New tests show some bike helmets protect heads better than others

David Zuby>>We collaborated with Virginia
Tech researchers on a pilot program to look to see what was the range of impact protection
offered by current designs of bicycle helmets. The pilot program found that while helmets
were providing pretty good protection against severe-type injuries that might lead to skull
fractures, not all were providing equally good protection against concussion-type injuries. That led to the star ratings that we’re
releasing with them today. Steve Rowson>>Throughout the research process
developing the ratings, we worked very closely with IIHS researchers in identifying which
helmets to evaluate, best replicating real-world conditions and how we’re going to present
that information to consumers. There are two main styles of helmets that
we tested: road-style helmets and urban-style helmets. Road-style helmets typically had a lot of
venting to keep the head cool while riding and urban-style helmets were rounder with
less vents but they are also smaller in offset and were stiff in padding. Megan Bland>>We found that most urban-style
helmets perform a little bit worse. I think there’s a little more room for those
to be improved upon in the future. So the star rating system aims to analyze
helmets in kind of a range of impact scenarios that are known to be seen in the
real world and take a helmet and we subject it to a number of impacts with six different
locations and two velocities which are then summarized into one performance rating. David Zuby>>Of the 30 helmets first tested
by Virginia Tech, four earn 5 stars. All of them were road-cycling-style helmets,
and they were all equipped with MIPS, or the Multidirectional Impact Protection System. Steve Rowson>>MIPS is technology inside
of helmets that reduces rotation of the head during impact. This reduces brain injury risk by minimizing
the strains in the brain. Cost was not predictive of helmet performance,
and this was particularly interesting because consumers might think a more expensive helmet
provides better protection, and that was not the case. This first batch is only the beginning. We’ll continue to update the helmet ratings
and include helmets such as mountain bike helmets and youth-specific models.

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