Working Group 3: Impact Engineering

Article Index


One of the primary ways to improve bicycle helmet technology is through the review and revision of the standards under which those helmets are tested. Current helmet testing for impact properties is not based on real accident conditions. Testing methods include a linear shock absorption test, during which a helmet is dropped vertically onto a horizontal flat surface, as well as a kerbstone-shaped surface. However, actual accident reports indicate that angled impact is far more common, and results in more serious brain injury. Compared to linear shock absorption, the rotational movement of the neck and head that results in the angled impact can cause both concussion and more severe brain injury, such as subdural hematoma and diffuse axonal injury.

In order to create truly effective bicycle helmets that protect against the most common and severe types of head injury, new testing conditions and pass/fail criteria are essential. The resulting design improvements can, in turn, protect cyclists in both accidents due to falls, and collisions with other vehicles.


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