The risk of serious head injury is a sobering subject for every cyclist. According to the Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety at the Queensland University of Technology, most cyclist fatalities are due to head trauma, usually due to a collision with a motor vehicle.
The need for compulsory wearing of bike helmets is still a controversial topic for many, even in Australia, which was the first country to introduce mandatory bike helmet laws as far back as the 1990s. It comes as no surprise to many of us that a recent US study estimated that the use of helmets can reduce head injury risk by up to 85 percent.
In the majority of accidents experienced by cyclists, blows to the head come in at an angle, rather than in a direct impact. However, many traditional helmets are not designed to offer protection from angled impacts, leaving cyclists potentially vulnerable to serious injury or even death.
Helmets enabled with patented MIPS technology are a major new innovation, at the cutting edge of developments in brain injury prevention. The technology is currently not just protecting cyclists, but has been incorporated into a range of helmets within the sporting world, including those used in American football, equestrian, ice hockey, ski/snowboarding, and motorcycling.
MIPS stands for Multi-directional Impact Protection System. The original technology was developed by a Swedish neurosurgeon in 1995 and was later developed in a collaboration between some of the world’s leading biomechanics and neuroscience researchers to become what is now known as MIPS in 2001.
MIPS works by copying the natural protective abilities of the human brain. Our brains lies cushioned within a layer of cerebrospinal fluid. When an angled impact occurs, the brain reacts by sliding within the fluid, reducing the risk of rotational forces being transferred to the brain.
Helmets featuring MIPS technology mimic the body’s inbuilt protection system by creating a sliding layer that is positioned between the cyclist’s helmet and their head. When an angled impact takes place, the MIPS layer absorbs more of the energy than would normally occur, reducing the chances of serious injury to the brain.
To date MIPS has been incorporated into helmets sold by more than 50 brand partners across the globe. In 2013, MIPS teamed up with Lazer, the longest established sports helmet producer in the world. Together, they developed the first inmolded helmet featuring the MIPS technology and have since extended the MIPS system to helmets throughout the Lazer range.