Helmets: to wear, or not to wear?



Randomus

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Jul 10, 2005
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lava said:
Not sure why my reply inspired your post, but okay... I totally agree, by the way. I always wear a helmet too.
Hmm... I am not sure what happened - I wasn't trying to quote your post. Oh well! :confused::cool:

Cheers!
 

lava

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Feb 16, 2005
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Randomus said:
Hmm... I am not sure what happened - I wasn't trying to quote your post. Oh well! :confused::cool:

Cheers!
That's why your name is Randomus!
biggrin.gif
 

nomotornozen

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Apr 1, 2006
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framism said:
I've stumbled upon a website that helmets examines the value of helmets. Want to know the proportion of wearers to non-wearers. Vote away!
http://www.motorcyclistonline.com/gearbox/motorcycle_helmet_review/index.html is the first in depth look at motorcycle helmets in decades, and caused quite a bit of controversy among bikers. Most of us are polarized on the helmet issue too, and many were amazed to find that the article saying that cheaper helmets protected you better - and that a bicycle style helmet may offer enough protection while riding. After 16 years of riding, it feels strange to me to be missing the comforting feel of my full face helmet when I'm pedaling my single track exercise machine - but I'm not going to pedal without it.
 

Dondare

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Oct 13, 2005
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I don't wear a helmet, but I'm not going to vote in this particular poll.

The site linked-to in the first post explains why cyclists have no more reason to wear helmets than do pedestrians or drivers, and also explains why helmet-wearing should not be promoted or made a legal requirement.
 

RubberSideDown

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Nov 17, 2003
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I've always worn a helmet. And what happened a couple of weeks ago is a good example of why I wear one.

A friend of mine was bombing down a fire road at about 25 MPH on his mt. bike. He hit a loose patch of gravel which made him lose control of the bike making his bike go one way, and him going the another way. Needless to say he went down Hard. Not only did he get a couple of nasty scrapes which required stitches, his head hit the biggest rock on the whole hill. His helmet was split in two and he was almost knocked unconscious. Had he not been wearing a helmet that would have been his skull split in two. He was very fortunate to have been smart enough to be wearing a helmet.

Plus, it doesn’t take falling off your bike on a down hill at 25 miles an hour to hit your head and cause serious damage.

"And that all I have to say about that."

Wear a helmet and keep the RubberSideDown!

Ride On!
 

framism

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Apr 24, 2006
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Peb0 said:
In my opinion the options need to be vague enough for people to put their own definition but specific enough to derive some meaning.

1) Always
2) Mosttimes
3) Sometimes
4) Never

I think everyone can generally associate themselves with one of these groups, even if it's for different reasons

Good call. New poll being created just now.
 

framism

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Apr 24, 2006
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nomotornozen said:
http://www.motorcyclistonline.com/gearbox/motorcycle_helmet_review/index.html is the first in depth look at motorcycle helmets in decades, and caused quite a bit of controversy among bikers. Most of us are polarized on the helmet issue too, and many were amazed to find that the article saying that cheaper helmets protected you better - and that a bicycle style helmet may offer enough protection while riding.
It's not an easy task to reconcile year old beliefs with alternative views! I find this quote from the article quite amusing:
The Snell Foundation has also been less than kind to some renowned head- injury scientists for trying to find, and give our readers, the truth.
Echoes of the pharmeceutical industry, perhaps?
 

yanosan

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Nov 23, 2005
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I'm a wearer...absolutely. I too was a hockey player, skier and motorcycle rider. Scrapes on my helmets suggest that I'd not be around had it not been for my lids.

Consumer's need to do understand the limitations of helmets. Fit them properly or they don't work. There are also trade-offs in terms of efficacy and comfort. Price does not necessarily equate to quality.

In the past couple years I took a look at making helmets as part of my business. What absolutely shocked me was the changing nature of construction.

Current, "sexy", helmets seem more inclined to survive a crash than the wearer! The standards to which manufacturers subject their products to have changed...check you local bike shop to see how many of those cool helmets have been tested to the SNELL standard.

It's worth asking how energy from an impact is dispersed over the area of the helmet and, in turn, to the wearer's head. Just look at your kid's helmet (no vents) and your sexy 21 vent helmet. The adult helmet insures that all the energy of a direct impact is delivered to your head in narrow "channels".

I showed my kids an example of this concept...easily done. I have a sexy helmet my kids have a skater style and storm-trooper toddler style.

Three helmets, each loaded with a semi-ripe cantaloupe, dropped from our low deck. All three pieces of fruit survived, though one of the fruit emerged with the "channel" pattern embossed on it...feel welcome to try it at home!

I'm not advocating full face helmets for commuting but understanding that if you get nail by a car and you're doing 30mph into concrete different helmets perform differently depending not only on fit, being properly secured and style.
 

nomotornozen

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Apr 1, 2006
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framism said:
It's not an easy task to reconcile year old beliefs with alternative views! I find this quote from the article quite amusing:
Echoes of the pharmeceutical industry, perhaps?
That's exactly what I thought! The relentless pursuit of short term profits at the expense of the public.
 

dhk

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Sep 1, 2003
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Thought this debate ended many years ago. By now, many of us have crashed with helmets on, or witnessed crashes and picked up broken helmets of fellow cyclists. Doesn't take a genius to understand that a cracked helmet has absorbed a lot of energy and lessened the blow to the head.

All the club rides, century rides and races around here require helmets as a condition of entry. The only people I see riding without them here are recreational duffers out on the bikepath. In fact, one of them, a man in his 50's, died from a head injury earlier this spring when he crashed his hybrid bike just a few blocks from home on his way to the bikepath. He probably thought he didn't need a helmet since he wasn't riding in traffic...but of course his faulty thinking cost him his life.
 

stevebaby

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Jun 22, 2004
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Randomus said:
Hmm... I am not sure what happened - I wasn't trying to quote your post. Oh well! :confused::cool:

Cheers!
There are two ways to reply.The "reply" button at the right of your screen quotes the post.The "post a reply" button on the left doesn't.
It took a few months for me to notice.
:D
 

stevebaby

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Jun 22, 2004
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Peb0 said:
No. Choosing not to choose is a choice, when done deliberately.
I can neither answer 1 nor 2 exclusively and as such choosing one over the other does not properly reflect my true answer...

which is... "depends".

When I pop to the corner store, I do not wear my helmet.
When I go on a trail ride, I do wear my helmet.

I have experienced situations where my helmet has helped prevent a potentially more harmful incident (though I think I've never been in a life changing or threatening situation), but likewise have also had the aerodynamic holes help a branch to try and skewer my head, that otherwise would have brushed harmlesslly through my hair.

Pebo
My experience pretty much mirrors yours and my answer is the same.
I do wonder when I see small children riding without helmets.Adults can decide for themselves but it's a different story for kids who may not have the same skills as adults.I feel a bit guilty when I ,bareheaded,ride past a bunch of kids without helmets.Am I setting a bad example for them?
I agree that sheer numbers provide the best protection.
 

cucamelsmd15

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Apr 6, 2005
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dhk said:
Thought this debate ended many years ago. By now, many of us have crashed with helmets on, or witnessed crashes and picked up broken helmets of fellow cyclists. Doesn't take a genius to understand that a cracked helmet has absorbed a lot of energy and lessened the blow to the head.

All the club rides, century rides and races around here require helmets as a condition of entry. The only people I see riding without them here are recreational duffers out on the bikepath. In fact, one of them, a man in his 50's, died from a head injury earlier this spring when he crashed his hybrid bike just a few blocks from home on his way to the bikepath. He probably thought he didn't need a helmet since he wasn't riding in traffic...but of course his faulty thinking cost him his life.
Im going to say the same on this one. Ive seen some pretty bad crashes that could have been alot worse, sans helmet.
 

cucamelsmd15

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Apr 6, 2005
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stevebaby said:
I do wonder when I see small children riding without helmets.Adults can decide for themselves but it's a different story for kids who may not have the same skills as adults.I feel a bit guilty when I ,bareheaded,ride past a bunch of kids without helmets.Am I setting a bad example for them?
I actually had a situation like this one happen about a month ago. I was out riding, in warm weather on a steep section of road, and I removed my helmet, and never bothered to put it back on. I stopped at a stoplight a few miles later, and I heard the child in the car that pulled up next to me say "Look mom, that guy isnt wearing a helmet, why do I have to wear one when I ride?". I took note, and replaced my helmet immediately.

Id rather not set a bad example for kids. Adults are adults, and old enough to make their own decisions, but after hearing that kid, mine is on all the time, everywhere I go. That kid may grow up, and continue riding, and do so without wearing a helmet, but I know I wont have any influence on them doing that. Just my take.
 

framism

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Apr 24, 2006
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dhk said:
All the club rides, century rides and races around here require helmets as a condition of entry. The only people I see riding without them here are recreational duffers out on the bikepath. In fact, one of them, a man in his 50's, died from a head injury earlier this spring when he crashed his hybrid bike just a few blocks from home on his way to the bikepath. He probably thought he didn't need a helmet since he wasn't riding in traffic...but of course his faulty thinking cost him his life.
Does anyone know why that is, helmets as condition of entry? I assume it is something to do with promoting helmet use.

Was his choice not to wear a helmet what cost him his life? Perhaps, perhaps not. Check this quote from a page titled "What is the balance of advantage?":
If helmet wearing is unlikely to affect the amount you cycle, you may like to consider the following. Interpretation of the data can be controversial, but examination of the wider evidence from places where helmet use has become significant suggests that the following are reasonable conclusions:

* If worn correctly, a cycle helmet may afford some protection against minor, largely superficial, injuries to the head.
* A helmet is unlikely to offer protection against more serious or life-threatening injuries.
* You are more likely to hit your head in a crash if you wear a helmet.
You may be more likely to crash in the first place, particularly if a helmet makes you feel better protected.
* A helmet may increase the very small risk of the most serious brain injuries that lead to death and chronic intellectual disability.
* The likelihood of serious head injury when cycling is extremely small, and hugely outweighed by the health benefits of cycling.

In all cases you should regard learning to cycle skilfully as your most effective defence against injury of any kind.
 

mysrh

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Apr 2, 2006
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Hi, just want to share my recent experience.
I, too, never understand why I should wear a helmet but I still do because it's the law in Australia.

Until 3 weeks ago, when I went home from work, and I was just a few metres from my house, I live near a highway, so I had to cross the road, I always waited untill red light even if the road is clear, I also always wait a couple seconds after the bike traffic light turns green to make sure all cars stop.

But the next thing I opened my eyes, I was in ICU, and I couldn't remember anything (having a short term memory loss), my family told me I was hit by a car that my body was thrown off to the car's windshield.

Looking at my helmet and where I got injury most, I find similarity, the right side of my helmet is shattered open, and all my injuries and stitches are on my shoulder and right side of my head. The 25 stitches are from my neck across my right side head.

Looking at them, I instantly realised that my 10-year-old helmet had saved my life, IF I didn't wear the helmet, god knew what was going to happen to my head.

A TV reporter interviewed me as the government is on the debate on the compolsury of wearing a helmet. Here's the news:
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=7117583961136153357
 

dhk

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Sep 1, 2003
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framism said:
Does anyone know why that is, helmets as condition of entry? I assume it is something to do with promoting helmet use.

Was his choice not to wear a helmet what cost him his life? Perhaps, perhaps not. Check this quote from a page titled "What is the balance of advantage?":
Sorry, but these vaguely-worded generalizations sound totally ignorant to me. We all know that helmets provide a degree of protection against any head injury. The fact that this protection works well in "minor accidents" , but isn't sufficient in a worst-case accident, eg, when hitting a tree or car head-on at 50 mph, certainly doesn't mean it's not worth wearing a helmet.

The notion that I'm more likely to crash when wearing a helmet is ridiculous. I haven't ridden without a helmet in 30 years, and still am very aware of the possibility of crashing whenever the road is slick, sandy or rough, or when I'm bombing downhill at 50 mph and the warning sign has the upcoming turn marked at 25.

The last two points seem particularly stupid. The fact that I might survive a serious accident with a permanent disability while wearing a helmet, vs being killed outright, is hardly a great arguement for not using a helmet. Not sure what "extremely small" risk is, but head-injury is one of the primary causes of death in cycling accidents. The health benefits of cycling are the same whether I'm wearing a helmet or not; just that going bare-headed increases the risk of something very unhealthy occurring.

Agree on the final summary: learning to ride well and avoiding crashes is the best defense. But again, what does that have to do with helmet use? I have been fortunate never to have received a serious injury in 30 years of riding, but I understand that I can be in an accident on my next ride, either due to a mistake on my part, or caused by another rider or driver. Anyone who thinks they are too good or too experienced a rider to ever crash is really fooling themselves.
 

dhk

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Sep 1, 2003
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mysrh, hope you're healing well, and recover fully with no permanent damage. Perhaps your sad story will convince a few people that helmets really do work, and that accidents happen on the road even to careful riders.
 

Insight Driver

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Jun 26, 2003
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A little balance and facts. I type this in Google Search: bicycle helmet effectiveness.

These are the top links that came up:
http://www.google.com/search?source...005-09,GGGL:en&q=bicycle+helmet+effectiveness
http://www.dft.gov.uk/stellent/grou...page/dft_rdsafety_507998-11.hcsp#P1846_149297
http://depts.washington.edu/hiprc/practices/topic/bicycles/helmeteffect.html
http://www.helmets.org/henderso.htm
http://www.magma.ca/~ocbc/hfaq.html
http://www.collegeboard.com/yes/ft/iu/bicycle_helmet.html
http://www.flutterby.com/archives/comments/8777.html

You will note when reading these carefully that it is clear the poster's site is blatantly anti-helmet for it only cherry-picks data that support it's position.
 

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