Swedish car manufacturer Volvo is running crash tests that pit cycling helmets against cars in a bid to improve safety for those on two wheels.

Working in collaboration with fellow Swedish firm POC, a maker of cycle helmets and apparel, the tests are part of a wider research project that aims to understand the types of long-term injuries cyclists can sustain on the roads. The two companies say the findings will help POC make its helmets safer, while Volvo will use the data to guide “future development”.

Volvo POC car-bike crash test

According to Volvo, current cycle helmet testing procedures are “fairly rudimentary”, involving helmets being dropped from various heights on to a flat or angled surface. This method, the company claims, does not take vehicle-to-bike accidents into account.

Volvo POC Car-Bike Crash Test

The new test, however, will work much more like existing car crash test procedures, being based on the current regulatory system for pedestrian protection. In Volvo’s test, dummy heads wearing POC helmets being attached to a testing rig. The rig will then be launched towards a static Volvo at various speeds, to better simulate a collision between car and cyclist. And by comparing data with pedestrian protection results, the companies will be better placed to compare results with helmets and results without helmets.

Volvo POC Car-Bike Crash Test

“This project with POC is a good example of our pioneering spirit in safety,” said Malin Ekholm, head of the Volvo Cars Safety Centre and one of the company’s leading safety engineers. “We often develop new testing methods for challenging traffic scenarios. Our aim is not only to meet legal requirements or pass rating tests; instead, we go beyond ratings, using real traffic situations to develop technology that further improves safety.”


Oscar Huss, the head of product development at POC, said the scheme was part of the company’s desire to exceed existing safety standards wherever possible.

“Much like Volvo Cars, safety is at the very centre of our mission, and drives all our ideas and innovations,” he said. “By working closely with scientific leaders in the POC Lab, we strive to lead the way in introducing new safety ideas. Certification standards are essential, but they should never limit our willingness to look beyond their parameters to find better and more innovative ways to reduce the consequences of accidents.”

It isn’t the first time Volvo and POC have worked together. Previously, the two companies joined forces on a pilot scheme to connect bicycle helmets with cars through the Internet of Things. The system then provided an early warning alert to drivers if an unseen cyclist was nearby.

Gallery: Volvo/POC car-bike crash test