The KID-SHELL project aimed to design and develop a protection system addressed to children who are travelling as PTW passengers, since motorcycles are by far the most dangerous means of transport. Moreover, children are especially vulnerable due to their instability on the motorbike and their physical weakness, reflexes and reaction to the accident. The European Commission is not aware of any specific national standard in the Member States, apart from requiring the use of helmets by motorcycle drivers and passengers.
The first stage of this project analysed the principal characteristics of traffic accidents involving child motorcycle passengers and what injuries they suffer. Both urban and non-urban areas were considered, as well as the type of accident scenario, type of accident, actions of the passenger and injuries suffered by child PTW passengers. Also, the data gathered was not only by frequency, but also by severity. The study included statistics and data of motorcycle accidents in Barcelona and the problems specific to children as motorcycle passengers, including a study of how the different stages of child development affect an accident.
The second stage of the project was to define the design of the child protection system and develop an assessment protocol. A design, called the KID-SHELL, was made which covered the most exposed parts of the child passenger in a PTW such as the back, cervix and shoulders. The system is adjustable, being able to be used between 7 and 12 years; it is a one-piece vest with a rigid back part to protect the child in case of falling from the motorcycle or an accident.
The test protocol developed aimed to evaluate the level of safety of the KID-SHELL protector and at the same time be able to reproduce the real case scenarios where the KID-SHELL may be involved such as: fall down abrasion, back fall down, lateral fall down, asphalt sliding.
The energy absorption that this system needs to provide in the event of an impact was evaluated and a test protocol was defined consistent with it. The dummies, impactors, setup and requirement specifications for the test were specified. Furthermore, a pattern of the target zones where the impactor has to collide were defined. In order to make the test repeatable and reproducible it was carried out by the Dynamic Impact Test System (DITS). Concerning the results, three levels of qualification were specified in order to be able to do an assessment of the KID-SHELL system protection.
The protocol has proven to be repeatable and reproducible and to assess not only the fulfilment of the minimum force absorption, but also the safety level of each back-protection region. Moreover, it assesses the adaptability to the child’s body using kid dummy P6 and P10 wearing the KID-SHELL protector in impact tests. The new protocol displays the results in different level colours that help to distinguish and identify the improvements required in the system. Also, the limit parameters that have been defined from regulation EN 1621-2:2013, make these tests more realistic and bolstered. A simulation study was carried out to know the behaviour of the new designed back protector for children and validate the testing protocol. The results show that the KID-SHELL protector fulfils the testing protocol limits in force transmission and that most of the results are excellent. However, the central positions in cases 2 and 5 have only a good value.
The next stage of this project is, firstly, to carry out the simulation of the impact tests with the dummy wearing the back-protection KID-SHELL and then to carry out the real tests to achieve a real validation test. Moreover, the protector will be revised in order to improve the central parts which have achieved a good, but not excellent, classification. Furthermore, the testing protocol will be revised to improve the assessment of the protector’s lowest part.