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Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute

The Helmet Update

Volume 33, #5, September 27, 2015

All issues index

Europe publishes new helmet study

The European Community has collaborated on a comprehensive study of helmets, producing recommendations for changes in helmet design and testing. We have posted some excerpts.

The study is titled HOPE: Helmet OPtimization in Europe. Four working groups covered in-depth accident observations and injury statistics, traffic psychology, impact engineering and thermal aspects of helmet use.

Many of the recommendations for improvements in impact standards track our own: lower the test line to provide better coverage, test for angular acceleration and lower the threshold failure level. Unfortunately, the report is very general and provides no actual suggested test line changes or numbers for the thresholds.

We don't think there is any need to set a standard for thermal comfort, since that is easily judged by the consumer and the market provides what they need. The study is based on European helmets, and most of them don't meet our US impact standard. Task groups in our ASTM F08.53 subcommittee have been working on all of those changes for years, but the actual numbers are always controversial and elusive, preventing progress.

We look forward to the next steps in defining change.

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