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Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute

Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute

The Helmet Update by Email

Volume 18, #4&5 - July 5, 2000

Previous Issues


CPSC Announces Helmet Recalls

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has apparently caught two cases of bicycle helmets being sold in the US that did not meet the CPSC standard. Although the recalled helmets are small in number, they indicate that CPSC is probably testing product and flunking some helmets.


Rand International - L.A. Crusin' Bike Helmets

The first helmet is being recalled voluntarily by Rand International of Farmingdale, NY, and involves 70.000 helmets known as "L.A. Cruisin' Bike Helmets" in child, youth and adult sizes. They were sold in Kmart and Rose's stores nationwide from April 1999 through March 2000 at a price of about $8. A label inside the helmet reads "Manufactured by Rand International" and MADE IN CHINA." Writing on the packaging reads "RAND," "L.A. Cruisin' " and "Meets CPSC & ASTM Standards78."

CPSC's press release states:

    "These bicycle helmets fail impact testing and labeling required under CPSC's Safety Standard for Bicycle Helmets, violating the Consumer Product Safety Act. Riders wearing these helmets are not properly protected from falls, and could suffer severe head injuries. CPSC and Rand International are not aware of any injuries or incidents involving these products. This recall is being conducted to prevent the possibility of injuries and incidents. Consumers should stop wearing these bicycle helmets immediately, and return them to Rand International for a free replacement helmet. For more information, contact Rand International at (800) 338-7677 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, or write to Rand International, Attention: Customer Service Dept., 51 Executive Blvd., Farmingdale, NY 14735-4718."


Cycle Express - Hearts and Flowers

The second helmet is a girl's pink and silver glitter affair with decals reading "Hearts and Flowers." The pink top area is edged with purple tape. It is being voluntarily recalled by Cycle Express Inc., of New York, N.Y., who had sold about 9,000 of them in a Hearts and Flowers Helmet Combo Value Pack that included a bike bag/purse combo and hair accessories. The products were sold through Toys R Us, between October 1999 and April 2000. Although the package sold for $13, Toys R Us is offering only a $7 refund, since that is the "assessed value" of the helmet in the pack that included other accessories.

CPSC's press release states:

    "These helmets fail impact testing and labeling required under CPSC's Safety Standard for Bicycle Helmets, violating the Consumer Product Safety Act. Riders wearing these helmets are not adequately protected from falls, and could suffer severe head injuries or death. CPSC and Cycle Express are not aware of any injuries or incidents involving these helmets. This recall is being conducted to prevent the possibility of injuries...For more information, call Cycle Express toll-free at (877) 714-6117 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, or write to Cycle Express Inc., 312 Fifth Ave., 5th Floor, New York, NY 10001."

Our BHSI comment: These two recalls should not obscure the fact that millions of low-cost helmets are being sold here in discount stores that are at least as safe as the helmet Lance Armstrong is wearing in the Tour de France. In some cases the discount helmets may actually offer better impact protection at the speeds most people crash, since the inexpensive construction techniques do not allow the design excesses of more expensive helmets. Lance may need jillions of vents, but most riders are cool with a lot fewer, providing a larger area of protective foam, and a rounder, smoother, safer shape.



Georgia Town Seizes Bicycles

The medical journal "Pediatrics" reports that the town of Wadley, Georgia, has set up a police program to seize the bicycles of riders under 16 who are not wearing helmets. Parents and kids then come to the station house to retrieve the bicycle, and are treated to a lecture on helmet safety. For a second offense the bicycle would be permanently confiscated, but there have been no second offenses to date.

Wadley's ordinance has been enforced since 1997, and was combined with distribution of free helmets and a short bike safety education talk in grades K through 7. Following that, Police impounded 167 bicycles in the first five months in this town of 2,400 residents. The campaign has reportedly raised helmet usage from essentially zero to over 54 per cent. The article concludes that simply passing a law is less effective than a campaign featuring active enforcement, free helmets and an education program.



The Helmet Update - Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute
Randy Swart
Editor
4611 Seventh Street South
Arlington, VA 22204-1419 USA
(703) 486-0100 (voice)
(703) 486-0576 (fax)
www.helmets.org



This page was last revised on: November 13, 2003.

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