Laboratory Reconstructions of Bicycle Helmet Damage: Investigation of Cyclist Head Impacts Using Oblique Impacts and Computed Tomography

Megan L. Bland, Craig McNally, Jessica B. Cicchino, David S. Zuby, Becky C. Mueller, Melissa L. McCarthy, Craig D. Newgard, Paige E. Kulie, Brittany N. Arnold, Steven Rowson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Although head injuries are common in cycling, exact conditions associated with cyclist head impacts are difficult to determine. Previous studies have attempted to reverse engineer cyclist head impacts by reconstructing bicycle helmet residual damage, but they have been limited by simplified damage assessment and testing. The present study seeks to enhance knowledge of cyclist head impact conditions by reconstructing helmet damage using advanced impact testing and damage quantification techniques. Damage to 18 helmets from cyclists treated in emergency departments was quantified using computed tomography and reconstructed using oblique impacts. Damage metrics were related to normal and tangential velocities from impact tests as well as peak linear accelerations (PLA) and peak rotational velocities (PRV) using case-specific regression models. Models then allowed original impact conditions and kinematics to be estimated for each case. Helmets were most frequently damaged at the front and sides, often near the rim. Concussion was the most common, non-superficial head injury. Normal velocity and PLA distributions were similar to previous studies, with median values of 3.4 m/s and 102.5 g. Associated tangential velocity and PRV medians were 3.8 m/s and 22.3 rad/s. Results can inform future oblique impact testing conditions, enabling improved helmet evaluation and design.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAnnals of Biomedical Engineering
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

Keywords

  • Accident reconstruction
  • Biomechanics
  • Concussion
  • Head injury
  • Oblique impact

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering

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