Volvo Cars and POC, a Swedish sports and safety brand, have joined forces to develop and conduct the first series of crash tests of bicycle helmets against automobiles.
The trailblazing research project aims to raise the bar in protecting cyclists, a vulnerable group on roadways worldwide.
In the United States, 738 bicyclists were killed in traffic crashes in 2017 alone, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. When there is a collision between a vehicle and a bike, it’s the cyclist who is most likely to be injured or killed.
Volvo Cars and POC will conduct a number of specially designed crash tests at the automaker’s safety research facilities in Gothenburg, Sweden.
During the evaluations, crash dummy heads outfitted in POC bike helmets will be mounted on a testing rig and launched toward various areas of the hood of a stationary Volvo car. The dummies will be launched at different speeds and angles for various measurements.
Because the new tests are based on existing regulatory test procedures for pedestrian head protection, Volvo and POC will be able to make a direct comparison between wearing a helmet and not wearing a helmet.
Today’s standard bike helmet testing is fairly rudimentary, with helmets being dropped from different heights on either a flat or angled surface — but without taking into account vehicle to bike collisions.
The Volvo-POC project raises the bar in evaluating cyclist head protection in the context of direct crashes with vehicles.
The findings from the project will help POC make its helmets safer and more protective in the event of a car-bike accident. In addition, the overall project is part of a wider research initiative designed to understand the types of injuries sustained by cyclists.