For anyone who enjoys a bike ride, one crucial piece of information has long been missing. What kind of helmet should you buy?
No one has ever rated helmets for head injury protection -- until now. Researchers at Virginia Tech Helmet Lab and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety unveiled a new ratings system to better protect cyclists from the most common types of accidents.
“Our goal with these ratings is to give cyclists an evidence-based tool for making informed decisions about how to reduce their risk of injury,” Steve Rowson, director of the Virginia Tech Helmet Lab and an associate professor of bio-medical engineering and mechanics, said in a statement. “We also hope manufacturers will use the information to make improvements.”
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According to the group, 835 bicyclists were killed in crashes with motor vehicles in 2016, the highest number since 1991. Of those, more than half were not wearing helmets.
For the ratings, the group tested helmets on six "commonly impacted locations," including two at the rim. Sensors estimate the risk of concussions during simulated crashes. The number of stars assigned to each helmet "represents how effectively that model reduces overall injury risk," according to a release on the tests.