If You Have A Head, You Need A Helmet :)

We cyclists are always fond of accessories. If we are spending a day in choosing the right bicycle for us. I'm sure we end up devoting 100 times more on checking the accessories. After Bike, the first priority should always be given for a helmet. However, once we are done with bicycle purchase, our pockets start alarming and we tend to compromise on the very next things to come. In most of the cases, it starts off with a highly important one THE HELMET.

A helmet gives us the only chance we cyclists have upon encountering a crash. It does not matter whether we crash into a huge vehicle small car/bike or a mere pedestrian flaw. Use of Helmet has been estimated to reduce the probability of head injury by 70 percent. I always have been looking for information on safest bicycle helmets to opt for. Personally, I could not find any so ended up getting a unique round-headed cycling/skating helmet. Now that I was looking to have a new helmet the research story kicked off this week. Finally came across some good piece of information published by Forbes. At least this time I came across some proper recommendations. Trying to put up a few highlights here. For more details to go through the article links mentioned at the end. 

Do I Need a Bicycle Helmet?

Helmets are not uncool nor are they your fashion statement. Consider the times when we have kids in our house who are just having their early lessons with the rolling business over the floor. What will one prefer living the kid directly over the floor or a soft mattress/carpet etc. Do I need to answer itWe opt the softer options in order to prevent/reduce the impact in case the kid bangs his/her head over the floor. Same applies to us. Anything that will help reduce the impact over a hard surface is always welcome. So please cover your head with some protective layer, it is your choice a towel/Helmet. 
Everyone wants to look good, but not to forget that a cycle helmet is principally about safety and protection. You won't find any professional cyclist racing on the road or an empty track without a helmet clamped firmly to his head. Funky ones are usually just marketing gimmicks. So, don't shell out your money for a cheap buy.

Do Helmets Really Help?

I have a couple of friends who found every possible excuse for not using one. The common reasons were it blocks vision, it's not comfortable to wear one, Hair loss and many more. Over a time almost all started using it. But always there has to be one hard nut to crack, He would prefer to ride across ends of the city with a terrorist scarf but not use a helmet. पता नही लोग कौनसे जमाने मे जिते है. आजकल कार वाले भी हेल्मेट पहनते है. तो भाई सायकल/मोटोरसायकल वालों के ये नखरे क्यू ??

There is a False argument that helmets do not make much of overall difference.
Do take an opportunity and bang their heads (maybe with a helmet ) to make them realize the fact. There's another problem too. Unfortunately, Society has become much more safety/security-obsessed and does not want to take the risks anymore. Some people will look at cyclists buzzing the streets in helmets and Reflective jackets to conclude that it's far safer to sit at home or take the motorbike/car than to move out on the road. While doing so they blindly ignore the fact that inactivity and lack of exercise could actually pose a bigger risk to health than injuries caused by cycling (अनपढ समझ जायेगा लेकिन ऐसे पढे-लिखे लोगों को कौन समझये ?? ).

Many scientific studies have concluded that the use of helmet was directly reducing the risk of significant head-facial injury by 70 percent while 60 percent was the reduction in ending up with a fatal head-facial injury. Studies also show that those who suffer traumatic brain injuries because of not wearing a helmet double the cost of hospital treatment.

There's absolutely no way of knowing whether a helmet will make any difference in any one particular accident. But as said above it surely serves the only chance in any possible event of a crash.

Most Important How To Choose A Helmet?

Google it and you will find tons of information on it. But nothing impressed me as the one I came across over by Forbes.com. For most of us, the name is sufficient. This study has been widely applauded across the globe. The goal of this study is to give cyclists an evidence-based tool for making informed decisions about how to reduce their risk of injury. Bike helmets in the U.S. are required to pass the recommendations made by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). It was observed that these recommendations had a few limitations in consideration of real-world crashes.
New tests were designed to replicate more accurately the angle at which a cyclist's head is likely to strike the pavement in a crash. The study focussed on Multi-Directional Impact Protection System (MIPS). The idea behind MIPS is that, when helmet hits the road and sticks initially due to the high friction, your head actually slides relative to the helmet. This technology creates a low-friction layer inside the helmet.

The lab is continuing to test more adult helmets of different styles, including mountain bikes, skate/BMX helmets, and will update its website as new ratings are released. This study rated the real-world helmets from 1-5 stars (1 being the least safe while 5 - being the safest), depending upon the score associated with it. The score associated with each helmet correlates its ability to decrease one's risk of traumatic brain injury that affects your brain function, usually caused due to the impact of a blow to the head. For example, the highest 5-Star bicycle helmet has a score of 10.9 versus the lowest 1-Star which has a score of 25.3.
Only 4 helmets could be certified with a 5-star rating. So, imagine how much are we freaking ourselves with plastic moulds flooded by the Chinese industry for cheap costs. Below is the list of helmets certified by this study.

Helmets are listed Below from best to worst within rating categories.

Five Stars - Best Available

  • Bontrager Ballista MIPS
  • Garneau Raid MIPS
  • Bell Stratus MIPS
  • Specialized Chamonix MIPS

Four Stars - Very Good

  • Scott ARX Plus MIPS
  • Bontrager Quantum MIPS
  • Specialized Prevail II
  • Smith Overtake
  • Giro Savant
  • Bell Draft MIPS
  • POC Octal
  • Giro Foray MIPS
  • Giro Synthe
  • Giro Sutton MIPS
  • Specialized Evade II
  • Garneau Le Tour II

Three Stars - Good

  • Triple 8 Dual Certified MIPS
  • Bell Reflex
  • Bontrager Solstice
  • Bern Brentwood
  • Bell Division
  • Schwinn Thrasher
  • Giro Revel
  • Schwinn Flash
  • Kali City
  • Nutcase Street
  • Specialized Centro
  • Bontrager Electra

Two Stars - Adequate

  • Lazer Genesis
  • Bern Watts
     

No helmets were rated with 1/0 stars.
 

When Should I Replace My Helmet?

You can purchase a new helmet anytime you get sick of the old one. However, if you have a crash you must always buy a new helmet. If you crack your helmet or compress the foam, it will fail to work properly the next time. So better to get rid of it ASAP! For the same reason, never buy second-hand helmets, those used by friends, or over places like Web auction sites. Also, not the ones that have spent years lying on the shelf. You don't know what they've been through already and whether they are still going to give you the protection you need.

 

Risk is an unavoidable part of our life.
Then why not face this risk with 70 percent of safety using the helmet ??
Do Make a wise choice.

 

Links:
https://www.helmet.beam.vt.edu/bicycle-helmet-ratings.html

https://www.iihs.org/iihs/news/desktopnews/new-tests-show-some-bike-helmets-protect-better-than-others

https://www.forbes.com/sites/tanyamohn/2018/06/26/first-ever-bicycle-helmet-ratings-released-only-four-earn-5-stars/#2d94fdea44e6

More Information Not To Miss From Other Sites For In-depth Details:

Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute: A superb resource covering literally everything you could ever want to know about helmets.
Materials for Bicycle Helmets: For the more scientifically minded, this interesting research paper explains how different helmet foams compare in energy-absorbing performance.
Cyclist safety: Arguments for cycle helmets from Brake, the UK road safety charity.
New Safety Standard for Bike Helmets: Information from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Bicycle Safety Publications: A range of helpful safety advice from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
The secret ingredient for a safer bike helmet: Paper by Anna Lacey, BBC News, 12 January 2014. Inventor Anirudha Surabhi believes corrugated paper structures could slow down an impact and reduce injuries more effectively than conventional foam.

Patents are a great place to find detailed technical descriptions of how things work. Here are a few that cover modern bicycle helmets:

US Patent 5,351,341: Multiple density helmet body compositions to strengthen helmet by Lester V. Broersma, Bell Sports, Inc. October 4, 1994. Describes a typical bicycle helmet and includes detailed design drawings.
US Patent 5,351,341: Aerodynamically streamlined bicycle racing helmet by James J. Gentes et al, Gyro Sports Design, Inc. February 27, 1990. Describes an aerodynamic helmet and a means for keeping it steady on the rider's head.
US Patent 6,401,261: Sizing and stabilizing apparatus for bicycle helmets by Michel D. Arney et al, Bell Sports, Inc. Jun 11, 2002. Describes a more elaborate way of keeping a helmet secure on the rider's head.