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A Request for Information - Helmets
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What has been your experience with respect to helmet usage?
I have had an experience where I believe that wearing a helmet saved me from suffering serious (or decreased severity of) injury
74%
 74%  [ 40 ]
I have had an experience where I believe that wearing a helmet caused me to suffer serious (or increased severity of) injury
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
I have had both experiences where helmet usage reduced the severity and where helmet usage increased the severity of injury
1%
 1%  [ 1 ]
I have fallen or been in accidents while wearing a helmet, but have never felt that the helmet either reduced or increased the severity of injury
24%
 24%  [ 13 ]
Total Votes : 54

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jimbo
Joined: 08 Dec 2003
Posts: 3208
Location: SW Virginia

12/21/06 10:32 PM

Very good point

We're all lucky at times

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Andy M-S
Joined: 11 Jan 2004
Posts: 3201
Location: Hamden (greater New Haven) CT

12/22/06 5:40 AM

Busted jaw...

Dark night, rain, road work, wheel into curb cut. OTB, knocked out, busted jaw, lower facial abrasions (sp?), slight concussion. Helmet thoroughly smashed in front, no damage to glasses (which stayed on) save a very minor scrape. No damage at all to head or face above the bridge of the nose. I was back at work (talking through a laptop) in less than a week.

None of this proves that the helmet did anything but save me from some scrapes--but I *believe* that I was better off without the scrapes, and that I probably would have had more damage had the helmet not absorbed some energy.

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Sparky
Joined: 08 Dec 2003
Posts: 17463
Location: Portland, OR

12/22/06 6:19 AM

I say we give Mike the proxy for all the dead guys...

Seriously, This helmet BS is pure nonsense to me. Wear one, don't wear one, a choice. Why everybody feels they have to go tell it on the mountain is beyond me. ;|

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ErikS
Joined: 19 May 2005
Posts: 8320
Location: Slowing boiling over in the steamy south, Global Warming is real

12/22/06 6:57 AM

I have to agree

It is a choice. Most clubs require a helmet, the USAF requires everyone riding on a AFB to wear one, military and civilian. All safety advocacy groups I know of are proponents of helmet wear. I have ridden without maybe twice in the past 15 years. Yep it felt nice to have the wind in my hair. I may do some slow winter riding without one. The simple heads up riding on empty roads is really no threat and I know it.

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daddy-o
Joined: 12 Apr 2004
Posts: 3299
Location: Springfield

12/22/06 8:46 AM

I'm pro helmet

I continue to wear a helmet even though so far all they've done is make me sweat more. 21 years ago I never wore a helmet, a leather hairnet in races. My finanee took a spill and a couple of days later we had matching Brancales because I insisted for her and she insisted only if I too. As nice as the old days with the wind in my hair were, I felt uncomfortable the couple of times I rode without one since that purchase.

Jimbo, and everyone with such stories: glad you are here, I agree the helmet made the difference

TTCC:


quote:
there is no "anti-helmet lobby".
You have got to be kidding. Of course I am including motorcyclists in my assessment of that statement. Maybe they aren't anti-helmet but pro-barehead.

Hey anti-helmet folk, pursuade someone who has replaced their helmet for one of their old ones. Experiment to see how difficult it is to crush the helmet while it's on a mannequin head. Apply a similar force to your skull. If you object to that last request consider yourself convinced and go buy a helmet.

The poll: YES include those like me who have never scratched their helmets. There are lots of smokers and asbestos workers who don't have cancer are included in those studies. I think this is similar the antecdotes about reckless racing when hairnets were banned, and the like.

Tell it to the mountain: Someone mentioned pedestrian hecklers who appear to ride very little. Those are the ones who need to be quiet. At least around here we argue instead of dictate.

Argue and post bizarre fantasy photoshop creations that is.

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Paul Datars
Joined: 13 Jan 2004
Posts: 1229
Location: Manotick, Ontario, Canada

12/22/06 9:22 AM

Hate to say it, but...

I have difficulty answering because while I have no doubt a couple times I know a helmet has saved me from injury I'm not convinced the injuries I was saved from could/would have been "serious". I believe it is highly unlikely a bicycle helmet can ever actually save a life, not even sure if it can even save one from a serious injury, but of course neither of these beliefs stop me from wearing one ALL the time. I guess if I focus on the "decreased severity" part I can say I'm in 'camp 1'.

I've always contended that wearing a helmet has virtually no 'cost' and it can save others from enough complications that it's actually SELFISH to not wear one. Case in point, earlier in this thread Allan Anderson mentioned a recent incident he had while on one of 'my' rides. Had he not been wearing a helmet it's easy to imagine he would not have been able to get back on the bike and ride the remaining 50km of a 190km day. Given that we were in the middle of nowhere it sure would have ruined the rest of the day for for a number, if not all, of the other riders that day. As it was the ride merely experienced an unpleasant delay, thanks to Allan wearing a helmet.

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dfcas
Joined: 11 Jan 2004
Posts: 2610
Location: hillbilly heaven

12/22/06 11:15 AM

Does this forum have a "block" feature?

I'd like to block any thread that has the word "helmet"..

NOTE: This is a joke.This is only a joke...

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Kevin Grady
Joined: 11 Jan 2004
Posts: 1721
Location: Seattle, WA

12/22/06 11:30 AM

1978

My first helmet was a modified hockey helmet (Norcon) soon to be famous as the Cutter's brain bucket in Breaking Away . It was plastic with urethane foam cushioning. Other choices were Bell, MSR and Skid Lid (a nice looking bad idea).

Within a week I got side-mirrored by a delivery van that put me over the handlebars and my brain stem reaction was to roll. Landed on my back in a grassy boulevard, but my head landed on the concrete curb. Cracked the back of the helmet, and after I was finally able to purchase some air in my lungs I felt fine, a little to fine. Mild concussion and a shaky walk home. Delivery van never stopped.

P.S. The worst (and one of the lighest) helmets I ever had was an early Pro-Tec with beer cooler styrofoam and the lycra wrap (1989). It was found that these helmets could exacerbate head/neck injuries because the fabric covers could catch on ground/objects. Dumped it immediately, as did the manufacturers, but there was never a recall.

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brian burgess
Joined: 10 Jan 2004
Posts: 2144
Location: south east PA

12/22/06 12:12 PM

3 times

1) Road race: 5 man break, 2 turns to go (w/ a team mate too). Hit right turn 2nd wheel, lead rider crashes in my path. No where to go (bike laid over at 25 mph) I skid w/ my rear tire hooking out to the right til it hits a seam and the bike stops and I keep rotating so I hit my left ass cheek, most of my back and SNAP crack the back of my head squarely and hard. Helmet stays together but foam has multiple cracks and dented.

2) CX race: Entering wooden bridge with significant left to right momemtum. Push pedal at apex on wet wood. Bike disappears from under me (wood showing all the stickiness of an ice skating rink), land, hit shoulder, whip-CRACK, hit left side of head on bridge. Again, some cracking in the foam.

3) Mt bike: Chasing local riders on singletrack when I realize the slight, fast and narrow trail is beginning to curve uphill and it's off-camber for most of the curve. Try to scrub speed and push into the turn but I'm going way too hot. Decide to lock 'em up and head in a straight line off the trail, right into and 8" wide tree, hitting it dead center. Rear wheel comes up, head wails tree. I drop back, clip in and maintain my place in line. Helmet cracked across top.

There is no doubt in my mind in all three cases (especially the first) I avoided significant injury by wearing a helmet.

That said, when I lived in flat and lightly traveled south Jersey I almost never wore a helmet when riding alone or with one other person. Two or more and I always did. Now that I live in twisty, hilly metro Philly, I wear one all the time.

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stan
Joined: 14 Feb 2004
Posts: 452

12/22/06 2:35 PM

Split helment in half

My front wheel got wedged in a merging railroad track and suddenlt stopped by bike. I went over the bars, flipped and landed on my back/butt. The impact through my head back, splitting the helment literally in half. No one can tell me that impact wouldn't have causes some serious head injury on a bare head.

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Brodirt
Joined: 06 Apr 2005
Posts: 2476
Location: skating on the thin ice of modern life

12/22/06 7:34 PM

2 big personal events, and 1 small one

and 2 that I witnessed, one of those 2 invloved 2 seperate riders.

I took what I though was a minor ordinary mtbing spill and later found my helmet cracked through for about 7 inches.

I took a serious mtb fall, 4ft. dropoff onto my head, and nothing happened.

I took a serious road crash and hit my right shoulder and head into the door of a parkedc car at about 18mph and nothing happened. I didnt even feel the impact with my head. Granted the car was a Neon, but its still a sturdier piece of shit then my head is.

A close friend, and GREAT rider, was teaching his significant other how to shift downtube shifters while standing and climbing. She fell at about 16mph from out of the saddle directly onto her helmeted head and aside from being seriously shaken nothing happened. She hit the brow ridge of her helmet and no doubt would have been seriously injured without the helmet.

I witnessed 2 unknown riders fall in an incident where I thought 1 was dead. The scene was gruesome with blood and twisted bodies and bikes. Both riders impaced their heads and both, while injured facially, suffered no neck or head injury.

As VP of Bike New York, I read reports of numerous falls in our rides. We require helmets on all of our rides. No head injury has occurred.

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Sparky
Joined: 08 Dec 2003
Posts: 17463
Location: Portland, OR

12/22/06 7:48 PM

OK, question

I have a few Motor Cycles as well as all the bicycles. My MC helmets are clearly both heavier and more protective than the 13 oz cycling helmet I wear. That said, downhill MTB use motocross helmets with full chin protection et al. at what point do we start wearing MC level helmets on the road? The other question is why did my full face MC helmet with a nice clear screen cost less than that 13 oz Giro? [retorical]

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JayPee
Joined: 15 Jan 2004
Posts: 2916
Location: Excited Mets Fan

12/23/06 9:01 AM

In-Poll Poll

Do people posting anecdotal remarks realize they need to cboth click on a dot & the SUBMIT or the results won't update to reflect their feelings?

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jimbo
Joined: 08 Dec 2003
Posts: 3208
Location: SW Virginia

12/23/06 9:04 AM

JP

Are you suggesting that we click a box each time we post to this thread? ;-)

I thought that we should check one box and then expand in text.

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JayPee
Joined: 15 Jan 2004
Posts: 2916
Location: Excited Mets Fan

12/23/06 9:13 AM

Nope

Once will do it!!

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dan emery
Joined: 11 Jan 2004
Posts: 6278
Location: Maine

12/23/06 10:12 AM

hockey helmet

>>My first helmet was a modified hockey helmet (Norcon)<<

My first helmet was a real hockey helmet. My first RR was the North Adams Fall Foliage Festival RR in '72, needed a helmet and I borrowed a roommate's hockey hat. Probably rode in cutoff jeans; I was pedalling my Raleigh Gran Prix. I think I was 5th, behind a 4 man group which believe it or not contained a guy who was on the nat team a short time later.

Once in a race I got into a sandy shoulder at pretty high speed, bounced my head off the ground, cracked my Giro LeMond and had no concussive type effects. I believe I would have had more effects with no helmet but don't know how much; I'm confident I had less severity with the helmet, but tend to think with no helmet I'd have known my bell was rung but not had a serious injury.

As I have posted before, I once shattered a truck windshield with my unhelmeted head - head on, I was going about 18 and the truck maybe 20. knocked out, concussion, no lasting effects. That was a pretty hard knock. Hard to say how much difference a helmet would have made, but if I had to do it again I'd wear the hat.

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Sparky
Joined: 08 Dec 2003
Posts: 17463
Location: Portland, OR

12/23/06 11:32 AM

knocked out, concussion, no lasting effects

Sure about that?? [ducking]

Just fun-in ya. ;)

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dan emery
Joined: 11 Jan 2004
Posts: 6278
Location: Maine

12/23/06 11:48 AM

not at all

>>knocked out, concussion, no lasting effects
Sure about that?? [ducking] <<

Yeah I kind of knew I was setting myself up with that, and my wife might have a different answer....

Anyway, my defense would be that I was just as lamebrained before the accident as after (and believe me I could document this).

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jimbo
Joined: 08 Dec 2003
Posts: 3208
Location: SW Virginia

12/23/06 1:17 PM

When you duck..

Can you quack?

More on the point - can you remember all that happened?

For instance, in Hawaii, when I broke the first collarbone, my helmet cracked when I lost the front wheel going around a curve downhill on a wet road.

I can remember that one. I remember my head hitting the road surface. I also remember looking around to see where I was. Then I lost my vision - everything went black on me.

I took the bike and wandered to the high side of the curve so that I thought I would be more visible. I couldn't see cars approaching but I heard them. I waved with my workable arm and got a ride back to an emergency center where I was taken to the hospital.

Now, when I went down to break my second collarbone, I don't remember anything after lunch that day. My first memory is of awaking in the middle of the night in a hospital, getting down to do one pushup and feeling some discomfort. I reached up to my right shoulder and realized that I had broken the collarbone. I then went back to sleep.

All I can do is guess, but I think that my first recollection occurred about 7-10 days after the accident.

That is what I was referring to when I was asking how much one remembers.

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pete hausner
Joined: 08 Dec 2003
Posts: 1547
Location: Outer Beantown

12/23/06 2:12 PM

Yup, Jim...more than a week, IIRC.

A lot of us, courtesy of your spouse, knew what had happened...and how things were going...before you did. Lots of folk had you on their personal Prayer Lists.

Give the spouse a hug from all of us. And bless you for coming back.

PH

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jimbo
Joined: 08 Dec 2003
Posts: 3208
Location: SW Virginia

12/23/06 3:19 PM

Yep, and she still knows a lot more than I do.

Thanks.

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Dan
Joined: 07 Nov 2005
Posts: 1012
Location: Chicago, USA

12/27/06 11:03 AM

Noggin workin'

Av BeN dmpD oN muh HEd LOTzA tyms bUt Noh ReAl daMuJ. REd humltz wirQ buTr THuhn bLeW

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Tom Phillips
Joined: 12 Jan 2004
Posts: 937
Location: Humboldt, CA

12/27/06 12:07 PM

Once

Playing around, descending a set of steep stairs with a landing in the middle. I'd done it ten or 15 times before, just a playful route home after a ride. I don't know what happened; I think I hit the transition too hot and flew the second set, hitting the concrete head first. I broke the little nub off the back of one neck vertabrae, had a black eye, a little rash on my cheek and shoulder and not a scratch on the rest of my body. The helmet was crushed just above my temple. According to the guy who was with me, when he first saw me I was completing a 20-ft slide, at the end of which I went into convulsions. Still missing massive portions of about three or four days. The helmet didn't save me from injury, but I'd rather not find out how bad the injury would have been had the extra energy absorbed by my crushing helmet been absorbed by my skull (especially that part of my skull). Broken frame, susp. fork crown twisted on the steer tube, tacoed front wheel.

On a lighter note, I've been whacked on the head going underneath a branch lots of times. If nothing else, the helmet has saved some scalp...

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Craig
Joined: 12 Jan 2004
Posts: 572

12/28/06 9:26 PM

I stopped wearing a helmet when riding road about a two years ago when I got a bee stuck between my glasses and the helmet and it stung me causing my eye to swell shut. Probably wouldn't have happened if I wasn't wearing a helmet. I got to thinking, what accident could I possibly get into riding solo (I rarely ride with others) that the helmet could save me? Sure, there are bike path situations and the odd car that might run a stop sign etc but these situations are probably equally dangerous when I'm walking to the corner store for milk and I'm not about to start wearing a helmet to do that. I suppose I could get a front flat on a fast descent. But for the most part I don't think the helmet is going to help a whole lot when a car crosses the center line or hits me from behind so I no longer bother wearing one.

I spent five years as a bike courier in Toronto, knocked down by cars three, maybe four times (truly, open mindedly, never my fault), and taken out once by a wet street car track (happens to everyone in Toronto at least once), never hit my head despite wearing a helmet the whole time. I firmly believe that some people just know how to fall better than others. If you tend to land on your head then maybe a helmet is a good idea. Me? I'll keep mine in the closet except for those days when I go mountain biking.

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RCoapman
Joined: 09 Feb 2005
Posts: 4692
Location: Probably on a boat on Puget Sound

12/29/06 5:00 AM

I'll admit that I'm a touch surprised at the number of people who didn't pick #1 even though it has ¾ of the votes........

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