There has been much debate in the literature and elsewhere regarding cycle helmets and their potential to prevent injury. This cycle helmet safety research report was commissioned to provide a comprehensive review of the effectiveness of cycle helmets in the event of an on-road accident, building on previous work undertaken for the Department for Transport (Towner et al., 2002). The programme of work evaluates the effectiveness of cycle helmets from several perspectives, including a review current test Standards; a biomechanical investigation of their potential limitations; a review of recent literature; and finally an assessment of the casualties who could be prevented if cycle helmets were more widely used.
This report focuses on understanding whether cycle helmets reduce the frequency and severity of injury in the event of a collision. It does not include detailed consideration of whether wearing (or not wearing) a helmet influences the likelihood of being involved in an accident, either through behaviour changes in the rider or in other road users.
The project concludes that in the event of an on-road accident, cycle helmets would be expected to be effective in a range of real-world accident conditions, particularly the most common accidents that do not involve a collision with another vehicle and are often believed to consist of simple falls or tumbles over the handlebars.

Want to know more about this project?