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According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 840 bicyclists were killed in 2016. Half were not wearing helmets. NBC News
There are several styles of helmet.
Note: All of the examples below were in the top half of the 69 helmets tested for concussion protection by Virginia Tech.
See Bicycle Helmet Types | helmets.org,
Amazon.com: Bike Helmet Buying Guide: Sports & Outdoors
and Helmets for different cycling disciplines explained | EvansCycles.com, UK
Helmets with Multi-directional Impact Protection System (MIPS) are generally safer.
They tested for concussion protection.
Most helmets will protect you from a scull fracture, but concussion protection is more variable.
They used the the STAR protocol originally developed for football helments to estimate the incidence of concussion that a college football player may experience.
Summary: Test Description Video
They tested 30 helmets in 2017 and 39 more in 2018 with scores from 10.5 (best 5 star) to 25.3 (2 stars).
A lower score offers better protection
* Also on Consumer Reports recommended list - Many of the helmets tested by VT were not tested by Consumer Reports and vice-versa.
MIPS - See below
||Helmet ||Cost ||Style ||Score
|Smith Route MIPS||$105.00||Road||14|
|Bontrager Circuit MIPS *||$90.00||Road||14|
|SCOTT Arx PLUS (MIPS) *||$100.00||Road||14.3|
|Bontrager Quantum MIPS||$100.00||Multi-sport||14.3|
|Specialized S-Works Evade II (MIPS)||$275.00||Road||14.4|
|Bell Annex MIPS||$125.00||Urban||14.5|
|Specialized Centro MIPS||$65.00||Multi-sport||14.8|
|Specialized S-Works Prevail II||$225.00||Road||14.8|
|Smith Optics Overtake||$163.00||Road||15|
|SCOTT Vivo PLUS (MIPS)||$130.00||Mountain||15.4|
|Bell Sixer MIPS||$150.00||Mountain||15.6|
|Cannondale Ryker AM (MIPS)||$100.00||Mountain||15.6|
|Bell Draft MIPS *||$60.00||Road||15.6|
|Giro Foray MIPS *||$85.00||Road||16.5|
|Louis Garneau Course||$180.00||Road||16.8|
|Giro Register *||$45.00||Multi-sport||17.1|
|SCOTT Cadence PLUS (MIPS)||$250.00||Road||17.2|
|6D ATB-1T EVO||$210.00||Mountain||17.4|
|Giro Sutton MIPS||$100.00||Urban||18.1|
|Specialized S-Works Evade II||$250.00||Road||18.5|
|Louis Garneau Le Tour II||$50.00||Multi-sport||18.8|
See Complete results of VT tests
These were all listed as road or urban helmets by Virginia Tech, but the Louis Garneau Raid and Bontrager Quantum were really mountain bike helmets.
The Bontrager Ballista is designed for racers with a lot of aerodynamic testing and they claim with only 3 vents in front they get better ventilation than their competitors. Of course when you're going 30 MPH you don't need as many vents.
Louis Garneau Raid MIPS.
The Specalized Chamonix is listed as a road helmet but has goog side and back coverage and a visor, so can be used as both.
Specialized Chamonix MIPS
Ease of use
|Scott Arx Plus||Road||$ 92||88||*||5||4||5||5|
|Cannondale CAAD MIPS||Road||$ 80||85||*||5||4||3||5|
|Giro Register MIPS||Road||$ 65||85||*||5||5||3||5|
|Bontrager Circuit MIPS||Road||$150||83||*||5||4||5||5|
|Giro Register||Road||$ 45||83||5||5||3||5|
|Bell Draft MIPS||Road||$ 60||82||5||4||4||5|
|Bell Muni||Road||$ 65||82||5||5||3||5|
|Zefal Light-Up||Road||$ 30||79|
|Bell Traverse MIPS||Road||$ 65||79|
|Giro Isode||Road||$ 40||79|
|Giro Revel MIPS||Road||$ 65||78|
|Bell Traverse||Road||$ 45||78|
|Giro Foray||Road||$ 65||77|
|Giro Trinity||Road||$ 40||76|
|Livall Bling BH60||Road||$100||75|
|Lazer Cyclone||Road||$ 50||75|
|Giro Revel||Road||$ 45||74|
|Schwinn Intercept Adult||Road||$ 22||74|
|Cannonda leQuick||Road||$ 40||73|
|Giro Bishop||Road||$ 45||72|
|Zefal Pro 24||Road||$ 25||71||4||3||4||5|
Scott Arx Plus
Both ratings selected a small subset of all the models available.
Giro has over 40 models and Bell has over 20.
|Louis Garneau Raid||Bontrager Quantum|
|Weight||11.1 oz||12.9 oz|
|Fit-Adjustment||Spiderlock(R) Pro MTB: Easy one-handed adjustment||Headmaster II|
|Straps:||Tri-Glide PRO adjustment: Keeps your straps tangle-free|
|Padding:||X-Static(R) XT2T: quick-drying antimicrobial material||Moisture wicking pads|
|Availability:||Dicks Sporting Goods Online $100||Trek Bicycle Superstore $60|
Conventional helmets are tested by dropping them vertically onto a flat surface. MIPS has evolved through study and testing in Sweden since 1996 by some of the world's leading researchers and brain surgeons, based on reality. In reality when you fall, your head more often hits the ground at an angle, creating a rotational motion that leads to strain in the brain.
With MIPS, the helmet can absorb and redirect a portion of that rotational motion, offering you better protection.
The secret behind MIPS' patented technology comes from the human brain. The brain is surrounded by a low-friction cushion of cerebrospinal fluid. MIPS mimics the brain's own way of protecting itself by giving the MIPS-equipped helmet its own low-friction layer between the helmet and the head. The MIPS low-friction layer can absorb a portion of the motion created by an angled impact by enabling the helmet to slide relative to the head on impact. The combination of the brain's own protection and MIPS therefore offers one of the highest levels of protection from rotational motion currently on the market.
In Consumer Reports tests of two pairs of the same brand and model helmets--one MIPS, one not--the MIPS helmets reduced rotational force up to 43 percent compared with the non-MIPs helmets.
Paul Caswell, the senior brand manager for Giro and Bell helmets agrees: The more the helmet is used the more it will deteriorate, so one rule for all does not work here, but three years is a good guide."
Snell, who tests helmets says, "The five-year replacement recommendation is based on a consensus by both helmet manufacturers and the Snell Foundation. Glues, resins and other materials used in helmet production can affect liner materials."
Check for damage and wear:
Strongher says, "Press carefully over the shell of the helmet to see if there is any movement. In some helmets there will be no movement and in others a little movement, You should look for any area where there is a variation in movement compared to the rest of the helmet. An area of greater movement indicates damage to the foam under the shell.
Check Straps/buckles/clips and fasteners for wear and tear"
There are also preventive measures you can take to increase the lift of a helmet. Drastic changes in temperature and excessive exposure to UV light can degrade EPS foam, causing it to harden and become brittle. Don't store your helmet in your car and keep it out of direct sunlight when not in use.
Human sweat can be quite corrosive and will break down EPS foam over time so washing your helmet on a regular basis can also help.