CPSC 1203

Safety Standard for Bicycle Helmets

CPSC Part 1203 is one of the most critical helmet testing standards available, ensuring the highest level of safety for bicycle helmets. In this article, we will delve into the essential details of the CPSC Part 1203 standard, explaining its significance, testing criteria, and the safety measures it mandates to keep cyclists safe.

Why Does Helmet Certification Matter?

Bicycling is an essential part of an active lifestyle, and having the right protective equipment, particularly a helmet, is crucial for safety. The CPSC Part 1203 Safety Standard ensures that all bicycle helmets sold in the United States meet rigorous safety criteria, helping to reduce the risk of serious injury and death from head impacts.

Helmet safety standards encompass various factors, from the coverage area on your head to the labeling on the packaging, but most people are primarily concerned with how much impact the helmet can withstand before it fails to protect. Helmets are designed to protect your brain by reducing the energy transferred to it during a crash or fall, which is typically measured in gravitational force, or G’s. When this force exceeds 300 G’s, significant head trauma can occur. Most modern helmet standards require that a helmet transmit no more than 300 G’s to the brain during impact.


CPSC 1203 Why Was it Created

 The Consumer Product Safety Commission has created this standard to make sure all bicycle helmets that will be sold in the Untied States will need to test to that standard. The purpose and basis of this standard is to reduce the likelihood of serious injury and death to bicyclist resulting from impacts to the head. The standard was first effective on March 10, 1999 and it applies to all helmet manufacturers after that date.  

Criteria for Classifying Multi-Purpose Helmets as Bicycle Helmets

A multi-purpose helmet will be considered a bicycle helmet if its marketing or representation suggests it is intended for bicycling. The Commission evaluates this based on:

  • Specific activities for which the helmet is marketed.
  • Similarity in appearance, design, and construction to recognized bicycle helmets.
  • Presence of warnings against using the helmet for bicycling.


What is Tested from CPSC 1203

All test helmets should be stabilized the ambient condition for at least 4 hours prior to further conditioning and testing. Below are the are test requirements for this standard.  
Peripheral Vision:
Bicycle Helmets vision should be unobstructed through the left and right sides. 
Positional stability: The helmet should not come off the test form while tested.  
Dynamic strength of retention system: The bicycle helmets should have a retention system that will remain intact without stretching.  
Impact attenuation test: Peak acceleration of any impact test shall not exceed 300g.

Why It Matters

Wearing a certified helmet is a simple yet crucial step in protecting yourself while enjoying a bike ride. The CPSC Part 1203 Safety Standard ensures that your helmet has undergone thorough testing and meets high safety criteria. Always look for the CPSC certification when purchasing a helmet to ensure you’re getting the best protection possible. 

About ACT Lab

ACT Lab is an ISO/IEC 17025 independent third-party accredited laboratory conducting consumer product safety and compliance testing. Specialties include mechanical and chemical testing of bicycles, bicycle components, e-bicycles and accessories, helmets and head protection, scooters, sporting goods, children’s products, toys, outdoor industry products and more. Founded in 2008 with operations in USA, China, Taiwan, Vietnam, and Czech Republic, ACT Lab allows customers to deliver safer, more reliable products more effectively and consistently to market. For more information, please visit act-lab.com.


COTECNA is a leading provider of testing, inspection, and certification services. We offer solutions to facilitate trade and make supply chains safer and more efficient for our clients. Our trusted network of professionals and certified laboratories provide expertise across five key sectors: government & trade solutions, agriculture, food safety, minerals & metals, and consumer goods & retail. Founded in Switzerland in 1974, COTECNA started off as a family business and has now grown to become a world-class international player with over 5,000 employees in more than 100 offices across approximately 50 countries.  For more information, please visit cotecna.com.