Is your bike helmet actually keeping you safe?

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Tuesday, June 26, 2018
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Is your bike helmet actually keeping you safe?

BLACKSBURG, Va. (WTVD) -- We've all heard it - "Wear your helmet; safety first!" But is that helmet actually keeping you safe?

Any helmet sold in the United States must meet government safety standards, but researchers at Virginia Tech found that not every unit offers the same amount of protection.

Of the 30 models tested, 24 scored "good" or "very good" on the protection scale with only four receiving a five-star rating.

Each helmet was evaluated on their "ability to reduce linear acceleration and rotational velocity of the head resulting from a range of impacts a cyclist might experience."

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The testing tried to replicate varied impact scenarios for bike crashes including helmets hitting the ground at an angle.

"To reduce the risk of concussion, you need to both reduce the linear forces acting on the head, as well as the rotational motion of the head," said David Zuby, Insurance Institute of Highway Safety.

Experts found that road style helmets performed better than urban styles.

See the full list of tested helmets

But they said just because a helmet comes with a hefty price tag doesn't necessarily mean it's safer.

"You might assume that buying the most expensive helmet would give you a safer helmet and it isn't what we saw," said Steve Rowson, Virginia Tech Helmet Lab.

The $200 Bontrager Ballista earned 5 stars but so did the $75 specialized Chamonix.