Impact Performance Comparison of Advanced Bicycle Helmets with Dedicated Rotation-Damping Systems.

Research paper by Michael M Bottlang, Alexandra A Rouhier, Stanley S Tsai, Jordan J Gregoire, Steven M SM Madey

Indexed on: 02 Jul '20Published on: 26 Jul '19Published in: Annals of Biomedical Engineering


Bicycle helmets effectively mitigate skull fractures, but there is increasing concern on their effectiveness in mitigating traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by rotational head acceleration. Bicycle falls typically involve oblique impacts that induce rotational head acceleration. Recently, bicycle helmet with dedicated rotation-damping systems have been introduced to mitigate rotational head acceleration. This study investigated the impact performance of four helmets with different rotation-damping systems in comparison to a standard bicycle helmet without a rotation-damping system. Impact performance was tested under oblique impact conditions by vertical drops of a helmeted headform onto an oblique anvil at 6.2 m/s impact speed. Helmet performance was quantified in terms of headform kinematics, corresponding TBI risk, and resulting brain strain. Of the four rotation-damping systems, two systems significantly reduced rotational head acceleration, TBI risk, and brain strain compared to the standard bicycle helmet. One system had no significant effect on impact performance compared to control helmets, and one system significantly increase linear and rotational head acceleration by 62 and 61%, respectively. In conclusion, results revealed significant differences in the effectiveness between rotation-damping systems, whereby some rotation-damping systems significantly reduced rotational head acceleration and associated TBI risk.