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THE BEST BICYCLE HELMETS TO WEAR TO PROTECT YOUR HEAD

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Commuting on two wheels has lots of health benefits, including a lowered risk of heart disease and cancer. But sharing the road with cars, trucks and buses can be risky, with a growing number of bicyclists dying each year in crashes with motor vehicles, and many of those riders going without helmets.

More than half of the 835 cyclists killed in crashes in 2016 were not wearing a helmet, which cuts the odds of a head injury by half, experts say. That said, not all helmets offer equal protection from the brain jostling that can occur in accidents involving bike riders and motorists.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission requires bike helmets to pass limited tests. But those test fall short, not reflecting what really occurs in bicycle crashes, according to researchers at Virginia Tech and the IIHS, which collaborated on recently released safety ratings.

Building on a system developed during years of evaluating sports headgear for football, hockey and soccer, the first 30 helmets tested – all popular adult-size models and ranging in price from $75 to $200 – showed a range of performance. Cost proved to be a poor indicator of what would offer the best protection.

Of the helmets tested, four rated as the best available, two were deemed adequate and the remaining 24 listed in between. Here’s the rundown, with helmets listed from best to worst within rating categories.

Best Available

  • Bontrager Ballista MIPS
  • Garneau Raid MIPS
  • Bell Stratus MIPS
  • Specialized Chamonix MIPS

Very Good

  • Scott ARX Plus MIPS
  • Bontrager Quantum MIPS
  • Specialized Prevail II
  • Smith Overtake
  • Giro Savant
  • Bell Draft MIPS
  • POC Octal
  • Giro Foray MIPS
  • Giro Synthe
  • Giro Sutton MIPS
  • Specialized Evade II
  • Garneau Le Tour II

Good

  • Triple 8 Dual Certified MIPS
  • Bell Reflex
  • Bontrager Solstice
  • Bern Brentwood
  • Bell Division
  • Schwinn Thrasher
  • Giro Revel
  • Schwinn Flash
  • Kali City
  • Nutcase Street
  • Specialized Centro
  • Bontrager Electra

Adequate

  • Lazer Genesis
  • Bern Watts
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