The primary conclusion of this Working Group is that the full potential of bicycle helmets has not yet been fully exhausted. In fact, helmets could even provide additional benefits, when protection is extended further on the lateral side. This extension to helmet protection has shown to be useful in preventing or reducing severe head injury.
Working Group 1 is confident in its recommendation that increased usage of bicycle helmets can reduce the number and severity of head injuries. In addition, the Working Group recommends the optimisation of helmet design as a means of providing more head protection upon bicycle accident impact. Furthermore, additional design modifications, based upon real accident data, can help improve overall protection factors. While literature varies on the overall effectiveness of bicycle helmets, the inconsistent usage and lack of data mean that absolute conclusions cannot yet be drawn about the overall impact of bicycle helmets on safety.
In addition, Working Group 1’s output indicates that design improvements and regulatory changes that focus on specific bicycle types (city bikes, racing bikes, mountain bike, e-bikes, etc.) can positively influence accident outcomes. Safety factors can also be increased when the helmet is properly positioned on the head, and when helmets are customised to fit the specific needs of different cyclists. Depending upon the type of bicycle used, the cyclists’ upper body is in a more upright or forward-leaning position. If the cyclist adjusts the position of the helmet to accommodate these different positions, he can strongly improve his visual acuity. Improvements here can also contribute to an optimised helmet position in the event of impact with the road or a vehicle.