We’re looking forward to having Ed Becker (Executive Director) and Hong Zhang (Director of Education), two helmet safety standard experts from Snell, joining us at tomorrow’s Protect Your Pumpkin Helmet Sale event at SF Moto.
In case you’re not exactly sure who Snell is, how the foundation got its start, or what they do, we’re here to run you through the basics.
William “Pete” Snell was an amateur auto racer. He died needlessly in a racing event in Arcata, California in 1956. Pete’s Triumph TR2 roadster rolled during a race and his then state-of- the-art helmet utterly failed to protect him. In memory of Pete, a number of his friends, colleagues, and fellow racers, including Dr. George Snively, formed the Snell Memorial Foundation in 1957 to work towards improving helmet design and capabilities, and to encourage the development and use of truly protective helmets.
The Snell Foundation’s research aims to understand the nature and severity of head and brain injuries, and how to most effectively protect the head during impacts that may take place during motorized or non-motorized recreational activities. A few examples of such activities include motorcycling, bicycling, auto racing, skiing, equestrian sports, rollerblading, and skateboarding.
In 1959, Snell released their first safety standards for auto racing protective headgear. Since then, the foundation has issued specific helmet standards for other activities, including those mentioned above. Snell’s safety standards relate to headgear performance, rather than to specific protective materials or design.
In addition to conducting research and developing safety standards, Snell is also committed to educating helmet wearers about safety and injury prevention. Having representatives at our Protect Your Helmet Sale event is an excellent example of how Snell involves itself with consumers and the community.
Snell’s laboratory is also open for tours and field trips, in addition to being used as a training site for health and safety professionals.
Snell’s 2015 Standard for Protective Headgear
We highly recommend that you read through Snell’s 2015 Standard.
As stated by Snell, there are four reasons why you should be interested in this Standard:
- The use of motorcycles and other motorized vehicles imposes risks of death or permanent impairment due to head injury.
- The proper use of protective helmets can minimize the risk of death or permanent impairment.
- The protective capacity of a helmet is difficult to estimate, particularly at the time of purchase or use. Protective capability is currently measured by destructive testing which is beyond the means of most helmet wearers.
- Snell certification backed by ongoing destructive testing samples taken randomly from dealers and distributors identifies those helmet models providing and maintaining the highest levels of head protection.
Additional Reading on Helmet Safety Standards
Prior to our Protect Your Pumpkin Helmet Sale in 2012, we did quite a bit of research into helmet standards and put together this detailed pdf document online for you to read, download, and so on.
We wanted to sort through the weeds of helmets and helmet safety, such as what kind of helmet to choose, which safety standard (SNELL 2010, ECE 22-05 or just DOT) and what do these standards actually mean? We even went to Snell in Sacramento for a tour of the test labs, where were able to witness a real helmet test and interview the people at Snell.
Our only disclaimer: The document is for informational purposes only. We won’t be held liable for anything stated in the document.
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