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PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2013 6:21 pm 
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I remember seeing that interview with the transport secretary and Chris Boardman on the Daily Politics or something where they talked about helmets being unnecessary and Boardman's little film showed him riding around busy London streets helmet-less. I guess there is room for more than one opinion on these things.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2013 6:37 pm 
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it's a no brainer in my view, the pic in op says it all

in fact been wearing one so long now that feels strange on bike without one,


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2013 6:54 pm 
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I don't wear one.

I've read a lot of pros and cons: http://www.cyclecraft.co.uk/digest/helmet_research.html and I think they make sense if you're doing jumps and technical stuff off-road where they might protect you from a nasty bump from a tree root or low hanging branch etc. However, on road I'm extremely dubious about how much protection they offer from a fast moving vehicles. There are also reports that suggest that cars pass closer to helmeted cyclists - exactly what you don't want or that they may increase the risk of rotational head and neck injuries - the worst sort, due to the fact the make your head effectively bigger making it not only a larger target, but also providing increased leverage on impact.

But the main reason I don't wear one is the fact that they make my head sweat so much that it runs into my eyes - not much point having a protected head and not being able to see where you're going. :D

I always wear gloves and protective glasses.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2013 6:55 pm 
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Pyro Tim wrote:
The thing I hate most though is parents not wearing one when the kids are. It's saying to the kids that when they grow up, or get better as a rider, you won't need to wear one. I think that's crap. Nothing to do with age or ability, just common sense.

Glad your boy is OK.


Their argument is that children's heads are disproportionately large & heavy thus they tend to go head first.

I wear a helmet pretty much all the time unless I'm road testing outside the house. The one time I forgot my helmet, was of course the time I landed on my head & then had a nice trip to casualty, pretty much the only time I have fallen off at high speed, I don't tend to fall off that often, when I do I never hit head. I've never had to replace a helmet from a crash (and I would if I bashed it), but on that day 6/7/8 staples in my head later, I lost a lot of blood (resting my head on my arm, soaked my polo neck sleeve & was dripping on the floor) the ability to do mental arithmetic for several weeks.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2013 7:04 pm 
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Pyro Tim wrote:
I don't understand why anyone wouldn't wear a helmet. I've heard the arguments, so no need to repeat them, but none are valid.


...Because you say so. Sure.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2013 7:23 pm 
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Ok... I think you did the right thing getting your son to wear a helmet - but the general point you are trying to make is complete nonsense - because you know nothing about what is actually a pretty complicated subject.

ratbane wrote:
This is my 10year old sons Bell helmet after a major-league stack at Afan on Saturday. Somersaulted, and the first thing that hit the deck was the lower right back of his head. The helmet took it all, and failed as it should do.


How do you know the helmet took all the energy? Do you even know much energy the helmet is specced to take? It's quite a bit LESS than the amount likely to lead to a concussion, which is what usually leads to people being "kept in hospital over the weekend."

Quote:
He was battered, bruised and scraped, but able to get back on his bike, and ride 8 miles back to the car.

I hate to think what would have been the outcome if he hadn't been wearing it, but he'd have spent the weekend in hospital as a minimum I reckon.


This is what the guy who runs the main helmet test for Europe and who is probably the most respect forensic witness says:

Quote:
http://www.cyclehelmets.org/1209.html

It's not surprising that people who've been through a crash on their bike and escaped serious consequences but found helmet damage often believe strongly that the helmet has “saved their life”. However, the number of helmet users with this experience seems very much greater than the number of bare-headed cyclists who ever suffer a head injury. This suggests that the reality might not be so straightforward.
How cycle helmets work

The principal protection mechanism in a cycle helmet is the polystyrene foam, or styrofoam, that covers the head. When this receives a direct impact force, the styrofoam is intended to compress and in this way spread and reduce the force that is passed onto the skull, thus reducing linear accleration of the brain.

However, it is common for helmets to break without the polystyrene foam compressing at all. A major helmet manufacturer collected damaged childrens' helmets for investigation over several months. According to their senior engineer, in that time they did not see any helmet showing signs of crushing on the inside (Sundahl, 1998). Helmet foam does not 'rebound' after compression to any significant extent. If the styrofoam does not compress, it cannot reduce linear acceleration of the brain. The most protection that it can give to the wearer is to prevent focal damage of the skull and prevent minor wounds to the scalp. It is not likely to prevent serious brain injury.

[picture]This helmet has split along the ventilation slots, which is common. However, the thickness of the styrofoam has not been compressed.
It most likely gave no more than superficial protection.

Some dissipation of impact force might occur from the action of a helmet breaking, but in most cases this is likely to be small. Helmet standards require the foam to start to compress at a level of force less than that which might be expected to lead to brain injury. While it is known that many helmets do not actually meet the standards to which they are supposed to be accredited (BHRF, 1081), it follows that if the styrofoam does not compress at all, the direct linear force on the helmet was minimal and it's quite possible that the cyclist would not have received any injury if the helmet had not been worn.


So... It's VERY possible that your son's helmet had no effect. THEY USUALLY DO NOT. They always look trashed because they get that way really easily; you cannot use this to say that the helmet worked.

BUT

1. You should still wear a helmet for serious offroading. Because you are more likely than usual to come off the bike, and scalp lacerations are no fun. It's unfortunate most helmets don't work in practice - that's due to the poor test standard - but there you go.

2. That goes double for children - not for the reason someone else said, but because their skull bones aren't yet knitted together, so a bang on the skull can be much more serious.

3. The impact energy limit for a cycling helmet is so low that it is virtually impossible to for it save an adult from serious injury - oh, not a downhill helmet, but the usual 300g foam hat. To quote that Helmet Guy again:

Quote:
In cases of high impact, such as most crashes that involve a motor vehicle, the initial forces absorbed by a cycle helmet before breaking are only a small part of the total force and the protection provided by a helmet is likely to be minimal in this context. In cases where serious injury is likely, the impact energy potentials are commonly of a level that would overwhelm even Grand Prix motor racing helmets. Cycle helmets provide best protection in situations involving simple, low-speed falls with no other party involved. They are unlikely to offer adequate protection in life-threatening situations.


How much energy will a helmet absorb? If you standing up and trip over without managing to use your arms, you are pretty much on the limit - assuming you land so that the helmet takes the impact of your head only, and does so against a flat surface. It's important to understand this, just like it is the limits on any piece of safety equipment. Oh - and I'd suggest buying a Snell 95 cert helmet, because the European standard is so low.


Last edited by PurpleFrog on Mon Jun 24, 2013 7:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2013 7:26 pm 
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daugs wrote:
it's a no brainer in my view, the pic in op says it all


...The picture arguably looks like a helmet that didn't work. I see cracked foam, but not compression. If you think that is unlikely, see the source I gave above.

Everyone is entitled to their own views on helmets, but if you're going to use language that implies that only your side can be right then it might be an idea to spend a few minutes getting down at least the basic facts - the high rate of helmet failures, what helmets are supposed to do, how many people are killed each year by a cycling accident that is in the energy range where a helmet can possibly work (about zero.)


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2013 8:22 pm 
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Ratbane, I'm glad your Spawn is okay.

I've fallen, and the helmet sacrificed itself. On a rock. Yes, that would have f****d me up. That's *A* rock. I was riding in a wood, and it was the only rock for miles. Helmet was cheap insurance that day.

Our next door neighbour is an avid roadie. Her chain went, and she went over the bars on the road, head first. She got up, and carried on. Best case scenario for her would have been severe gravel rash on her scalp if she hadn't been wearing a helmet.

My wife had an off on a mountain board, and as she went down, the board (still attached to her feet) hit the back of her head. Result; 1cm deep mark across the width of her helmet (okay, not a bike, but bits of bike hurt too).


3 for 3 here. Helmets rock.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2013 8:23 pm 
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If i'd been wearing a lid in my accident then i probably wouldnt be here.
That said it was on the road but offroad i wear it all the time.

Quote:
The helmet took it all, and failed as it should do.


Actually, it shouldnt fail. Theyre not designed to fail only to break (crack in the shell, missing bits of foam(FOAM :lol:)and force you to buy another one. Unless its in 5 pieces and even then the good old gaffa tape will put it back in perfect working order.Except the tape is likely stronger having some fibers to it. So im reality it wont break :lol:


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2013 8:37 pm 
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I've worn helmets for various sports & stuff for most of my life. As a motorcyclist, the law forced me to wear one and there are always rumours of plans to make motorcyclists wear specific types of clothing. However, one school of thought is that too much protection can give you a false sense of security. My view is that if you were to get taken out by a car at speed then no amount of protective clothing will save your life. Having said that, I would never ride a motorcycle without a helmet.
I feel the same about cycling and snowboarding. I used to go on regular mountain bike trips to the Brecon Beacons and, on one trip, we were coming down a track not knowing there was a disused cattle grid at the bottom. It wasn't signposted and was effectively hidden by a slight rise - to the left of the grid (between the metal and the track) was a gap about 3 inches wide. We came at it at a fair speed and my friend caught her wheel in it - it catapulted her straight off the bike and straight into a stone bridge about 30 feet away. She hit the bridge head on and was still unconscious when the ambulance eventually got her to hospital. Thankfully she only had concussion ( and a lot of gravel rash).
My friend's helmet was in two pieces but had clearly taken the impact and saved her from more serious injury. After she'd recovered she contacted the helmet manufacturer and they asked her for the helmet so they could look into exactly how it had reacted with the impact and use it for their research - and they even sent her a new helmet.
The helmet issue is one of those things that we, as adults, have to decide for ourselves - and we have to respect what others decide to do. As much as I believe there is a need for helmets, I know that no argument in the world will make other people see it my way.
Ironically, I used to go on motorcycle demos against the helmet law. :?


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