Do your own research when reading any product review on my site. I and my contributors are sharing our experiences, we don’t always do product research, I think Summer does the most before writing her reviews, but remember that your experiences with a product my be different. This letter was submitted and I wanted to share it with all of you.
I saw your review of Raskullz helmets …and I’m still conflicted about the things. First, some background: I’m 39, I’ve got twin one-year-olds, and I’ve been an avid cyclist most of my life. I’ve seen helmets evolve from the old leather ones that pro cyclists used to wear, to the hardshell helmets of the 80s, to the latest super-light ones. I’ve bought countless helmets. I’ve destroyed countless helmets. [A note on this: ANY bike helmet should be destroyed after 3-5 years of normal use, and immediately after being involved in an accident]. There’s an excellent website on helmet safety (http://www.helmets.org) that I use as my "gold standard" when disseminating information about helmets.
First, the good news – most of your information is spot-on. It pains me when I see kids with ill-fitting helmets and exposed foreheads. The image I like to use is this: Move a book towards your face. If it hits the helmet first, you’re good. If it hits your forehead, so will the road.
The concern I have is about Raskulls, though: They have the fun projections – flippers, fins, ears, and such. They’d be a HUGE hit with kiddos because they’re whimsical and fun. The problem is if they’re involved in a cycling crash. One of the things that most helmet makers work a lot on is making slippery helmets. This is because, in the event of a crash, you want the head and helmet to slide (as much as possible). If the helmet snags or catches, it can actually make matters worse, twisting the neck. The ATSM and CPSC standards disallow projections of more than 7mm on a helmet. (more info here: http://www.helmets.org/helmet12.htm)
So here’s my conflict: The little ones are, like I said, just one, so these would be mostly for bike-trailer use or low-speed use in the driveway, so that’s probably OK. But you might want to have a look helmets.org – it’s a great site with a ton of information, and possibly amend your review to explain the potential dangers of Raskullz.
Oh, and one more soapbox while I have your ear; it’s one of the big mistakes I see lots of folks making: I wish parents would teach their kids to ride WITH traffic, on the road. Sidewalks are not for bicycles (unless it’s a small child who is going not much more than walking pace), and you should NEVER go against traffic. Though you can see oncoming traffic, there are 3 major problems:
1. In most states, it’s illegal.
2. Your closing speed to oncoming traffic increases significantly. If a rider is going at 15 mph, and traffic is going at 45, it’s the difference between a driver approaching you at 30 mph, and approaching you at 60.
3. If there are cyclists who are going the right way, there’s a big potential for collisions or someone veering into traffic.
Thank you James for bringing this to our attention.