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Independent helmet study finds safest helmet on the market

An independent look into 86 different helmets found one to be safer than the rest

Joe Robinson
10 Dec 2019

An extensive independent study into the safety performance of helmets has found the Lazer Century MIPS to be the safest road helmet on the market of those tested.

The study by Virginia Tech University, conducted in partnership with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, was among the most detailed and wide-ranging helmet study to date, testing a total of 86 helmets across both road, mountain biking and urban riding, 56 more than last year's study.

Each helmet went through a total of 12 separate controlled tests which replicated impacts and rotational forces a cyclist may encounter during a ride.

The most common test was the drop test where the helmet, placed inside a mannequin, is dropped from a height onto a steel anvil placed at a 45-degree angle and covered in sandpaper to replicate the coarse nature of tarmac.

Every helmet was drop-tested at two speeds designed to replucate the most common impact speeds of a cyclist crashing, with the force of impact and angle of rotational forces being measured.

Each helmet was then marked using the STAR rating - originally developed to detect head injuries on college football players - based upon its ability to reduce the likelihood of a concussion injury and an accompanying score, the lower the score meaning the better protection. 

All of the leading brands were represented in the test field, and overall it was the Bontrager Rally MIPS mountain bike helmet that came out on top with five stars and a 9.3 rating.

The best road helmet among those tested was the Lazer Century MIPS which also was given five stars and a score of 10, which was 0.8 lower than the next-best Bontrager Specter WaveCel helmet.

In good news for cyclists overall, the study found that most brands had a helmet within its range that was awarded five out of five on the STAR scale.

The full list of results can be found here.

It also found that every five-star rated helmet employed a form of anti-directional protection such as MIPS or WaveCell which is claimed by manufacturers to increase protection of the head in a crash.

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