Smith Optics Guide to Helmet Safety


Whether you're burnin' rubber on your bike or shreddin' the slopes, a helmet is a critical piece of safety equipment. Lucky for you, modern technological advancements have improved the protection properties of helmets, as well as made them lighter, more comfortable and more stylish for the active cyclist and snow sport enthusiast. 



Let statistics do the talking! 817 cyclists were killed in crashes with motor vehicles in 2015, the highest number since 1995. And of those killed, 54% were not wearing helmets.

Snow sports enthusiasts, the numbers are less scary, but still cause for concern. In the U.S. alone, an average of 38 people die and 49 suffer catastrophic injuries skiing or snowboarding every year. (link to PDF download).

In some areas and at some resorts, helmets are mandatory for persons of all ages. But even where it’s not required, the reason for wearing a helmet is obvious.

For cyclists, studies show, helmets decreased the risk of head injury by 69 percent, brain injury by 65 percent, and severe brain injury by 74 percent. As there are more cycling injuries in the US reported every year, it’s increasingly important to ride defensively and to wear a helmet.

For snow sport enthusiasts, studies show the risk of a ski- or snowboard-related head injury can be reduced by 35% when wearing a helmet. Studies have also shown that helmets save lives, dispelling the myth that more helmets on the slopes correlates to riskier behaviors and additional fatal accidents.

Although helmet adoption is not yet universal, it’s a growing trend. According to the National Ski Areas Association, in North America about 70% of all skiers and snowboarders currently wear helmets on the slopes (link is to PDF download).  In fact, the most experienced skiers and riders are the most likely to wear helmets. Who better to emulate on the slopes than the experts? 



The protection from helmets of the past was clunky, uncomfortable, and unfashionable. Today they are sleek pieces of equipment optimized for  protection, ventilation, and minimal volume and weight.

Check out the below innovative materials that have helped produce much more effective Smith bike and Smith Snow helmets.

Select Smith bike and snow helmets are built with Koroyd -- honeycomb-like networks of polycarbonate cylinders thermally welded together. This material absorbs impact by crushing inward in a controlled manner, decelerating the impact’s energy and reducing trauma levels. The crushing force also dissipates energy at a rate 30% better than expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam , the material most commonly used for helmet liners.

The lightweight property of this material also allows for increased airflow, and a reduction in the overall size of the helmet.

Another innovation found in Smith helmets is the “slip-plane” commonly referred to as MIPS. Multi-directional Impact Protection System, (MIPS) is a thin, low-friction liner inside the helmet that allows the outer shell to slide a few millimeters across the skull on impact, reducing rotational force and the amount of energy transferred to the head in an oblique collision (also referred to as a non head-on collision or multi-dimensional collision).


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