’s current system of self-regulation and self-testing by manufacturers does not prevent substandard bicycle helmets from being sold. Public availability of manufacturers’ impact test data, an independent testing panel, and/or a wider distribution of impact locations are needed to better protect bicyclists.

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Impact Performance of Certified Bicycle Helmets Below, On and Above the Test Line

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