Helmets: Bicycle Helmets

Dovie Salais

Pick a helmet using lab test data. We have a ratings page that merges top picks from Consumer Reportsimpact testing and the Virginia Tech concussion ratings updated in April of 2020. Only a few models coincided, but at least the ratings […]

Pick a helmet using lab test data.

We have a ratings page that merges top picks from Consumer Reports
impact testing and the Virginia Tech concussion ratings updated in April of 2020. Only a few
models coincided, but at least the ratings are based on actual lab testing.

COVID-19 and helmet cleaning

Helmets for 2020

Consumer Reports rates rotational energy management first criterion

Should I wear a helmet at all?

Scooter helmets

Rideshare company solves helmet problem

Snell Foundation finds no improvement from MIPS

Sections below or scroll down

No cookies, no tracking by this site.

Quick Answers

Quick Answers!

Fast info for Frequently Asked Questions.

Is there an anti-concussion helmet?

Not really, and here is why.

Buying a helmet?

Our Buyer’s Guide to Bicycle Helmets

Fake or counterfeit helmets

How to avoid them.

Helmets for 2020

Our report on this year’s helmets.

Cheap vs. Expensive Helmets

Lab tests showed no difference in impact protection.

Do shared bicycle rental users need helmets?

Our advice on riding shared bikes.

How to fit a helmet

How to get all the protection you paid for.

The Media Room

Quote of the Day and how to quote our other text

Helmets Made Simple

If our pages seem too wordy, try this.

New Stuff

Virginia Tech concussion rating system for bike helmets

Could help you select your next helmet.

New Trek/Bontrager models with WaveCel

Trek says they provide more protection against concussion.

Will there be a helmet class action lawsuit?

Lawyer trying to organize one.

Consumer Reports flunks three helmets

Latest report posted on web site.

We oppose Hövding airbag exemption from CPSC standard

Product does not provide the protection required by the CPSC standard.

Virginia Tech STAR ratings: the way ahead to better helmets

Concussion ratings will push manufacturers to go beyond meeting standards.

Pick a helmet with lab test ratings

We found six highly rated by Virginia Tech and Consumer Reports

Counterfeit helmet seller convicted

Sold bogus helmets online.

New Zealand radio distorts our comments

“Don’t have much to protect” joke taken seriously out of contaxt.

Louis Garneau Course recall

The Course fails impact tests.

Lazer recalls four helmets including the Blade

Failed German tests

New York Times gets it right!

Columnist Jane Brody strongly recommends a helmet

POC has an alternative to MIPS

Interesting new development.

Forbes: study blames helmets for risk compensation

We disagree.

Eco paper folding helmet is just a design so far

Interesting concept.

Air bag headgear again – Stanford research

But some airbags do not inflate enough.

SAHN recalls Classic skate style helmet

Failed impact tests.

Helmets do not increase jaw injuries!

Study disqualifies itself.

Consumer Reports has a helmet article

Ratings for 34 helmets.

Schwinn recalls toddler helmet

Shell cracking where strap is riveted.

Washington Post helmet myths article

Got it wrong.

Study blames bicycle helmets for risk compensation

Imagine the consequences for seatbelt use if this were valid.

European helmet study proposes changes in standards

Recommends: lower pass/fail, more coverage, angular impact test for rotation.

Helmets for electric bikes

We don’t think a bike helmet is enough for an ebike.

Folding helmets

Needed for bike share programs, but must meet CPSC for US.

Bicycling article is misleading

Recommendations based on technology, not performance

Bikeshare programs and helmets

First study on helmet use.

British Study on passing clearance.

2013 Re-analysis confirms our belief that data was misinterpreted.

British Medical Journal poll opposes helmet laws

Some believe requirement will reduce cycling in the UK.

Danish iconoclast deplores helmets

Video paints helmet promotion as evil.

Should I wear a helmet?

Would you believe our advice?

Where can I report a helmet defect?

CPSC has a place to post your problems.

Free helmet offer is bogus!

BHSI did not call you and offer helmets!

Shared bicycle programs/cycle hire schemes.

Rentals always pose helmet questions.

NYU study does not expose hidden danger in foams.

University PR department gets headline wrong.

What’s New

What we have added or modified recently.


Helmets for the 2020 season

Our report on helmets for this year.

Where is the anti-concussion helmet?

You can look for it…but you won’t find it.

Cheap vs. Expensive Helmets

Lab tests showed no difference in impact protection.

Pulp Helmets

Can a cheap, disposable helmet be made of pulp?

Unusual head shapes.

Difficulties finding helmets that fit.

ASTM improves bicycle helmet standard

ASTM adds variable mass headforms to F1447

A visit to the CPSC helmet testing lab

A photo tour of CPSC’s new helmet test facility.

CPSC complaints database has a helmet case

Case illustrates good and bad features of the database.

Helmet recalls

All CPSC helmet compliance actions since 1995.

Types of helmets

Road, mountain, downhill, skate, chrono

Helmet terms and definitions

Meanings for the helmet terms we use.

Folding helmets

Few folding models are available.

Plastics in your helmet?

Helmet plastics are probably not a cause for concern.

Cardboard helmets?

The Kranium’s designer attempts to break new ground.

Are Ribcaps OK for cycling?

They do not provide the protection you need.

Cheap helmets!

Sources of helmets for promotion campaigns.

Yard sale helmets

Should I buy a used helmet at a yard sale?

Full Face helmets

Do you want facial protection?

Very large helmets

Our advice for riders with very large heads.

Small helmets for adults

Advice on finding small adult helmets

Very small helmets for children

Why can’t I find a helmet small enough?

Helmets for unusually-shaped heads

Our advice for riders with unusually-shaped heads.

Hairstyles and baseball caps

Baseball caps, pony tails, beads, braids, “helmet hair”

Do-rags and head covers under helmets

Does a head cover affect helmet fit?

One-size-fits-all helmets

Can ring fit systems fit your head?

Vents and squared-off lines

You can have too many vents in your helmet!

Visors: good and bad experience

How to report shattered or snagged visors

The helmet industry

Industry news on a few of the manufacturers.

Bell’s True Fit system is worth a look

System simplifies the fitting process.

How to Fit a Helmet

How to fit a helmet for best protection.

Helmet fit checklist

Helmet fitting steps.

Helmet size

Size chart and how to measure your head for a helmet.

Winter helmets

Warm headgear for winter commuting and riding.

Lights on Helmets

Headlights and taillights mounted on helmets can be useful.

Giving a helmet as a present.

May not be a simple task.

Reflective helmets

Should you add reflective tape to your helmet?

Stickers on helmets

Should you add stickers to your helmet?

Painting helmets

Can you paint a helmet?

Other helmets

Ski, soccer, skating, equestrian and more.

Multi-purpose helmets

Can’t I just use the same helmet for everything?

Helmets for motorbikes and scooters

Why a bicycle helmet is not ok for motor vehicles.

Crash stories

Stories where the helmet worked.

Other crashes

Helmet, no helmet or non-bicycle. These are downers.

When can I ride again?

Ask your doctor before riding after a crash.

Response to “truck ran over cyclist’s head”

A helmet can help squirt the head out, but will crush if squarely run over.

Helmet damage sensors and indicators.

Most are not really concussion indicators.


Are helmets with animals or spikes OK for kids?

Cute, but we don’t recommend them.

Consumer Reports has a few ratings of Kid’s helmets.

Most are rated Good for impact protection.

Taking your baby along?

Helmets, trailers, childseats and shaken babies.

Very small toddler helmets

Helmets for toddlers with very small heads.

Very large toddler helmets

Helmets for toddlers with very large heads.

What size is my child’s head?

How to measure.

Getting My Child to Wear A Helmet

Ten ideas for encouraging your kids to use helmets.

Why kids don’t like to wear helmets.

Reasons the kids give when asked.

Warning: No helmets on playgrounds!

Advice after deaths of two helmeted children.

Helmets for poor kids

Factors affecting promotion in poor neighborhoods

Hairstyles and baseball caps

Baseball caps, pony tails, beads, braids, “helmet hair”

Lice! Head lice can be a problem

Cleaning helmets for rentals and schools

Kids in Dublin Ohio mount bike safety campaign.

Lots of energy, new ideas as kids conduct their own program.

Special Helmets

Helmets for teens

“My teen won’t wear a helmet!”

Helmets on campus

Is a college brain worth protecting?

Helmets for seniors

Does an older brain need different protection?

Helmets with Hearing Aids

Where to put a hearing aid and how to deal with sweat

Helmets for special needs

Suggestions for developmental disabilities and seizures

Helmets for head injured riders

What to wear if you have a previous injury.

Helmets for bald riders

Avoiding tan lines and other tips.

Thinner helmets for small adult heads?

Feel like a mushroom?

Helmets for police

Helmets for police officers, with police graphics

Helmets for bicycle polo

What you need to protect your head in cycle polo

Helmets for time trial use

Chrono helmets with extreme aero shapes.

Helmets for shared bicycle programs

Cycle hire schemes pose particular helmet problems.

Rental helmets

Rentals need easy fit, sanitization and damage indicators

Helmets and turbans

How can a Sikh wear a bicycle helmet?


Bicycle Helmet Standards

Our quick summary of bike helmet standards.

Standards for bicycle helmets

The long version: ASTM, ANSI, Snell, CPSC, CEN and others.

Short helmet standard comparison chart

The short standards comparison chart.

Detailed Standards Comparison

Longer, detailed item-by-item comparison.

ASTM F1952 Downhill Mountain Bike Racing Standard

Comparison with CPSC standard.

Test Line Comparisons

CPSC, ASTM, Snell, Dutch

The ideal helmet standard

Our idea of the perfect bicycle helmet standard.

Making progress in standards

What is needed for further standards improvement.

ASTM improves bicycle helmet standard

ASTM adds variable mass headforms to F1447

Helmet performance limits

How much a helmet can take and keep on protecting.

Helmet testing

How helmets are tested in the lab.

Helmet test labs

Labs who test helmets or supply test equipment.

ASTM headgear subcommittee

Standards, meetings, background

ANSI Z90.4 Committee – Disbanded

ANSI replaced the Z90.4 standard with ASTM F1447

Maintenance and Repairs

Testing products that can attack helmets

BHSI has tested hair products, sunscreens, repellants.

How to inspect a helmet

The points to check, and a checklist.

Replacing a helmet

Our advice on when to replace your helmet.

Repairing a helmet

How to fix your helmet when it comes unglued.

Replacing a buckle

Can you find a replacement buckle? Maybe!

Threading straps through a buckle

Illustrations and photos to help you rethread.

Recycling helmets

What to do with your faithful old helmet.

Construction and Design

How Helmets Work

Basics on construction and testing standards

How bicycle helmets are made

A summary of manufacturing steps

Bicycle helmet impact liners

Info on EPS, EPP, EPU foams and more types of liners.

Molded-in-the-shell helmets

It can make better helmets, but not necessarily.


Most are one basic design, but there are others.

Sliding resistance and MIPS

Rounder helmets help you slide on impact

Helmet Cooling

Info on ventilation and cooler riding.

Helmet Designers

Our short list of independent helmet designers.

Statistics and Research

Helmet and Injury statistics

They don’t agree, so take your pick!

New York City data on bicycle deaths

NYC found 97% of dead cyclists had no helmet.

Journal articles and Studies on helmets

Links to scientific journal articles and studies on helmets.

Helmet documents

Materials we have scanned in or downloaded.

Helmet construction and materials

Helmet design for students and researchers.

Researchers’ page

Info for a thesis or a science project.

Designers’ page

Info for a helmet design project.

Term papers on bike helmets

Where to find the info to write a term paper

A workshop on bike helmets

Points to cover when you do a workshop.

Helmet Patents

Some significant patents and how to find others.

Advice for Inventors

We are interested in new helmet technology.

The cost of making a bike helmet

Our guesses on manufacturing and sales costs.

The total market for bike helmets

How many helmets are sold each year?

Helmet Laws

Mandatory helmet laws

States, counties, cities, positions, opponents.

Studies on mandatory helmet laws

Journal articles and studies on helmet law effectiveness.

Australian paper on helmet laws is misleading

Helmet laws normally do not reduce cycling here.

Issues from the “helmet

Our slant on the endless helmet law arguments.

Importing bicycle helmets to the US

Just a start on the regulations that apply for importing bike helmets.


The Media Room

Quote of the Day and how to quote our other text

Washington Post article based on faulty study.

Reporters can’t find a real helmet issue, so . . .

Misguided media articles and ads without helmets

What we do when we see one of those.

New York Times Article

“Head Injuries Piling Up?” Times’ reputation sinking?

NYU study does not expose hidden danger in foams.

Another university PR department gets headline wrong.

Our email newsletter

Helmet news, not too frequent, you can subscribe.

Who We Are

Welcome! We are a helmet advocacy program founded in 1989. We are a small, active, non-profit consumer-funded program providing bicycle helmet information. We are a 501(c)3 non-profit, so your contributions to us are tax-deductible. We try to explain the technology of helmets to consumers, and promote better helmets by working on improved standards. In a typical year our secure server serves 2 million pages to more than 700,000 distinct users. Our volunteers serve on the ASTM helmet standards committee and are active in commenting on actions of the Consumer Product Safety Commission. We are members of the National Bicycle Safety Network. We provide a Toolkit of materials for helmet programs and a periodic email helmet newsletter, both free. We are all volunteers, funded entirely by consumer donations. We maintain our independence by never accepting funds from the industry. As much as we believe in helmets we still consider them a secondary safety measure and urge that primary measures such as safer roads and education programs for riders and drivers not be neglected.

Our volunteers always work in home offices and BHSI is fully functioning despite COVID-19 restrictions.

Our FAQ: can you trust this site?

Where we came from, what we do and how.

Some nice words from the Consumer Reports blog.

BHSI’s founder named Safety Crusader.

Swart receives ASTM’s Hulse Memorial Award

Recognition for BHSI’s work on helmet standards.

Swart receives ASTM’s Award of Merit

Highest ASTM award for standards committee work.
Photo, Swart on right..

Our Program

What we hope to accomplish this year.

How to support our work!

We are funded 100% by consumer donations.

What we need today

Graphics, crossword or teaching skills?

How we run our secure site

Our philosophy, design, page hits and more.

Promises, promises

What we hope to add to our site some day.

How to cite our pages

Citing us in footnotes for scholarly papers.

What we can do for you

Our publications

Newsletter, pamphlets, list of laws, more.

Our email newsletter

The Helmet Update, our periodic free newsletter.

Media guidance

Quotes and a few rules on quoting our site.

Webmaster guidance

You can quote us but not borrow our pages.

Link policy

We post only a few focused links.

Access to our data

Web, email, telephone, postal mail.

Teachers, educators, scout leaders, workshops, rodeos.

Resources, statistics, pamphlets, videos, lesson plans.

Bike shop owners – We encourage you to use our pamphlets.

We provide free duplicating masters.

Search our Site

Search our site.

Finds anything on our site.

A Map of our site.

A page by page map in outline form.


Helmet links

Links to other helmet-related pages.

Head Injury Survivors

Links to people who have survived a head injury.

Graphical pages for young riders

Want graphics? Comics? Superheroes?

Our links policy

We keep our links closely focused on helmets.

Translate Our Pages


Problems With Our Site?

Here is a page of tips on problems.
We care about making our content accessible!

Virus or spam message apparently from BHSI?

Here is how a spoofer sent you that message.

Virus-bearing messages do not originate here! We never send anything to anyone from “info@helmets”.

Sending us an email:

Please use this link for comments or questions

We like to hear about what you wanted to find here.

You can donate to support our work:

Please use this link

We are consumer-funded and do not accept donations from the industry, including bicycle shops.

Our contact info:

Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute

4611 Seventh Street South

Arlington, VA 22204-1419 USA

Voicemail: 703-486-0100
Web: helmets.org

© All pages on this site are copyrighted by the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute, 1995-2020. Reproduction for non-profit use is encouraged, but on the Web please link to our pages rather than reproducing them–we update frequently and a copy will be quickly outdated. Webmasters please see this page.

At least one page on this site was revised on April 4, 2020.

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