Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute
The Helmet Update by Email
Volume 18, #4&5 - July 5, 2000
CPSC Announces Helmet Recalls
The Consumer Product Safety Commission has apparently caught two
cases of bicycle helmets being sold in the US that did not meet the
CPSC standard. Although the recalled helmets are small in number,
they indicate that CPSC is probably testing product and flunking some
The first helmet is being recalled voluntarily by Rand International
of Farmingdale, NY, and involves 70.000 helmets known as "L.A.
Cruisin' Bike Helmets" in child, youth and adult sizes. They were
sold in Kmart and Rose's stores nationwide from April 1999 through
March 2000 at a price of about $8. A label inside the helmet reads
"Manufactured by Rand International" and MADE IN CHINA." Writing on
the packaging reads "RAND," "L.A. Cruisin' " and "Meets CPSC & ASTM
Rand International - L.A. Crusin' Bike Helmets
CPSC's press release states:
"These bicycle helmets fail impact testing and labeling required
under CPSC's Safety Standard for Bicycle Helmets, violating the
Consumer Product Safety Act. Riders wearing these helmets are not
properly protected from falls, and could suffer severe head injuries.
CPSC and Rand International are not aware of any injuries or
incidents involving these products. This recall is being conducted to
prevent the possibility of injuries and incidents. Consumers should
stop wearing these bicycle helmets immediately, and return them to
Rand International for a free replacement helmet. For more
information, contact Rand International at (800) 338-7677 between 9
a.m. and 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, or write to Rand
International, Attention: Customer Service Dept., 51 Executive Blvd.,
Farmingdale, NY 14735-4718."
The second helmet is a girl's pink and silver glitter affair with
decals reading "Hearts and Flowers." The pink top area is edged with
purple tape. It is being voluntarily recalled by Cycle Express Inc.,
of New York, N.Y., who had sold about 9,000 of them in a Hearts and
Flowers Helmet Combo Value Pack that included a bike bag/purse combo
and hair accessories. The products were sold through Toys R Us,
between October 1999 and April 2000. Although the package sold for $13, Toys
R Us is offering only a $7 refund, since that is the "assessed value"
of the helmet in the pack that included other accessories.
Cycle Express - Hearts and Flowers
CPSC's press release states:
"These helmets fail impact testing and labeling required under CPSC's
Safety Standard for Bicycle Helmets, violating the Consumer Product
Safety Act. Riders wearing these helmets are not adequately protected
from falls, and could suffer severe head injuries or death. CPSC and
Cycle Express are not aware of any injuries or incidents involving
these helmets. This recall is being conducted to prevent the
possibility of injuries...For more information, call Cycle Express
toll-free at (877) 714-6117 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET Monday
through Friday, or write to Cycle Express Inc., 312 Fifth Ave., 5th
Floor, New York, NY 10001."
Our BHSI comment: These two recalls should not obscure the fact that millions of
low-cost helmets are being sold here in discount stores that are at
least as safe as the helmet Lance Armstrong is wearing in the Tour de
France. In some cases the discount helmets may actually offer better
impact protection at the speeds most people crash, since the
inexpensive construction techniques do not allow the design excesses
of more expensive helmets. Lance may need jillions of vents, but most
riders are cool with a lot fewer, providing a larger area of
protective foam, and a rounder, smoother, safer shape.
The medical journal "Pediatrics" reports that the town of Wadley,
Georgia, has set up a police program to seize the bicycles of riders
under 16 who are not wearing helmets. Parents and kids then come to
the station house to retrieve the bicycle, and are treated to a
lecture on helmet safety. For a second offense the bicycle would be
permanently confiscated, but there have been no second offenses to
Georgia Town Seizes Bicycles
Wadley's ordinance has been enforced since 1997, and was combined
with distribution of free helmets and a short bike safety education
talk in grades K through 7. Following that, Police impounded 167
bicycles in the first five months in this town of 2,400 residents.
The campaign has reportedly raised helmet usage from essentially zero
to over 54 per cent. The article concludes that simply passing a law
is less effective than a campaign featuring active enforcement, free
helmets and an education program.
The Helmet Update - Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute
4611 Seventh Street South
Arlington, VA 22204-1419 USA
(703) 486-0100 (voice)
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