The European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) has funded a 20 country group to undertake a research project with the aim of increasing the scientific knowledge of the relationship between bicycle helmets and traffic safety. Â The study, referred to as an “Action” focuses on head protection in the event of an accident and on the preventing accidents occurring. The study (Action) will bring experts in the in primary scientific dealing with helmet function and bicycle traffic safety across Europe. Â The Action’s formal title is: TU 1101Â Towards safer bicycling through optimization of bicycle helmets and usage.
The abstract of the Action is reproduced below:
Cycling is an excellent sustainable alternative to driving for many journeys. However, cyclists have fewer safety options than car-users, with a helmet being the main safety device that is available. Â Nonetheless, there are strong indications that increasing bicycle helmet usage for cyclistsÂ through legislation causes confounding factors which might cancel out the positive effect of helmets on head and brain injury. Â Furthermore, current helmet design is suboptimal.
Since several fields are important to bicycle helmet optimization, a combined effort involving all of these is necessary so that a given parameter is not optimized at the cost of another. Â Finally, the attitudes of cyclists towards helmets must be considered if helmet usage is to be changed.
This multidisciplinary approach respects the complex nature of the issue, is unique in Europe, and will provide more complete information to legislators, manufacturers, end-users, and scientists, ultimately leading to increased safety for cyclists.