The Effectiveness of a Bicycle Helmet

The purpose of our experiment was to determine how effective a bicycle helmet is at reducing the force applied to a head during a crash. In order to simulate a crash, we constructed a hanging pendulum arm positioned near a wall. We used epoxy to attach an accelerometer to a mannequin head and then mounted the head to the end of the arm. The arm was pulled back and released so the head impacted the wall, and the computer recorded the acceleration of the head. This was repeated a total of 50 times without the helmet, and 50 times with the helmet. The peak values of deceleration were recorded and converted into values for force using the equation force = mass * acceleration (F = m * a). To analyze the data, we performed a two-sample t test. The results of this test confirmed that there was a significant difference between the trials with the helmet and without. On average, the helmet reduced the force applied to the head by 44%.

Research Done By:

Devin Bingle
Lake Shore High School

Michael Pavlak
Fitzgerald High School