Helmets in Majorca (split)

This sub-forum all discussions about this "lively" subject. All topics that are substantially about helmets will be moved here, if not placed here correctly in the first place.
durhambiker
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Helmets in Majorca (split)

Postby durhambiker » 26 Mar 2017, 5:35pm

helmet might just save your life one day

borisface
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Re: Helmets in Majorca

Postby borisface » 26 Mar 2017, 8:44pm

I know its a contentious issue but I've had two offs in the last ten years both resulted in a smashed helmet, better a broken helmet than a broken skull IMHO

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mjr
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Re: Helmets in Majorca

Postby mjr » 26 Mar 2017, 9:05pm

borisface wrote:I know its a contentious issue but I've had two offs in the last ten years both resulted in a smashed helmet, better a broken helmet than a broken skull IMHO

That's the famous self-reinforcing sales tactic of helmets, smashing dramatically in crashes that logically mostly wouldn't have resulted in injuries because the numbers "saved" far exceed the numbers we could reasonably expect to have suffered injury... or alternatively, the helmets are increasing the head injury crash rates somehow. Either is an excellent reason to stop using.

I stopped using in 2013 I think. I now crash far less than in the previous years when I did use a helmet, so I tend to think use increases crashes somehow but I'm not sure how.

I've ridden in Spain and wouldn't have known there was any helmet requirement if I hadn't looked it up, but I was in cities and mountains so probably all exempt apart from the very short times spent descending.
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Re: Helmets in Majorca

Postby durhambiker » 27 Mar 2017, 7:27pm

mjr wrote:
borisface wrote:I know its a contentious issue but I've had two offs in the last ten years both resulted in a smashed helmet, better a broken helmet than a broken skull IMHO

That's the famous self-reinforcing sales tactic of helmets, smashing dramatically in crashes that logically mostly wouldn't have resulted in injuries because the numbers "saved" far exceed the numbers we could reasonably expect to have suffered injury... or alternatively, the helmets are increasing the head injury crash rates somehow. Either is an excellent reason to stop using.

I stopped using in 2013 I think. I now crash far less than in the previous years when I did use a helmet, so I tend to think use increases crashes somehow but I'm not sure how.

I've ridden in Spain and wouldn't have known there was any helmet requirement if I hadn't looked it up, but I was in cities and mountains so probably all exempt apart from the very short times spent descending.

using a helmet somehow increases frequency of crashes???????. The logic of that goes way over my head !

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max
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Re: Helmets in Majorca

Postby max » 13 Apr 2017, 10:06am

There's quite a bit of research that shows that helmets are dangerous for one reason or another, amongst those reasons are:
[list=]
greater width and weight means you're more likely to hit your head in a fall
oblong shape means you're more likely to twist and break your neck if you do fall
car drivers overtake more closely if you're wearing a helmet
bike riders take more risks when wearing a helmet
that's without mentioning they're only designed to protect at speeds below 12km is it?
[/list]

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Re: Helmets in Majorca (split)

Postby Vorpal » 13 Apr 2017, 10:18am

Further comments about the contentious aspect of helmets can be made here. Please leave the other thread for discussion about the requirements and enforcement in Majorca. Not whether the OP should wear one.

Thanks.
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Re: RE: Re: Helmets in Majorca

Postby pjclinch » 19 Apr 2017, 7:30am

borisface wrote:I know its a contentious issue but I've had two offs in the last ten years both resulted in a smashed helmet, better a broken helmet than a broken skull IMHO

But those aren't the choices on offer, which is why NL isn't full of people with fractured skulls, and nor was the pro peloton before helmets were required.

Cycle helmets are lightweight affairs, designed as better hairnets to mitigate minor injuries. Fractured skulls aren't minor.

If you're falling off a lot and cracking helmets you'll be saving yourself nasty headaches rather than a fractured skull. Not that headaches aren't nasty, but if you compare the head-whack frequency of a typical cyclist to, say, the typical denizen of a primary school playground, you see there are segments of the population with far more headaches to avoid who still regard them as an occasional hindrance not worth the faff of avoiding.

The split skull thing makes for good drama, but it's beyond the design spec of a cycle helmet and wearing a helmet is not typically relevant to your chances of occupying a hospital bed.

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pjclinch
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Re: Helmets in Majorca

Postby pjclinch » 19 Apr 2017, 8:40am

max wrote:that's without mentioning they're only designed to protect at speeds below 12km is it?


The design speed isn't the speed at which your cyclist is moving when they hit the road, it's the vertical component of speed (which is where the real stopping power comes from, unless you hit a wall or similar).

If you come off and hit the ground the issue isn't so much how fast you're going but how fast you stop, because it's the stopping that transfers the energy to you. If you take a slide/roll you scrub off that energy relatively slowly. You may well scrub off quite a bit of skin in the process and that won't be any fun, but that's not bone-breaking. If you hit a wall rather than take a slide/roll, that's more of a problem because you stop sharply and all the energy from that effectively instantaneous deceleration is what breaks bones.
You generally do stop sharply in the vertical plane because the ground is effectively a planar wall. In the vertical direction your speed will be your acceleration from gravity from the height you were at when you came off. That speed is the design speed of a cycle helmet.

Thus, a 12 mph design helmet can still help you if you're doing rather more than 12 mph.

But the other side of that coin is people manage to fall over from standing height and hit their heads at helmet design speeds and not get fractured skulls without using helmets more often than not. The difference a helmet is designed to make and can be expected to make is if you come off and hit your head you're far more likely to be able to just get back on, as opposed to sit there going "ow!" a for a while. In a racing situation that can be enormously important, but for your finishing time rather than your life expectancy.

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Re: Helmets in Majorca (split)

Postby old_windbag » 19 Apr 2017, 10:50am

I think anyone entering the helmet forum needs the protection of a helmet :) ..... but here goes.

Personally I'd remove the use of fractured skull here and there because this is at the extreme end of head injuries. I think that a bang to the head can make you go "ow" and you get up and get on..... but that is not to say you haven't caused damage that you don't percieve until a few years down the line when you notice a premature decline in cognitive skills or perhaps suffer seizures or mental issues. If wearing a helmet can reduce some of the decelleration that can cause such damage then that isn't a bad reason surely.

Boxers tend not to wear helmets but nor do they suffer fractured skulls........ but a single punch can kill or seriously brain injure you. You don't have to have a career of hits to the head to have that happen. We accumulate damage to our heads through life just as we do damage to skin etc, surely to wear a helmet to reduce some of that damage is like wearing sun cream to reduce the chance of skin cancer. We don't slap that on all of the time but when we do those may be the times that without it we would have caused the damage that leads to problems down the line.

But helmet use is very contentious indeed and polarises people. It's very political.

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Re: Helmets in Majorca (split)

Postby Audax67 » 19 Apr 2017, 11:30am

^^^^ Never mind all that. The question is, if you come off, damage your noggin, and spend weeks in hospital, will your insurance cover your medical expenses if you weren't wearing one? I don't know what the NHS's reciprocal agreement with Spain is, but reciprocal agreements only cover services furnished by the state and do not cover any excess. I knew a bloke who broke his leg in Germany and was stuck with a hefty bill because the greater part of health expenses there are covered by private insurance.
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Re: Helmets in Majorca (split)

Postby Vorpal » 19 Apr 2017, 12:19pm

old_windbag wrote:Personally I'd remove the use of fractured skull here and there because this is at the extreme end of head injuries. I think that a bang to the head can make you go "ow" and you get up and get on..... but that is not to say you haven't caused damage that you don't percieve until a few years down the line when you notice a premature decline in cognitive skills or perhaps suffer seizures or mental issues. If wearing a helmet can reduce some of the decelleration that can cause such damage then that isn't a bad reason surely.

That's a big 'if'. What causes that type of injury is the brain moving inside the skull. Helmets may absorb some of the energy that goes into that type of injury, but at the same time, they make the head heavier, move the point of impact, and may increase the likelihood of rotation, all of which can make such an injury worse.

Looking at head injuries in skiiing, snowboarding and American football, helmets tends to increase head injury rates. The numbers of concussions in the NFL have not shown improvement, despite rule changes, concussion protocol, and helmet improvements. Some experts believe that this is because they do not protect against the most common cause of concussion: the brain moving inside the skull.

One thing that does seem to make some difference for NFL players is altitude. Cerebral blood flow increases at higher altitudes, making the brain fit tighter into the skull... http://healthnews.uc.edu/news/?/23875/

That's not to rehash any of the stuff discussed on here so many times before, like that risk compensation, likelihood of being in a crash where a helmet could make any difference, etc...

Personally, I don't feel strongly about helmet use one way or the other. Wear one if you want to.

My problem is with those who blindly encourage helmet use, even to the point of calling for mandatory helmets.
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mjr
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Re: Helmets in Majorca (split)

Postby mjr » 19 Apr 2017, 8:11pm

Audax67 wrote:^^^^ Never mind all that. The question is, if you come off, damage your noggin, and spend weeks in hospital, will your insurance cover your medical expenses if you weren't wearing one?

Yes, it will. The bigger question is, if you wear one and thereby increase your head injury rate, come off, damage your noggin, and spend weeks in hospital, will your insurance cover your medical expenses then? It bloody well shouldn't - you impaired your ability to balance, strapped a weight to your head and made it a bigger impact target - but I suspect it will, even then.
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Re: Helmets in Majorca (split)

Postby bigjim » 20 Apr 2017, 11:25am

I think the insurance industry will get out of paying up if at all possible. Law in Spain is generally to wear a helmet. You may spend a lot of time arguing the toss about if you were in town, too hot, going up a hill etc. Meanwhile you are upping the bill or lying in a bed far from home.
Incidently I'd rather not wear a helmet. It feels much better to me to not use one. Always been on the fence. However a couple of months ago I came off on black ice. I landed on my side. The first thing I was aware of hitting the deck was my head. I was wearing a helmet. I felt a hell of a bang. Really shook me up. But I was just battered and bruised and got back on the bike after a few deep breaths. Thing is. Would my head have hit the floor without the extra width of the helmet? Or would I have been in A&E if I had not worn it?
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Re: Helmets in Majorca (split)

Postby mjr » 20 Apr 2017, 1:08pm

bigjim wrote:Always been on the fence. However a couple of months ago I came off on black ice. I landed on my side. The first thing I was aware of hitting the deck was my head. I was wearing a helmet. I felt a hell of a bang. Really shook me up. But I was just battered and bruised and got back on the bike after a few deep breaths. Thing is. Would my head have hit the floor without the extra width of the helmet? Or would I have been in A&E if I had not worn it?

Probably not have hit the floor or not made such a dramatic bang, in my experience from sliding down the road far too often over the years.

Maybe you would have spent a fraction of the helmet money on studded tyres which might have actually prevented the fall, as I do now.
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Re: Helmets in Majorca (split)

Postby bigjim » 20 Apr 2017, 2:07pm

mjr wrote:
bigjim wrote:Always been on the fence. However a couple of months ago I came off on black ice. I landed on my side. The first thing I was aware of hitting the deck was my head. I was wearing a helmet. I felt a hell of a bang. Really shook me up. But I was just battered and bruised and got back on the bike after a few deep breaths. Thing is. Would my head have hit the floor without the extra width of the helmet? Or would I have been in A&E if I had not worn it?

Probably not have hit the floor or not made such a dramatic bang, in my experience from sliding down the road far too often over the years.

Maybe you would have spent a fraction of the helmet money on studded tyres which might have actually prevented the fall, as I do now.

I didn't slide. Back wheel just slid away and dropped me. Studded tyres? I live close to a city that rarely sees snow. It was a small patch of invisible ice covered in old leaves at the side of a dry cycle path. Things happen. Studded tyres are a waste of money in my biking life.
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