Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute

Consumer-funded, volunteer staff

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Summary: This page tells you who we are and how we got here.

If you were looking for helmet law info from the June 2023 Bicycling link, it's here on our laws page.

The Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute (BHSI) is a helmet advocacy program that grew out of the Helmet Committee of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association. The committee began testing helmets in 1974, and was set up as a separate program, still under WABA, in 1989. In 2016 we completed the transition from a WABA-sponsored program to a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation.

BHSI is a small, active non-profit that serves as a consumer advocacy program and a technical resource for bicycle helmet information. Its volunteers serve on the ASTM bicycle helmet standard committee and are active in commenting on standards of the Consumer Product Safety Commission. BHSI provides an email newsletter, and sends out copies of its Toolkit for Helmet Promotion Programs to anyone who is organizing a helmet effort, and to anyone needing materials for teaching. We are staffed by a few volunteers and funded entirely by consumer donations. We do not accept funding from the helmet industry or retailers. We are not an affiliate advertising site and do not profit from your clicks on any of our links. We do not use cookies or track you.

On the Internet, BHSI's domain name is helmets.org. We also continue to use our first domain name, bhsi.org. Our web page makes BHSI materials available to anyone at any time, and we reached almost 600,000 visitors by 2005. We are over 900,000 per year now. That's nothing for a big site, but huge for us! Our page runs on a secure server with an SSL certificate verifying our identity and encrypting all connections.

BHSI's web master, Randy Swart, is a full-time volunteer and is the author of most of the pages on our site that are not identified as having been written by someone else. We sometimes ask others to review a new page, mostly members of the ASTM F08.53 Helmet and Headgear standards subcommittee. A number of other volunteers have also reviewed pages for both editorial changes and content. We take comments from anybody and respond with changes where warranted. We never request pre-publication review of any page by manufacturers, but do respond to comments from them, particularly if they relate to our page on Helmets for the Current Season and are factual rather than judgmental in nature. Where possible we refer readers to primary sources or identify through links other sources with different points of view.

Here is a chronological view of our history:

Before 1974,there were no bicycle helmet standards in use and there was junk product on the US market. The Washington Area Bicyclist Association, recognizing the need for helmet information, began investigating helmets, with these events over the years since:

We also have up a page with a description of our current program.