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Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute

BHSI Program for 2013



Summary: Our program this year continues to rely on our Web site for outreach but includes work on improving helmet standards, some new projects and lab testing as well as other activities.



1. The Web

BHSI will actively maintain this Web site with daily updates through the year. This is our 18th year on the Web. We hope to reach more than a million visitors in 2014, since we have had nearly a million since 2009. You can see the counts on our server statistics page. The Web is our most effective means of reaching consumers, researchers, the press, manufacturers and others. It enables us to serve as a clearinghouse for bicycle helmet information. It is the most rapid means of disseminating new developments in the helmet field. It revolutionized our work when we came on line in 1995. We continue to scan in new paper documents--if it is not on the Web, it does not exist. Our precious volunteer time is better spent on enhancing and maintaining the Web site than any other activity. For 2012 we are continuing to streamline our pages. That means shorter pages with simpler sentences where possible. We want to reach the texting generation, and those who are surfing on very small devices. But we think the social networking systems are poorly suited for our needs, and do not have time to tend to their requirements.

2. Lab Testing

In 2012 BHSI conducted a very successful project to test helmets for possible damage by various commonly used consumer products. For the current year we will be actively procuring a small number of new concept helmets as they come out and sending them to lab for testing.

3. Consumer Representation on Bicycle Helmet Standards Committees

BHSI continues to be active on the ASTM F8.53 Headgear Subcommittee. We work on various task groups and participate actively in drafting and updating standards. BHSI sends a representative to all ASTM F-8 Committee meetings For 2014 that will include a May meeting in Toronto and a November meeting in New Orleans. BHSI's Director currently is Co-Vice Chair of the ASTM F08.53 subcommittee and Membership Secretary of the F08 Committee.

BHSI also participates in periodic Consumer Product Safety Commission meetings to discuss the Federal bicycle helmet standard. We will send a representative to any CPSC meetings organized during the year. We will also continue to cover CPSC meetings on helmet-related subjects.

4. The National Bicycle Safety Network

BHSI is a member of the National Bicycle Safety Network. BHSI attends meetings and assists where possible in the operation of the NBSN. It is chaired by the US Department of Transportation. It includes a broad coalition of other organizations involved in injury prevention and bicycle safety. We participated actively in the steering committee that developed the National Strategies for Advancing Bicycle Safety. The campaign was planned by a bicycle safety conference in Washington, DC in July of 2000. It identifies every major impediment to bicycling in the US. BHSI has taken on implementation of one of the strategies: providing information to drafters and proponents of bicycle helmet legislation at the State and Local levels. We partner with Safe Kids USA for that strategy. The group continues to meet periodically under the chairmanship of NHTSA staff. Its information exchange helps coordinate the bicycle safety activities of the various partners.

5. Participation in Other Organizations

Despite our budget constraints we will be attending the International Consumer Product Health and Safety Organization (ICPHSO) Annual Symposium in February. We participate in the annual Bicycle Summit in Washington, DC on even-numbered years, and will participate in 2014. And we will send a representative to other meetings that come up as we do every year.

6. Publications

  • Newsletter. The Web is our main publishing outlet, and BHSI will continue to send its email newsletter, The Helmet Update to over 700 helmet researchers, promoters, manufacturers, standards committee members, press, medical researchers and interested helmet users. We send new issues only when there is news, rather than working up filler to keep up a set publication schedule. We discontinued our paper newsletter in 2004. You can be on our email list by sending us an email request. We send about five or six newsletters per year.

  • Pamphlets. BHSI will update the Buyer's Guide to Bicycle Helmets and A Bicycle Helmet for My Child at least twice during the year. We will also keep current our pamphlet on How to Fit a Bicycle Helmet and our pamphlet on Teaching Your Child to Ride a Bicycle. We send out paper duplicating masters of our pamphlets, but many users download the files and print them locally.

  • Helmets for the Current Season. Each year BHSI researches and publishes a page on helmets on the market for the coming year. We do the research at the Interbike trade show in the fall. The annual web page for the coming year is posted in December.
  • Helmet Standards Comparison. BHSI will publish on the Web at least one annual update of our technical standards study comparing eleven international bicycle helmet standards. This year we will add the ASTM standards for downhill mountain biking and BMX cycling.

  • Frequently Asked Questions About Bicycle Helmets. BHSI will update this writeup explaining many aspects of helmet design and performance to reflect new developments.

  • Materials for local helmet promotion campaigns. We update our Helmet Promotion Toolkit, a package of materials from numerous sources, frequently during the year. We add new materials as they become available and update content. The Toolkit is entirely available on the Web, but we still receive numerous requests for it on paper. It includes pamphlet duplicating masters, a CD with our entire Web site and four DVDs with bicycle safety and helmet safety videos.
  • Compendium of crash stories. BHSI updates this collection of stories frequently, primarily from email messages.

  • List of Mandatory Helmet Laws. We keep our list of mandatory helmet laws current with frequent updates. The pace of new laws has slowed considerably, but we keep up.


7. Briefings and background materials for the media

BHSI makes a special effort to provide materials to media people working on helmet articles or programs. Many researchers make use of our Web site, where we have a Press Room section and a Quote of the Day for those on tight deadlines. We respond promptly to press emails to info@helmets.org or phone calls to 703-486-0100 as well.

8. Communications

BHSI has two Internet domains: helmets.org and bhsi.org. Both point to the same physical files on the same physical server. Our local area network is connected to the Internet with a fiber optic broadband connection. Our Web server runs very reliably at Pair Networks, whose low rates reduced our Web costs from the old days of running our own server here. For the first ten years we monitored our Web server every three minutes 24x7 and found that Pair is very reliable. There is no charge to our users for any of our Web services, and we do not intend to add one. We do not buy, sell or exchange email addresses or contact lists with any other organization.

BHSI has standard telephone service with voicemail available at 703-486-0100. We had to shut our seldom-used fax machine down due to junk faxes we could not stop.

9. Budget

BHSI is operating this year on a budget of about $11,000, sustained by donations from bicycle riders who believe in this work. We remain an all-volunteer organization, paying no salaries. We have posted our budget details. We do not accept funding from helmet manufacturers or any organization involved in the retail sale of helmets. That includes independent bicycle shops. Checks made out to "Washington Area Bicyclist Association -- BHSI" are welcome from anyone else! WABA is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, so all donations are tax-deductible under IRS rules. You can verify WABA's status on the IRS site, and click on the Deductibility Status link on the left for the rules. To promote the fullest possible distribution we do not charge for our Toolkit for Helmet Promotion Programs and other materials. We can certainly put all donations to good use! We also have a page up with our current non-monetary needs.

10. Contact Information

BHSI is located at 4611 Seventh Street South, Arlington, VA 22204-1419. Our telephone number is 703-486-0100 for voice and voicemail. Our email address is info@helmets.org. Our Web server is at www.helmets.org or can still be accessed at our original URL, www.bhsi.org


This page was last revised on: February 25, 2014.

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