Watch This: Certified Versus Non Certified Helmet Impact Testing

The non-certified helmet being tested is an extremely popular helmet amongst the skatepark and BMX set. Heck, many of my close friends, riding buddies, and loved ones choose to wear the non-certified Bucky Lasek Classic ProTec helmet shown in the video. Many of my other riding buddies also wear non-certified but retro cool helmets and the bottom line is they aren’t safe.

My friends at the local BMX shop tell me these helmets are extremely popular amongst kids because they’re comfortable. The store stocks these helmets because even the kids who wouldn’t normally wear helmets will wear one. Personally, I don’t buy the “more comfortable” excuse. I’ve tried the non-certified helmet shown in the video and have or have owned several which can compete in price and comfort while offering real protection. My favorite is the Giro Section.

Perhaps the real reason these helmets are so popular is because they’ve become widely accepted at the local street spots and skateparks. A quick search of Dans Comp, the most popular online BMX store, has these helmets listed and describes them as:

“Skatepark helmets are not intended for street use. Skatepark helmets are not certified or meet safety standards. Skate helmets are designed for comfort and feel.”

So please go buy your children, loved ones, or yourself a real helmet. For more, check out the non-profit Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute’s annual review of helmets.

Comments

Wheel Guy - 12/17/12 - 11:09am

Wow. I didn’t know it was even legal to sell uncertified bike helmets. Seems like just a matter of time before the manufacturer of the uncertified helmet will get sued. Very informative video.

jdog - 12/17/12 - 12:08pm

This is like wearing a fashion seat belt made of silk. Any retailer selling these non certified helmets are setting themselves up for increased liability.

MikeB - 12/17/12 - 12:20pm

I bought the Bucky Lasek Classic ProTec helmet for my nephew this summer. I assumed that for the price and the brand that I was getting a helmet that meets the safety standards for skateboarding (ASTM F 1492) but this helmet doesn’t. Thanks for the heads up. Also, the link for “Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute’s annual review” is broken.

Zach Overholt - 12/17/12 - 12:23pm

Thanks MikeB, fixed the link.

Topmounter - 12/17/12 - 12:36pm

No wonder they misspelled “Protect” as “Protec”…. You wanted a helmet that would “Protect” you? Well you shouldn’t have bought one whose name means “Professional Detective” then.

http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=tec

I do find it odd that equipment designed to test helmets isn’t capable of testing some helmets because the equipment will break… when testing new designs or materials, I guess they just have to work up to the full height test.

Champs - 12/17/12 - 2:08pm

As preface, I definitely recommend wearing a certified helmet when you ride, and I practice what I preach.

But my skeptic sense is tingling!

Here’s the breakdown:
* The Athlete Recovery Fund produces the video. Bell is a sponsor.
* Bell runs a single test, as a bonus, their product has one arm tied behind its back!
* The people from ARF look impressed. They’re not scientists, but how can they be wrong?
* If that doesn’t influence you, they have numbers. NUMBERS, people!
* You should buy a certified helmet, maybe an Easton-Bell (nice exterior shot to mention Giro)!

But by their own scale, the 1m drop test is as bad, if not worse than a severe football hit. Not that concussions are a significant issue in the NFL.

And despite these test rigs, this is the same industry that can’t tell you if their helmets are durable enough to handle being dropped from a table, kept in a hot trunk, or given a funny look. “You should probably buy another helmet”.

Suffice it to say, I don’t give these people any more money than necessary.

Big Cow - 12/17/12 - 3:20pm

You guys should do the same thing for frames. All the coolest custom frames couldn’t begin to survive the EN test requirements that all the major brands stand up to.

G... - 12/17/12 - 3:33pm

@Champs, I’d have to agree, while the test is the test, and the results prove the point very nicely, the heavy Bell influence did have a bit of a fishy smell to it. Maybe if for the test they would not have used a Bell helmet for comparison, or even better, had actually used an independent test lab.

@bigcow I would say that pretty much NO ultracool custom frame would pass the EN test. That said, I think the EN tests are ultimately flawed, the testing practices somewhat unrealistic, and as has been put to me, some factories test higher to cover themselves on warranty, hence frames end up being over built.

Mindless - 12/17/12 - 5:44pm

Dude in that video hardly ever wear ANY helmet when making his videos.

What should be illegal is for companies to sponsor videos with riders without a helmet. Kids are impressionable.

I am not a proponent of helmet laws or mandatory certification. People should just be informed and decide for themselves. But no need to advertise stupidity.

Psi Squared - 12/17/12 - 5:54pm

Uhm, the tests do have to conform to a standard. Even if you think the test setup is wrong, you can’t deny the deceleration that each helmet experiences. The setup is stupid easy: attach accelerometer, apply force, read accelerometer output with computer, display on screen. Please, conspiracy folks, tell us exactly where the data is being fudged. How many here have worked with accelerometers? How many here have collected data? What’s in it for Easton to “fake” results on a publicly distributed video?

Now some realistic perspective. The SNELL standard of 275 or 300g (it recently has changed) max deceleration has become the red headed step child of helmet testing as 200-250g decelerations are quite often fatal.

Topmounter - 12/17/12 - 7:19pm

Well of course this was an advertisement, I thought that part was obvious.

Mindless - 12/17/12 - 8:49pm

Wearing non-certified helmet in a skatepark is still much, much better than wearing nothing at all. Especially for kids who can not afford to buy a new helmet after every fall.

When I skate pool I do fall. And graze my head on a regular basis. I have a certified POC, which is supposed to be good for multiple impacts. Before that I was wearing a non-certified one – as it is not feasible to replace it after every small hit.

Wear frigging something.

Yetiman - 12/17/12 - 9:25pm

Some cyclist refuse to wear a helmet, go figure!

Rich - 01/13/13 - 10:09am

I have a real hard time with this study. I personally fell after folding a front wheel about 8′ or 2.4 meters lawn darting into the ground. I did not get my hands up at all and according to their study should have sustained over 1600Gs to my noodle. Some 270 is accepted as lethal by the US military. I felt the foam squish and had no worries about my head tough I thought I broke my neck. In the end I walked away with a sore neck and a new respect for quality front wheels. And will not ride with anything other than the Pro-Tec non certified. I honestly feel it saved my life.

Rich - 01/13/13 - 10:14am

Sorry, should have also mentioned that this fall was while wearing a 10 odd year old helmet.

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