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The Helmet Update

Volume 15, Issue 2e - March 11, 1998

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CPSC publishes final bike helmet standard

Summary: The Consumer Product Safety Commission has published its bicycle helmet standard, and it appeared in the Federal Register on March 10, 1998. That starts the clock ticking, and the standard becomes law on March 10, 1999. That is about a month later than we had predicted in our February 5 email newsletter. This is a welcome event for consumers, since it nails down the effective date of the standard.

CPSC Publishes final bicycle helmet standard

After some delay the Consumer Product Safety Commission published yesterday its bicycle helmet standard, as approved on February 5th, in the Federal Register. This is the legal act necessary to begin the one-year mandatory waiting period before the Rule becomes final. The standard will become law on March 10, 1999, and can be used as an interim standard after yesterday (March 10, 1998).

The standard is unchanged from the version approved by the Commission on February 5th. You can access it from the Federal Register server if it is not overloaded.

or you can request it from their search page,

or from our link at


where by tomorrow we will also have the text of the standard itself, a shorter document than the full announcement, taken from the Federal Register's server.

The Announcement

Here is some text from the CPSC announcement, taken directly from the Federal Register file:

SUMMARY: Pursuant to the Children's Bicycle Helmet Safety Act of 1994, the Commission is issuing a safety standard that will require all bicycle helmets to meet impact-attenuation and other requirements.

The standard establishes requirements derived from one or more of the voluntary standards applicable to bicycle helmets. In addition, the standard includes requirements specifically applicable to children's helmets and requirements to prevent helmets from coming off during an accident. The standard also contains testing and recordkeeping requirements to ensure that bicycle helmets meet the standard's requirements.

DATES: Effective Date: This rule is effective March 10, 1999.

Applicability Dates: This rule applies to bicycle helmets manufactured after March 10, 1999. Interim mandatory standards that went into effect on March 17, 1995, will continue to apply to bicycle helmets manufactured from March 17, 1995, until March 10, 1999, inclusive. In addition, as of March 10, 1998, firms will have the option of marketing helmets meeting the standard in this final rule before its effective date.

Incorporation by Reference: The incorporation by reference of certain publications listed in the rule is approved by the Director of the Federal Register as of March 10, 1999.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Frank Krivda, Office of Compliance, Consumer Product Safety Commission, Washington, D.C. 20207; telephone (301) 504-0400 ext. 1372.

Standard Comparison

As noted in our February 5 newsletter, the CPSC standard is comparable in most respects to the ASTM and Snell B-90 standards now used by most manufacturers in the U.S. market. We would expect the majority of today's helmets to meet it. Any helmet manufactured for sale in the U.S. after March 10, 1999, must meet it by law.

We have added a web page with a quick comparison of bicycle helmet standards, comparing this standard with ASTM and Snell's B-90 and B-95 standards, as well as the defunct ANSI standard. You can find it here

Check our web page or email us if you need further clarification of anything.

The Helmet Update - Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute
Randy Swart, Editor
4611 Seventh Street South
Arlington, VA 22204-1419 USA
(703) 486-0100 (voice)
(703) 486-0576 (fax)