Building a Safer Bike Helmet

Is bicycling a leading cause of sports-related brain injuries?

Bicycling in Northern and Southern California is a popular exercise and recreational activity, and most cyclists ride with bike helmets – even though the state’s law only mandates helmets for riders who are under the age of 18. While helmets offer some degree of protection, and are obviously better than no helmet at all, accidents and head injuries can still occur.

Now, a bioengineer at Stanford University is testing new helmets that are designed to be safer than foam helmets. While these traditional devices reduce the risks of skull fractures and severe brain injuries, foam helmets are not effective when it comes to protecting against concussions.

From a lab at Stanford that works on understanding and preventing concussions, a new helmet that is only available in some European countries is being tested: a so-called air-bag helmet that comes in a soft pocket that is worn around the neck. The helmet is aimed at riders who don’t like to wear helmets for “aesthetic reasons,” and is designed to pop up like an air bag around the rider’s head when it detects a possible collision.

The researchers compared this air bag helmet to foam bike helmets by conducting standard federal drop tests. Their findings indicate that air bag helmets can dramatically reduce head accelerations that are known to be the cause of concussions. That being said, during the testing, the air bag was helmet was pre-inflated to maximum pressure, so the effectiveness depends on the amount of pressure that is initially in the bag. If the maximum amount of air is not used, the helmet may not fully deploy, and a bike rider’s head could hit the ground with greater force than a traditional foam helmet. As of now, air bag helmets are not available in the U.S. and much more testing needs to be done.

Bike Accidents in a Nutshell

While bike riders are well advised to wear helmets, they still must often share the road with motorists which is obviously dangerous. In fact, bicycle accidents can result in catastrophic injures and even fatalities. Whether motorists are unaware of cyclists, or worse, reckless, bike riders can suffer serious injuries and emotional trauma after an accident. In the meantime, if you were injured in a bicycle accident, the experienced attorneys at the J&Y law firm can help you obtain meaningful compensation.