We covered the first part of the Motorcyclist magazine helmet study several months ago. The November 2005 issue has the continuation of the study where they talk about the future of helmet design and construction, including some new materials coming down the pike.
One of the problems pointed out in the original article was that designing a helmet to protect against extremely hard double impacts of the type mandated by Snell caused high g loads to be transmitted to the brain. In fact, helmets had to compromise, design for high speed, high impact penetration protection or build for the far more prevalent low speed impact we are likely to encounter in an accident. What is interesting, is that there are helmets out there that actually do a very good job at both tasks, however, they’re not for sale. The reason? These helmets are designed for some Formula 1 drivers and would go for around $6,000 to $10,000 per helmet! They are hand made beauties and mass production is simply not possible.
New linings are also available for some military helmets that deliver fewer g’s in head impacts. Several new liner materials are currently being tested and we may see these in helmets we can buy in a couple of years.
Motorcyclist has done a great job in these articles, uncovering facts and testing ideas, getting the kind of information few of us would be able to get any other way. The result is we all benefit. The new article is not yet online. If you don’t subscribe to Motorcyclist, you should. If you need a copy of the November issue, get over to the new stand and buy one.