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  • TMI on Helmets (Not TBI!)

    Posted on August 13th, 2011 Ed No comments

    New helmet time.   My old one goes in the trash.   I had lots of miles on it and I am sad to say good bye.

    Where do I look first?  The Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute to see what is new in the bicycle helmet world.   This site has more bike helmet info that anyone ever would want to know.

    A few things they believe and comment on for 2011 helmets:

    • All the helmets have about the same protection regardless of price.
    • Slip-plane helmet with a second shell or liner that can slide over the inner shell should reduce rotational injuries
    • Buckles and side pieces–badly need improvement.   Most of slip loose too easily
    • Rubber or fabric surfaces on helmets potentially increase the sliding resistance of a helmet when it hits the pavement, increasing rotational injuries.
    • Rounded, smooth helmet exterior with no major snag points in back that will slide rather than “stick” when they hit a surface will reduce rotational injuries.

    Their helmet bottom line: A helmet that meets standards, fits well and is rounded and not pointy is all you need.

    My 2 cents:

    The more expensive helmets are lighter.    A lighter helmet makes a big difference to me when I am riding 10+ hrs a day.    50-100 gms  is significant for my neck/back.

    Would a heavier helmet be more prone to whiplash?    I don’t know.

    The current style of road helmets is aerodynamic “looking” with all that pointy stuff of the back,  if you fall on the back of the helmet is guaranteed to cause a rotational force on the head and neck.     I am thinking the reduction in drag that will not warrant the loss in safety.

    Of course there is absolutely no data on cyclists injuries, that I can find, that shows injuries based on specific impact points.  This  may be a non-issue  if it is rare that people fall on the back of the helmet.   I always seem to be landing on the side of my helmet.

    The higher priced helmets have more vents.  I love lots of venting on my helmet.  Why?  My highest recorded temperature last year was 118° F. (48° C)    The high in Austin today will be 104° F (40° C) with the road surface temperatures being much warmer.   I need as much cooling as I can get.




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