Protect That Noggin. (What's New?)

Article excerpt

* There are over 81,000,000 bike riders in this country. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recorded more than 600,000 bicycle injuries last year and found that bike accidents land more kids in emergency rooms than any other athletic endeavor, Moreover, up to 80% of all bicycle-related fatalities are due to head injuries, according to the Johns Hopkins Injury Prevention Center. Yet, how often do you see adults and kids, the latter required by law in many states to wear helmets, with nothing on their heads (except maybe a baseball cap) as they ride their bicycles?

Not in our family, not anymore. Bell Sports, Santa Cruz, Calif., which started out making crash helmets for race car drivers back in the 1950s (and today is one of the top manufacturers of helmet riot gear for police), has a new line of bicycle helmets designed for every family member. All are CPSC certified.

* Ghisallo ($124.99). We may not know exactly what Geared Positioning System, injection-molded roll cage, or microshell bonding mean, but we do know this protective beauty passed all safety tests in the heat of battle at the 2002 Tour de France. Enough said.

* Bella ($39.99). When Bell Sports saw women cutting out the backs of their helmets so their hair would fit, it didn't take long for the Bella--designed specifically for females--to roll off the production line. This ponytail-compatible model has a snap-fit visor and a Twin Actin Fit system to customize the helmet's size for any woman's head.

* Wicked ($24. …