We’ve been wearing cycling helmets now en masse for close to 30 years. So what’s the verdict, are they working? Well…that depends…on who you ask.

If you ask someone who was wearing a helmet and survived a crash, they’ll say “Yes”. Ask someone who sustained injury while wearing one and they may say “No”.

Surely the statistics will shed some light on facts. In one study, the claim was made that “bicycle helmets can prevent up to 85% of head injuries”. However, in acquiring that statistic, not one of those individuals studied was involved in a collision with a motor vehicle – where the vast majority of deaths and debilitating brain injuries occur.

In the 1990’s when use of helmets climbed in the U.S., head injuries among cyclists went up 51%.

Broken Cycling HelmetThose in pro-helmet camp show pictures like these and point to how cycling helmets save lives. But they don’t explain the outcome. A picture is not useful in helping us understand the fate of the wearer. If anything, it’s pictures like these that demonstrate that if you fall from your bike, it’s going to hurt and there’s a reasonable chance that you’ll sustain a concussion.

A Better Cushion Needed

HeadNorth is going to attempt something that is long overdue, the introduction a helmet that: 1) mitigates risk of concussion; 2) is more comfortable in the event of an impact; 3) can save your life. Yes, the trifecta of helmet common sense.

I’m tempted to say, “We need a better cushion”, but by definition most cycling helmets are NOT cushions. They don’t soften the impact, they disperse energy by fracturing the structure. Even under low impacts, they are quite a painful experience for the wearer.

As we finalize our patent this month, watch for how HeadNorth is going to encourage the creation and adoption of a legitimate cushioning system for all sports and safety helmets.