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Mudroom
Jul. 15, 2012, 11:42 AM
Here is an interesting NBC video clip about the design and testing of helmets for Olympic athletes, equestrian and otherwise

http://www.nbcolympics.com/video/2012/science-of-olympics-designing-safety-helmets.html

It's too bad that under the U.S. ASTM/SEI system, helmet testing is Pass/Fail compared to a threshold that is many years old and the buying public is not permitted to access actual, relative test results and performance data. IMHO this removes incentives for companies to introduce new, better technology or to strive to higher safety performance. It also prevents buyers from making a more informed buying decision and make their own judgment on the balance of cost versus safety.

While the USEF does not directly control this process, I feel they should be the leader in pushing for a change in the system.

RAyers
Jul. 15, 2012, 01:03 PM
Great video!

However, Your assumption that a graded system of safety ratings would be better for the consumer is invalid.

Ratings are based on FORCES imparted on the brain. These are determined by hundreds of different factors that all can not be measured. Testing can only measure a certain component of safety based on previous experiences and only in a highly controlled environment. Thus, to say one helmet is safer than another leads to FALSE assumptions on the part of the purchasing public. You could spend $1,000 on the SAFEST helmet, but depending on the actual use/impact, that helmet may by the most UNSAFE helmet and vice versa.

The more data is smeared the LESS the real useable understanding is given to the layperson.

The companies themselves do little internal R&D and rely on outside engineers and scientists such as Dr. Gupta to design the next generation of safety gear.

Mudroom
Jul. 15, 2012, 06:35 PM
Ray: I don't doubt for a minute that the technical data is hard for the lay person to understand, but I do not feel that makes it better to keep it secret.

Do you feel that the automotive 3*, 4*, 5* safety rating system has NOT pushed automobile manufacturers to make their cars safer?

I think that having a single pass/fail standard was probably very wise when they were devising the first ever standards for equestrian helmets in the 1990's or whenever it was. That step brought the industry and the sport a huge step forward. I believe we are now ready (or overdue) for step 2. I feel that if we had a good/better/better still rating system that allowed the buying public to spend their safety helmet dollars based on safety results not on space age looking cosmetics that helmet safety would advance more quickly and riders would be safer.
I understand that the rating system would have some subjective elements, as I am sure the automotive one does. I accept that. I feel that is far superior to what we have now.

alto
Jul. 16, 2012, 02:52 AM
Here is an interesting NBC video clip about the design and testing of helmets for Olympic athletes, equestrian and otherwise

http://www.nbcolympics.com/video/2012/science-of-olympics-designing-safety-helmets.html



an if you're Un American you can watch the video here (http://www.poly.edu/nyu-poly-in-media/2012/07/12/designing-safety-helmets)

retreadeventer
Jul. 16, 2012, 04:39 AM
Agree w/ Reed. There's not need to reinvent the wheel for every little tweak a manufacturer might dream up.