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Volvo and POC team up to test bike helmets against cars for the first time

It's strange how nobody's thought about running this test before, even Volvo itself.

Dropping a helmet onto a flat surface hardly mimics interactions between cyclists and motorists. This test is much more specific and, thus, will produce better data for both Volvo and POC.

Volvo is no stranger to safety, being responsible for advancements like the three-point seatbelt, and its latest foray hopes to make the road safer for bicyclists rather than just motorists.

On Monday, Volvo announced that it has teamed up with Swedish sports and safety company POC to run a series of world-first tests that pits bike helmets against vehicles. The idea is to research the interaction between the two and, potentially, create an even safer bike helmet that reduces the chance of injury in a collision.

The tests will take place at Volvo's safety research center in Gothenburg, Sweden. POC bike helmets will be affixed to crash test dummies, and they will be "launched" (Volvo's term, not mine) at different parts of a Volvo's hood, accounting for different speeds and angles.

Volvo thinks there's a lot to learn from these tests, which go above and beyond the usual bike helmet tests. According to the automaker, traditional helmet tests involve dropping a helmet from different heights onto flat or angled surfaces. The tests don't account for cars specifically, yet as cities pile on dedicated bike lanes and make other accommodations just for cyclists, the need to study these interactions is as important as ever.

"This project with POC is a good example of our pioneering spirit in safety," said Malin Ekholm, head of the Volvo Cars Safety Center, in a statement. "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."

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