CPSC's Announcement of its Bicycle Helmet Standard
Summary: The Consumer Product Safety Commission's announcement in the Federal Register of March 23, 1995 that it had adopted an Interim Rule for bicycle helmets that would apply until its own standard went into effect, and action that did not occur until 1999.
[Federal Register: March 23, 1995]
CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY COMMISSION
16 CFR Part 1203
Interim Rule: Safety Standards for Bicycle Helmets
AGENCY: Consumer Product Safety Commission.
ACTION: Interim rule.
SUMMARY: The Commission announces that certain voluntary standards for
bicycle helmets will become interim mandatory standards pursuant to the
Children's Bicycle Helmet Safety Act of 1994. These interim mandatory
standards shall remain in effect until replaced by a final standard to
be issued by the Commission. These statutory interim standards are the
American National Standards Institute (``ANSI'') standard Z90.4-1984,
the Snell Memorial Foundation standard B-90, and ASTM standard F 1447-
The Commission also announces its determination, pursuant to the
Bicycle Helmet Safety Act, that five additional voluntary safety
standards for bicycle helmets are appropriate as interim mandatory
standards. These standards are ASTM F 1447-1994, Snell B-90S, N-94, and
B-95, and the Canadian voluntary standard CAN/CSA-D113.2-M89.
Failure of a bicycle helmet manufactured after the effective date
of the interim mandatory standards to comply with at least one of the
interim standards shall be considered a violation of a consumer product
safety standard promulgated under the Consumer Product Safety Act.
DATES: The interim mandatory standards for bicycle helmets will become
effective March 15, 1995, and shall apply to all bicycle helmets
manufactured after that date.
The incorporation by reference of certain publications listed in
the regulation is approved by the Director of the Federal Register as
of March 23, 1995.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Scott Heh, Project Manager,
Directorate for Engineering Sciences, Consumer Product Safety
Commission, Washington, D.C. 20207; telephone (301)504-0494 ext. 1308.
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On June 16, 1994, the Children's Bicycle
Helmet Safety Act of 1994 (the ``Act'') was enacted. Secs. 201-207,
Pub. L. 103-267, 108 Stat. 726-729; 15 U.S.C. 6001-6006. This Act
provides that bicycle helmets manufactured 9 months or more from that
date (i.e., on or after March 16, 1995) shall conform to one of the
following interim safety standards: (1) The American National Standards
Institute (ANSI) standard designated as Z90.4-1984, (2) the Snell
Memorial Foundation standard designated as B-90, (3) the ASTM, formerly
the American Society for Testing and Materials, standard designated as
F 1447, or (4) any other standard that the Commission determines is
appropriate. In this notice, the Commission codifies these interim
mandatory standards as 16 CFR part 1203 and clarifies that ASTM
standard F 1447 means the 1993 version of that standard. This is the
version of the F 1447 standard that was in effect at the time the Act
was enacted. The Act provides that failure to conform to an interim
standard shall be considered a violation of a consumer product safety
standard issued under the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA), 15 U.S.C.
The Act also directs the Consumer Product Safety Commission to
begin a proceeding under 5 U.S.C. 553 to:
1. Review the requirements of the interim standards described above
and establish a final standard based on such requirements,
2. Include in the final standard a provision to protect against the
risk of helmets coming off the heads of bicycle riders,
3. Include in the final standard provisions that address the risk
of injury to children, and
4. Include additional provisions as appropriate.
The Act provides that the final standard shall take effect 1 year
from the date it is issued and that the standard shall be considered to
be a consumer product safety standard issued under the CPSA. However,
the Act also provides that the provisions of the CPSA regarding
rulemaking procedures, statutory findings, and judicial review (15
U.S.C. 2056, 2058, 2060, and 2079(d)) shall not apply to this
proceeding or to the final standard. When the final standard becomes
effective, it will replace the interim standards.
The Commission reviewed the bicycle helmet standards identified in
the Act (ANSI, ASTM, and Snell B-90), as well as international bicycle
helmet standards and draft revisions of the ANSI, ASTM, and Snell
standards that were under consideration. Based on this review, the
Commission developed a proposed mandatory safety standard for bicycle
helmets. 59 FR 41719 (August 15, 1994). The proposed final safety
standard contains requirements for general construction, labeling,
peripheral vision, impact attenuation, and dynamic strength of the
retention system of bicycle helmets. In addition to requirements
derived from one or more of the voluntary standards applicable to this
product, the proposed standard includes requirements specifically
applicable to children's helmets and requirements to prevent helmets
from coming off during an accident. The Commission also proposed
testing and recordkeeping requirements so it can ensure that helmets
subject to the standard meet its requirements.
The August 15, 1994, proposal also described the statutory interim
standards, explained that the Commission could determine that
additional interim standards were appropriate, and stated that the
Commission had not yet done so. Two comments received by the Commission
on that notice requested that the Commission designate certain other
voluntary standards for bicycle helmets as interim mandatory standards.
The Snell Memorial Foundation requested that, in addition to the Snell
B-90 standard specified by the Act, three other Snell standards be
determined appropriate as interim mandatory bicycle helmet standards.
These additional Snell standards are: (1) B-90S (a supplemental
revision of the Snell B-90 standard), (2) N-94 (a multi-purpose helmet
standard), and B-95 (the latest revision of the Snell bicycle helmet
standard, which will take effect in 1995). Snell states that helmets
certified to any of these three standards will also conform to the
Snell B-90 standard specified in the Act.
The Health Protection Branch of Health Canada recommended that the
Canadian voluntary standard (Cycling Helmets-CAN/CSA-D113.1-M89) be
determined as an appropriate interim mandatory standard. Health Canada
stated that such action would comport with Article 906 of the North
American Free Trade Agreement (``NAFTA''), which states that ``the
Parties shall, to the greatest extent practicable, make compatible
their respective standards-related measures * * *.''
In addition to reviewing the provision and test methods of the
requested Snell and Canadian interim standards, the Commission also
evaluated the 1994 revision to ASTM F 1447. The Commission concluded
that these standards are comparable to, and in some cases exceed, the
safety performance criteria of the interim standards identified in the
Act. Accordingly, the Commission determines that these additional
voluntary standards are appropriate as interim mandatory safety
standards for bicycle helmets.
List of Subjects in 16 CFR Part 1203
Consumer protection, Bicycles, Incorporation by reference, Infants
and children, Safety.
For the reasons given above, the Commission adds a new part 1203 of
Title 16 of the Code of Federal Regulations, to read as follows:
PART 1203--SAFETY STANDARD FOR BICYCLE HELMETS
1203.1 Purpose and basis.
1203.2 Scope and effective date.
1203.3 Interim safety standards.
Authority: Secs. 201-207, Pub. L. 103-267, 108 Stat. 726-729, 15
Sec. 1203.1 Purpose and basis.
The purpose and basis of this rule is to protect bicyclists from
head injuries by ensuring that bicycle helmets comply with the
requirements of appropriate existing voluntary standards, as provided
in 15 U.S.C. 6004(a).
Sec. 1203.2 Scope and effective date.
(a) Bicycle helmets manufactured after March 15, 1995, shall comply
with the requirements of one of the standards specified in Sec. 1203.3.
This requirement shall be considered a consumer product safety standard
issued under the Consumer Product Safety Act.
(b) A bicycle helmet is any headgear marketed as suitable for
providing protection from head injuries associated with bicycle use.
(c) These interim mandatory safety standards will not apply to
bicycle helmets manufactured after the effective date of a final
bicycle helmet standard to be issued in the future by the Commission.
Sec. 1203.3 Interim safety standards.
(a) Bicycle helmets must comply with one or more of the following
standards, which are incorporated herein by reference:
(1) American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standard Z90.4-
1984, Protective Headgear for Bicyclists,
(2) ASTM standards F 1447-93 or F 1447-94, Standard Specification
for Protective Headgear Used in Bicycling, incorporating the relevant
provisions of ASTM F 1446-93 or ASTM F 1446-94, Standard Test Methods
for Equipment and Procedures Used in Evaluating the Performance
Characteristics of Protective Headgear, respectively,
(3) Canadian Standards Association standard, Cycling Helmets CAN/
(4) Snell Memorial Foundation (Snell) 1990 Standard for Protective
Headgear for Use in Bicycling (designation B-90),
(5) Snell 1990 Standard for Protective Headgear for Use in
Bicycling, including March 9, 1994 Supplement (designation B-90S),
(6) Snell 1994 Standard for Protective Headgear for Use in Non-
Motorized Sports (designation N-94), or
(7) Snell 1995 Standard for Protective Headgear for Use with
(b) This incorporation by reference was approved by the Director of
the Federal Register in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 552(a) and 1 CFR part
51. Copies of the standards may be obtained as follows. Copies of the
ANSI Z90.4 standard are available from: American National Standards
Institute, 11 W. 42nd Street, 13th Floor, New York, NY 10036. Copies of
the ASTM standards are available from: ASTM, 1916 Race Street,
Philadelphia, PA 19103. Copies of the Canadian Standards Association
CAN/CSA-D113.2-M89 standard are available from: CSA, 178 Rexdale
Boulevard, Rexdale (Toronto), Ontario, Canada, M9W 1R3. Copies of the
Snell standards are available from: Snell Memorial Foundation, Inc.,
P.O. Box 493, 7 Flowerfield, Suite 28, St. James, New York 11780.
Copies may be inspected at the Office of the Secretary, Consumer
Product Safety Commission, 4330 East-West Highway, Bethesda, Maryland
20814, or at the Office of the Federal Register, 800 N. Capitol Street
NW, Room 700, Washington, DC.
Dated: March 16, 1995.
Sadye E. Dunn,
Secretary, Consumer Product Safety Commission.
[FR Doc. 95-7082 Filed 3-22-95; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6355-01-P