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  • Bike Helmets

    It's that time of year and this guy has an interesting take on things:

    http://www.howiechong.com/journal/2014/2/bike-helmets

  • #2
    Having ripped my forehead off down to my skull when I was a teenager, I prefer to wear a helmet now. I guarantee I was riding harder and taking more risk than any commuter when that happened, but what I think happened to cause my injury could happen in any situation on a bike: I went over the bars and hit my head on part of the bike which combined with my momentum, skinned my head pretty good. A helmet surely would have protected my soft flesh and it certainly could have been worse if I would have bruised my brain.

    I've also had this type of gash on other parts of my body, but it wasn't nearly as traumatic as the head - plus I have a nasty scar just under my hairline across my entire forehead that will never go away. Here's hopin' I don't lose my hair!

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    • #3
      plus I have a nasty scar just under my hairline across my entire forehead that will never go away. Here's hopin' I don't lose my hair!
      Do you also have bolts sticking out of yer neck?

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Todd Eastman View Post
        Do you also have bolts sticking out of yer neck?
        Not currently.

        I did seriously look a little Frankensteinish for about a month after. Anyway - to each his/her own. If you value your head, protect it. Seems a few around here are only a light knock away from a TBI.

        I learned the hard way. I didn't need some internet article with statistics to tell me what should have been obvious.

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        • #5
          POC, Kali Helmets and a couple of other companies are producing new helmet designs and they are using new types of materials so that if there is an impact the blow is spread over a wider area of the helmet and according to some articles I have read these new designs are significantly safer than the helmets we have had. Apparently the current generation of helmets sort of focuses the impact on a small area which results in a more severe injury. The use of GoPro camera and bike lights on top of helmets has triggered a huge amount of testing because they ask focus or leverage the impact on a small area of the helmet which again results in more severe injuries. I read this in Velo News. Garmin is now using the latest POC helmet called the Octal I believe. I suffered a pretty significant blow when cycling when I was 13, I was out for almost 30 hours. Later as an adult I raced for 14 years, racing without a helmet, or when in Belgium using a leather "hairnet" as they were jokingly referred to and never suffered a head injury although I did endure road rash on occasion. My local shop is supposedly receiving the Octal helmets and I'm probably getting Octal helmets for both the wife and myself.
          Last edited by SPQR; 4 May 2014, 10:55 PM. Reason: Left out word.

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          • #6
            The statistics and information that indicate wearing a helmet may increase risk are pretty shaky. I get that I may be exposed to head injury risk in many parts of my daily life, so I should work to mitigate risk wherever and whenever I can. I'm not going to wear a helmet driving. Not because I shouldn't, but it isn't socially acceptable.

            Also, many head injuries from driving aren't from impact, but from the brain itself slamming around inside the skull. A helmet wouldn't do **** for that.

            I will wear risk mitigating equipment wherever it is cost effective and socially acceptable to do so, and feel that every chance I get to do so it benefits me from a risk mitigation POV.

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            • #7
              Local bike shop made me wear a helmet to test a bike out in their parking lot...
              "Nobody ever got my name right." - Me

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              • #8
                I've never been a fan of our safety culture - "safety first!" I think that saying should be something like "safety third!" I feel there's a reasonable measure of safety one should take, and that should include common sense and assessing the risks. I wear a bike helmet in high-risk situations like riding single track with trees whipping past at 20+mph. I've broken a helmet or two mountain biking over the years due to poor judgment. Puttering around town on my old Schwinn corvette does not justify a helmet, IMO. In many situations, common sense and risk awareness are more protective than a helmet.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by climbhoser View Post
                  The statistics and information that indicate wearing a helmet may increase risk are pretty shaky. I get that I may be exposed to head injury risk in many parts of my daily life, so I should work to mitigate risk wherever and whenever I can. I'm not going to wear a helmet driving. Not because I shouldn't, but it isn't socially acceptable.

                  Also, many head injuries from driving aren't from impact, but from the brain itself slamming around inside the skull. A helmet wouldn't do **** for that.

                  I will wear risk mitigating equipment wherever it is cost effective and socially acceptable to do so, and feel that every chance I get to do so it benefits me from a risk mitigation POV.
                  You're the person that Howie is talking about in his blog. Not wearing a helmet in your car because it's not socially acceptable but wearing one while biking because it is? Not believing that helmeted riders are more likely to be involved in accidents?

                  You don't have a very good handle on the mechanism of injury with MVAs. The kind of injury you're trying to describe is most likely a brain stem or spinal cord injury caused by whiplash and no impact on the skull, that's not really a "brain injury" will happen helmeted or not. Sometimes we would call that decapitation, yes even if the head is still attached. A deceleration injury to the brain in an MVA is caused the cranium impacting something suddenly at high velocity and yes a helmet would help mitigate injury in this case just like on a bicycle. That's why cars now have ABS and padded steering wheels, dashes, columns etc. to help mitigate deceleration.

                  Howie has very good points and they are things that I've thought for years. I think a lot of people are really hearing what he has to say in his article- Helmets do help mitigate some injuries but may cause more accidents and exacerbate some mechanisms of injury.
                  Last edited by airinwrite; 5 May 2014, 10:59 AM.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by climbhoser View Post
                    The statistics and information that indicate wearing a helmet may increase risk are pretty shaky. I get that I may be exposed to head injury risk in many parts of my daily life, so I should work to mitigate risk wherever and whenever I can. I'm not going to wear a helmet driving. Not because I shouldn't, but it isn't socially acceptable.

                    Also, many head injuries from driving aren't from impact, but from the brain itself slamming around inside the skull. A helmet wouldn't do **** for that.

                    I will wear risk mitigating equipment wherever it is cost effective and socially acceptable to do so, and feel that every chance I get to do so it benefits me from a risk mitigation POV.
                    I take it you aren't into motor racing? I have been since I was young and still do race. Helmets, seats, and neck restraints as well as gloves and suits are certainly a very important part of keeping yourself alive. Motor racing and kart racing helmets are much different than any other, they are made specifically to resist what is called 'blunt force impact or trauma'. I can personally speak for guys I know who have bounced their head off the walls of Daytona at 120mph, cracked their helmet in half, and walked away with no brain injury. The idea of the helmet is to keep your brain from smashing your skull as hard by absorbing that energy. Or in that severe example, to keep it from leaking out onto the asphalt when your skull fractures.

                    But I do agree, helmets aren't worn in vehicles because it isn't socially acceptable. I don't wear one when I'm not racing, but honestly I think I should. If you've ever wrecked a car at high speed you might think the same. I honestly feel safer on a track, helmet and safety gear aside than I do on the public highway - most of that is due to the single flow of traffic and the relatively low chance of the T-bone or head on collision.

                    Originally posted by Crowbar View Post
                    I wear a bike helmet in high-risk situations like riding single track with trees whipping past at 20+mph. I've broken a helmet or two mountain biking over the years due to poor judgment. Puttering around town on my old Schwinn corvette does not justify a helmet, IMO. In many situations, common sense and risk awareness are more protective than a helmet.
                    I take it you've never been hit by a car at 20+ mph*. And if you tell me you're riding on the sidewalks I'm really going to dismiss this one...

                    I'm also not going to succumb to the relatively velocity bit. The chances that you are moving along with the flow of traffic at all times, including starting or stopping is near impossible, not to mention the relatively huge difference in mass. There is a lot of energy and very likely you'll get thrown if you are hit from the rear when moving with traffic.

                    *I have, not on a bike, but as a pedestrian in a parking lot. I wish I would have been wearing a helmet and full body pads. It hurt like a SOB. I was luckily, uninjured though.
                    Last edited by MikeK; 5 May 2014, 11:27 AM.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by MikeK View Post
                      I take it you've never been hit by a car at 20+ mph. And if you tell me you're riding on the sidewalks I'm really going to dismiss this one...
                      If you get hit by a car at 20+ mph a bicycle helmet won't much if anything to mitigate the injuries. When was the last time you were hit by a car going 20+ mph, not just side-swiped or scared? Not many folks survive being hit by a car going that fast, helmeted or not, they die from massive multi system trauma.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by airinwrite View Post
                        If you get hit by a car at 20+ mph a bicycle helmet won't much if anything to mitigate the injuries. When was the last time you were hit by a car going 20+ mph, not just side-swiped or scared? Not many folks survive being hit by a car going that fast, helmeted or not, they die from massive multi system trauma.
                        Dude you missed my edit.

                        I HAVE! I was hit by a Honda Accord in college probably going between 15 and 20mph in a parking lot.

                        My legs got knocked out from under me, I was tossed up onto the hood and rolled up the windshield. The driver was pounding on the brakes while I was rolling up the hood and when I hit the windshield I was tossed about 10-15' through the air, curled in a ball, did a full somersault and landed on my back on the asphalt.

                        I rolled off into a ditch nearby, the car still sitting there with the headlights blasting me in the eyes. My first instinct was to kill the driver. I'm not a little guy, I was going to pummel them. I got up and my knee gave out (the one the bumper hit) and I fell back down in the ditch. I didn't feel like fighting after that.

                        Anyway it was some girl. She finally got out of the car and was bawling. I got up and realized I didn't have any major cuts and felt around for some broken bones and had none.

                        I was really lucky the way I landed on my back and rolled. My instinct told me to roll up in a ball. If I would have landed on my head or neck I would have been toast probably, or it least would have been in the hospital.

                        Other than a sore knee and a couple scrapes I was fine. What I'm saying is I should have been hurt real bad! And trust me, a helmet would have helped if my head would have hit the asphalt first.

                        Obviously I'm not saying we should wear helmets walking around in parking lots, but getting hit HURTS! Helmets do help.
                        Last edited by MikeK; 5 May 2014, 11:43 AM.

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                        • #13
                          I take it you've never been hit by a car at 20+ mph*. And if you tell me you're riding on the sidewalks I'm really going to dismiss this one...

                          I'm also not going to succumb to the relatively velocity bit. The chances that you are moving along with the flow of traffic at all times, including starting or stopping is near impossible, not to mention the relatively huge difference in mass. There is a lot of energy and very likely you'll get thrown if you are hit from the rear when moving with traffic.

                          *I have, not on a bike, but as a pedestrian in a parking lot. I wish I would have been wearing a helmet and full body pads. It hurt like a SOB. I was luckily, uninjured though.



                          When I was a kid, I've been hit by a car that was going 40+mph and got messed up pretty hard, but in town here, the speed limit is 25 and I am situationally aware of what's going on around me so I can anticipate and take evasive maneuvers when necessary. Plus, I'm not charging around town taking chances on my old clunker. When road biking on county roads where the speed limit is much higher and consequences much more dire, I wear a helmet.
                          Last edited by Crowbar; 5 May 2014, 11:44 AM.

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                          • #14
                            OK - I believe it should be the choice of the individual... so I'm not faulting you. I'm just trying to illustrate I've been effed up pretty good in some situations, and I prefer to wear my helmet when I'm racing or riding my bike (especially on the street).

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by MikeK View Post
                              Dude you missed my edit.

                              I HAVE! I was hit by a Honda Accord in college probably going between 15 and 20mph in a parking lot.

                              My legs got knocked out from under me, I was tossed up onto the hood and rolled up the windshield. The driver was pounding on the brakes while I was rolling up the hood and when I hit the windshield I was tossed about 10-15' through the air, curled in a ball, did a full somersault and landed on my back on the asphalt.

                              I rolled off into a ditch nearby, the car still sitting there with the headlights blasting me in the eyes. My first instinct was to kill the driver. I'm not a little guy, I was going to pummel them. I got up and my knee gave out (the one the bumper hit) and I fell back down in the ditch. I didn't feel like fighting after that.

                              Anyway it was some girl. She finally got out of the car and was bawling. I got up and realized I didn't have any major cuts and felt around for some broken bones and had none.

                              I was really lucky the way I landed on my back and rolled. My instinct told me to roll up in a ball. If I would have landed on my head or neck I would have been toast probably, or it least would have been in the hospital.

                              Other than a sore knee and a couple scrapes I was fine. What I'm saying is I should have been hurt real bad! And trust me, a helmet would have helped if my head would have hit the asphalt first.

                              Obviously I'm not saying we should wear helmets walking around in parking lots, but getting hit HURTS! Helmets do help.
                              So your story has nothing to do with how a helmet saved you life while being hit by a car going 20+ mph. Your story is a bit unbelievable and your estimation of her speed is just that, she could have been going 5 or 10 mph. I stand by my statement that most people, pedestrian or cyclist, won't survive a dead on collision with a vehicle going 20+ MPH.

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