SnellLogo SnellPics SnellBkg
Snell Logo

Heads Up

Date:	June 21, 1996
To:	All Snell Certified Manufacturers
From:	Edward B. Becker,Executive Director/Chief Engineer

This is the thirteenth of the Foundation's quarterly newsletters to the helmet manufacturing industry. The twelfth was sent out last April. This year, there was no January newsletter. Comments and items for inclusion in subsequent issues are invited.

SA-95 Standard
The SA-95 Standard took effect on January 1, 1996. SA-90 certification labels are no longer available. Manufacture of SA-90 labelled products may continue until the end of June '96.

Office Consolidation
We have completed the consolidation of the Foundation's US operations. The administrative offices and the US Snell test lab are both up and running at the new address:

Snell Memorial Foundation, Inc.
3628 Madison Avenue, Suite 11
North Highlands, CA 95660
Phone 916-331-5073
FAX 916-331-0359

This new location is only a few miles from the former Snell California laboratory. The Snell UK lab is unaffected by this consolidation.

Bicycle Helmet Buckles
During the administration of the B-90 and B-95 bicycle helmet programs the Foundation has become very familiar with certain models of plastic buckles widely used by helmet manufacturers. Our testing has shown that these various buckle models perform similarly across a wide variety of helmet models and retention system configurations. If a particular helmet model meets Snell requirements with one of these buckles, we have ample assurance that it will do so with any of the others. For this reason, we may allow bicycle helmet manufacturers to substitute from among these buckle types in specific certified products with little or no additional Snell testing.

Manufacturers of helmets certified to B-90, B-95 or N-94 configured with any of the following four buckle models may request in writing to substitute one of the other three buckles into the helmet configuration. Although the Foundation reserves the right to consider each case separately, for most applications, no additional testing will be necessary. Authorization for the substitution will be granted immediately by FAX or other timely communication.

Manufacturer Model
ITW NexusTSK 63
ITW NexusShock-Lock
ITW Nexusbicycle helmet side-squeeze
National Moldingbicycle helmet side-squeeze

We will consider other buckle systems for this list, interested buckle manufacturers should contact the Foundation for information.

Snell Web Site
The Snell Foundation Home Pages originated by Dr. Philip Graitcer on the Internet World Wide Web has merged with the Snell World Wide Web Site set up by Dr. Frank Lin at the Snell California offices. The Snell Web site is at and includes information on the Foundation and its certification programs, lists of certified products, links to ftp downloads of Snell Standards and drafts and links to other web sites of interest including Dr. Graitcer's home pages for the WHO Bicycle Helmet Initiative.

Dr. Lin welcomes comments and suggestions regarding any aspect of the Web site.

CSA Amendment for Children's Bicycle Helmets
I have written a critique of the amendment to the CSA Standard for bicycle helmets that sets up new requirements and test procedures for helmets intended for young children. The critique is available on the Internet or may be requested through this office.

In the critique and the following summary, I have attempted to deal completely, honestly and fairly with a difficult subject. If my remarks seem, at any point, gratuitously offensive, please allow me to apologize. The critique consists of seven pages discussing the technical aspects of the amendment with some background on the development and function of helmets and helmet standards. I attempt to show that:

  1. the amendment rejects almost all current children's helmets and is therefore burdensome to both the industry and the public.
  2. the amendment's benefits are, at best, uncertain.
  3. there are real risks of increased rates of serious injury among children once the amendment is imposed.

Moped Helmets
During discussions with Standards and Safety groups in Taiwan last November, Dr. Fenner learned of need for a well ventilated helmet for use by riders of low powered vehicles. Taiwanese officials wish to require the use of helmets but feel that the climate is much too severe for current motorcycle helmet configurations.

The discussions included the draft L-95 Standard circulated last year for comment. The L-95 requirements are more severe than those for bicycle helmets but are less demanding than our current M-95 Standard for motorcycle helmets. The draft requires one impact per site as in B-95 but specifies an impact energy of 120 joules for both the flat and hemispherical anvils. The extent of protection is the same as for the motorcycle helmet but there is no shell penetration test.

I expect that L-95 qualified helmets will consist of 3.5 to 4.0 centimeter thick EPS liners inside rigid fiberglass or plastic shells. The shell/liner configuration will include large ventilation slots after the fashion of modern bicycle helmets. Some of the rigid shelled helmets currently promoted for downhill bicycle racing seem like an excellent starting point for the design of an L-95 prototype.

The Taiwanese and the Foundation would like to work with manufacturers to test helmet configurations for user acceptance. Employees at one or more offices in Taiwan would volunteer to wear helmet prototypes during their daily commute and comment on general comfort and wearability. Manufacturers interested in participating in such a study should contact Dr. Fenner through this office.

The moped is used in city traffic throughout the world and particularly in warm climates. The need for head protection among moped users is known. I believe that protective helmets for moped users constitutes a significant need and a significant opportunity for manufacturers currently producing motorcycle and/or bicycle headgear.

Cooperative Programs
The Foundation has embarked on cooperative programs with several different manufacturers in order to promote public awareness of helmets as an effective means of reducing the instance and severity of head injury. The nature of our participation varies with the programs but the general result is a reduction in the manufacturer's costs and an increase in the effectiveness of Snell Certification at adding value to his products.

Certified manufacturers interested in joining the Foundation in a cooperative effort should contact Ms. Hong Zhang at this office.

Certified Product Lists
Manufacturers are required to notify the Foundation of all marketing and size designations under which each Snell Certified helmet is sold and distributed. We record these names and sizes in the Foundation's Certified products lists which are used for reference and which are distributed to groups and individuals on request.

Whenever a Snell labelled helmet is distributed under a new name, please advise Steve Johnson in writing of the new name and size designation and identify the original certified product. The ID number in the lower right corner of the Snell Certificate is preferred identification for recently certified helmets. Also, please advise Mr. Johnson whenever a marketing name is dropped or goes out of production.

Bulk Educational Materials
Manufacturers and others who may require large quantities of Snell brochures, hang tags and similar items should contact Ms. Zhang well in advance. Preparation of these materials requires long lead times.

Who to Call at Snell

				Phone		Fax
UK:	Brian Walker		44-1252-714920	44-1252-737137
CA:	Gib Brown		916-331-5073	916-331-0359

Certification Labels:
CA:	Ms. Bonnie Adams	916-331-5073	916-331-0359

Public Education:
CA:	Ms. Hong Zhang	 	916-331-5073	916-331-0359

CA:	Steve Johnson		916-331-5073	916-331-0359

Internet Web Site:
CA:	Frank Lin		916-331-5073	916-331-0359
	(also E-mail:

All Other:
CA:	Ed Becker		916-331-5073	916-331-0359

Back to Snell's Home Page