Ride bikes long enough and Newton's first law of motion becomes a blunt reality for many of us: an object in motion stays in motion until acted on by an outside force. Call it a splat, wad, wreck, stack, or crash, that outside force enters many of our cycling lives at one point or another. Preparing for these moments, as unexpected as they may be, means choosing reliable, proven protection technology like a MIPS-equipped Lazer helmet. MIPS, or Multi-Directional Impact Protection System, works seamlessly with Lazer helmets to help reduce the risk of rotational brain injury in the event of a crash, no matter how big or small.
The human brain is the command center and memory bank of every human body. It is a delicate mass of squishy tissue, blood vessels, and nerves that can be easily harmed under the wrong circumstances. To protect our critical organ from outside forces, brains are surrounded by the bony armor of the skull. Additionally, the brain floats in a goo of cerebrospinal fluid, which acts as a slimy buffer between the skull and fragile tissue. Under normal circumstances, the brain happily floats around in this protective cradle, keeping us thinking, breathing, and happily pedaling away the days. However, this very protective mechanism can cause traumatic brain injuries in the event of a crash.
TBIs, also known as concussions, are the most common head injury in cycling and are caused by rapid deceleration and rotational forces on the brain. When you crash and hit the ground, your body and skull suddenly decelerate. The brain, on the other hand, keeps moving with momentum until it smacks agains the inside of the skull. The different brain tissues of the brain can also decelerate at different speeds, causing shearing and tearing of the nerve pathways that send signals throughout the body. Mitigating these forces on the brain helps protect against serious injury and is the main role a helmet plays in protecting out noggins.
While the foam and plastic materials that make up a helmet are designed to help decrease the forces of a direct hit to the ground, the integration of MIPS technology adds an additional protective feature, meant to reduce the angular forces on the brain and thus reduce the risk of concussions in the event of a crash. MIPS uses the combination of two low friction liners inside the helmet that easily slide against each other. When the helmet contacts the ground, the liners slide against one another, which helps dissipate additional force.
According to former MIPS CEO Johan Thiel, the MIPS technology adds 10-15 mm of deceleration distance over the span of 5-10 milliseconds. While this doesn't sound like much, the slight increase in deceleration rate results in better protection against concussions, according to MIPS. Additionally, extensive testing by the Virginia Tech Helmet Lab, an independently operated lab that rates helmets across the industry using realistic crash test protocols, shows MIPS reduces the rotational and angular forces on the brain. Thus, it seems a little extra layer of MIPS goes a long way in better protecting our brains against the risk of concussions.
While avoiding crashes is the best way to keep your noggin in tip-top shape, wearing a helmet is always recommend, just in case the unexpected happens. Lazer offers a wide range of MIPS-equipped helmets from road to mountain bike to urban and even kids helmets. And Lazer is the only helmet manufacturer to earn perfect 5-Start Virginia Tech ratings for ten (yes ten!) different helmets. For something as vital as our brains, taking the extra step and protecting it to the highest level is a, well, no brainer!