Helmets Part 1,489,348 - To Wear Or Not To Wear

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Canis Lupus   100 W

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Re: HELMETS...?

Post by Canis Lupus » Jan 28 2010 7:43am

philf wrote: Maybe, for the those of us who don't enjoy the feel, look, or hair-customizing effect of wearing a helmet, we should just wear gloves and a cup.
I've thought the same about the cup, or "box" as they are sometimes called. That's where I've suffered the most painful injuries. In cricket, going out to bat or fielding close in without one is asking for trouble, whereas a helmet is optional. The same seems to apply with cycling in my experience, especially now I'm even closer to the ground with a recumbent.

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Re: HELMETS...?

Post by liveforphysics » Jan 28 2010 8:19am

I posted some pics up on this board with myself bleeding, proudly holding my freshly split/cracked full-face Shoei helmet. The pic was taken by my dad just a minute or two after pulling me unconcious from under the back of my racecar, which I had crashed, slid under, and KO'd myself through the helmet. We were racing each other on dirtbikes, and neither of us were willing to lose. Lol. I forced a low-side at the last second, and unfortunately managed to slide under my parked racecar at about 40mph-ish, while dad chose to ride it out and slammed through the flower beds into the side of his own house. Lol. His helmet hit the house, and he was fine. I hit the rearend on my racecar and I don't remember much until dad had pulled me out and woke me up. Lol

That was just a few months back, and there have been many similar incidents... including a few situations where I actually ran over my dad on his bike, ran over various buddies, or they ran over me. It doesn't matter how good of a rider you are, even if you're perfect, if you're running 40mph, and the guy 10ft ahead of you wrecks as you're diving into a turn, or on a narrow single track, you're going to run over them. You're always damn happy to have a helmet on when you when you see the impact cracks, or deep rock gouges, or tire marks, etc etc. I personally think a helmet has either saved my life, or saved me from serious head trauma at least 25 times in my life. Even just 1 time would make always wearing a helmet worth it IMO.

I see it kinda like seatbelts. Hopefully you go your whole life with them never being more than an annoyance, but when the unexpected, unpredictable Murphy strikes, you will sure be glad you suffered through all those years of mild inconvience.

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Re: HELMETS...?

Post by philf » Jan 29 2010 3:59pm

I don't argue the helmet issue either way - for me, it's an exercise of "risk management". My style of riding, the routes I travel (on road versus off, for example), who I'm riding with, and even what equipment I'm playing with - these all factor into the risk equation for me, and I often chose the "sweaty and ruffled" look over the James Bond hair helmet I'm well known for.

For those against helmets strictly for "fashion" reasons (I disagree that helmets, themselves, have to be unattractive - but for those with longer hairstyles, it's what happens when you take the thing off that matters), I give you pause to carefully consider your choice of other accessories... Like the colour of your seat:

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Re: HELMETS...?

Post by nicobie » Jan 29 2010 8:41pm

Hahahahahahaa...

u dog u :mrgreen:
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May your tote always stay tight and your edge eversharp :wink:

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Re: HELMETS...?

Post by SilverSurfer » Feb 01 2010 4:13pm

I have CRASHED! Helmet got BASHED! THREE TIMES in the last 10 years! My statistics dont seem to confirm the statistics in play. Theres another statistic, the amount of time spent DOING! The AVERAGE person probobly dont ride 20 miles a day every single day in a busy city. If ya want to keep using your head, use your head! Wear a helmet ESPECIALLY when conditions suggest it really wise to do so.
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Re: HELMETS...?

Post by PeteCress » Feb 01 2010 5:04pm

Canis Lupus wrote:Riding a bicycle, I've never had need of one and when possible don't use one, despite it being a legal requirement in Australia. Around the city on an upright, I can see the justification, but when I am in the country touring on a hot day, a helmet is counter-productive and off it comes. The same would apply to a bike friendly dedicated cycle path.
I'm with you on the heat/comfort thing, but somewhere on the internet (YouTube?) there is a clip of a guy dying after stumbling off of a sail-powered skateboard at something like 2 or 3 mph. He hit the ground - not that hard - but slapped his melon on the edge of a curb.

I still don't wear a helmet as much as I probably should, but the issue came to my attention about 10 years ago when, after jumping some railroad tracks and heading up a little gully, the front wheel on my MTB washed out in some mud and I went down.

Slapped the side of my head on the ground hard enough to stun me briefly.

When I sat up, I saw that there was a pyramid-shaped outcropping sticking out of the clay a couple of inches high and less than three inches from where I slapped the side of my head. Three inches the other way and somebody would have found my turkey-buzzard-eaten remains a few days later. Definitely would have been a closed-casket funeral.
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Re: HELMETS...?

Post by PeteCress » Feb 01 2010 5:12pm

swbluto wrote:From the point of view of the impact on society, I think helmets have a positive impact as apparently people are worth something (DOT values Americans at 4 million dollars each, on average) and protecting that worthiness goes to the good of society. From that point of view, it seems that legally requiring helmets would be to society's benefit. But, alas, I have to wonder... maybe Darwinism would help out society more?
There is an argument (which I cannot subscribe to bc I never took the trouble to verify the data) that requiring helmets actually is deleterious to the health and well-being of society as a whole.

It goes like this:
  • A person who rides a bike is healthier and less likely to die prematurely that a person who gets no exercise.
  • Requiring helmets causes a certain number of people to not ride bicycles and thus deny themselves the health benefits of that exercise.
  • Requiring helmets also de-facto characterizes cycling as a dangerous activity to some people and causes those people not to ride.
  • The net negative health impact on the abovementioned people outweighs the positive health impact on the remaining cyclists.
Like I said, I can't subscribe to that without seeing the data... but there it is.
Last edited by PeteCress on Feb 25 2010 4:45pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: HELMETS...?

Post by deronmoped » Feb 02 2010 2:26am

PeteCress wrote:
swbluto wrote:From the point of view of the impact on society, I think helmets have a positive impact as apparently people are worth something (DOT values Americans at 4 million dollars each, on average) and protecting that worthiness goes to the good of society. From that point of view, it seems that legally requiring helmets would be to society's benefit. But, alas, I have to wonder... maybe Darwinism would help out society more?
There is an argument (which I cannot subscribe to bc I never took the trouble to verify the data) that requiring helmets actually is deleterious to the health and well-being of society as a whole.

It goes like this:
  • A person who rides a bike is healthier and less likely to die prematurely that a person who gets no exercise.
  • Requiring helmets causes a certain number of people to not ride bicycles and thus deny themselves the health benefits of that exercise.
  • Requiring helmets also de-facto characterizes cycling as a dangerous activity to some people and causes those people not to ride.
  • The net negative health impact on the abovementioned people outweighs the positive health impact on the remaining cyclists.
Like I said, I can't subscribe to that without seeing the data... but there it is.
That's how I feel too, people take a simplistic look at things and decide from that all kinds of conclusions.

It's like forcing kids to wear helmets. Under 16 and you are required to wear a helmet in my town. Most kids I see ignore the law (what is a cop going to give a 10 year old a ticket), some use the helmet properly, some ride without the strap hooked. I bet quite a few of them do not ride because the helmet is, (pick one) lost, at my friends, my brother is using it, my sister is using it, it's easier to just go play video games, the big kids tease me, it's hot.

I went on a Critical Mass ride last Friday, probably 95% of the people did not wear helmets. I wonder what the turn out would have been like if people were required to wear helmets, reflective vests, eye protection, have proper lights, reflectors, license, insurance, properly inflated tires, inspected brakes, gone through a state approved riding program...

Deron.

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Re: HELMETS...?

Post by John in CR » Feb 02 2010 9:06am

There's no intelligent argument that helmets don't increase the survival rate in case of an accident. The statistics I would want though are:
1. What percentage of the survivors end up in a vegetative state.
2. Not if, but instead, by what % does wearing a helmet increase your chance of an accident by (there isn't an intelligent counter to this point either):
a. A greater sense of security leading you to ride differently and pay less attention
b. Sound and/or visual impairment

Helmet/no helmet needs to just stay a personal decision. Sufficient data does not exist, and if you want to look at is as a society as a whole thing, the world is already over populated. That means as long as it doesn't increase the number in a vegetative state to be supported by the rest, then the more dead the better, and that goes for any activity. It also speeds the process of natural selection, ie those with better reflexes, pay better attention, don't do stupid things, etc are those who continue the species.

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Re: HELMETS...?

Post by deronmoped » Feb 03 2010 1:13am

John in CR wrote:There's no intelligent argument that helmets don't increase the survival rate in case of an accident. The statistics I would want though are:
1. What percentage of the survivors end up in a vegetative state.
2. Not if, but instead, by what % does wearing a helmet increase your chance of an accident by (there isn't an intelligent counter to this point either):
a. A greater sense of security leading you to ride differently and pay less attention
b. Sound and/or visual impairment

Helmet/no helmet needs to just stay a personal decision. Sufficient data does not exist, and if you want to look at is as a society as a whole thing, the world is already over populated. That means as long as it doesn't increase the number in a vegetative state to be supported by the rest, then the more dead the better, and that goes for any activity. It also speeds the process of natural selection, ie those with better reflexes, pay better attention, don't do stupid things, etc are those who continue the species.
I was trying to think of examples of (A).

It's like a light turning green. If you ask most people what that means, they will give the immediate answer of "Go". NOT! It means look to see if it's clear, then go. Green light = false sense of security.

As for (B).

I remember playing football with a "real" helmet (not some bicycle helmet that protects only the top of your head) and always getting blindsided by someone. My sense of things around me were really cut off. I would think anyone really serious about a helmet for protection would be wearing a "full face" helmet. Something that would protect the back, sides and face/chin.

Deron.

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Re: HELMETS...?

Post by John in CR » Feb 03 2010 2:35am

An example for A is me. I ride very exposed, shorts, tshirt, flip flops, no gloves, no helmet, only eye protection. I'm exposed, and I know I am, and I guarantee that I ride with a heightened awareness compared to wearing a bunch of safety equipment. Just go look at the ridiculously stupid stuff people do on bikes with helmets and other gear on. There's no way they would do much of that stuff with no helmet. That's just the conscious choices too, I guarantee there are subconscious things going on. When the risks are higher there's simply no doubt that it's natural to be more careful, both consciously and subconsciously.

Anyone who doesn't believe me, just try it, especially if you're used to wearing a helmet. Note how much more you pay attention. I've analyzed this issue with myself after the fact, because I do wear a helmet on occasion. My brain gets inside that protective shell and it's feels safe and secure and starts to wander more, quite a bit more. Whether it's just the sense of security, or also the loud wind noises caused by the helmet that blocks out the outside world, I don't know. I do notice that riding into a strong headwind, my ears start to get alot of wind noise without a helmet. My instictive reaction is to slow down because I've lost a significant sense. With a helmet on, I don't slow down even with far greater wind noise in my ears.

A helmet increases your survival rate in an accident, but what good is that if it increases your chance of getting in an accident? I realize this approach isn't for everyone, because there are those who won't pay really close attention with or without a helmet. I've seen the same types driving cars for 30 years, and I've been dodging them while I'm driving that whole time. On a bike I take a significantly more care, partly because I am so exposed, and partly because I know for a fact I am less visible to them.

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Re: HELMETS...?

Post by spinningmagnets » Feb 03 2010 7:25am

I fix bikes for kids in my neighborhood. Kids copy what I do. I want to lead by example. I wear a helmet.

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Re: HELMETS...?

Post by graemebc » Feb 04 2010 9:30am

Amazing load of complete tripe & misinformation from people who normally display a far greater degree of intelligence.
I am a road safety engineer involved in safety research and safe systems design. I have seen the results 1st hand in casualty wards & on road sides of people on push-bikes, motorbikes & in automotive accidents at speeds as low as 20 mph, who died from head trauma or ended up paralysed or vegetables. Every time I read these kinds of topics I want to slap someone. People trying to give "reasonable" excuses for not wearing safety gear is a joke.

Anyone who thinks they don't need to wear a helmet should go do some reading on head trauma & how your age affects the odds of you surviving even a mid level head trauma. At 35 to 40 years of age a mid level trauma means you have a 50/50 chance of living. At 50 its a 25 to 35% chance of survival. After you have digested that, go do some reading on the pounds per square inch force generated when you fall off a bike on your head at typical bikes speeds.

Dozens of governments have spent countless millions on research around the world on this, yet people still ask these stupid question & come up with amazing reasons for not wanting to wear things like helmets or seat belts. It's completely beyond belief. :roll:
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Re: HELMETS...?

Post by AussieJester » Feb 04 2010 9:37am

^^well said... but hey...better to be "cool" and not wear a helmet isn't it! sheesh..whats a lil brain damage between friends right :shock: I too am amazed at some of the comments by people i thought had a clue...just hope they never fall and hit there head.

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Canis Lupus   100 W

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Re: HELMETS...?

Post by Canis Lupus » Feb 04 2010 12:42pm

graemebc wrote: Every time I read these kinds of topics I want to slap someone.
Maybe those near you should be wearing a helmet.

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Re: HELMETS...?

Post by John in CR » Feb 04 2010 1:27pm

Ah a couple more who probably think it's better to carry anitvenin with you than to stop sticking your hand under logs and rocks without looking. The same logic you guys use to insist on helmets should keep you off of bikes and ebikes period, since you'd be safer by not doing it. While you're at it Mr. typical Government employee, why don't you outlaw bikes? For that matter, outlaw cars too and force people into the safer forms of transportation of trains and buses.

Do you also wear a helmet in a car or walking around, since it increases your survival rate for any head injury? Don't go forcing your views on others. WRT to the specific topic, it's far more important to ride in a manner that greatly reduces your risk of accident than it is to wear a helmet in case you get into an accident. I don't see you geniuses preaching safe riding practices. Oh wait, a traffic engineer probably thinks obeying traffic rules, signals, and signs is enough to keep everyone safe on the road. How about you do a better job improving the roadways and keeping them clean so fewer bikers get into accidents to begin with? How about mandatory training courses for the cagers to force them to see and respect others sharing the roads? Apparently you've been slapped in the head a few too many times to present a logical rebuttal.

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Re: HELMETS...?

Post by v_tach » Feb 04 2010 1:40pm

graemebc wrote:Amazing load of complete tripe & misinformation from people who normally display a far greater degree of intelligence.
Your banging your head against a wall... figuratively speaking. I've been a professional firefighter and paramedic for a couple of decades now and have seen more than my share of bicycle related head trauma in both children and adults. I've also been guilty of engaging in helmet discussions such as this one.

I've learned my lesson. People are set in their ways. I wear a helmet while enjoying a variety of recreational activities including riding my bicycles as well does every member of my family. As far as what anyone else does... eff em. Most still wont ever suffer the consequences of what happens when things don't go as planned but some always will. Its just the way it is.

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Canis Lupus   100 W

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Re: HELMETS...?

Post by Canis Lupus » Feb 04 2010 1:54pm

v_tach wrote: Your banging your head against a wall...
A self-fulfilling insistence?

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Re: HELMETS...?

Post by v_tach » Feb 04 2010 2:52pm

Canis Lupus wrote:
v_tach wrote: Your banging your head against a wall...
A self-fulfilling insistence?
You'll have to explain that one. I guess I'm just not that clever.

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Re: HELMETS...?

Post by heathyoung » Feb 04 2010 5:30pm

How is this even a question of whether to wear one or not? I had an accident last friday with a vehicle involved (they locked up the brakes when I was behind them - at road speed of around 45Kph - due to being cut off by another driver). I didn't have time to brake so I hit the back of the car at 40Kph or so (it was a hatchback) chest first with enough force to crack the rear windscreen, and belted my helmet on the roof of the car hard enough to leave a great big dent on the sill (the strongest part of the roof).

Then I landed on my back and shoulders, hitting my head on the gutter. I saw stars, and cracked the helmet in two (!!!) but walked away with a cracked rib and bent fork - no concussion or anything. I'm neither fit nor slim, so there was a lot of energy in the crash.

If I hadn't been wearing a helmet I would have been in a coma or dead - who would provide for my family?

Not wearing a helmet is natural selection in action... Sorry. I just do not understand why anyone would play russian roulette with their life...
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Canis Lupus   100 W

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Re: HELMETS...?

Post by Canis Lupus » Feb 04 2010 5:49pm

heathyoung wrote:How is this even a question of whether to wear one or not? I had an accident last friday with a vehicle involved (they locked up the brakes when I was behind them - at road speed of around 45Kph - due to being cut off by another driver). I didn't have time to brake so I hit the back of the car at 40Kph or so ....
Why would you be riding so close to the car in front at that speed?
heathyoung wrote: Not wearing a helmet is natural selection in action... Sorry. I just do not understand why anyone would play russian roulette with their life...
The same might apply to tail-gatting.

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Re: HELMETS...?

Post by John in CR » Feb 04 2010 7:13pm

The helmet preachers have some real nerve talking with an air of superiority. I wouldn't allow myself and my bike to be in a position to smack into the back of a car at 40kph. In most cases you are riding substandard equipment with inadequate brakes, and you're riding in a manner that is far less safe than how I ride. I'll tell you what, you keep focusing on preparing for your next accident, and I'll focus on continuing to avoid accidents all together. I actually wear a helmet sometimes (when it's appropriate for me), but I'm not going to accept it being mandated to me by people who should always wear one except in bed.

The "good thing I was wearing a helmet" stories all share a common theme. It's never discussed what should have been done differently for the helmet to be irrelevant. Those kinds of discussions could actually be a safety benefit to all, but instead we get the Gospel of Helmet from the same people I've been dodging on 2 or 4 wheels for over 3 decades.

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Re: HELMETS...?

Post by Zoot Katz » Feb 04 2010 8:41pm

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Re: HELMETS...?

Post by heathyoung » Feb 04 2010 10:17pm

Canis Lupus wrote:
heathyoung wrote:How is this even a question of whether to wear one or not? I had an accident last friday with a vehicle involved (they locked up the brakes when I was behind them - at road speed of around 45Kph - due to being cut off by another driver). I didn't have time to brake so I hit the back of the car at 40Kph or so ....
Why would you be riding so close to the car in front at that speed?

Due to the fact that I was being tailgated by someone else in a car at the same speed ~ its not a very safe road, and there really aren't many other alternatives. Been quite a few people killed on this same intersection (pedestrian crossing prior - a lot of people run red lights on it)
heathyoung wrote: Not wearing a helmet is natural selection in action... Sorry. I just do not understand why anyone would play russian roulette with their life...
The same might apply to tail-gatting.[/quote]

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Re: HELMETS...?

Post by v_tach » Feb 05 2010 12:14am

John in CR wrote:The helmet preachers have some real nerve talking with an air of superiority.
...and you seemingly assume everyone that preaches helmet use is a less skilled or less safe rider than you? Talk about an air of superiority.

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