We are getting closer; New Helmet from 6D is pretty amazing and adds the most protections for head injuries of any helmet on the market.

Still no third-party testing to confirm any statements made by any helmet manufacturer; however, from my view, the engineer looks solid. It is the helmet I would wear. 6D Helmets does post testing from NIST (U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology).

The 6D Helmet was tested by Dynamic Research, located in Torrance, California, again a rare occurrence to identify the testing lab that developed the data, lending more credibility to the data.

Summary

6D Helmets evolved from motorcycle helmets so the company’s background is solid. However, the forces on the head and brain in a motorcycle crash are quite different from those of a cycling crash. 6D seems to have taken this into consideration in the design of its cycling helmets. 6D refers to all the directions that the brain can be subject to impact including rotational.

6D Helmets advertises its helmets can deal with Low, Mid, and High-Velocity impacts with its designs. Low speed impacts have been the major issue in current ASTM helmet standards because under that standard, there is not enough pressure to crack the helmet, therefore, no dissipation. Basically, the EPS density used in helmets is too high to affect low-speed crashes.

There is also an argument that the venting in cycling helmets increases the issue because the engineering for the venting increases the issues the EPS can deal with, increases the EPS density to sustain an impact.

One of the big issues with EPS helmets is after a crash, determining if the EPS is intact and is the helmet still viable. 6D Helmets‘ mountain-bike helmet as a removable liner so you can inspect the EPS to determine if it has been compromised.

The information on the website contains a ton of testing information, and as stated above, testing from U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The testing of the 6D Helmets is done against other unnamed helmets.

How I found out about 6D Helmets was a press release where they announced they had received a $250,000 grant as one of the finalists for a helmet competition. 6D Helmets won the competition.

The challenge was for an “Energy Management Material Solution.” Over 125 companies applied, and only 5 were chosen as finalists and awarded $250k to work further. One winner. The other companies were never disclosed.

However, that announcement that 6D Helmets won the competition listed the research lab doing the testing Dynamic Research, as a co-winner of the competition.

There is a lot of engineering, a lot of data and the classic website charts on the 6D Helmets website. I’ve looked it over and if true, it means another leap forward in helmet technology for human-powered recreation. You should read the information and study it for yourself as I’m not an engineer, and I could be wrong. I don’t think so……, but I could be.

Currently, 6D Helmets has helmets available for downhill and trail cycling. However, they hope to expand into ski soon and other sports also.

So?

I’m going to get one. I’m still going to wear my Bern Hard Hat (See A new idea that makes sense in helmets: the Bern Hard Hat), which is no longer produced I’ve been told, while skiing, if I wear a helmet. I believe that the Bern Hard Hat, like the 6D Helmet does a better job of protecting against concussions, the real issue with any head injury.

No helmet is going to keep you alive if you crash hard. Internal bleeding, a torn ascending aorta, is probably how you are going to die, no matter what is on your head. However, these helmets extend the protection from tree branch hits to maybe protecting your brain from a concussion.

What do you think? Leave a comment.

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Via Ferrata recall – Press Release

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PRESS RELEASE Second wave of via ferrata set recalls within six monthsConsiderable deficiencies found in many via ferrata sets25 February 2013, BERN, Switzerland: A group of manufacturers has issued a recall of certain via ferrata sets following a meeting of the UIAA (International Mountaineering and Climbing Federation) Safety Commission in Munich, Germany.Following a comprehensive test programme conducted on used or aged rope friction based via ferrata sets, the climbing industry has found that some of these sets can fail in a fall situation.The testing showed that the impact force in a fall may be increased and that the tensile strength of the lanyards may also be reduced in such a way that it could result in a full failure of the via ferrata set.

Severe injury or death may be the consequence.

The level of the risk is dependent upon the specific model. Therefore each rope friction based via ferrata set owner should consult the information provided by the manufacturer of the set.

Via Ferrata Release photo
Rope-friction based via ferrata set (Source: Deutscher Aplenverein DAV)

Please Click Here to View List of Affected Models

The recall is the second alert about via ferrata sets in the past six months.

There was a worldwide warning issued by the the UIAA on 13 September 2012. It followed a fatal accident on 5 August 2012 on a via ferrata in the vicinity of Walchsee in Tirol, Austria where a climber fell several meters and both lanyards on the energy-absorbing devices (EAS), also known as klettersteig sets, broke.

Changes have now been proposed to UIAA standard 128 for via ferrata sets. These will be up for a discussion and approval at the next UIAA Safety Commission meeting in May 2013.

About the UIAA Safety CommissionThe UIAA Safety Commission is made up national delegates from alpine clubs, manufacturers who submit to the UIAA Safety Standard and UIAA laboratories which conduct safety tests on behalf of the commission. The commission maintains a database of certified equipment and recalls.The UIAA was founded in 1932 and has 80 member associations in 50 countries representing about 1.3 million people.The organization’s mission is to promote the growth and protection of mountaineering and climbing worldwide, advance safe and ethical mountain practices and promote responsible access, culture and environmental protection.The UIAA operates through the work of its commissions which make recommendations, set policy and advocate on behalf of the mountaineering community. The UIAA is recognized by the International Olympic Committee for mountaineering and natural surface climbing.Press contacts: Please email safetylabel
UIAA – International Mountaineering and Climbing FederationMonbijoustrasse 61 Postbach CH-3000 Bern 23 Switzerland

By Recreation Law          Rec-law@recreation-law.com   James H. Moss                  Jim Moss


Worldwide warning to users of via ferrata sets

PRESS RELEASE Worldwide warning to users of via ferrata sets

13 September 2012, BERN, Switzerland: The UIAA – International Mountaineering and Climbing Federation is issuing a worldwide warning to users of via ferrata sets to check the websites of manufacturers in order to find out whether the unit they are using is safe.

The warning follows a fatal accident on 5 August 2012 on a via ferrata in the vicinity of Walchsee in Tirol, Austria where a climber fell several meters and both lanyards on the energy-absorbing devices (EAS), also known as klettersteig sets, broke.

The manufacturer of the set carried out an investigation after the accident. The probe found that that the lanyard’s strength was dramatically affected after intensive use not only because of its specific construction but also due to the material used.

UIAA Safety Commission decisions

A meeting of the Safety Commission took place on 6 September 2012 in Bern, Switzerland, to review the accident because the via ferrata unit involved met safety standards as set out by the UIAA Safety Commission. The meeting was attended by national delegates, representatives of 16 manufacturers and UIAA laboratories in France and the Czech Republic.

As a result of the meeting:

  • Users are strongly advised to visit the website of the manufacturer to check if their via ferrata set is safe to use
  • A decision was also made to review UIAA 128, the safety standard used to test via ferrata sets. The last review of this standard took place in 2008 when a wet test was added. The goal of the review is to update the existing standard for via ferrata sets that will include fatigue testing.

The companies that attended the UIAA Safety Commission meeting were DMM, Edelrid, Petzl, Skylotec, AustriAlpin, Mammut, Salewa, Climbing Technology, Grivel, Beal, Ocun, Lanex, Singing Rock, Camp Cassin and Simond.

The UIAA Safety Commission is made up national delegates from alpine clubs, manufacturers who submit to the UIAA Safety Standard and UIAA laboratories which conduct safety tests on behalf of the commission. The commission maintains a database of certified equipment and recalls.

About the UIAA

The UIAA was founded in 1932 and has 80 member associations in 50 countries representing about 1.3 million people. The organization’s mission is to promote the growth and protection of mountaineering and climbing worldwide, advance safe and ethical mountain practices and promote responsible access, culture and environmental protection.

The organization operates through the work of its commissions which make recommendations, set policy and advocate on behalf of the mountaineering community. The UIAA is recognized by the International Olympic Committee for mountaineering and natural surface climbing.

Press contacts:

Jean Franck Charlet
UIAA Safety Commission
safetylabel@theuiaa.org

Gurdeepak Ahuja
UIAA Office
gurdeepak.ahuja@theuiaa.org

UIAA – International Mountaineering and Climbing FederationMonbijoustrasse 61 Postbach CH-3000 Bern 23 Switzerland
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A new idea that makes sense in helmets: the Bern Hard Hat

Many people have heard my comments on helmets for the outdoor recreation industry. Very few helmets, if any, are fitted properly, worn properly or used properly. Many helmets are used in ways that increase the risk or are worthless because head injuries do not occur in the sport.

Examples are studies from Ski-Injury.com that showed helmets are only effective in skiing for slow injuries1,2 and that head injuries only represent 10-20% of all skiing injuries3 in one study and only 2 to 8% in another.4 For males between the ages of the late teens to their early thirties a helmet will not affect the mortality rate.5 Helmets do reduce head injuries.6 Several studies have shown the most important aspect of wearing a helmet on the slopes is to protect your head from being hit by a chairlift or lift if you fall down.7

The other argument with helmets is the issues of risk homeostasis or risk compensation. This theory states that the safer you feel, the more likely you are to increase your risk. Wearing a helmet will subsequently increase your risk of an accident because you feel safer with the helmet.8,9 Consequently injuries among skiers are highest among those that are wearing helmets.10

One place a helmet may make a difference is the courtroom. Judges and appellate courts invariably comment about whether the plaintiff in a lawsuit was wearing a helmet when the plaintiff suffered a head injury.

At the same time, helmets in some activities are needed. For skiing, if you recognize the possible risk homeostasis issues, buy a helmet that fits properly, properly wear the helmet and throw the helmet away if you have a major impact, they will prevent head injuries, not death, but injuries. Throw the helmet away? Yes!

Helmets come with disclaimers that say they should be discarded and destroyed if they suffer a major impact. This is because 99% of the helmets sold for most sports are sold with a plastic or other hard shell surrounding an EPS liner. The protection afforded by the helmet is combination of the shell and the liner. EPS is that hard foam under the soft padding that gives the helmet its protection. Because of the way the EPS and shell are molded together, cracks in the EPS are rarely visible from the inside. Moreover if there is a liner glued to the EPS. The EPS is difficult to remove from the shell and doing so ruins the helmet. Once a crack occurs in the EPS the structural integrity of the helmet is compromised and the helmet should be discarded.

Bern has come up with a slightly different approach to this problem. They have helmets, which they call Hard Hats that are lined with Brock foam.11 This foam is a multi-impact liner that allows the user to experience several if not dozens of impacts without having to replace the hard hat. Besides the foam is soft and very comfortable to wear, breathable and allows air to circulate as well as wicking.

The problem is the foam does not meet the current standards to receive ASTM or EN approval. So technically it is not a helmet but a hard hat. The buyer is faced with a decision to buy a helmet that does not provided the protection that an EPS lined helmet does or to buy a helmet that provides less protection, but more protection for the injuries helmets do really protect the wearer from. A real catch 22 for the buyer, but one worth studying. Bern offers all its helmets with Brock Foam with EPS if you like the style, but want different protection.

You can take a lot of falls. The choice is up to you, measured better protection at an minute amount for a small percentage of risk or a helmet that can take a beating, protect you head and last longer than one trip to the slopes.

1 Helmets on the slopes….Heads you win?

2 A summary of the research presented at the 16th International Symposium of the ISSS held in at Mount Arai, Japan in April 2005.

3 Helmets on the slopes….Heads you win?

4 BackTalk; Helmets Do Not Make The Ski Slopes Safer

5 Shealy research sheds light on helmet use

6 Helmet Safety, Standards and Design

7 Alpine Ski Injuries

8 Risk Compensation & Helmet Wearing. June 2001

9 Helmets

10 BackTalk; Helmets Do Not Make The Ski Slopes Safer

11 Bern Catalog

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