How to protect your brain by not wearing a helmet

For all discussions about this "lively" subject. All topics that are substantially about helmet usage will be moved here.
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pjclinch
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Re: How to protect your brain by not wearing a helmet

Postby pjclinch » 23 Aug 2020, 2:17pm

Steady rider wrote:It is rather funny that in about 30 years little research compares the bare head to helmet size and impact rate.


Not really, it's all rather "I can find a lot of trees around here but am rather of unsure of where the forest is" stuff.

Finding out this sort of thing typically assumes that the only thing that changes significantly between Case Subject and Control Subject is the presence of the intervention, but particularly where that is self-selected, and even more so in highly complex multi-variable environments, it doesn't really work.

Looking at something like American Football is a bit more realistic because everyone's there for the same thing, they are playing (very literally) by the same rules as everyone else involved and the environment is heavily constrained. That simply doesn't work with cycling (it arguably might if you confined yourself to certain race formats in velodromes, but the usefulness of that would be rather limited).

In the meantime, we can worry about e.g. the minutiae of crash angles and try and work out one's chances of landing at those angles in any given fall from a bike etc., or we can concentrate on stuff that we know will make a difference to real-world safety for most of the people, most of the time, and that's all about not colliding with motors.

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Re: How to protect your brain by not wearing a helmet

Postby Steady rider » 23 Aug 2020, 3:53pm

The following reports provide data on the distribution of impacts.
M William, "The protective performance of bicycles’ helmets in accidents", Accid Anal & Prev Vol 23 No 2/3. Pp119-131,1991.
It was found that all of the impacts occurred against flat objects; a high proportion of helmets sustained more than one impact; most impacts occurred on areas of a helmet which were not tested during certification to a standard; and many impacts were more severe than those stipulated in performance standards.


T. Smith, "Evaluation and replication of impacts damage to bicycle helmets". Accid Anal & Prev Vol 26, No6, 795-802,1994.

The short time period could apply to both helmeted and non-helmeted. Minor differences in time may occur but are probably not significant.

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Re: How to protect your brain by not wearing a helmet

Postby Jdsk » 23 Aug 2020, 4:08pm

Steady rider wrote:It is probably the wrong way to view the situation. see Diagram A, most falls are to the side and there would likely be a short time period to move the head away from the expected impact area.

Are you agreeing that the cited Diagram A didn't give any information on the distribution of falls?

Which of those two papers are you suggesting gives that distribution? The second gives a calculated distribution of impacts on the helmets, but has no observations on the direction of falls.

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Re: How to protect your brain by not wearing a helmet

Postby Steady rider » 23 Aug 2020, 4:14pm

Yes Diagram A did not provide data on the distribution, it was first used in the 2003 report that did references the two papers giving data on the distribution.
Both papers provides information on the impact zones on helmets. Looking at both, probably gives a better idea of typical impact locations.

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Re: How to protect your brain by not wearing a helmet

Postby Jdsk » 23 Aug 2020, 4:19pm

Steady rider wrote:Yes Diagram A did not provide data on the distribution...

Thanks. Agreed.

Steady rider wrote:Both papers provides information on the impact zones on helmets. Looking at both, probably gives a better idea of typical impact locations.

Might do, but that's about the distribution of impacts on helmets, quite different from the distribution of falls.

Jonathan

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Re: How to protect your brain by not wearing a helmet

Postby The utility cyclist » 23 Aug 2020, 9:12pm

pwa wrote:I "protected" my brain by wearing a helmet on my ride today, and passed quite a few other cyclists (aged from young kids to a bloke probably about 70) all wearing helmets. And guess what! I didn't have an accident of any sort! For the zillionth time I didn't have any sort of incident to put my bonce in danger.

I draw two (possibly conflicting) conclusions from that. Firstly, if wearing a lid is meant to make you take more risks, it isn't noticeably increasing my crash rate. I don't do "pilot error" crashes. Well, not since my teens.

And secondly, I could have had a zillion rides without a helmet and the effect would have been zilch. Make of that what you will.

Helmets detrimentally effect competition/competitive riders and children the most, there are obvious reasons for this.

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Re: How to protect your brain by not wearing a helmet

Postby Steady rider » 24 Aug 2020, 7:05pm

quite different from the distribution of falls.


For clarity, could you provide more details and references perhaps to what you consider 'distribution of falls?

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Re: How to protect your brain by not wearing a helmet

Postby Jdsk » 24 Aug 2020, 7:14pm

The sort of thing that I thought you were describing when you wrote:

Steady rider wrote:... most falls are to the side...

Someone's on a bike, then they fall off, and there's some description of the direction in which they fall. Aggregation of those directions gives the distribution.

It's obviously different from the distribution of impacts on helmets because some falls aren't associated with impacts on helmets and some impacts on helmets aren't associated with a fall. Ditto if you replace helmets with heads.

Jonathan

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Re: How to protect your brain by not wearing a helmet

Postby landsurfer » 24 Aug 2020, 7:21pm

I don't wear a helmet ..
No reason apart from comfort ..
I have had 3 RIDDOR level accidents while cycling ..

1. Knocked off my bike while riding in a group of cyclists ... Concussion, 3 days in hospital.
2. Fell off on an ice covered cycle path ... Minor hip impact ...
3. Fell off at 0 mph and unclipped the wrong foot ... Cracked Humous, rest and recovery for 2 weeks.

In 45 years of touring and competitive TT cycling ........

Fault case analysis would lead me to assume this a 0 risk sport based on miles ridden ...

So no helmet ... now or until i'm killed by a head injury .... most likely on my motorbike ... :lol:
"There will come a day, when all the lies will collapse under their own weight, and truth will again triumph." Guess Who ...
The Road Goes On Forever

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Re: How to protect your brain by not wearing a helmet

Postby Steady rider » 24 Aug 2020, 7:49pm

Cycling has a low fatality risk overall, but a good chance of falling off at some time and even an higher chance if wearing a helmets.

Thanks for that Jdsk .
Williams paper fig 1 shows the impact locations on 64 helmets, right side 29 impacts, left side 29 impacts, crown 10 impacts, front 14, rear 6.- looks like some helmets had more than one impact perhaps

Many falls are due to slides, either on ice or on corners or gravel, so side impacts would be expected.
Smiths paper shows data on 72 helmets that probably indicates more frontal/temporal region for impacts.

How these would compare to bare head location impacts may be possible to evaluate.

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Re: How to protect your brain by not wearing a helmet

Postby NATURAL ANKLING » 24 Aug 2020, 8:26pm

Hi,
Steady rider wrote:Cycling has a low fatality risk overall, but a good chance of falling off at some time and even an higher chance if wearing a helmets.

My bold.
Total baloney!
What you are saying is that if I wear a helmet I am more likely to fall off Than if I don't wear a helmet :?
NA Thinks Just End 2 End Return + Bivvy
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Please forgive the poor Grammar I blame it on my mobile and phat thinkers.

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Re: How to protect your brain by not wearing a helmet

Postby The utility cyclist » 25 Aug 2020, 12:06am

gregoryoftours wrote:
De Sisti wrote:
UpWrong wrote:It's a hard one. I fell off a couple of weeks ago and banged the side of my helmet on a kerb. But would it have happened if I wasn't wearing a helmet? - a helmet makes your head bigger.

You should have put your hands down to break your fall (even babies do that when they lose their balance
trying to walk)
and wore protection for your palms to prevent them from being damaged.

And have a nice broken collarbone! The classic MTB hands out injury.

I've come off at speed with hands out after a ped ran into me, I fractured my elbow on one side and did my scaphoid on my right hand. Broken collarbones seem to be the preserve of the skinny no upper body muscle cyclist.

But how many MTBers did their collarbones, you say it's the classic MTB hands out injury but a few stories here and there is meaningless anecdote, you need to put numbers in for actual context as opposed to mkamking out something was common place.
People doing MTB have continued to be as affected by helmet wearing as even BITD. I haven't done any serious downhill riding for a while but I'll still never ride with a lid doing it. it makes me consider risk taking without losing out on the thrill, I do gravel riding on my carbon hybrid but it's not the same in all honestly, you can't go as gnarly but it's still fun and gives you a hard work out with some road riding chucked in to get you to location.

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Re: How to protect your brain by not wearing a helmet

Postby pjclinch » 25 Aug 2020, 8:25am

NATURAL ANKLING wrote:Hi,
Steady rider wrote:Cycling has a low fatality risk overall, but a good chance of falling off at some time and even an higher chance if wearing a helmets.

My bold.
Total baloney!
What you are saying is that if I wear a helmet I am more likely to fall off Than if I don't wear a helmet :?


It's a bit more complicated than that.
First of all, you need to draw a line between what happens in a population to an "average cyclist" and what happens to you, as an individual, and they can be quite different things.
Also you have the chicken/egg thing. People who are riding in a riskier manner are more likely to wear helmets, but that's because they're doing risky things to start rather than because they're put a helmet on. Once they're doing those riskier things risk compensation suggests that some, quite possibly significant, proportion of them will up their risk (this is not necessarily a bad thing: risk needs to be seen as something balanced with the benefits of taking it, e.g. if I'm out on my MTB for white-knuckle fun, and the faster I take the berms the more fun I have, and I feel better about going faster with some protective gear on, the primary goal (having fun) is enhanced by the safety gear, and it might help if I over-cook it too), which means they're more likely to fall. Again, that's not necessarily a bad thing: if you're cycling to have fun, and riding faster and more daringly ups your fun, that's the primary goal, not avoidance of falls.
You also have the way that other people around you will modify their behaviour according to their perception of you, and at least some evidence is there to suggest that drivers pass closer to helmeted riders, thus upping their risk of a fall (while Walker's paper on this has been criticised on various counts I've heard an anecdote from a rider who was criticised by a driver for not wearing a helmet, reasoning that had he been wearing one it would have been "safe" for the driver to "squeeze past", so it does happen, but how often and how much is not clear).

But in any case, to a first approximation for most riders doing most rides, most of the time, you won't fall off. Your chances of falling off are very low, but finite. Let's say they go up by (plucking a figure out of the air) 5% if you put a lid on: as an individual it will be quite impossible for you to register such an effect, because since you hardly ever fall off, being ever so slightly more likely to come off as an individual will not register and will be well withing random variation.

A lot of people are happier if they ride in a helmet than not. That is, IMHO, a much better reason to wear one than worrying about crash angles or risk compensation etc. might suggest otherwise. Riding a bike is a huge health benefit. Anything that makes you do it more is a Good Thing. At a population level encouraging helmets seems to put people off starting, but if you've started and ride more with a helmet on then at an individual level that's good.

Pete.
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Re: How to protect your brain by not wearing a helmet

Postby Jdsk » 25 Aug 2020, 8:38am

Steady rider wrote:Cycling has a low fatality risk overall, but a good chance of falling off at some time and even an higher chance if wearing a helmets.

NATURAL ANKLING wrote:What you are saying is that if I wear a helmet I am more likely to fall off Than if I don't wear a helmet :?

Yes. That is what is being asserted.

I don't think that is supported by what is known.

Shall we look at the evidence?

Jonathan

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Re: How to protect your brain by not wearing a helmet

Postby Jdsk » 25 Aug 2020, 8:40am

pjclinch wrote:Riding a bike is a huge health benefit.

Yes.

Jonathan