Near miss, saved by helmet.Lesson learned

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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Cunobelin
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Re: Near miss, saved by helmet.Lesson learned

Postby Cunobelin » 19 Aug 2014, 8:57pm

mnichols wrote:Why do Sportives and cycle tour companies require people to wear helmets?


You are missing one of the points I keep raising, and you keep failing to answer.

Lets ask the real question.... Why are these organisations refusing to recognise the EN1078 helmet as being adequate?

Yep - that is right, these organisations do NOT recognise EN1078 helmets because they are considered to be inadequately protective!

To quote one company...

It is mandatory that all riders wear a safety approved cycling helmet complying with latest ANSI Z90/4 or SNELL standards.


So turn up with a European standard helmet and you can be disqualified.


Just as a mater of interest, what standards do the helmets you and your family meet?

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Cunobelin
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Re: Near miss, saved by helmet.Lesson learned

Postby Cunobelin » 19 Aug 2014, 9:05pm

mnichols wrote:
British Cycling also state that "a helmet is the most important piece of cycling gear that you own", recommend that you wear one when riding, and insist that you wear one when you race (rule 8.6.1) - why if it slows you down and it has no benefit?


Funnily enough, as pointed out before, these statements are unequivocally true for motor vehicle racing.

YOU are eventually going to have to explain how these are in any way a justification for cycle helmet use for the average cycle helmet, but somehow the same unequivocal statements do not seem to justify the average car driver wearing one!

TonyR
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Re: Near miss, saved by helmet.Lesson learned

Postby TonyR » 19 Aug 2014, 9:24pm

mnichols wrote:According to Michael Hutchinson in his book "Faster" a helmet is slower than a cotton cap or a shaved head. So given that they are looking for every bit of speed and marginal gains - why do the pros wear them and the governing bodies insist on them?


One word. Sponsorship. Since the UCI made helmets mandatory though the death rate per annum in professional racing has tripled.

mnichols
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Re: Near miss, saved by helmet.Lesson learned

Postby mnichols » 19 Aug 2014, 9:24pm

drossall wrote: their policy advisor says.


I agree with Chris Boardman. He makes a lot of sense. I think it does put people off and they are not always necessary.

I don't always wear mine, but I do more often than not and if an event, tour company, organiser, insurer, club or the wife says that I should then I do - it's not a big deal.

In terms of standards I am happy with those approved for sale.

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pjclinch
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Re: Near miss, saved by helmet.Lesson learned

Postby pjclinch » 19 Aug 2014, 9:24pm

British Cycling are rather schizophrenic about hats and their web site is changing in dribs and drabs to reflect their ongoing changes.

A few years ago they launched their "Everyday Cycling" initiative which featured 100% helmeted cyclists in images and asserted helmets to be "essential". Compare and contrast to their campaigning today under Chris Boardman's guidance.

Of course, the whole organisation won't change at once, especially when so much is concerned with sport riding where external rules require them, and so many in there have just been told for years they've got to wear them and they're "essential".
Often seen riding a bike around Dundee...

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Cunobelin
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Re: Near miss, saved by helmet.Lesson learned

Postby Cunobelin » 19 Aug 2014, 9:57pm

mnichols wrote:
In terms of standards I am happy with those approved for sale.


For sale where?
What standard are you referring to?



This is something I will always fail to understand

There are all these posts about how helmets prevent head injuries, etc, yet the same proponents are willing to accept an inferior product when there is far better available. The much vaunted "protection" suddenly becomes unimportant!


Wearing an EN1078 helmet which is the same price as a far more protective Snell B90 one is really rather like using removing the disc brakes on a downhill mountain bike, replacing them with rod brakes, launching yourself on a downhill course... and expecting adequate braking

Can someone explain this?

mnichols
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Re: Near miss, saved by helmet.Lesson learned

Postby mnichols » 19 Aug 2014, 10:11pm

My limited understanding is that EN1078 has shown benefits at low speed impacts and against a flat surface, and that the higher standard that you refer to is very difficult to come by in the uk, and that those helmets that do meet these standards don't usually advertise the fact. Which is a shame - I would be happy to buy the higher standard, and will look for these when I replace my helmet next time - which according to the CTC article published earlier in this forum I should think about doing soon.

I will also upgrade the helmet that I use for Mountain Biking for one more suited to the purpose.

I have read the papers that have been posted on this forum such as:

irc wrote:There is evidence although it is debated. http://www.cyclehelmets.org/1146.html


I accept that the evidence is not clear cut, with views ranging from "researchers have found can reduce the severity of brain injuries by as much as 88 percent.", to neglible or no benefit, but very few state that there is a disadvantage. The majority seem to state some, if minor and overstated benefit.

As I see no disadvantage to wearing a helmet I will continue to do so, but will be less binary in my views on the subject

Bicycler
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Re: Near miss, saved by helmet.Lesson learned

Postby Bicycler » 19 Aug 2014, 11:48pm

mnichols wrote:I accept that the evidence is not clear cut, with views ranging from "researchers have found can reduce the severity of brain injuries by as much as 88 percent.", to neglible or no benefit, but very few state that there is a disadvantage. The majority seem to state some, if minor and overstated benefit.

Yes. Though I will suggest that virtually none have even looked at any of the factors which might make helmets disadvantageous.
How many more impacts are caused by the 30% larger heavier headform?
How many more impacts are caused by risk compensation (ie. people cycling in different ways to how they would without helmets)?
Is there a greater risk of rotational injury due to the different headform shape? [this is an accepted problem with motorcycle helmets but it is outweighed by the protection provided]
None of these factors tend to be addressed in research and that could well explain why the advantages predicted are not replicated in population level data. It all depends on the questions asked. There is a world of difference between asking "would this cyclist have been better protected from this particular impact with a helmet?" and "do cyclists who wear helmets have a lower incidence of serious head injury than non helmet wearers?"

the higher standard that you refer to is very difficult to come by in the UK, and that those helmets that do meet these standards don't usually advertise the fact. Which is a shame - I would be happy to buy the higher standard, and will look for these when I replace my helmet next time

We've had this before on the forum (it's not all passionate debate, occasionally we're constructive :wink: ). In the UK it's basically Specialized only if you want a SNELL certified helmet. One forum member had confirmed with Specialized that they used the same helmets worldwide which conform to all the required standards. Many other manufacturers produce weaker EN compliant helmets (even with the same looks and model name) for Europe (shocking isn't it? :shock:).

MartinC
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Re: Near miss, saved by helmet.Lesson learned

Postby MartinC » 20 Aug 2014, 8:57am

fast but dim wrote:
MartinC wrote:Hmmmm. The function of a gumshield is to help prevent head injury by enabling more muscles to resist rotation of the head in impacts. Perhaps a little research would help. There's quite a lot that needs understanding.


Get that from boxing site?.............................................


No, it's from medical research into American Football and Boxing injuries. The main medical benefit of a gumshield is in deploying both sets of jaw muscles to resist head movement and mitigate blows. Which is why they're recommended for many contact sports (they could easily be more effective than helmets in cycling too!). I can well see that they may reduce the chances of chipping your teeth too. As someone who's had 4 weeks off work after concussion sustained during a judo grading and played rugby most of my life chipped teeth have never figured high on my list of concerns about life threatening injuries.

A recurrent theme in helmet threads is a misunderstanding of their role and capabilities

Tonyf33
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Re: Near miss, saved by helmet.Lesson learned

Postby Tonyf33 » 20 Aug 2014, 1:30pm

Having played rugby league a fair bit since I was a kid I never wore a gumshield BITD, when I restarted playing in my early 30s after a break I bought one as it seemed everyone else had one.
After a few games I just didn't bother wearing it, restricted breathing somewhat and even as a second row forward being smashed in the mouth even allowing for shoulder charges* the risk seemed fairly minimal.
I never recieved a head injury once in my playing days aside from a few stud marks, minor abrasions, few cuts and a bust lip or three :D . I made sure that technically I was tackling correctly and giving due respect to my opponents safety without pulling out of a full blooded tackle (cos I loved my hard hits 8) ) I would also be doing my best to ensure coming into collision as an attacker I avoided head shots (rarely did I get punched) Out of your control to a degree but with respect from your opponent too this was rarely a problem for me.

With cycling I've always taken some risks, I still do, I'm still happy to come down slopes at over 40mph regularly, I've come into & gone around tight alpine chicanes at speeds I probably shouldn't have and the thrill is amazing but would I think a helmet would make a difference one way or the other..Absolutely not.
Would I think it would make me go even faster/take more risk than I have, I'll never know. My guess would be for me as an individual, no, something like a helmet wouldn't influence me as I'd be more concerned about tyre traction, braking ability, road postioning, other vehicles/peds/hazards, road surface etc etc. In fact a helmet would just annoy the hell out of me and seem totally superfluous to riding at any speed in any conditions.

However I do believe the majority of people take greater risks when wearing/using 'protective' equipment, more so if they actually believe it works and has being shown time and time again, beyond the actual limitations of said equipment. With the huge increase in helmet wearing over the last 15 years or so we seemingly have many helmetted cyclists having more incidents than non helmetted, especially of the kind that may (or may not :wink: ) have being life threatening... :roll:

*allowable in RL until 2013 but not RU

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661-Pete
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Re: Near miss, saved by helmet.Lesson learned

Postby 661-Pete » 21 Aug 2014, 9:21pm

fast but dim wrote:I suspect that the majority of people go from no helmet > helmet, and not the other way.
Point of information: I went from wearing a helmet, to not wearing one. The turning point was when for some reason I was finding my lid hideously uncomfortable, no amount of strap-fiddling would fix it, so in a rare old fury I threw the thing into a hedge (about a mile further on I relented, turned back and retrieved it :oops: ). But I haven't worn one since.

This may not be a very good argument, but it's the one that worked for me. I can think of better ones but others on this thread have already put them.

I don't ride no-hands - haven't done so since I was a kid. See here. :lol:
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TonyR
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Re: Near miss, saved by helmet.Lesson learned

Postby TonyR » 21 Aug 2014, 10:55pm

661-Pete wrote:Point of information: I went from wearing a helmet, to not wearing one.


Me too. My turning point was when I started to read the research on the topic and found that far from being protective as I had assumed there was a high probability they were somewhere between ineffective and positively harmful. Not worn one voluntarily since.

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[XAP]Bob
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Re: Near miss, saved by helmet.Lesson learned

Postby [XAP]Bob » 22 Aug 2014, 8:15am

+1 more
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.

kwackers
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Re: Near miss, saved by helmet.Lesson learned

Postby kwackers » 22 Aug 2014, 8:24am

I went from wearing one to not.

I too assumed they 'just worked' but threads on here made me question that and do my own research.
What I discovered was that there was basically no proof they worked.
What they did they didn't do well.
And they could potentially make things worse!

MartinC
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Re: Near miss, saved by helmet.Lesson learned

Postby MartinC » 22 Aug 2014, 9:03am

I started cycling as a child in the late 1950's. I first wore a helmet in 1984 - no great thought involved, it was prompted by my ex wife. Over the following years I became more familiar with all the theories, stats and information around them. In 1994 whilst touring in Ireland I took it off and strapped it to the rear rack 'cos it was giving me a headache. Since then I sometimes wear one and sometimes don't. My only expectation it now beyond that of any hat is that it might save me a few grazes. It's main protection function is against sun and cold now that my hair has resigned from the job. If it's going to be inconvenient or uncomfortable then I don't bother.

When you get to this stage in a thread it's interesting to go back and look at the title or the OP. It's a strange proposition. The OP had an accident (not a near miss) which seems to have been totally avoidable and is now left in considerable pain and discomfort. The helmet clearly hasn't saved him from any of this but he's speculating that it saved him from some other theoretical event which never happened. From all this he adduces that the most important lesson he's learned is to wear a helmet and that he wants to tell us. Hmmmmm...........