IIHS & Virginia Tech team on bike helmet ratings

4 helmets earn 5 stars; $75 helmet as good as a $200 one
BLACKSBURG, Va. (WPVI) -- We were just talking about the importance of bike helmets in HealthCheck yesterday.

Now, the same group who brought us crash test ratings for cars has just released their first test for helmets.

Helmets sold in the U-S have to meet government safety standards, but that doesn't cover injury protection.

So, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety teamed up with Virginia Tech to test a variety of helmets.

Virginia Tech has a long record of testing and rating football helmets.

Check all the ratings here.

They fell into 2 categories - road-style helmets, which have venting across them to keep the head cool; and urban-style, which are more round and more dense.

While most helmets were good at preventing skull fractures, they didn't all score well against concussions.

Only 4 helmets earned 5 stars - the top rating.

All were road-style helmets, and all had MIPS or the Multi-directional Impact Protection system.

"MIPS is a technology inside a helmet that reduces rotation of the head during impact. This reduces brain injury risk by reducing strains in the brain," says Assistant Professor Steve Rowson, of the Virginia Tech Helmet Lab.

And price didn't predict performance!

One $75 helmet, the Specialized Chamounix MIPS model, performed just as well as the Bontrager Ballista MIPS, which costs $200.

In fact, the Chamounix's point total was slightly higher.
Copyright © 2020 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.