How many of you always wear a helmet?

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
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noonoosdad
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Postby noonoosdad » 13 Mar 2008, 8:43pm

:D I always wear a Cycle Helmet and particularly since I was knocked off/'Nudged' off my bike last summer by some impatient motorist waiting to enter a roundabout......I was quite lucky not to get potted by another motorist when I was pushed off left into a Live Lane. I was very lucky to get away with a fractured left elbow.
I've just recently purchased a rather nice Giro Cycling Helmet.
In the words of Jacques Cousteau," Il est tout mon cul et Betty Grable !"

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Wildduck
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Postby Wildduck » 13 Mar 2008, 8:51pm

Perhaps you should try what I did back in my university days. I used to play in the university's american football team. The kit never fitted in my panniers right so I used to cycle the five miles each way semi-armoured wearing shoulder, hip and knee pads, not to mention a helmet with face cage that would had made a nice mess of somebody's car. Needless to say, I got LOTS of room :D
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iallen35
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Postby iallen35 » 13 Mar 2008, 9:28pm

I always wear one I understand the protection is minimum but thats enough for me. I ensure my kids always wear one too.

Manx Cat
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Postby Manx Cat » 13 Mar 2008, 10:14pm

I lived in Chester 2004-05 for an academic year finishing of my degree (started at the ripe age of 40). I didnt wear hi viz, or a helmet.

I was barmy! The town taught me a lot about riding aggressively. I road hard (weighed 3.5 stone less than I do now). I had 1 nasty fall, as a result of an oil spillage on a roundabout, but got away with it. Hips, and elbow took the force.

Loved Chester, loved the canal, loved all the cycle paths. My bike was my ownly transport and I learnt to really love it.


But I must admit. I am now the wife of an ill man, and for me, my own safety is much more important, as I am his carer when he is ill as well as wife. I wear my cycle helmet and lots of hi viz cos hubby has severe epilepsy that appeared out of the blue when OH turned 40 as well. We dont know why.


Although it maybe wont make much difference in a biggie accident, but it helps OH feel more comfortable knowing I am out there cycling away.

My children are young teenagers and they wear theirs when on the bikes too. OH has just gone out with friends on his Tidalforce electric bike and he has a snowboard helmet on.

This summer will be my first summer riding a bike with a helmet. So I do wonder how the summer will go.... I take it I shall have a lot of 'bad hair days'.





Mary

stoobs
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Postby stoobs » 13 Mar 2008, 10:24pm

iaincullen wrote:
stoobs wrote:
iaincullen wrote:No it is the fact helmets are uncomfortable


This is hardly a fact. My own fact based on my perceived superior experience is that this is not true. So how do we balance that? My dad's bigger than yours, etc?

For the sake of argument let's say helmets weren't uncomfortable. I would still choose not to wear one anyway because I don't believe they are effective and I choose not to wear an unnecessary piece of equipment.

I'm not pro or anti helmet, I'm pro choice.


I don't disagree with you. I'm pro-choice too. Definitely. I find the conflicting claims from statistics interesting to say the least. I'm just against specious arguments.

Anyway, how often, regularly, and for how long, have you worn one, or not?

iaincullen
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Postby iaincullen » 13 Mar 2008, 10:47pm

Stobs, Sorry, having problems with my qoutes there. I was trying to clarify my last post to make clear what was my text and what was yours.

How long?. A few days off road. A couple of days during a LEJOG. After finding I got a sore neck after wearing it for more than a few hours I chucked it. No doubt my neck muscles would adapt but I choose not to go try as I don't believe helmets give much protection so why suffer a sore neck.

Paul coward

Postby Paul coward » 13 Mar 2008, 10:55pm

I was out on Sunday just gone 9th? Anyway my mate fell off when he got cross-rutted in some deep gravel that was between too tarmac paths. Down he went like a sack of sh.. When we had finshed taking the micky we noticed the great big peice of his cycling helmet that was missing from ajecent to his temple. It made us feel quite sick. Please wear a helmet!!!!!

Speshact
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Postby Speshact » 13 Mar 2008, 11:24pm

Used to shuffle across the London congestion zone from Kennington to Old Street mainly outside rush hour and didn't wear a helmet. Short distances, everyday clothes, pottering about.

Now in Tooting riding to Old Street - more traffic, no congestion zone, longer distance, riding faster. Helmet, HiVis (at night), SPDs, Lycra.

But don't wear a helmet if cycling down to Tooting Broadway, and wouldn't if I moved back to Kennington.

I'd love for their to be a 'no helmet, no hi-vis, no lycra - we're just people who happen to be on a bike' day and for us ultimately to become more like Amsterdam.

One of the things about The Woman Who Stops Traffic programme I find really dispiriting is the snake of primary school children all wearing hi-vis. If you can't see 20 children without them wearing hi-vis you shouldn't be driving.

JohnW
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Postby JohnW » 13 Mar 2008, 11:57pm

Well I wear one. Two years ago I was in a nasty prang whereby something jammed in my front wheel at about 25mph, and I went head first onto the tarmac. I smashed my skull - among other bits - and was in hospital for a week and laid up in bed for a month.

I wasn't wearing a helmet.

I do now.

I don't like it. The helmet itself isn't so bad, and not as hot as I'd anticipated, but I find the straps uncomfortable. After my experience, which I don't recommend, I feel that some protection is better than none. Strangely the surgeon was a cyclist and he quietly suggested that if I'd been wearing a helmet as he said he always does, my injuries would not have been quite so bad.

The one thing I remember most was the look on the faces of my wife and daughters as I drifted in and out of conciousness in hospital, and from being agressively anti-helmet I thought that I couldn't put them through that again, never mind myself.

stoobs
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Postby stoobs » 14 Mar 2008, 12:08am

iaincullen wrote:Stobs, Sorry, having problems with my qoutes there. I was trying to clarify my last post to make clear what was my text and what was yours.

How long?. A few days off road. A couple of days during a LEJOG. After finding I got a sore neck after wearing it for more than a few hours I chucked it. No doubt my neck muscles would adapt but I choose not to go try as I don't believe helmets give much protection so why suffer a sore neck.


Yes, our quotes got a bit mixed! I'm sorry that you felt discomfort, and I'm really interested that there is a body of thought which states that there is no benefit. For the time being, I even accept that there are few or no data to show a benefit for helmets in certain countries and conditions. I also accept that a medic saw no apparent benefit, although docs and nurses are not the arbiters of whether wearing a helmet makes sense. Neither do I necessarily think that anybody in the emergency services as a driver is a good source of safety knowledge (look up "police speeding" or "999 crash" on google or BBC to see how dangerously they drive these days).

In my own case, I'm damned if I know whether my helmet smashed because it was there, or because it prevented something much worse happening to the back of my skull. I even accept that some injuries could be caused by torsion.

With the very greatest of respect, I think that the comfort issue would be overcome in a little time. As to benefit, and as an engineer, some of the supposed "failures" of helmets (and my own), are down to energy absorption. A smashed helmet is not necessarily a bad thing. Polystyrene may seem weak to you, but if you try to break it up rapidly by hand, you will end up tired - your energy dissipated. You don't want the energy of a crash disspating in a localised area in your head, so broken polystyrene repesents energy absorbed there, rather than your brain.

Many Americans for years thought that if their car survived without bending, then they would be safe in a crash. In reality, even with seatbelts, the high gs encountered with a sudden stop could prove fatal. That is why cars now have crumple zones. They absorb energy. Even formula 1 car nosecones are design to collapse progressively. This absorbs the energy of impact from very high speeds. Car bumpers in the USA, where standards were very high for a lot of years, might still contain polystyrene.

Still, I'd rather have a helmet if someone is going to hit me on the head with a baseball bat, regardless of the zeal they put into the act. Hitting the back of a vehicle, or ending up across a bonnet - I don't know, are they similar?

Some head injuries seem to be caused by remarkably small impacts. Would anyone want to look a fool, nay, not be able to ride a bike, simply because they didn't wear a helmet?

So, at the end of the day, the issue to me seems to be whether energy absorbed in the most likely collisions is disspated by helmets, or whether they cause more torsion injuries. Also, whether those collisons happen frequently enough to worry about.

Frankly, I can't see the data presented scientifically enough either way, and there are other complicating factors, such as driver behaviour, which make the specific issue of helmet-wearing diffcicult to get right.

On balance, engineering-wise, I side with wearing.

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hubgearfreak
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Postby hubgearfreak » 14 Mar 2008, 12:15am

stoobs wrote: there are other complicating factors, such as driver behaviour, which make the specific issue of helmet-wearing diffcicult to get right.


have you read this? :)

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/51695.php

stoobs
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Postby stoobs » 14 Mar 2008, 12:33am

hubgearfreak wrote:
stoobs wrote: there are other complicating factors, such as driver behaviour, which make the specific issue of helmet-wearing diffcicult to get right.


have you read this? :)

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/51695.php


Indeedly yesly. You can see my other posts where drivers have had close calls with me, or vice versa. I have indirectly alluded to this in my postings, I hope. This includes your quote of me.

The question of balancing helmet-wearing (at least perceived) protection versus potential increased risk, either induced in myself or others.

My own wish is to get to the real issues. My own belief is that comfort is a bit of a faux issue in reality. Driver behaviour to me I believe would be similar because I wear the rest of the gear, I ride fast, and I look fit, and my bikes look serious, (not that any of yours out there don't of course!).

The real issue to me is whether in the event of me having to bail out, or in a collision, I would have potential head injury reduced. I'm not bothered about politics, especially when trouser-suited, non-bike-riding, socialist nannies (think like Ruth Kelly) are about. I don't want compulsion, and I have been in situations where in response to "I didn't see you", I said, "I was the only brightly-coloured, fast-moving thing in your field of vision....". I am not in the school of over-compensating for utterly duff driving standards.

Perhaps it's because I go off-road, too, and it does depend on your speed. It depends on the other nutter's speed, too.

Oh yes, in a really bad hail storm, my helmet stopped my head getting utterly lashed, too, although I had to shelter behind some sheep to stop my legs getting flayed.

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hubgearfreak
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Postby hubgearfreak » 14 Mar 2008, 1:02am

stoobs wrote:My own belief is that comfort is a bit of a faux issue in reality


i'd agree with that

stoobs wrote:Driver behaviour to me I believe would be similar because I wear the rest of the gear, I ride fast, and I look fit, and my bikes look serious


i think his conclusions may be flawed. the motorists in his study and in general, IMHO, judge whether there is room to get through, rather than slow down, and if you look less vulnerable, they make a riskier decision.
even if it is the difference between serious cyclists and not, to a motorist they can't judge your bike, and to them we all go slow

stoobs wrote:I have been in situations where in response to "I didn't see you"


sadly, it's all too common. a friend of mine went to test drive a new toyota or something, and the salesman told her the story of a potential customer who kept hitting the kerb as she drove along. her explanation was that she don't see too well and that it was safer to keep nudging the kerb than drift the other way into oncoming traffic. that regular eye tests aren't compulsory for motorists is an outrage...to introduce them would have the daily mail in uproar about another anti motorist stealth tax, so i can't see any politician introducing what would be political suicide

i never cycle without this. (the coat, not the woman, sadly)
Image

to be consistent of course, i'd have to wear it as a pedestrian as well, but i don't.

stoobs wrote: my bikes look serious, (not that any of yours out there don't of course!).

I had to shelter behind some sheep to stop my legs getting flayed.


i've got some photo's of our development of pedal powered furniture , so you're wrong there...if you PM me your email address i'll send you them.
as for hiding behind sheep? are you sure that's what you were upto :lol:

drossall
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Postby drossall » 14 Mar 2008, 8:41am

stoobs wrote:Frankly, I can't see the data presented scientifically enough either way, and there are other complicating factors, such as driver behaviour, which make the specific issue of helmet-wearing diffcicult to get right.


I think there are plenty of data presented scientifically, but they are inconclusive (and some studies are clearly flawed). The Ian Walker result is interesting, but most car-bike collisions happen at junctions not in overtaking, and the issue is usually the driver failing to respond to the presence of the cyclist (which implies not noticing the bike, let alone the helmet). However, it does, I suppose, support the general idea that drivers (and therefore cyclists, since both are human) will assign miraculous powers to helmets, and therefore take slightly greater risks when one is worn.

There's a further problem with "this study proves that...", which is nonsense in almost all circumstances. Science builds up a body of evidence from many related and repeated studies, often some of them contradictory, and one study doesn't prove anything.

Finally, I respect those who choose to wear a helmet (many of my friends do). I do however find it slightly odd, in the context of a debate on whether helmets provide safety, to say that "I'm going to wear one for safety's sake, at least till the debate is resolved". That's not quite the same as "I've got to do one or the other, so I'm going to follow my instincts", which is the normal, sensible way that we make many decisions in life anyway.

pwward
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Postby pwward » 14 Mar 2008, 8:55am

Some myths are being posted here.

There seems an assumption one is safer with a helmet on. The evidence to support this is weak. Other research indicates non helmeted cyclists suffer less head injuries. The 'For' evidence comes from 'Class 3 evidence', as defined by the Oxford Centre for Evidence based medicine; case controlled studies. These are prone to bias, especially when performed by teams of researchers with a vested interest in findings that show they help mitigate against head injury. There is is no evidence to support this in real life. In some jurisdictions there were big increases in helmet wearing after laws were brought in (eg NZ, Australia, parts of Canada). But head injury trends did not deviate, they remained the same as pedestrians.

Why did mass helmet wearing not reduce head injuries?
Reduced cycling, risk compensation, increase in rotational head injuries which helmets may worsen? No one is sure. Also no one knows why helmet wearers seem to hit their heads more.

The research seems to show they do. Maybe its because the size of the head is increased. It may explain all the helmet saved my life stories. Suspicions remain that the increased angular acceleration the brain may experience with a helmet on can increase head injury risk. Also there is Walkers research from Bath University showing drivers appear to treat helmetted cyclists differently, passing them closer than unhelmetted cyclists.

Even if one did have compelling evidence that helmets do reduce your risk of head injury all the casualty stats show cycling involves the same risk of head injury as walking and driving. Helmets all round anyone? The Californians will start the trend and we'll see them in London soon.

Delivery suite: "congratulations Mrs Jones, its a girl, the midwife is fitting the helmet now" Noooooo.