Toughest vs Safest < back
Okay. But which is the “Safest Standard”?
Which standard is the safest?”
That’s a logical question, but here’s another: Does passing the toughest test inherently make a helmet safer? If the “toughest” test doesn’t accurately match what happens out in the field, then the answer is “Not necessarily”. A standard that’s particularly tough to pass might require a helmet with a denser foam liner that can withstand greater impact forces. That kind of helmet may fare better in tests with curb-shaped anvils. A “softer” helmet with a less dense EPS liner might, on the other hand, better absorb impacts on flat surfaces… Which helmet is better? Well, where do you plan on hitting your head—a curb or a flat stretch of road? There’s a saying that has become popular amongst helmet manufacturers: “Tell me what kind of crash you’re going to have today and I’ll make you the perfect helmet for that crash.”
Helmets that pass the more rigorous tests may or may not offer the highest degree of protection—It all depends on the accident that none of us can predict. Accordingly, helmet manufacturers try to create helmets that achieve a balance by performing well in a variety of crash scenarios, in a style that people are willing to not just buy but wear for every ride. At the end of the day, about half of cycling trips in the US are taken bare headed, and in the majority of other countries even fewer cyclists wear helmets. Yet dozens of studies around the world show that cycling helmets are very effective in many common accidents. So this issue of wearability is very important to protection. While it might be helpful in some cycling accidents if one were to wear a three pound, full face motorcycle helmet, each rider must choose the type of head gear that they will wear for all their rides. We strongly recommend that a rider or snow sports enthusiast choose the helmet that covers as much of the head and that still suits their riding needs.