A test of 15 cycle helmets for adults and eight children's helmets available to the UK market has resulted in recommendations for three of them for safety. All three incorporate technology designed for protection against rotational forces.
The Road Safety Trust, a body that’s “dedicated to achieving zero deaths and serious injuries on UK roads”, funded the Folksam Insurance Group in Sweden to complete extended safety tests on a selection of helmets available in this country.
Five physical tests were performed by the Research Institutes of Sweden (RISE) which is accredited for testing and certification in accordance with the European standard: two shock absorption tests with straight perpendicular impact and three oblique impact tests. Computer simulations were subsequently carried out to evaluate the risk for concussion.
Of the 23 tested helmets available to the UK market, two adult models and one child’s model were given the ‘recommended’ label (a second child’s helmet not available in the UK was also tested and recommended):
To be recommended, a helmet had to be more than 15% better than the average in the test round – both for direct and oblique (angled) impact. This criterion means that comparatively few helmets are ever likely to be recommended. There is no pass/fail standard.
“It is important that when consumers purchase safety equipment they spend their money wisely,” said Oliver Carsten, Trustee of The Road Safety Trust.
“The recommended adult helmets are both general-purpose helmets and relatively low-cost with an approximate price of £80 for the Scott Arx Plus and £45 for the Specialized Align II. The recommended Lazer Gekko MIPS child helmet costs around £50. This confirms that good safety performance does not require high expense.
“All the recommended helmets from the current set of tests incorporate technology for protection against rotational forces, either in the form of Multi-directional Impact Protection System (MIPS) or alternative technologies. In general, helmets with such technologies performed better than helmets without, but it is not the case that all the tested helmets with such protection are recommended.”
For example, the Lazer Urbanize MIPS adult helmet was tested this year and wasn’t recommended, and the same is true of several other MIPS-equipped helmets.
This is the third year that the Folksam Insurance group has carried out cycle helmet testing. You can find the full list of recommended helmets here.
For the full report and previous year’s test results visit www.roadsafetytrust.org.uk/cycle-helmet-testing
Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.