Helmets - A Testimonial

Discussion in 'The Bike Cafe' started by El Loto, Aug 24, 2005.

  1. Don Shipp

    Don Shipp New Member

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    Do you believe in "Risk compensation"? If you wear a helmet, you feel safer, therefore take more risks, therefore are more likely to have an accident?
     


  2. huhenio

    huhenio New Member

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    Nope ... doing the same risky things now WITH a helmet!

    Endorphine and Adrenaline junkie ... you did not want to be with me in a car when I was 20!!
     
  3. mattjf

    mattjf New Member

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    It's not your own skills you have to worry about, it's people driving cars.

    And I don't understand the competent comment.
    http://images.google.com/images?q=tour+de+france+crash&hl=en&btnG=Search+Images

    Most of them seem competent. And there, they don't even have to contend with people in SUV's on cell phones.

    -Matt
     
  4. Tym Tucker

    Tym Tucker New Member

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    Here's my helmet testimonial:

    I've hit the asphalt enough times to learn my lesson, but here's the most memorable incident - go ahead and laugh, I always do!

    I was on my mountain bike. I came down a good sized hill onto a flat area, having spun out my largest gear and was coasting as fast as gravity would provide. I saw a discarded Christmas tree laying on its side in the middle of the flat ahead. Visions of a world-class bunny-hop quickly filled my head. I approached the tree and launched.

    I remember realizing, in mid-air, that balance had declined to take this trip with me and I was falling to my left side... I hit the ground HARD. Nothing broken, except my helmet. Major rash all over my left side, a little dizzy, but OK. That particular section of dirt was hard, may has well have been paved.

    I shudder to think what would have happened with no helmet...

    Tym
     
  5. g-brown

    g-brown New Member

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    When I was about 14 or 15, about 22, 23 years ago, I used to ride without my helmet. My mom would make me wear it and as soon as I was in the garage to get my bike I would take it off and leave it there as I rode away. Well, one day, inexplicibly, I decided to wear my helmet. I grew up in Boulder, CO and I was riding some hills that day I had never riden before.

    Anyway, as I was going through a narrow part of the road as I was riding home a car decided to pass me. I got all the way to the right and in fact was riding along in the gutter. After the car had passed me I maneuvered to get back onto the road, but as I did this my front tire caught the lip of where the road meets the gutter, sending the bike tumbling and me flying through the air. I landed very hard on the pavement, breaking my left collarbone and giving me road rash all down my body that I still have scars from. I landed hard on my head too and actually suffered a pretty severe concussion. The force of the landing shattered my helmet and left me unconscious as I lied there bleeding in the road. To this day I don't know how long I laid there unconscious but I awoke in the grassy median where I had been placed by two passing pedestrians. There is no doubt that I would have died that day if I hadn't worn my helmet. I have never gotten on a bike without my helmet since that day.
     
  6. Balderick

    Balderick New Member

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    Well - that explains it. Didn't the CTC have a policy that compulsory fitting of lights to bikes at night was strongly opposed, and shold be a matter of personal choice, because it should be the responsibility of motorists to look out for and see cyclists riding at night. Yep - that is about as persuasive as your feeble argument against wearing helmets, backed up by an equally feeble notion that somehow the risk profiles are different between London and other western car obssessed nations.

    A bit like "I want the right to have a baby" part of Life of Brian.:)

    No problem with my competence or confidence, or for that matter my ability to assess risk.
     
  7. Peka

    Peka New Member

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    To all those who have said "without my helmet I would have died..." or words to that effect, I would suggest that death would be the best outcome. More than one study of motorcycle helmet effectiveness (and I apologise for not having references handy...) has shown that in fact the helmets don't do much to stop people from being killed. If the impact is enough to kill you without a helmet, there's a bloody good change it will still kill you with a helmet. It's the impacts that don't cause death where helmets help - eg. instead of having bad (and most likely permanent) head injuries, you may just get a concussion.

    Sure, bicycle impacts are likely to be at a lower speed, but bicycle helmets are pretty ordinary compared to motorcycle helmets.

    I have a friend who got some nasty head injuries from a knob in a car who hit him. He was a careful, competent bicycle rider and yet he still got hit. He was wearing his helmet. He still got a fractured skull, even though it was obvious on inspection that the helmet absorbed some of the impact. By 'nasty' I mean permanent - he is not the same person he was. Would he have died without the helmet? I don't know, but I don't think so. At the very least his 'nasty' injuries would have been worse.

    If you want to put the fate of your head in the hands of all the incompetent drivers on the road, that's your choice. A helmet may not save your life, but there's no doubt it will reduce the head injuries that you will get when you some knob in a car cleans you up.

    Even if it just saves you from loosing some skin, I think it's worth it.
     
  8. Don Shipp

    Don Shipp New Member

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    The CTC opposed the obligation for cyclists to use lights that had been brought in as a wartime measure because of the blackout. It has been a good few years since they changed their stance on this. I use lights, good ones and plenty of them when I ride after dark, and I wonder what other people are thinking when they invest in a helmet but not lights. I prefer to avoid accidents rather than just try to survive them.
    Motorist aren't trying to kill cyclists, if they can see you, and you are acting in a sensible and predictable way, then they will be able to avoid running you down.
     
  9. fatbottomedgirl

    fatbottomedgirl New Member

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    I wear a helmet and have convinced some of my friends to do the same. Even for the one holdout , whenI give him a bike I'm giving him a helmet too, so at least he doesn't have the excuse of not having one.
    My helmet story is my last crash - I was going too fast trying to make it to a critical mass ride , riding on a sidewalk to avoid some of the drivers in the part of town i was in , my road tire caught the edge of the sidewalk andI went over the handlebars. When I got up the first thing I saw was how close my head came to a fence. I didn't feel hitting it and I'm not sure if I did but I was very glad my helmet was on !
    I was kind of hit or miss with my helmet until a few years ago when I was riding on a dark street with no lights or helmet ( DUMB, I know but this was then ) , caught my wheel in the rut of a railroad track going through the street and spilled. Made me think if Id been knocked out , a driver wouldn't have seen me in the road until they ran me over. Lesson learned, I always wear it .

    One question though: for protection, not aerodynamics , how much better is a $200 helmet over a $30 helmet , assuming they're bnoth snell approved? I try to repalce them fairly often since crashes ( I've even heard getting dropped too hard) can affect the the foam . At that rate the expensive ones could add up fast !
     
  10. LindaNo1

    LindaNo1 New Member

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    I usually get one at around £30 or so. My last one was a MET helmet and I haven't had any complaints with it. I was asking this guy in the Leisure Lakes bike shop about helmets and he reckoned you didn't need to replace your helmet unless you had dropped it, crashed or abused it a lot. I've had this one for around four years, not fallen off, yet! So I shall hang on to it a bit longer, cos it still looks fine ... :)
     
  11. wheelist

    wheelist New Member

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    Is this the Burberry one? :D
     
  12. LindaNo1

    LindaNo1 New Member

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    No, I keep that one for best ...
     
  13. El Loto

    El Loto New Member

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    Well I've been back out on the bike - with a helmet. I was very weary about turning out onto roads and made sure I had plenty of time to turn out. I'll have to build confidence but going back on the bike again has made me so much happier. I'm basically back to normal now but with a lovely scar on my neck.
    Thank you all for your posts. Keep riding safely.
     
  14. stone61cm

    stone61cm New Member

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    Always wear a helmet...I've had two pretty bad accidents, in addition to the dozen or so piss-you-off accidents.

    first, no helmet - riding along in aero position....dumb bitch turns in front of me. I t-bone her, fly 30 or so feet in the air and hit a concrete curb head first. Well, at least that's what they told me a few days later when I came to in the hospital.

    second, helmet - this was two weeks ago....just busted into a full sprint and slipped in the goddamn white line....flew off and landed on the back of my head. I sustained a pretty good concussion, took 6 staples, and crushed the back of my helmet.

    I'm surprised the frst did not kill me and think the second would've had I not worn a helmet.
     
  15. EoinC

    EoinC New Member

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    I'm a competent rider. I've had many years of racing behind me (and, hopefully, a few in front). I can handle my fixed-wheel well on the road and it gets a fair bit of use. Every year I crash - sometimes my fault, sometimes not. Where I ride is not the most traffic-rule savvy place on this planet. You do not always know where it's coming from (Although that may also apply in civilised London, Don).
    Earlier this year, I got T-boned by a taxi driver in Kuala Lumpur who saw me, but decided he could drive straight through me (as fast as possible). He sent me through the air across 2 lanes of oncoming traffic. In this case, it wasn't my helmet that saved me, but it wasn't my defensive riding that did either. I was riding correctly and defensively. He had a ninja-moment and nearly killed me. It was something I had no control over other than that I was on my bike by choice. Part of the risks of riding a bike?
    OK, so we all take risks by riding bikes - granted. I choose to reduce the severity risk of head injury by wearing a helmet. The weird thing is, wearing a helmet does not actually hurt - it doesn't give me headaches, it doesn't make my neck wilt and, it may just mean that my children don't have to come visit me in a head-injury trauma unit because of some psycho-taxi driver who wants revenge for the colonialist movements of previous centuries.
    For me, that helmet goes on when I get on my bike and it comes off when I get off.
     
  16. Yippee38

    Yippee38 New Member

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    My wife forbid me from wearing a helmet when I got my road bike a few weeks ago. She thinks they look completely silly. I agree. I don't look good with a helmet. Some people don't look bad. They're not flattering to me.

    She didn't go with me when I bought my bike. I bought a helmet. I've worn it every time I've ridden even though she doesn't like it. She's given up trying to talk me out of it. I don't like it, but I'll keep wearing it.
     
  17. ScottishDan

    ScottishDan New Member

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    Oh well, she'll just have to put arsenic in your cornflakes instead then.

    I don't wear a helmet, but I'm seriously considering buying one after reading this thread. I don't wear one because I love the feeling of having the wind on my head and that's always been a part of cycling for me

    I suppose you'd get used to a helmet like anything else. I ride motorbikes as well and the few times I've ridden without a helmet, I'd have to say that it is far more exhilarating.
     
  18. 3_days

    3_days New Member

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    I have had some problems with helmets, and not just from cycling- in playing hockey, I began wearing the Gretzky style Jofa bucket which put pressure on my head right above my temples. After a while, I found that I started getting more and more frequent tension headaches and migraines, especially during or after exercise. When I returned to my other usual brand of helmet, the situation still existed and got to be where I was loosening the helmet too much to have a decent fit.

    The difficulty for me is that a helmet might feel great in the store but $80.00 and two hours later, I expect that I'll have headaches again. Even a ballcap feels uncomfortable while riding. Yet, I can wear a cap all day with no problems.

    I give serious thought to the risks of cycling. I do a few things that limit some risk. I spend a whole lot of training time on a trainer indoors. When I do ride outside, I pick one of a handful of regular laps, where traffic is very limited and I'm familiar with road conditions. Or, I simply climb a steep hill where traffic is slow-moving or almost non-existent. Finally, I don't ride during rush hour or lunch hour.
     
  19. Balderick

    Balderick New Member

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    Might be a problem with fit. I had a Specialized brand helmet that gave me a headache all the time until the front cracked, then it fitted fine (but the benefit of the helmet was lost). I have a new Limar hemet that is the right shape. Try different brands, and even see if you can go for an extended test ride. If a helmet fits properly it should not cause the problems you describe.
     
  20. Yippee38

    Yippee38 New Member

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    If nothing else, perhaps you could hang out at your LBS wearing a helmet for an hour or so. I think that if you're going to feel some discomfort, you would feel it in an hour.
     
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