Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute

Consumer-funded, volunteer staff

Helmets Children Promotions Stats Search

Pick a helmet using lab test data

We have a ratings page that merges top picks from Consumer Reports impact testing and the Virginia Tech concussion ratings, updated in April 2023. Only 16 models coincide, but at least the ratings are based on actual lab testing.

Update: KAV 3D printed helmet tests well

Triathlete article misses the point on MIPS

Rotational force: do MIPS, WaveCel and SPIN really work?

Helmet recalls and warnings: Korimefa, Chau River, Gasaciods - Fengwang Sports, Bell, Retrospec, Hovding,
Xingdetui, Tengingyue, Cyclingsell, ECNUP, Xinerter, SQM, more

Helmets for 2024

Should I wear a helmet at all?

Sections below or
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Quick Children
Helmets Design
New Standards
Laws Statistics
Repairs Media
Special Helmets About

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Quick Answers

Quick Answers!
Fast info for Frequently Asked Questions.
Helmets Made Simple
If our pages seem too wordy, try this.
Is there an anti-concussion helmet?
Not really, and here is why.
Buying a helmet?
Our Buyer's Guide to Bicycle Helmets
Helmets for 2024
Our report on this year's helmets.
How long do helmets last?
Time to replace a helmet?
Scooter helmets
You need one to ride an electric scooter!
Do shared bicycle rental users need helmets?
Our advice on riding shared bikes.
How to fit a helmet
How to get all the protection you paid for.
The Media Room
Quote of the Day and how to quote our other text

New Stuff

Virginia Tech STAR ratings: the way ahead to better helmets
Concussion ratings will push manufacturers to go beyond meeting standards.
Pick a helmet with lab test ratings
We found models highly rated by Virginia Tech and Consumer Reports
VA Tech testing finds 5 Star helmet for $7.45
Best protection does not have to be expensive or have MIPS
CPSC recalls are evolving
Adapting to changes in retailing.
Made for Us podcast interviews BHSI's Randy Swart.
The focus is on inclusivity and helmets
Helmet chuckle: Danish public service announcement
Svend says his helmet ruins his braids.
COVID-19 and helmet cleaning
Advice on cleaning possible virus from your helmet.
Consumer Reports has a helmet article
Ratings for helmets.
Latest helmet recalls
Our page has many recalls from the past.
European helmet study proposes changes in standards
Recommends: lower pass/fail, more coverage, angular impact test for rotation.
Helmets for electric bikes
We don't think a bike helmet is enough for an ebike.
Rideshare company solves helmet problem
Helmet locks to the rear rack of a Wheels bike.
Should I wear a helmet?
Would you believe our advice?
Where can I report a helmet defect?
CPSC has a place to post your problems.
What's New
What we have added or modified on our website recently.


Helmets for the 2024 season
Our report on helmets for this year.
Where is the anti-concussion helmet?
You can look for it...but you won't find it.
Cheap vs. Expensive Helmets
Lab tests showed no difference in impact protection.
A visit to the CPSC helmet testing lab
A photo tour of CPSC's helmet test facility.
CPSC complaints database
First case illustrated good and bad features of the database.
Helmet recalls
All CPSC helmet compliance actions since 1995.
Types of helmets
Road, mountain, downhill, skate, chrono
Helmet terms and definitions
Meanings for the helmet terms we use.
Bikeshare programs and helmets
Including first study on helmet use.
Folding helmets
Needed for bike share programs, but must meet CPSC for US.
Plastics in your helmet?
Helmet plastics are probably not a cause for concern.
Are Ribcaps OK for cycling?
They do not provide the protection you need.
Cheap helmets!
Sources of helmets for promotion campaigns.
Yard sale helmets
Should I buy a used helmet at a yard sale?
Full Face helmets
Do you want facial protection?
Helmet size
Size chart and how to measure your head for a helmet.
How to Fit a Helmet
How to fit a helmet for best protection.
Helmet fit checklist
Helmet fitting steps.
Very large helmets
Our advice for riders with very large heads.
Small helmets for adults
Advice on finding small adult helmets
Very small helmets for children
Why can't I find a helmet small enough?
Helmets for unusually-shaped heads
Our advice for riders with unusually-shaped heads.
Hairstyles and baseball caps
Baseball caps, pony tails, beads, braids, "helmet hair"
Do-rags and head covers under helmets
Does a head cover affect helmet fit?
One-size-fits-all helmets
Can ring fit systems fit your head?
Vents and squared-off lines
You can have too many vents in your helmet!
Visors: good and bad experience
How to report shattered or snagged visors
The helmet industry
Industry news on a few of the manufacturers.
Bell's True Fit system is worth a look
System simplifies the fitting process.
Winter helmets
Warm headgear for winter commuting and riding.
Lights on Helmets
Headlights and taillights mounted on helmets can be useful.
Giving a helmet as a present.
May not be a simple task.
Reflective helmets
Should you add reflective tape to your helmet?
Stickers on helmets
Should you add stickers to your helmet?
Painting helmets
Can you paint a helmet?
Helmets for many other activities
Scooter, ski, soccer, skating, equestrian and more.
Multi-purpose helmets
Can't I just use the same helmet for everything?
Helmets for motorbikes and motor scooters
Why a bicycle helmet is not ok for motor vehicles.
Crash stories
Stories where the helmet worked.
Other crashes
Helmet, no helmet or non-bicycle. These are downers.
When can I ride again?
Ask your doctor before riding after a crash.
Response to "truck ran over cyclist's head"
A helmet can help squirt the head out, but will crush if squarely run over.
Helmet damage sensors and indicators.
Most are not really concussion indicators.
Fake or counterfeit helmets
How to avoid them.


Helmets for low income kids
Factors affecting promotion in equity emphasis zones
Are helmets with animals or spikes OK for kids?
Cute, but we don't recommend them.
Consumer Reports has a few ratings of Kid's helmets.
Most are rated Good for impact protection.
Taking your baby along?
Helmets, trailers, childseats and shaken babies.
Very small toddler helmets
Helmets for toddlers with very small heads.
Very large toddler helmets
Helmets for toddlers with very large heads.
What size is my child's head?
How to measure.
Getting My Child to Wear A Helmet
Ten ideas for encouraging your kids to use helmets.
Why kids don't like to wear helmets.
Reasons the kids give when asked.
Warning: No helmets on playgrounds!
Advice after deaths of two helmeted children.
Hairstyles and baseball caps
Baseball caps, pony tails, beads, braids, "helmet hair"
Lice! Head lice can be a problem
Cleaning helmets for rentals and schools
Kids in Dublin Ohio mount bike safety campaign.
Lots of energy, new ideas as kids conduct their own program.

Special Helmets

Helmets for teens
"My teen won't wear a helmet!"
Helmets on campus
Is a college brain worth protecting?
Helmets for seniors
Does an older brain need different protection?
Helmets with Hearing Aids
Where to put a hearing aid and how to deal with sweat
Helmets for special needs
Suggestions for developmental disabilities and seizures
Helmets for head injured riders
What to wear if you have a previous injury.
Helmets for bald riders
Avoiding tan lines and other tips.
Thinner helmets for small adult heads?
Feel like a mushroom?
Helmets for police
Helmets for police officers, with police graphics
Helmets for bicycle polo
What you need to protect your head in cycle polo
Helmets for time trial use
Chrono helmets with extreme aero shapes.
Helmets for shared bicycle programs
Cycle hire schemes pose particular helmet problems.
Rental helmets
Rentals need easy fit, sanitization and damage indicators
Helmets and turbans
How can a Sikh wear a bicycle helmet?


Bicycle Helmet Standards
Our quick summary of bike helmet standards.
Standards for bicycle helmets
The long version: CPSC, CEN, ASTM, ANSI, Snell and others.
Short helmet standard comparison chart
The short standards comparison chart.
Detailed Standards Comparison
Longer, detailed item-by-item comparison.
ASTM F1952 Downhill Mountain Bike Racing Standard
Comparison with CPSC standard.
Test Line Comparisons
CPSC, ASTM, Snell, Dutch
The ideal helmet standard
Our idea of the perfect bicycle helmet standard.
Making progress in standards
What is needed for further standards improvement.
Importing bicycle helmets to the US
Where to find US regulations for importing bike helmets.
ASTM improves bicycle helmet standard
ASTM adds variable mass headforms to F1447
Helmet performance limits
How much a helmet can take and keep on protecting.
Helmet testing
How helmets are tested in the lab.
Helmet test labs
Labs who test helmets or supply test equipment.
ASTM headgear subcommittee
Standards, meetings, background
ANSI Z90.4 Committee - Disbanded
ANSI replaced the Z90.4 standard with ASTM F1447
We opposed Hövding airbag exemption from CPSC standard
Product did not provide the protection level required by the CPSC standard.

Maintenance and Repairs

Testing products that can attack helmets
BHSI has tested hair products, sunscreens, repellants.
How to inspect a helmet
The points to check, and a checklist.
Replacing a helmet
Our advice on when to replace your helmet.
Repairing a helmet
How to fix your helmet when it comes unglued.
Replacing a buckle
Can you find a replacement buckle? Maybe!
Threading straps through a buckle
Illustrations and photos to help you rethread.
Recycling helmets
What to do with your faithful old helmet.

Construction and Design

How Helmets Work
Basics on construction and testing standards
How bicycle helmets are made
A summary of manufacturing steps
Bicycle helmet impact liners
EPS, EPP, EPU, cardboard, pulp, paper, Koroyd, mycelium and other types of liners.
In-molded (molded-in-the-shell) helmets
It can make better helmets, but not necessarily.
Most are one basic design, but there are others.
Sliding resistance and MIPS
Rounder helmets help you slide on impact
Helmet Cooling
Info on ventilation and cooler riding.
Air bag headgear again - Stanford research
But some airbags do not inflate enough.
Helmet Designers
Our short list of independent helmet designers.
Trek/Bontrager models with WaveCel
Trek says they provide more protection against concussion.

Statistics and Research

Helmet and Injury statistics
They don't agree, so take your pick!
The total market for bike helmets
How many helmets are sold each year?
New York City data on bicycle deaths
NYC found 97% of dead cyclists had no helmet.
Journal articles and Studies on helmets
Links to scientific journal articles and studies on helmets.
Helmet documents
Materials we have scanned or downloaded.
Helmet construction and materials
Helmet design for students and researchers.
Researchers' page
Info for a thesis or a science project.
Designers' page
Info for a helmet design project.
Term papers on bike helmets
Where to find the info to write a term paper
A workshop on bike helmets
Points to cover when you do a workshop.
Helmet Patents
Some significant patents and how to find others.
Advice for Inventors
We are interested in new helmet technology.
The cost of making a bike helmet
Our guesses on manufacturing and sales costs.

Helmet Laws

Mandatory helmet laws
States, counties, cities, positions, opponents.
Where to find helmet laws
States, counties, cities.
Ebike helmet laws
Some states require helmets for some or all riders.
Studies on mandatory helmet laws
Journal articles and studies on helmet law effectiveness.
Australian paper on helmet laws is misleading
Helmet laws normally do not reduce cycling here.
Issues from the "helmet wars"
Our slant on the endless helmet law arguments.
Importing bicycle helmets to the US
Where to find US regulations for importing bike helmets.


Made for Us podcast interviews BHSI's Randy Swart.
The focus is on inclusivity and helmets
British Study on passing clearance was bogus.
2013 Re-analysis confirms that data was misinterpreted.
The Media Room
Quote of the Day and how to quote our other text
Washington Post article based on faulty study.
Reporters can't find a real helmet issue, so . . .
Misguided media articles and ads without helmets
What we do when we see one of those.
New York Times gets it right!
Columnist Jane Brody strongly recommends a helmet
New Zealand radio distorts our comments
"Don't have much to protect" joke taken seriously out of context.
New York Times Article
"Head Injuries Piling Up?" Times' reputation sinking?
NYU study does not expose hidden danger in foams.
Another university PR department gets headline wrong.
Helmets do not increase jaw injuries!
Study disqualifies itself.
Washington Post helmet myths article
Got it wrong.
Our email newsletter
Helmet news, not too frequent, you can subscribe.

Who We Are

Welcome! We are a bicycle helmet advocacy program explaining helmet technology to consumers and working to improve helmet standards. Founded in 1989, we are a small, active, non-profit consumer-funded program with a volunteer staff. Our volunteers serve on the ASTM helmet standards committee and are active in commenting on actions of the Consumer Product Safety Commission. We provide a Toolkit of materials for helmet programs and a periodic email newsletter, both free.

We are funded entirely by consumer donations. We maintain our independence by never accepting funds from the industry. We are a 501(c)3 non-profit, so your contributions to us are tax-deductible. We spend 100% on program expenses, nothing on administration or salaries and nothing on fundraising.

We do not use cookies at all on this site. No tracking, no ads, no rude pop-ups asking you to subscribe to our newsletter. We don't have any interest in selling your data. We are not an affiliate advertising site and do not profit from your clicks on any of our links. In a typical year our secure website serves 2 million pages to more than 700,000 distinct users. We have been up continuously since 1995.

We believe in helmets but know that they are a secondary safety measure and urge that primary measures such as safer roads and education programs for riders and drivers get high priority to resolve our current road safety crisis. Until our roads are reconfigured taking a safe systems design approach the appalling daily carnage will continue.

Our FAQ: can you trust this site?
Where we came from, what we do and how, with our Mission Statement.
Our Program
What we hope to accomplish this year.
How to support our work!
We are funded 100% by consumer donations.
What we need today
Graphics, crossword or teaching skills?
How we run our secure site
Our philosophy, design, page hits and more.
Promises, promises
What we hope to add to our site some day.
Some nice words from the Consumer Reports blog.
BHSI's founder named Safety Crusader.
Swart receives ASTM's Hulse Memorial Award
Recognition for BHSI's work on helmet standards.
Swart receives ASTM's Award of Merit
Highest ASTM award for standards committee work. Photo, Swart on right..
How to cite our pages
Citing us in footnotes for scholarly papers.

What we can do for you

Our publications
Newsletter, pamphlets, list of laws, more.
Our email newsletter
The Helmet Update, our periodic newsletter. You can subscribe!
Media guidance
Quotes and a few rules on quoting our site.
Webmaster guidance
You can quote us but not borrow our pages.
Our contact information
Web, email, telephone, postal mail.
Teachers, educators, scout leaders, workshops, rodeos.
Resources, statistics, pamphlets, videos, lesson plans.
Bike shop owners - We encourage you to use our pamphlets.
We provide free duplicating masters.
Search our site.
Finds anything on our site.
A Map of our site.
A page by page map in outline form.
Helmet links
Links to other helmet-related pages.
Head Injury Survivors
Links to people who have survived a head injury.
Graphical pages for young riders
Want graphics? Comics? Superheroes?
Our links policy
We keep our links closely focused on helmets.

Translate our site

Google Translate will translate our whole site for you into over 100 languages. Just click on this link to translate and on the blue word "English" at the top. A drop-down table lets you select your language, and all of our other pages will translate as you click on links.

Problems With Our Site?

Here is a page of tips on problems. We care about making our content accessible!

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Sending us an email:

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You can donate to support our work:

Please use this link to donate

We are consumer-funded and do not accept donations from the industry, including bicycle shops. We spend 100% on program expenses, nothing on administration and nothing on fundraising.

Our contact info:

Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute
4611 Seventh Street South
Arlington, VA 22204-1419 USA
Voicemail: 703-FOURateSixdashZero1doublezero
Web: helmets.org