UBC Mechanical Engineering professor Dr. Peter Cripton was featured on Global’s News Hour last night, and on Global’s Morning News this morning.
Dr. Cripton, a specialist in injury biomechanics, was asked to test the safety of a discount carbon fibre helmet that was being advertised online without any safety certification or branding.
News Hour shows Dr. Cripton perform a crash test on the helmet in his lab at Vancouver General Hospital. In accordance with the US-based Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Cripton creates an impact by dropping the helmet from 2 meters in a testing apparatus, and then compares the acceleration measured from the impact with the acceleration that’s specified as the standard.
The helmet did pass the safety test, but Dr. Cripton cautions that this is just the first round of testing, adding that he would not purchase this helmet himself. Without a standards sticker, he points out, we can’t know how the helmet will perform in other impact locations and in other temperatures, or how well the chin strap will secure the helmet.
On the Morning News, Cripton followed up on this with some tips on how to find a helmet that you can trust.
In addition to safety certification, Cripton adds that “the most important thing about selecting a helmet is finding one that fits you well.” To guide consumers through the helmet selection process, he offers the following pointers:
- Only choose a helmet that has a sticker inside showing that it is certified by CPSC or another Canadian-approved safety commission.
- Cover as much of the head as possible: when wearing the helmet, you should be able to just see the tip of the helmet.
- The chin strap should fit snugly and comfortably, with the V of the strap close to the ears.
- The helmet should be tight on the head and unable to move around.
As we near the summer launch of Vancouver’s public bike sharing program, we are bound to see a number of first-time helmet shoppers, and with uncertified helmets cropping up on discount websites, Dr. Cripton’s advice comes just in time to protect consumers from making misinformed and possibly fatal decisions as they get ready to hit the bike lanes.