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Warning Issued Re Bike Helmets

We are in the middle of the summer and kids and adults are out on their bicycles at least in the mornings and evenings, even if not in the middle of a hot Texas summer day.  These days, thankfully, most kids wear bike helmets as a standard practice because they want their children to go out and ride, and to arrive home safely at the end. This is a good practice for all bicyclists of all ages, including adults, but especially kids. There is a good reason for this of course; when the rider falls over, the helmet protects the most important organ, the brain. A helmet significantly reduces the risks of severe traumatic brain injuries and severe brain damage, for both kids and adults. All bicyclists of all ages should wear a bicycle helmet every time they ride a bike, or any other form of transportation that leaves us exposed to possible brain damage in a crash.

Three Helmets Failed Tests

Unfortunately, while most people try to do the right thing for themselves and their children, apparently, some bike helmet manufacturers are not taking the proper precautions and performing the tests necessary to make sure they’re safe. Recently, the Consumers Union, who publish Consumer Reports, issued a warning to parents, to stop buying three different bike helmets that failed their testing because they presented unique safety risks. After their latest round of bike helmet testing and evaluations, Consumer Reports noted that all three failed their testing and they issued an advisory.

The helmets that failed included the Bontrager Ballista MIPs, which failed the retention system strength test because the belt broke in two, which caused the chin strap to release, which could result in the helmet moving out of place or even falling off the wearer’s head in an accident. The Morpher Flat Folding helmet and the Woom Kids Helmet both failed the Consumer Reports impact test, which simulates what might happen in case of an accident. Failure of that test means the helmet may fail to adequately protect the head in a bicycle accident.

Because wearing a helmet is essential to keeping riders safe when they ride a bicycle, Consumer Reports is recommending that those who own these helmets replace them as soon as possible. They recommend that these three helmets only be used if you have no access to another helmet and you need to ride your bike. As of now, Consumer Reports is not aware of any serious injuries related to these helmets.

The Testing Criteria is Meant to Protect Consumers

Wearing a helmet can protect bicyclists protect themselves from head injuries, including those that are potentially fatal, if it is properly designed and manufactured. That is why Consumer Reports’ labs put every bike helmet through the same series of tests. These tests are modeled after the CPSC’s standard, although they are not identical, since the primary purpose is to provide comparative evaluations for consumers, while the CPSC’s tests are intended to assess standards compliance and/or certification. Consumer Reports notes that they tested and evaluated 15 helmets this year, and the other 12 passed the tests, some with flying colors.

No Action for Now From Two Manufacturers

Meanwhile, two of the three manufacturers of the failed bike helmets plan to stand by their products and have no plans to issue a recall at this time. Trek Bicycle, makers of the Bontrager Ballista MIPS helmet, said it had no plans to take any corrective action. The company issued a statement noting that their helmet has been on the market for more than tw years and has sold in the thousands and there have been no reports of anyne being injured. Morpher noted that its Flat-Folding helmet may not have passed the Consumer Reports test, but they pass all necessary U.S. safety standards tests with third-party labs. Only Woom Bikes took any action at all, stopping sales of their Kids Helmet as soon as Consumer Reports notified them of the test results. They are currently evaluating their next steps.

If you have one of these helmets and you need a replacement, Consumer Reports has recommended a few that are that passed their rigorous testing with flying colors. For adults, these include the Scott Arx Plus and Cannondale CAAD MIPS. For kids, the two helmets that received the highest scores are the Bell Sidetrack MIPS, and the Garneau Nino.

Posted in: Consumer Product Defects, Product Liability

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