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WABA Helmet Committee

The WABA Helmet Update

Vol. 7, No. 3 - October 27, 1989

Other issues of the Update

STAPP Car Crash Conference Report

This year's Stapp car crash conference featured an interesting paper on bicyclists' injuries by a West German researcher, Dr. Dietmar Otte. Dr. Otte's research showed the typical injuries suffered by child and adult cyclists when striking cars, including what part of the car produces the injury. His data indicate that 74.5% of the adults had head injuries, more than 40% of them serious, and that 40.4% of them had brain injuries. Curiously, the paper did not mention helmets, but we asked about them in the question period after his presentation and he said that the question of helmet standards and helmet promotion is being considered now in Germany.

During the conference we met with Dr. Richard Stalnaker and Vichai Rojanavanich, who have a contract from NHTSA to design a bicycle helmet standard from the ground up. Dr. Stalnaker is a respected researcher in the head injury field specializing in mathematical modeling, and Vichai Rojanavanich is a grad student under him who will also design a bicycle helmet to meet their recommended standard. If you are interested in their research, write to Vichai Rojanavanich, VRTC/USDOT, Post Office Box 37, East Liberty, OH 43319. An article about their project is attached.

In the same week as the Stapp conference we also attended a conference on angular (rotational) injury to the brain sponsored the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine and Volvo. It was evident from the presentations that we are a long way from having a commonly-accepted criterion for predicting brain injury from angular acceleration, and consequently even further from being able to add a requirement to the ANSI standard that helmets protect from this type of injury.

ANSI Committee Moving on Revision of the Standard

The ANSI Z90 Committee met in New York in June to mark up a draft of the new ANSI standard for bicycle helmets, due in final form sometime next year. In September the revised draft was sent around to committee members for comment. It is nearing final form. As we noted last time, the biggest changes will be an increase in the flat anvil drop height from 1.0 to 1.5 meters and testing for strap strength after the impact tests. The draft is nearly done, so there is a reasonable prospect that we will have a new ANSI Z90.4 standard sometime next year.

Standards Comparison Revised to Add French and New Zealand Standards

We have just finished translating the new French draft bicycle helmet standard and have added it to our standards comparison (BHSIDOC #185). We had also added the New Zealand standard, which has interesting wrinkles on strap fastener "creep" and conspicuity. The comparison now includes 9 standards, and we send it out for $2.

Note: since 1995 available on the web only.)

BHSI Documentation Center Tops 250 Documents

The Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute Documentation Center now has available a total of 251 documents. Attached is an update of the bibliography you have already received adding 46 documents. Most of them are available from us. Please remember that we are always looking for studies, articles, pamphlets, and almost anything about helmets not on our list. We update the bibliography almost daily. You can get a new copy by phoning or writing us, sending $5. We provide it on paper or an IBM PC compatible 5.25" DSDD disk.

(Note: BHSI closed its Documentation Center after putting up its website in 1995.)

Wayne State Study on Sliding Resistance of Hard Shells vs. Soft Shells is Almost Ready for Release

Dr. Voigt Hodgson of Wayne State University in Detroit has completed a series of lab tests designed to show if soft shell helmets are "stickier" when they hit pavement than hard shells. In a high-speed crash that extra sliding resistance might increase rotational injury to the brain or strain on the neck. Dr. Hodgson's preliminary comments indicate that there are indeed differences, and that they are in part dependent on the angle of the impact, with 45 degrees the worst. His full results will be available when released by the Michigan Department of Public Health, which is expected to take two months. If you are keenly interested in this research, you might write to: Leslie Lynch, Michigan Department of Public Health, Post Office Box 3195, Lansing, MI 48905 to let her know. Note: the BHSI website now has the Hodgson study up.

Johnson & Johnson/Safe Kids Runs Helmet Coupon in Sunday Papers

The attached copy of an ad for a cheap helmet ran in Sunday papers last August. The coupons obtained by writing to the address given are good until December 31, 1989. The helmet is a Bell Streetrider, normally selling for $40 or more in shops, so the price is good, even factoring in the cost of the J & J products for which you need proof of purchase. Bell certifies that the Streetrider meets the ANSI standard, and it is Snell-certified as well. This good deal is brought to you by Johnson and Johnson in coordination with the Safe Kids helmet campaign. We continue to be most impressed by what Safe Kids has been able to accomplish this year.

BHSI Still Seeking Funding for Our Test Rig and Other Encouragement

We are still searching for funding for our test laboratory. We have been turned down by an amazing number of foundations--large and small, local and national. If you can help with that we would like to hear from you. We like to hear from you anyway to stay in touch and keep you on our mailing list. Send us a new document, an endorsement letter we can show to foundations, or a postcard from your winter vacation so we know you still care. Thanks!

Randy Swart

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