Bell Metropolis

There is growing evidence that the new crop of hyper-ventilated helmets that are so popular these days are potentially less safe than traditional smooth-shelled designs. These “racing” helmets may pass the current Consumer Product Safety Commission drop tests, but accident reports suggest their squared-off edges and aerodynamic “tail” can grab the road, increasing the possibility of rotational brain damage, neck injuries, and helmet dislodgment. Both Consumer Reports and the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute are recommending more traditional “commuter” style helmets with smooth, rounded shells and fewer vents. The Bell Citi for example, received Consumer Report’s highest safety rating and a “Best Buy” designation. Follow the links below for more information.

17 Responses to “Smoothies”

  • Alexander says:

    Not to mention the round type are cuter (at least in a nerdy sort of way).

  • Roland Smith says:

    A much better alternative is to make the roads safe for cyclists by providing cycling lanes or paths.

    Vehicles with highly differing speeds and mass/bulk need to be on seperate paths. If you have ever seen what happens to a car that is hit by a train, you don’t wonder why railroad tracks are separate from roads and why railroad crossings are marked or guarded.

    Armouring cyclists to protect against collisions with cars is a losing proposition. While one could envision full-body armour that would help cushion impacts and prevent joints moving in ways they’re not supposed to, it would make cycling (or even walking) impossible.

  • mike says:

    anyone who thinks helmets or any sort of armor will protect one from a collision with a car should stick to the bike path. helmets are good in certain types of collisions… and as I understand the ‘drop test’ its kind of a joke… as one looks around the globe there seems to be an inverse in skull bucket protected heads to cycling mode share. I wish we took all the effort spent arguing about and testing and advertising helmets and put it into activism…

  • Iain says:

    Yes I agree that in certain circumstances a multivented helmet may catch on some road furniture and exacerbate head/brain injuries, but the only time I have actually needed the helmet I was wearing a multi-vented one and it did its job brilliantly. As I was checking that my fingers and toes still worked after going over the handlebars on a very stony path (I was mountain biking up Lochnegar in Scotland) I realised that my head was hard against a stone. On checking the helmet (A Giro Havoc) the visor was ripped, off the internal plastic adjuster cage had detached internally and there was a 1/4″ dent in the main part of the helmet. I suppose that had I hit the stone slightly differently it may have penetrated one of the vents, but without it I strongly believe I would have required a mountain rescue chopper to get down off the hill.

  • Joe says:

    What kind of light is that on the front of the bell metro?

    Does the Bell City helmet have all the extra vent covers and ear warmers like the metro?I have been using my metro for 2 years commuting and it is great! I use the ear warmers and vent covers in the winter and it sure does make the commute nicer… I even grabbed it for some winter mtn bike rides instead of my specialized helmet.



  • Croupier says:

    I’m no safety nut but I wear a Bern and I couldn’t be happier with it. I only like the looks of “skate style” helmets but I’ve never had a helmet (skate style, cycling specific, or otherwise) breath as well as theirs do. Unless you’re a road racer, I highly recommend looking into a helmet with “lower skull” and “upper neck” protection; like most skate helmets. This is coming from someone who’s gotten 3 concussions while riding a bike.

  • andy parmentier says:

    elephants being the civic engineers of the savanna, make all the roads for the bulky animals, and even the “motorcycles’ of the animal kingdom, but the mice and what not are the bicycle-equivalents, and have their own roadways.
    but humans have their lines all blurred when it comes to practicality/bravery/stupidity/commonsense.
    i like the sidewalk for safety, but late at night i’ll take my walking sticks and walk down the MIDDLE of quiet residential streets. having 2 walking sticks in hand turns me into a 4 legged creature of sorts, and lots of 4 legged critters like coons are not necessarily nocturnal by nature, but necessity.

  • Donald Moore says:

    Thirty years ago I received a concussion while wearing a motorcycle helmit on a motorcycle. Had I not made a habit of wearing a helmit I would not be alive now. One half of the deaths in automobile accidents are due to head injuries.

  • Alan says:


    That’s a Princeton Tec Eos headlamp.

    AFAIK Bell is no longer making winter accessories for the Citi and Metro.


  • ron says:

    you don’t ride, do you roland?
    we’re not going to get lanes without people riding bikes. they’re not cheap.
    trains can’t run on roads, and cars can’t run on traintracks. your analogy is false.
    your type of nay-saying is only part of the problem.

  • Ernie Greenwald says:

    Wal-Mart–at least, the local one in Lompoc–sells a Bell helmet called the Impulse. I’ve had one for a couple of years, and am perfectly happy with it. It looks a lot like the Metropolis. I checked today; the going price is $30. They also sell a “Youth” version of this helmet which is slightly smaller, but otherwise identical. It goes for $20. It will adjust enough to fit my ordinary (57CM) and aged head. I’ve put a picture on:

    In five decades of serious riding, I’ve had one acquaitance killed and one friend suffer a serious concussion for lack of a good helmet. Of course, in the 1950’s, there weren’t any good bicycle helmets. The ones that existed gave little benefit. They were called “hairnets” by those who bothered to wear them.

    The rider who died was was wearing a “hairnet.” A modern helmet might have saved him. I admit to having become a fanatic on the subject. For $20 or $30 today there’s no excuse. I know my helmet won’t necessarily save me in a bad crash, but it will increase the odds. That’s good enough for me.
    PS: My web site, right now, is mainly about a folding GRR that I have for sale. But the helmet picture is easy to find.

  • David Hembrow says:

    Ron: Roland lives in the same country as I do. The one were more people ride bikes than any other: The Netherlands. Here we do have infrastructure designed for cyclists, and cyclists are safer per km travelled here than any other country. We moved here in large part because it is such an extraordinarily good place to live if you’re a cyclist.

    I don’t know Roland, and certainly don’t know for certain that he rides a bike. However, I suspect he does. He’s Dutch. On average, Dutch people do around 2.5 km per day by bike, as opposed to around 0.1 km per day for the average American (ref: Pucher and Buehler’s article). There is a certain understanding of what cycling is all about which comes from everyone taking part in this mass cycle usage.

    Back in the 1970s when the Netherlands first started to try to increase the amount of cycling, they did a lot of research and found that a dense network of good quality, comfortable to use and both subjectively and socially safe cycle routes was the only thing which did the trick. The result was developments like this, the principles of which have continued through modern developments:

    Bike paths _are_ cheap – especially compared with expanding a road network. The council in Groningen has in the past referred to their measures which have resulted in 60% of all journeys in the city being made by bike as being a fiscal measure more than an environmental measure.

  • Ernie Greenwald says:

    Ron: I believe I have an insight on your remark about whether or not Ronald was a bike rider. My view on his post was roughly the same as yours until I learned from David’s post that Ronald lives in the Netherlands. For me, this puts what he says in a different light. For those outside the United States, let me explain why.

    In the United States, when someone says “Vehicles with highly differing speeds and mass/bulk need to be on seperate paths”, what they usually MEAN is “Don’t let those idiots riding on toys get in the way of REAL transportation.” There are exceptions (perhaps more in other states than here in California) but the average bicycle path that I have seen is short, does not provide a USEFUL alternative to our automotive roadways, and is designated “multi-use.” This dreadful designation means that the “bike” path will be filled with old Geezers (see Note) strolling six abreast, darting toddlers unwatched by their parents, and people walking skittery dogs on long leashes. No experienced bicycle rider would go near one. As bad as they are, our regular streets are much safer.

    On any given day, I might ride to a drug store, the post office, a grocery store, or to the local “Big Box” discount store. It will surprise no U.S. resident that NONE of these businesses is located along a bicycle path. In the U.S., that very idea would be considered laughable. Why, you’d have to plan and build a town almost from SCRATCH to make that possible! That may happen some day in the U.S., but I’m not going to hold my breath.
    Note: We’re careful to be “Politically Correct” here, but I can say “old Geezer” because I am one.

  • ron says:

    i apologize for my sarcasm in asking roland if he rides; i looked at his site and saw that he did. bad attempt at a joke on my part.

    but bike paths are expensive in the us, david. i’m not making it up or guessing; i know how much they cost in my state. sure, it’s cheap to add a lane to planned work. but planned work is not cheap, and it’s a hard fight to get them in anyway in our car culture.

    in the meantime, what are we to do? not ride? without numbers, no government in the us will ever pony up for bike lanes/paths. or move to the netherlands and tell the us how to make a cycling culture from across the ocean? that’s fine for some people. i’d rather just ride in the street here, taking my risks and adding to the numbers that might get politicians and policy makers to act.

  • Roland Smith says:


    My daily bike commute is 11 km round trip, rain or shine. By Dutch standards this is not much. A colleague of mine does a 44 km round trip every day, which is not that unusual either.

    Studies have shown that bike paths are actually not that expensive if you count in things like maintenance and resurfacing (total lifecycle costs). Cyclepaths don’t wear out nearly as fast as roads used by cars. In the town where I grew up there was a cycling path (parallel to a road) which I travelled almost every day. In twenty years the road had to be repaved at least two and maybe three times. The cyclepath wasn’t because it didn’t need to be.

    Studies into road safety show that the best way to make cycling safe is to separate cyclists from car traffic and/or reduce the speed difference. David Hembrow has links to some of these reports on his site.

    Having been on the receiving end of two bicycle and one motorcycle accident, I can tell you that although protective gear can help, it cannot really protect you against a high-speed impact. Without separate cycling facilities defensive driving is the best you can do.


    None of our cities were rebuilt from scratch when the government started to promote cycling in the seventies by adding or upgrading cycling infrastructure. And the Netherlands are about 13 times as densely populated as the US. So it’s not like we had room to spare. Quite the opposite. There’s just not enough room in our cities for driving and parking cars.

    And for all of you smarting at a US$4/gallon gas price, prices here are around €1.5/liter, which is US$7.85/gallon! Luckily I haven’t had to fill up my car in months. :-)

  • ron says:

    i wish bike lanes/paths were cheap in maryland, but they’re not cheap to put in. we don’t even have a lot of money to fix the roads, as my poor bike knows all too well:^) it’s just not a reality in a lot of places. we have to make do with roads or not ride around here, at least for the near future.

    i think i ignored your original point, i.e., that no safety gear is full proof on a bike. you are definitely right about that.

  • EcoVelo » Blog Archive » Giro Surface says:

    […] and it’s aesthetically clean and understated. It’s a clear step up in comfort from my ancient Bell Metro and the fit is nice and snug without pinching. So far I like everything about it, though […]

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