Consumer News

Consumer Reports tests bicycle helmets

Friday, May 18, 2012

Wearing a bike helmet can literally make the difference between life and death in an accident.

Consumer Reports just tested bike helmets to see which ones deliver the protection you count on.

Brent Mather learned firsthand just how important it is to wear a bike helmet.

"I was hit by a car several years ago," he said. "And if it wasn't for the helmet, I'm pretty positive my injuries would have been far worse."

Consumer Reports tests bike helmets, both adult and youth sizes, to see how well they'll protect in an accident.

Because a helmet can't do any good if it doesn't stay in place, examiners perform a test. that assesses whether the chin straps will stretch, break or open upon impact.

All 13 bike helmets passed this test.

To see how well a helmet will protect your head upon impact, Consumer Reports performs this test.

"The impact test simulates what happens when a helmet impacts different surfaces, like a flat surface like a street, a rounded triangle like a curb and a hemispherical surface, which simulates hitting a rock," said Consumer Reports' Rich Handel.

Two adult helmets did poorly: the Nutcase Street Sport 8 Ball and the Bern Brighton Thin Shell EPS for women.

On the plus side, two helmets rated very good for impact resistance.

They are the Specialized Echelon for adults, which costs $60, and the $45 Bontrager Solstice Youth for children.

But a helmet can only protect when it's worn properly.

Make sure it's level on your head, with not more than one or two fingers-width above the brow. The straps should form a "V" under each ear with the buckle centered under the chin.

Lastly, when you open your mouth, the helmet should pull down. All this will help ensure your next ride is a safe one.

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consumer reports, consumer news, amy buckman
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