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Suggestions for Further Study
The strong scientific outcomes of the Action indicate that research funding is best optimised through this type of collaborative effort. While the Action’s outputs provided answers to many key questions related to this topic, many additional questions arose as well. All of the specific aspects of helmet safety have not been addressed in full. However, this COST Action has certainly opened the door for more fruitful, effective and directed research that can benefit cyclists across Europe.
Each Working Group has provided a list of suggestions for further research and development, as a direct result of the Action’s outputs. These research areas include, but are not limited to:
- Further investigation into the development of a system through which European cycling data and accident information can be more uniformly, accurately, comprehensively and effectively collected, shared and distributed;
- Research into improvements to helmet design and helmet usage standards, customised for each type of bicycle and optimised against advanced brain injury criteria for typical impact conditions in real-world accidents;
- Studies of the psychological, demographic and sociological aspects that affect helmet usage, such as cyclist age, road types and cyclist perception;
- Exploration of how helmet usage can increase visibility, improve cyclists’ visual search behaviour and impact city-sponsored bike lending programmes;
- Achievement of a consensus concerning a six-dimensional global head kinematics model for pass/fail criteria. While Working Group 3 believes that a model-based injury criteria shows the strongest potential, additional work is needed to harmonise different finite element models;
- The improvement of testing methodologies and simulation techniques for more accurate and effective evaluations of helmet efficacy;
- Additional studies of thermal properties and their effect on helmet usage, and the creation of modelling frameworks, simulators and testing standards that will improve the overall design and comfort of cycling helmets, and therefore increase usage and acceptance.