I don't care about "for or against"

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.
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brother nathaneil
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I don't care about "for or against"

Postby brother nathaneil » 24 Oct 2010, 11:20am

I had an off yesterday.

I was only doing 13mph, turning left in the middle of a small town but it was wet and I didn't see the massive metal cover in my path. It's my fault, I know, I normally make a point of not turning across white lines or man-hole cover etc. but I lost concentration and my bike went from under me and I hit the tarmac with one hell of a thump. I landed on my knee, hip and shoulder. Oh, and my elbow was forced into my ribs and they are also bruised. Last thing to mention is that my head bounced off the floor too.

My point.....
I don't care about the arguments for or against helmets, and I think it should be personal choice. I understand that by wearing a helmet you may be “inviting” riskier driving habits around you. Regardless of the opinions held on “life saver or not”, if I hadn’t been wearing my helmet I would at the very least be sporting a lump or graze on the side of my head. My hip hurts, I don't like it.

My head hit the floor as hard as my hip... My hip looks like the picture below. I will always wear a helmet.

PS
I’m okay, just bruised, I hope to get out again next weekend.
The bike’s okay and I had to ride a further 8 miles after the off.
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kwackers
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Re: I don't care about "for or against"

Postby kwackers » 24 Oct 2010, 11:44am

I sometimes ponder whether some people simply don't have a 'proper' automatic response to not hitting their heads...
Over the years I've fallen off dozens of things, from motorcycles to bicycles and as a ped and also whilst doing various 'sports' and never have I managed to hit my head.
Mind you I once did a bit of trampolining - something I was rubbish at which confused the instructor no end because if I got it wrong apparently I had 'cat like' reflexes which he took to mean I should be able to apply those skills to the sport.

Here's another thought: When I come off I can usually rotate my head out of harms way whilst placing limbs in a position to give me something to both land on and apply some control. However I don't wear SPD's, in 'sudden' offs I wonder if they remove some of that control due to pinning you to the bike?

If you know in advance what sort of off you're going to have you can make a wear/not wear helmet decision, otherwise you're throwing dice because if you weren't the benefits would show up clearly in the stats.

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brother nathaneil
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Re: I don't care about "for or against"

Postby brother nathaneil » 24 Oct 2010, 12:18pm

I agree with the "dice" comment.
I was clipped into my SPD's but even if I wasn't because of how I fell, putting a foot down wasn't an option. The bike slid from under me so quick that although I did turn my head to try to save it from the hit, I went down so hard I couldn't stop it.
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Cunobelin
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Re: I don't care about "for or against"

Postby Cunobelin » 24 Oct 2010, 12:58pm

Sorr to hear a bout your mishap, and glad it wasn't any worse, that hip does look painful.

However my conclusions are different - Had you been on a recumbent trike no accident would have occurred at all!

As small shimmy as the wheel slipped and then nothing as you smoothly pedalled away. NO hip injury either... thus proving the necessity to ride recumbent trikes.

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Re: I don't care about "for or against"

Postby kwackers » 24 Oct 2010, 1:04pm

brother nathaneil wrote:I agree with the "dice" comment.
I was clipped into my SPD's but even if I wasn't because of how I fell, putting a foot down wasn't an option. The bike slid from under me so quick that although I did turn my head to try to save it from the hit, I went down so hard I couldn't stop it.

That's sorta my point, normally when the bike slips and goes down fast, it rotates from under you (being light and you being heavy) which means the amount of rotation you have isn't that great giving you time to do something.
However when the bike starts to go, with SPD's you're pulled with it and I would imagine end up rotating faster.

I'm imagining the scenario where the bike slips - say to your right. Without SPD's your left foot lifts off the pedal and the bike rotates towards the floor. You're falling but long before you hit the floor the bike is already flat.
With SPD's the bike slips but pulls your left foot with it this has the effect of pulling your mass towards the left and the increased 'overhang' speeds you up.

May be nonsense, but it's a thought.

Glad your OK, btw!

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meic
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Re: I don't care about "for or against"

Postby meic » 24 Oct 2010, 2:33pm

brother nathaneil wrote:I agree with the "dice" comment.
I was clipped into my SPD's but even if I wasn't because of how I fell, putting a foot down wasn't an option. The bike slid from under me so quick that although I did turn my head to try to save it from the hit, I went down so hard I couldn't stop it.


I have has a couple of low speed spills on slippy surfaces, both times I was down on the floor (in one case in the water) before I knew I had started falling. However in neither case did my head hit the deck, probably because my shoulders are in the way, certainly there was no concious effort to keep my head up.
I havent a clue what my SPDs were doing.

The levels of acceptable risk are VERY random, however there is to my mind little difference in the risk levels of cycling with or without helmets. On the other hand the levels of risk are enormously greater for some other activities that I have undertaken that I am inclined to dismiss cycling as a safe activity.
I can understand that if people have been bought up and lived in a much more safety concious culture that a bruised hip may be considered more than just a temporary inconvenience.
I am not saying that I go looking for accidents (I leave that to Mountain Bikers) what I am saying is that if I dont manage to avoid them altogether I (and most other cyclists) am generally riding at a sensible enough speed that I am not seriously injured.
On the other hand if some motorist chooses to wipe me out, even my motorcycle helmet will not be up to the job.
Yma o Hyd

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brother nathaneil
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Re: I don't care about "for or against"

Postby brother nathaneil » 24 Oct 2010, 3:24pm

meic wrote:On the other hand if some motorist chooses to wipe me out, even my motorcycle helmet will not be up to the job.


I agree

My feeling is that a helmet has helped me during a low speed off. No more, no less. If nothing will help during a high crash with a car, then I'm loosing nothing by wearing a helmet but my hair style. for my own peace of mind, I'll wear one in case I ever doze off at low speed again :oops:

I also agree that a bruised hip, shoulder, rib, or whatever is no more than a inconvenience, that's why body armour isn't worn.
Is that the next debate? :wink:
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irc
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Re: I don't care about "for or against"

Postby irc » 24 Oct 2010, 3:40pm

On tour last week my friend had a similar dunt to the head. A sudden unexpected slip and he fell rapidly sideways and banged his head on a rock. He wasn't wearing a helmet. Result - a bruise to the head. It could have been avoided had he been wearing a helmet. No serious injury or sysmptoms like headaches or nausea.

Although he wasn't cycling. He slipped on rocks while taking a photo at the seashore. Should he wear a photogragher's helmet?

I believe that the human skull has evolved to cope with just these sort of low speed impacts. Obviously there was a balance between protection and weight and we have ended up in the position where the vast majority of the time simple falls are not fatal but if you are unlucky they can be.

My choice is to take the risk of the odd bruise to the head. So far I've had none while cycling although a couple when engaged in other activities. The choice to wear a helmet is of course equally valid. But if for cycling then why not for other activities?
No one believes more firmly than Comrade Napoleon that all animals are equal. He would be only too happy to let you make your decisions for yourselves. But sometimes you might make the wrong decisions, comrades, and then where should we be?

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Steve Kish
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Re: I don't care about "for or against"

Postby Steve Kish » 24 Oct 2010, 8:11pm

FWIW, I always wear a helmet on a bike, both on and off-road. However, I do respect the decision of anyone who decides not to use one and am happy to ride with them. I doubt that there's a single rider out there who hasn't asked themselves if they should or shouldn't use one, is aware of the potential risks and based their decision on these potential risks.

The research that states that a car drives will give you a wider berth if you don't wear one is immaterial to me, as I always ride far enough away from the kerb to allow me the extra foot or so if they come too close and in fact, they can come as close as they like, as long as they don't touch me.
Old enough to know better but too young to care.

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brother nathaneil
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Re: I don't care about "for or against"

Postby brother nathaneil » 24 Oct 2010, 9:01pm

irc wrote:I believe that the human skull has evolved to cope with just these sort of low speed impacts.

Yes it has, but it still hurts

Steve Kish wrote:I do respect the decision of anyone who decides not to use one and am happy to ride with them.


Me too, I thought when I wrote the OP I'd just give MY reasons... I still think compulsive helmet use would be bad for cycling and I've been arguing that exact point with loads of people since I fell off!
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[XAP]Bob
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Re: I don't care about "for or against"

Postby [XAP]Bob » 25 Oct 2010, 12:36pm

Cunobelin wrote:However my conclusions are different - Had you been on a recumbent trike no accident would have occurred at all!

As small shimmy as the wheel slipped and then nothing as you smoothly pedalled away. NO hip injury either... thus proving the necessity to ride recumbent trikes.


Absolutely :) :D

I'm trying to recall my offs in the last few years, all of which were on an upwrong.
- Dragged along by a van, knackered knee, head came nowhere near ground
- Off on ice (in spds, hip / shoulder hit the ground, head did not)
- Chain caught as I was setting off having clipped in - I went over like a tree going down, very funny, head came nowhere near ground. Mirror got broken though :(

More proof that 'bents are the only safe form of cycle ?? ;)

Question(s) - how hard did the helmet hit the ground? Is it crushed? Would you have stopped your head if it had been narrower?
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brother nathaneil
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Re: I don't care about "for or against"

Postby brother nathaneil » 25 Oct 2010, 2:03pm

[XAP]Bob wrote:Question(s) - how hard did the helmet hit the ground?

It felt hard but I really can't say how hard.

[XAP]Bob wrote:Question(s) - Is it crushed?

No, it seems fine (minor scuffs)... This could either mean that it was in fact a low impact (and I'm "remembering it" worse than it was) or a good helmet... perhaps a bit of both? Who knows?

[XAP]Bob wrote:Question(s) - Would you have stopped your head if it had been narrower?

I was thinking more along the lines of "would I have stopped my head if I had no helmet at all" and I really don't know. Would my shoulder have protected my head? Would I have fallen differently? Would I have smashed my head?

I have no way of knowing the answer to any of these questions so rather than test the theory and be wrong, I've now made my mind up on the issue.

But as I said earlier, I'm all for freedom of choice, I'm just stating my reasons.
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Re: I don't care about "for or against"

Postby [XAP]Bob » 26 Oct 2010, 11:59am

brother nathaneil wrote:
[XAP]Bob wrote:Question(s) - Is it crushed?

No, it seems fine (minor scuffs)... This could either mean that it was in fact a low impact (and I'm "remembering it" worse than it was) or a good helmet... perhaps a bit of both? Who knows?

It means that the benefit was limited to the elastic deformation of various parts, and any load spreading which was accomplished.
So the forces were probably fairly limited - it would still have hurt though

[XAP]Bob wrote:Question(s) - Would you have stopped your head if it had been narrower?

I was thinking more along the lines of "would I have stopped my head if I had no helmet at all" and I really don't know. Would my shoulder have protected my head? Would I have fallen differently? Would I have smashed my head?

That's what I was thinking, and there is pretty much no way to know, but I know that I have repeatedly smacked my helmet on the side of the house (so I do know it's there) when getting/securing my bike; I have never struck my bare head. Obviously that's a very different scenario, but it does illustrate the possibility of an increase in contact caused by a helmet.

I have no way of knowing the answer to any of these questions so rather than test the theory and be wrong, I've now made my mind up on the issue.

But as I said earlier, I'm all for freedom of choice, I'm just stating my reasons.

And there we agree!
Please don't go testing the original scenario without a helmet, for one you'd never be able to - you'd tense up ;)

I'll carry on wearing my lid for some journeys on the upright, not for others. I'll probably not wear it on the trike though (although I'll have to convince SWMBO, as the new seat doesn't prevent it!)
A shortcut has to be a challenge, otherwise it would just be the way. No situation is so dire that panic cannot make it worse.
There are two kinds of people in this world: those can extrapolate from incomplete data.

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horizon
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Re: I don't care about "for or against"

Postby horizon » 26 Oct 2010, 1:38pm

Steve Kish wrote: I doubt that there's a single rider out there who hasn't asked themselves if they should or shouldn't use one, is aware of the potential risks and based their decision on these potential risks.



Steve, I'm really not sure about that. I don't wear a helmet and don't have particularly strong views about them (or any views about them for that matter which is why I read these threads!). Like many on this forum I grew up without the possibility of wearing one and got on with cycling in my own way and adjusted to the risks accordingly. I don't remember ever having decided for or against wearing one. I do take care but then I never think "I better take care as I'm not wearing a helmet." They have never actually grabbed my attention.
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Re: I don't care about "for or against"

Postby snibgo » 26 Oct 2010, 2:02pm

I think the preoccuption with helmets is fairly modern. I started cycling as a kid in the 1960s. None of us wore one, and IIRC no one ever said we should.

But even old fogeys like me can't have failed to notice the "safety" culture we know live in. I see mums walking their kids to school all decked out in fluorescent tabbards.

However, not all cyclists will be aware of the potential risks of helmets.