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Petition to Exempt Inflatable Devices from Helmet Testing Requirements Under Review

Friday, March 09, 2018
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has received a petition from Hövding Sweden AB requesting an exemption for inflatable head protective devices for bicyclists from the testing requirements of the mandatory safety standard for bicycle helmets, if such products comply with, and are certified to, requirements in another standard that Hövding states is appropriate to test such products. Comments on this petition may be submitted by May 8.

Hövding manufactures and markets a product that is intended to prevent or reduce head injuries to bicyclists in a crash. That product is worn around the cyclist’s neck, like a collar. In the event of a crash it inflates to cover the rider’s head for a few seconds and then deflates. Hövding points out that the requirements in the bike helmet standard only anticipate hard shell bike helmets and do not anticipate other types of designs that protect a cyclist’s head. Hövding adds that protective devices like its product cannot meet the bike helmet standard, as written, because the test procedures are not appropriate for these types of inflatable products.

According to Hövding, the Swedish standard, SP-Method 4439, was designed to ensure that some of the performance criteria applied to hard shell helmets in the bike helmet standard are applied to inflatable head protection devices, sufficient to demonstrate that such products can protect a cyclist’s head in an accident.

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