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Some Danes Found New European Standard Confusing in 1996

Summary: This is one Danish View of the CEN Bicycle Helmet Standard from back in 1996.


(A service of The Danish Cyclists Federation)



A new European CE-standard for bicycle helmets is "empty" and therefore useless and confusing to the consumers warns The Danish Cyclists Federation.

By: Ernst Poulsen

Consumers have always had to stay on their toes when shopping for bicycle helmets. And a new European CE-standard is absolutely no help.

Only a few countries in Europe have their own helmet standard. And even fewer countries have legislation which require helmets sold in that country to adhere to any specific standard.

However, the European Union has now issued a new "CE" helmet standard, and as soon as the individual EU-countries have adopted this standard, all helmets must carry the new EC-sticker. In Denmark all helmets are required to carry the CE-sticker from 1997.

"This does however, not give consumers added protection against buying a low quality helmet", warns the Danish Cyclists Federation, a consumer advocacy group with 30.000 members.

In fact the new CE-sticker can be used on any helmet, which is approved by any testing-facility in Europe. It is entirely up to the - often privately owned - testing facility (or institute) to decide how to test the helmet.

Other helmet standards such as the Swedish "Konsumentverket", and the American Snell, Ansi or Astm standards put the helmets through rigorous and painstaking drop-tests before awarding the bicycle helmet with the "approved" sticker.

"We fear, that the "CE"-standard becomes a lowest-common-denominator standard, which every helmet can pass regardless of its quality", says Lawyer Flemming Funch from the Danish Cyclist Federation.

He finds it grotesque that the only strict part of the helmet standard concerns the form, shape and glue of the CE-sticker itself. Otherwise the helmet standard is empty, and only requires the helmets to be tested by an approved testing-facility somewhere in Europe. There are, however, no specific requirements to the testing.

"We have warned our members against the CE-standard. The best they can do is ignore it, says Flemming Funch." He recommends that consumers only buy helmets which carry stickers from Konsumentverket, Snell, Ansi or Astm.

Source of information

"Cyklister" 1/96, page 21. (Membership magazine of Dansk Cyklist Forbund).

Further information

Dansk Cyklist Forbund, lawyer Flemming Funch or boardmember Ernst Poulsen, Roemersgade 7, DK-1362 Copenhagen K, Denmark, Phone: +45 - 33 32 31 21, E-mail: dcf@inet.uni-c.dk

Faerdselsstyrelsen, Adelgade 13, Postboks 9039, DK-1304 Copenhagen K, Denmark, Phone: +45 - 33 92 91 00.


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