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Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute

The Helmet Update

Vol. 7, No. 1 - March 29, 1989




BHSI Announces Documentation Center

1999 note: BHSI closed its Documentation Center shortly after putting up our Web server in 1995. The documents are no longer available from us.
The Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute has just opened its Documentation Center. Attached is a bibliography of more than 150 documents now in our archives and for the most part available from us. The list is annotated with a short abstract of each document.

Where possible, we want the BHSI Documentation Center to be a two way street. We want to exchange documents--studies, articles, pamphlets, almost anything about helmets--with those who have things which are not on our list. For others we will photocopy and send what you need, but ask that you send a donation to cover our copying costs (currently about 5 cents per page) and mailing expenses. We really prefer to get a new study from you rather than the donation, since that is how our stock of documents will grow and we will learn more about the field.

The bibliography will be updated quarterly. You can get a new copy when needed by phoning or writing us.

USC to Undertake Testing

As we have noted before, Professor Hugh Hurt of the University of Southern California has agreed to undertake an extensive bicycle helmet testing program in his laboratory in cooperation with BHSI. The design for the experiment is underway. When it is completed, readers of this newsletter who are manufacturers can expect a letter from us requesting samples for the testing. Look for results from us by fall if you are an optimist.

Susan Matson Names us "BUSY"

Susan Matson, BHSI's Director of Communications, took one look at our initials and said "Oh, busy." Henceforth the organization's short name will be "busy," which is a good approximation of what we really are at the moment. That makes our numbering system for documents "Busydocs." Susan's main task at present is fundraising, and she has been BHSI at it.

ANSI Z90.4 Committee Members
Submit Comments on Standard

Members of the ANSI Z90.4 Committee have submitted their comments on the revision of the ANSI standard to Marshall Irving of Snell Foundation, the secretariat. Marshall is compiling the comments and is scheduled to be prepared for another committee meeting in early May. BHSI submitted extensive comments, as did Bell Helmets. At least two other consumer organizations commented as well this time--the Bicycle Federation and the Institute for Injury Reduction, located in Philadelphia.

The most important issue is the question of how retention is to be tested. Most members want a test that tries to rip a helmet off of a headform (one has suggested a human head) to supplement the current test for strap strength. BHSI has suggested that we model the test after the Canadian, British or Australian standards, all of which test with a jerk administered by a hook at the back of the helmet. We have also suggested an increase in the energy of the impact attenuation test by raising the drop height from 1.0 to 1.5 meters, a different standard for maximum impact for children's helmets, and a tougher strap strength test. We asked for changes in requirements on buckles, projections into the shell, test equipment, hot and wet sample conditioning, markings, attachments, test sequences, and ventilation. (We noted that Bicycling magazine has just undertaken some new work on ventilation which will be published in April and may provide some food for thought on how an ANSI standard could handle that problem.)

We will keep you posted as the revision process races along. Look for a new ANSI Z90.4 standard sometime next year if you are an optimist.

BHSI Still Needs Your Support Letters

We are still assembling our briefing materials for potential funding organizations (mainly foundations). If you approve of our effort and have not already sent one, we still need your letter expressing support for BHSI's program. Thanks!

Randy Swart
Director




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