How Safe Are Bicycle Helmets?

On Behalf of | Jul 24, 2020 | Catastrophic Injuries |

In a time of lockdowns and other restrictive orders, various industries have benefited from people wanting to get out of the house and enjoy the outdoors. Few have grown as much as bicycling. Sales of bicycles and related accessories continue to soar with new enthusiasts and former cyclists who are dusting off their long unused two-wheel transports.

However, what some new bike enthusiasts may be overlooking is the reality of helmets that are also currently in high demand. The assumption that it can protect against accidents with motor vehicles represents a tragic misconception.

Bicycle Headwear Protection Only Goes So Far

Simply put, helmets are not built for severe collisions with cars and trucks due to the unlimited variables in the calculations. The material used to manufacture recreational helmets is meant to absorb high impact energies that can result in skull fractures and severe brain injuries.

Experiments focus on head-on collisions with tree branches or fall to the curb in what is described as “slow-speed tumbles.” Subsequent testing by the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) and the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) focuses on those catastrophic scenarios.

Progress continues in improving helmet safety. However, much of those efforts focus on the likelihood of concussions due to the “rotational shock” to the brain that can occur in an accident.

While an essential pursuit in an era of greater concussion awareness, improved innovation to account for cyclists sharing the road with drivers who fail to see them, or don’t bother to give them space is paramount.