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WABA Helmet Committee

The WABA Helmet Update

Vol. 6, No. 1 - March, 1988

Other issues of the Update

New Consumer's Guide Pamphlet

We have revised our pamphlet. A camera-ready copy is attached on two separate sheets to facilitate reproduction. Bill Silverman was good enough to typeset this one, so it reads a little easier.

If you need the pamphlet in electronic form for a newsletter, there are two ways we can provide it. If you have a PC and a modem this pamphlet is available on John Williams' Bikenet Bulletin Board. (Parameters: 1200,E,7,1). John has other interesting things for bicycle activists as well. Or you can send us a disk and we will put the pamphlet on it as a plain ASCII file or Word Perfect file and return it to you. Sorry, I do not have Bill's Ventura Publisher file to put it in that nice print. Obviously if you modify anything we do not want the pamphlet called WABA's!

The new pamphlet has been revised to emphasize the ANSI and Snell standards, since there are more new helmets on the market than we can keep up with, and the standards are after all designed to help the consumer when no other information on impact protection is immediately available.

Speaking of standards, we urge any reader who is a member of the ANSI Z90 committee to contact Dr. Chichester about another meeting. We are overdue to talk about things like ventilation standards, plastic buckles that meet ANSI but break in use, and shell-less helmets.

We Need Samples of New Helmets

We belatedly discovered that the New York show, which we had used as a vehicle for maintaining contact with manufacturers, was discontinued this year. We will probably try to see everybody in Long Beach or Atlantic City next year. In the meantime, we need samples of new helmets on the market to test. If you produce a helmet we have not listed, please send us samples (two each of medium and large). We will be contacting manufacturers by mail to-request samples of new models we see advertised. Thanks.

We Still Do Not Like the Bell "Aero" Buckle

This edition of the pamphlet notes that we do not like the current Bell plastic buckle, even though it passes the Snell test for strap strength, for reasons we noted last time:

    1) You can jiggle it loose without depressing the tongue;

    2) The tongue does not spring back if you bend it severely inward, so the buckle hitches but does not lock unless the tongue is bent fully back into position; and

    3) If you adjust the strap snug against the chin as it should be, it is difficult to fasten and unfasten. As a result we see riders leaving the strap much too loose.

Bell has responded by testing the buckle in every way they can and found that the buckle does not jiggle loose in any set of circumstances they have generated in their lab. We are not hearing reports of failures in the field. We still do not like the buckle for the other two reasons.

We Need Reports of Shell-Less Helmet Performance

Since the performance in the field of shell-less helmets is one of the big question marks of our day, we would appreciate anything you can share with us in the way of war stories or performance reports of actual field crashes. We are also interested in any stories of breaking apart during crashes, or of any damage by solvents or normal handling. Please send them to our new address.

WABA has Moved!

WABA moved its office at the end of November to new quarters in a better part of town. Our new address is:

    Washington Area Bicyclist Association -- etc-- Washington, DC

We will be at GEAR '88 in June to present a workshop, and hope to see some of you Easterners then.

Randy Swart

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