Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute

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Helmets for Head Injured Riders

Summary: The first and most important thing to remember is: pay attention to what your doctors tell you to do! Do not ride before they say it is ok. If you have had a concussion or any brain injury, the next one can occur from a lesser blow. Do what your doctors tell you to do! The rest is a detail.

If you have suffered a brain injury and are recovering, your doctors may have told you not to ride your bicycle for a while. And they likely did tell you to be sure to use a helmet if you ride a bicycle. As you know, after one brain injury you are much more likely to be injured again if you crash. A blow that might not injure another rider can injure you seriously.

When you have been cleared by your doctor to ride again, the question is: what helmet should I wear? What is the safest brand and model for a rider who needs the softest possible landing in a crash?

The answer is unfortunately that we do not know. There are several reasons:

Our advice

With those points in mind, our advice has to be based on general knowledge of the helmets we deal with, not on testing of brands and models. We look for the same type of helmet for our own personal use that you want: the safest. Here are some points: Some day we may have test data to make brand and model recommendations for people who have already suffered a head injury. When we do, it will be posted here immediately. Very limited lab testing to date shows that there is not much difference in protection among the helmets that meet the CPSC standard.

It is better not to crash at all than to crash and have a helmet save your head. You will have to be much more careful than a normal rider. For example, you can't treat these as ho-hum warnings any more!

There are more. You need to take them seriously. It sounds irritating, but actually is not once you get used to it. You will feel safer and live longer without another brain injury if you don't crash!

If you were looking for headgear to give some limited protection around the home, or for a child with developmental disabilities, we have another page on that.