A helmet saved my life -- believe it



M

Marc Brett

Guest
For all you doubting-Thomases who think helmets don't work in real-world
collisions with vehicles.


Bike helmet crushed, but head fine
http://www.madison.com/tct/news/index.php?ntid=133934

A white paneled delivery truck ran over a UW-Madison graduate student's
head on Division Street Friday afternoon and, except for a concussion,
he wasn't hurt.
 
H

Howard

Guest
On May 15, 9:57 am, Marc Brett <[email protected]> wrote:
> For all you doubting-Thomases who think helmets don't work in real-world
> collisions with vehicles.
>
> Bike helmet crushed, but head finehttp://www.madison.com/tct/news/index.php?ntid=133934
>
> A white paneled delivery truck ran over a UW-Madison graduate student's
> head on Division Street Friday afternoon and, except for a concussion,
> he wasn't hurt.


Hmmm, Just goes to show that human skulls, like eggshells, can be
surprisingly strong. Can't say the same for the polystyrene hat he was
weaing though, it looks like it just fell to bits. This is not
surprising given all the holes in modern cycle helmets and the fact
that they are only designed to absorb around 100 Joules of energy in
an 'ideal world' crash situation. (And this is for 'Snell' certified
helmets, a standard which is so 'high' that almost no helmets
currently available meet it).

In a classic 'over the handlebars' crash where a 75 kg cyclist is
doing only 15.6 Mph (7 m/sec) when a car pulls out and is hit by the
cyclist who summersault forward and lands head first the kinetic
energy carried by the airborne cyclist will be 1837 Joules, almost 17
times the load imposed on the helmet when certified to Snell
standards. If the helmet is the first point of impact it will simply
bottom out (or, as often happens with a modern helmet, break up) and
even if the helmet were to absorb all the energy it was designed to
94% of the energy developed in the crash must be dissipated by other
means, which potentially includes dissipation via the riders skull,
brain and body. It is obvious that much larger forces than even these
may be generated should someone be struck by a large, unyielding motor
vehicle travelling at speed, and this is without considering other
such all important factors such as the creation of rotational forces
within the brain in a violent road crash which may kill even when '
direct impact' injuries such as skull fractures do not occur.

Do helmets genuinely 'save lives'? I have serious doubts myself...
 
P

Peter Clinch

Guest
Marc Brett wrote:
> For all you doubting-Thomases who think helmets don't work in real-world
> collisions with vehicles.


I'm not saying he'd have come out just as well without a helmet, but can
you say beyond all shadow of doubt that he'd be dead without one? And
if you can't (and I think you can't, because tyres spread loads quite
well and skulls are remarkably strong) then is it reasonable to say it
surely saved the life? No.

And since that sort of accident could just as well happen to a
pedestrian, is that a persuasive argument to wear a lid as a pedestrian?
I don't think so, I doubt you do either, but you're making the
traditional jump of treating similar risks completely differently for no
other reason than one is a on a bike.

We're back to the 2 salient points of whether or not wearing a helmet is
actually worth doing:

1) since the risks of serious head injury cycling are not especially
greater than while driving or being a pedestrian, is it sensible to
adopt a completely different strategy to deal with the (actually rather
low) risk? (I say no, but if you say yes then you should think about why)

2) if EN1078 lids really do make a tangible difference, where are the
casualty savings? Increasing helmet wearing rates have yet to show any
improvement in serious head injury rates across the cycling population,
which is incompatible with them being a major safety win.

So you can wave your incolclusive anecdotes about, and I'll keep my lid
for occasional technical MTB forays where I (a) expect to fall off and
(b) at low speeds with no other vehicles involved.

Pete.
--
Peter Clinch Medical Physics IT Officer
Tel 44 1382 660111 ext. 33637 Univ. of Dundee, Ninewells Hospital
Fax 44 1382 640177 Dundee DD1 9SY Scotland UK
net [email protected] http://www.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/
 
D

dkahn400

Guest
On May 15, 9:57 am, Marc Brett <[email protected]> wrote:
> For all you doubting-Thomases who think helmets don't work in real-world
> collisions with vehicles.
>
> Bike helmet crushed, but head finehttp://www.madison.com/tct/news/index.php?ntid=133934


>From the photograph you can see clearly that the tyre ran over the

aerodynamic tail at the back of the helmet - the part that didn't
contain Ryan's head. The fact that that part of the helmet was crushed
makes it fairly obvious that it would not have protected anything
within it.

Ryan thinks his head was run over because he felt pressure from the
helmet while its tail was being crushed. That may well have been the
source of his reported concussion. This looks to me like yet another
case of a helmet credited with saving a life when actually it failed
to prevent, and may actually have promoted, a brain injury
(concussion).

--
Dave...
 
T

Tom Orr

Guest
"dkahn400" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]
<snipped>
> Ryan thinks his head was run over because he felt pressure from the
> helmet while its tail was being crushed. That may well have been the
> source of his reported concussion. This looks to me like yet another
> case of a helmet credited with saving a life when actually it failed
> to prevent, and may actually have promoted, a brain injury
> (concussion).


If you don't think that there is ANY situation in which a bicycle helmet can
reduce the chances of injury and indeed actually make injury more likely why
are you not actively campaigning to have them banned?

Tom.
 
H

Howard

Guest
On May 15, 10:40 am, dkahn400 <[email protected]> wrote:

> aerodynamic tail at the back of the helmet - the part that didn't
> contain Ryan's head. The fact that that part of the helmet was crushed
> makes it fairly obvious that it would not have protected anything
> within it.
>


Quite so. It also takes very, very little energy to actually break up
a cycle helmet, as opposed to crushing down the foam it is made of. I
was easily able to break up an old cycle helmet I had simply by
squeezing the sides together. Now if somone can show me a picture of a
cycle helmet that has been laid on the floor, driven over by a truck
and has remained intact, I might be a little more impressed. (Although
such a test would tell us very little about it's ability to absorb the
energy of an impact, and of course the main problem in an impact is
the fact that nothing can prevent the brain from 'sloshing' around
inside the skull, being torn, lacertated, contused and otherwise
damaged as it does so).
 
D

David Martin

Guest
On May 15, 10:45 am, "Tom Orr" <[email protected]> wrote:
> "dkahn400" <[email protected]> wrote in message
>
> news:[email protected]
> <snipped>
>
> > Ryan thinks his head was run over because he felt pressure from the
> > helmet while its tail was being crushed. That may well have been the
> > source of his reported concussion. This looks to me like yet another
> > case of a helmet credited with saving a life when actually it failed
> > to prevent, and may actually have promoted, a brain injury
> > (concussion).

>
> If you don't think that there is ANY situation in which a bicycle helmet can
> reduce the chances of injury and indeed actually make injury more likely why
> are you not actively campaigning to have them banned?
>
> Tom.


That is somewhat of a misstatement of his position.

The claim that the helmet saved his life in this situation is
laughable. It crushed to maximum, which means that the entire weight
of the truck was transmitted through the helmet. Sure it may have
saved some gravel rash, but save his life? not a chance in that
situation.

...d
 
On 15 May, 09:57, Marc Brett <[email protected]> wrote:
> For all you doubting-Thomases who think helmets don't work in real-world
> collisions with vehicles.


Or:

For all you doubting-Thomases who think bike-paths work in real-world
interactions with vehicles.


> ... http://www.madison.com/tct/news/index.php?ntid=133934


> A white paneled delivery truck ran over a UW-Madison graduate student's
> head on Division Street Friday afternoon...


... the cyclist realised too late that the "green light" at the
intersection ahead was not going to prevent a truck turning right into
his path, as the cycle path he was using routed him onto the street at
the intersection and into the path of oncoming traffic.

"He had to have seen me." said Lipscomb after the incident.

The truck did not stop after the incident, which Police are treating
as a Hit and Run.

Cheers,
W.
 
S

Simon Brooke

Guest
in message <[email protected]>, Marc Brett
('[email protected]') wrote:

> For all you doubting-Thomases who think helmets don't work in real-world
> collisions with vehicles.
>
>
> Bike helmet crushed, but head fine
> http://www.madison.com/tct/news/index.php?ntid=133934
>
> A white paneled delivery truck ran over a UW-Madison graduate student's
> head on Division Street Friday afternoon and, except for a concussion,
> he wasn't hurt.


Apart from concussion, he would not have been hurt anyway. Simple test: put
a rock in a helmet, run the truck over it. Helmet crushed, rock undamaged.
Put a cake in a helmet, run the truck over it. Helmet crushed, cake
crushed.

The reason the skull doesn't crush is because it's about 300 times stronger
than the helmet, and has evolved over many millions of years to survive
major impacts and crushing injuries. The helmet is irrelevant, it crushes
anyway. If what's inside the helmet is strong, it won't crush. It what's
inside the helmet isn't strong, it will crush. Human skulls are very
strong. Cycling helmets are very weak.

In impact, it's possible for the helmet to make some difference, however
limited; in crushing, it is completely impossible for the helmet to make
any difference.

--
[email protected] (Simon Brooke) http://www.jasmine.org.uk/~simon/

;; single speed mountain bikes: for people who cycle on flat mountains.
 
R

Roger Merriman

Guest
Marc Brett <[email protected]> wrote:

> For all you doubting-Thomases who think helmets don't work in real-world
> collisions with vehicles.
>
>
> Bike helmet crushed, but head fine
> http://www.madison.com/tct/news/index.php?ntid=133934
>
> A white paneled delivery truck ran over a UW-Madison graduate student's
> head on Division Street Friday afternoon and, except for a concussion,
> he wasn't hurt.


i can't see how that proves much, looks like the helmet failed pritty
much totally, think of car crash tests the idea is that the cabin must
remain, in this the helmet has failed totaly transmiting more likely the
best part of the forces. after all what do you expect from a plastic
coated foam hat?

roger
 
D

Daniel Barlow

Guest
Marc Brett wrote:
> A white paneled delivery truck ran over a UW-Madison graduate student's
> head on Division Street Friday afternoon and, except for a concussion,
> he wasn't hurt.


Had the cyclist known how to use his brakes, or for that matter had he
not been cycling on the right of a right-turning van in the first place
- a position he was doubtless encouraged into by the particularly dumb
decision to put a cycle lane there - he'd have got away without even the
concussion (and there wouldn't be much of a news story either). The
helmet, once again, has distracted from the real issue.



-dan
 
B

bugbear

Guest
Marc Brett wrote:
> For all you doubting-Thomases who think helmets don't work in real-world
> collisions with vehicles.
>
>
> Bike helmet crushed, but head fine
> http://www.madison.com/tct/news/index.php?ntid=133934
>
> A white paneled delivery truck ran over a UW-Madison graduate student's
> head on Division Street Friday afternoon and, except for a concussion,
> he wasn't hurt.
>
>


If his head had been inside that helmet when it was crushed,
his head would have been crushed.

His head wasn't crushed.

Therefore his head wasn't in the helmet

Therefore the helmet didn't save him.

BugBear
 
A

Alan Braggins

Guest
In article <[email protected]>, Tom Orr wrote:
>"dkahn400" <[email protected]> wrote in message
><snipped>
>> Ryan thinks his head was run over because he felt pressure from the
>> helmet while its tail was being crushed. That may well have been the
>> source of his reported concussion. This looks to me like yet another
>> case of a helmet credited with saving a life when actually it failed
>> to prevent, and may actually have promoted, a brain injury
>> (concussion).

>
>If you don't think that there is ANY situation in which a bicycle helmet can
>reduce the chances of injury and indeed actually make injury more likely why
>are you not actively campaigning to have them banned?


If the moon is made of cheese why haven't you stopped beating your wife?
 
S

Simon Brooke

Guest
in message <[email protected]>, bugbear
('[email protected]_papermule.co.uk_trim') wrote:

> Marc Brett wrote:
>> For all you doubting-Thomases who think helmets don't work in real-world
>> collisions with vehicles.
>>
>> Bike helmet crushed, but head fine
>> http://www.madison.com/tct/news/index.php?ntid=133934
>>
>> A white paneled delivery truck ran over a UW-Madison graduate student's
>> head on Division Street Friday afternoon and, except for a concussion,
>> he wasn't hurt.

>
> If his head had been inside that helmet when it was crushed,
> his head would have been crushed.
>
> His head wasn't crushed.


Not necessarily. The air pressure in the tyres is somewhere between 30 and
100psi. I think - I'm not sure - that a human skull ought to resist that
much pressure. I have no problem believing a truck went over his head
without breaking his skull, although I wouldn't like to guarantee you'd
always get away with it.

--
[email protected] (Simon Brooke) http://www.jasmine.org.uk/~simon/

<p>Schroedinger's cat is <blink><strong>NOT</strong></blink> dead.</p>
 
C

Clive George

Guest
"Simon Brooke" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]

>> His head wasn't crushed.

>
> Not necessarily. The air pressure in the tyres is somewhere between 30 and
> 100psi. I think - I'm not sure - that a human skull ought to resist that
> much pressure. I have no problem believing a truck went over his head
> without breaking his skull, although I wouldn't like to guarantee you'd
> always get away with it.


Pressure - yes, provided it's a small enough area. But the force exerted by
the tyres is quite large - a couple of tons at least. I'd not rate a human
skull for that at all. The failure mode would be the same as standing on a
empty bean can on the side (*) - the top and bottom would be initially fine
(where the pressure is), but the sides would give way.

(* you can substitute a full bean can if you want - that'll take a much
bigger force, with the contents providing the strength, provided you can
promise the squishy bits inside the skull don't have anywhere to go...)

cheers,
clive
 
D

dkahn400

Guest
On May 15, 10:52 am, David Martin <[email protected]>
wrote:
> On May 15, 10:45 am, "Tom Orr" <[email protected]> wrote:


> > If you don't think that there is ANY situation in which a bicycle helmet can
> > reduce the chances of injury and indeed actually make injury more likely why
> > are you not actively campaigning to have them banned?


> That is somewhat of a misstatement of his position.


Somewhat. I don't believe this particular helmet saved Ryan's life in
this particular crash. It's about as likely as Blackadder's cigarillo
case saving him from the cannon ball in his duel with Throat-slasher
Wellington. Apart from the obvious point of the properties of the
materials involved you can see clearly that the tyre track goes over
the tail of helmet which in general use contains no cranium.

--
Dave...
 
R

RobDee

Guest
"Marc Brett" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]
>
> For all you doubting-Thomases who think helmets don't work in real-world
> collisions with vehicles.
>
>
> Bike helmet crushed, but head fine
> http://www.madison.com/tct/news/index.php?ntid=133934
>
> A white paneled delivery truck ran over a UW-Madison graduate student's
> head on Division Street Friday afternoon and, except for a concussion,
> he wasn't hurt.


Yes, but from the photo it seems clear that the guy's head was NOT in the
helmet at the time - picture him putting the helmet back on and then look
for the deformed / crushed skull that would have resulted regardless of a
bit of polystyrene to "protect" him. Or maybe you are really saying that the
guy's skull would have protected the helmet!!!!!?

It's the word "protect" that gets me when people talk about helmets: Ever
heard of Risk Factor Compensation? There was an excellent docu on it in UK a
few years back. Road safety experts were puzzled as to why, when a
dangerous curve was bulldozed out of a road, the accident rate failed to
drop. It turns out that drivers drive according to their perceived level of
danger - they used to slow down for the dangerous curve. With the removal of
the curve they just upped their risk taking to what they considered a fair
level. A bit like when any one of us would happily skip along a metre wide
track without a second thought - raise the track up 15 floors and the vast
majority of perfectly sane people wouldn't even walk on the thing at all!

Now - if you can just extrapolate these ideas to the wearing of cycle
helmets.............................
 
D

dkahn400

Guest
On 15 May, 16:17, "RobDee" <[email protected]> wrote:

> Now - if you can just extrapolate these ideas to the wearing of cycle
> helmets.............................


.... people will deny the effect exists. The properties of helmets are
truly magical.

--
Dave...
 
I

Ingo Keck

Guest
dkahn400 <[email protected]> wrote:

> On May 15, 9:57 am, Marc Brett <[email protected]> wrote:

[...]
> > http://www.madison.com/tct/news/index.php?ntid=133934

>
> From the photograph you can see clearly that the tyre ran over the
> aerodynamic tail at the back of the helmet - the part that didn't
> contain Ryan's head. The fact that that part of the helmet was crushed
> makes it fairly obvious that it would not have protected anything
> within it.
>
> Ryan thinks his head was run over because he felt pressure from the
> helmet while its tail was being crushed. That may well have been the
> source of his reported concussion. This looks to me like yet another
> case of a helmet credited with saving a life when actually it failed
> to prevent, and may actually have promoted, a brain injury
> (concussion).


I agree with you and I put a similar comment on the same page maybe six
hours ago. Shortly afterwards there were more comments on the same
subject.

Now (18:02 in Barcelona) all these comments (including mine) have
disappeared.

I have sent an email to [email protected], lets see what has
happend.

Ingo.
 
C

Clive George

Guest
"dkahn400" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]

> From the photograph you can see clearly that the tyre ran over the
> aerodynamic tail at the back of the helmet - the part that didn't
> contain Ryan's head. The fact that that part of the helmet was crushed
> makes it fairly obvious that it would not have protected anything
> within it.


Seen elsewhere:

"We cannot agree
that if Ryan wasn't wearing a helmet, he wouldn't have had a concussion.
Ryan was wearing a Giro road helmet. Like most road-style helmets, they are
protective, thin and lightweight, but they do not have a lot of foam
material in the rear of the head, like an MTB helmet has.

The picture in the article shows the crushed helmet, broken along
several places along the backside. Ryan's head, in combination with the
helmet, took the weight of the truck tire. The helmet did it's job by
absorbing/dispersing most of the impact/weight, and Ryan's head suffered a
concussion, the result of his head being UNDER the weight of the truck
wheel."

Some people truly have faith...

cheers,
clive