What does it really mean to be rated as the safest riding helmet of 2018?

In 2018, Swedish insurance company, Folksam conducted an independent study where they tested 15 different models of horseback riding helmets on the market.  Helena Stigson PhD and Associate Professor at the Folksam research team said that the aim of the study is “…to help consumers in their choice and to influence manufacturers to design safer helmets.”  Folksam wanted to conduct a study which tested the motion a riding helmet encounters upon impact.

MIPS1

The helmets went through four physical tests: shock absorption with straight perpendicular impact and three oblique (or angled) impact tests.They also evaluated rotational absorption of the helmets and used computers to evaluate the risk associated. The test indicated “that there is a link between rotational energy and strain in the grey matter of the brain” Stigson said. The top two helmets which scored the highest, were two models of helmets you may recognize. The Lynx™ helmet was awarded “best in test” which means that it complies with all legal regulations (Europen testing/certifications) and is 30% better than the average helmets in the test. The EQ3™, coming in second, is awarded “good choice” meaning that it too, complied with all legal regulations and performs better than the average helmet in the test  (Just a humble note from the author: all tested helmets complied with legal regulations, which means that they are certified under Europe’s standards, similar to how we have ASTM/SEI certifications here). 

So why was this test such a big deal? For starters, the study was conducted and funded by an insurance company who set out to find out more about the protection these helmets offer for their customers. Additionally, Folksam recognized that the way helmets are usually tested, isn’t an angle that helmets usually encounter upon impact, instead they tested the helmets on angled or oblique impacts, which a helmet is more likely to face. 

Models of helmets like the Lynx and EQ3 which are manufactured and sold by Trauma Void in the United States are equipped with MIPS, which stands for Multi-Directional Impact Protection System and is designed to reduce the risk of rotational impact.  MIPS, combined with the more traditional technologies of our helmet like the injection-molded acrylonitrile butadiene styrene plastic of our outer shell bonded to our inner foam layer made of expanded polystyrene which also plays a role in energy absorption pushes for the next step in safety technology and the helmet evolution. 

Take the next steps, learn more about the next step in the helmet evolution.

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