Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute

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Helmet Design to
Encourage Good Fit

Summary: Reporting a novel design that informs the wearer when a helmet is fitted correctly.

Gina Galant of Prince George, B.C., Canada (kandcgallant@cs.com) informed us in 2002 that she has designed a new helmet with a novel and potentially useful innovation: it tells you when it is fitted correctly. We believe that the concept of a helmet that gives active feedback on the accuracy of its fit is worth pursuing. Ms. Galant also hopes to instill in wearers an instinctive sense of what a well-fitted helmet feels like, encouraging them to adjust future helmets to achieve a similar good fit.

The remainder of this page is pieced together from her emails to us:

Parents play a large role in teaching the child to wear their helmet. My new helmet can be instrumental tool in helping children to put their helmet's on properly. Not only wearing a helmet, but also wearing it properly could make all the difference in the world in the event of an accident. Whether the accident was with a car or a fall from a bike, if the child not wearing a helmet properly he/she could be seriously injured. This new product will succeed in helping parents to tell immediately at a glance if their children are wearing their helmets properly.

I would like to succeed in teaching children to wear their helmets properly using basic habitual learning. Basic habitual learning is by doing something repeatedly (i.e.: putting your shoes on the correct feet) it will become a habit. I hope that after repeated use of this helmet without even thinking about it a child will learn to put their helmet on properly.

The helmet is a combination of LED's and switches precisely placed so that when the helmet is being worn properly the LED's will go on alerting the child and parent that the fit is correct. Also included, in this design is a theoretical principle which I call basic habitual learning. This means the children will be taught to wear the helmet properly and from doing the repetitive action consistently over a long period of time this becomes part of their subconscious mind. This means as the child has aged and still wears helmets when they put the helmet on it feels wrong and they will automatically adjust it to fit proper because it will feel uncomfortable to them. An example of this is folding your arms and then refolding them in the opposite position. A benefit also with this helmet is that it includes a visual aid and in turn will alert others of their presence. Ms. Galant with her helmet design This safety feature is designed to help the parent/guardian to ensure the proper fit before the helmet is purchased. A helmet should be purchased in the proper size of the child's head, not larger so they will grow into it. If a medium size was purchased for a 3 year old with a smaller head it would not protect the child in an accident. My helmet is constructed in such a way that if your head is too large or too small the LED's will not go on or would flicker because the helmet is not the proper fit. The LED's are precisely placed to the pressure points of the head. The switches used can be adjustable for height or different shaped heads. If the helmet sits too far forward, too far back, or sideways, the LED's will go out and stay out. I used green and yellow LED's in the position the child can see it because they are soft LED's. Red LED's are the brightest and could distract the rider. The color red is also known to cause seizures in certain people, so it then would then become a hazard not a help.

Inserted in the inside of the helmet are four switches. These could vary in number depending on the manufacture. The switches are placed strategically at the pressure points of where the head meets with the helmet. If the LED's light up then the helmet is a proper size and is placed correctly on the child's head.

There is one LED visible to the wearer of the helmet. This is intended for the child so they can see it without it hindering their vision or ability to ride properly. If the LED is lit up and stays lit when the child moves then the straps are snug enough and the helmet is fitting properly. It flickers or goes out the front LED will tell the child immediately that their helmet needs adjusting. The lights will flicker and possibly go out if the straps are too loose. This is another way for a child or parent/guardian to know if the helmet is not correctly placed or straps are not done up. The other LED's are there so that, at a distance, the parent/guardian can see the child is still wearing the helmet correctly.

After the child has repeatedly worn a helmet fitted in a certain position they will know by habitual learning that they are wearing their helmet correctly. This happens because after wearing the helmet correctly for so long, when the helmet is not positioned correctly the child's subconscious takes over and tells them this feels wrong or uncomfortable. When this happens, in order to be comfortable the child will have to correct the position of the helmet so that it feels right to them. If they do not it would feel unnatural to them.

I will be using cost efficient materials so that the helmet will not cost much more than it already does. There also can be removable LED's if per chance one gets broken. These are very inexpensive so would not cost the manufacturer more than a few cents to include some with the helmet. If the parent/guardian is purchasing the helmet for a training aid/safety device they will change the batteries or can go to rechargeable (NICAD). Children that want the helmet just for its "space-age style" will let their parents know when the batteries are dead.

Ms Galant has a Canadian patent on her invention. She has begun to show it to manufacturers. It is the most interesting new concept in helmets we have seen for years, and we think it merits their attention.