Cycle helmet broken in fall

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.
oneten
Posts: 133
Joined: 11 Aug 2014, 2:49pm
Location: Whitstable, Kent

Cycle helmet broken in fall

Postby oneten » 25 Nov 2014, 3:34pm

Friday before last I was cycling home on wet roads and came off on a short cobble section designed as a speed reduction measure approaching a T junction. I was doing about 12 - 15 mph and normally would've gone straight round the left hand turn when clear, but noticed at the last minute a taxi approaching. I braked to give way, but too sharply. Next thing I knew, after hearing a loud clatter, I was laying on the deck surrounded by the concerned taxi driver who'd stopped and four teenagers who saw what had happened and came over to assist. They were really kind and helped me out of the road, and phoned my wife and waited until she arrived, then helped load the bike - and me - into the car.
The teenagers said they saw my head hit the road as I fell off and on the way to casualty the damage to the helmet was clear to see, a sizeable chunk missing above the left ear section and two long cracks from the left side to front of the polystyrene inner moulding and shattered sections of the outer shell.
Upon arrival at casualty, a head CT showed no injury and three x-rays revealed no breaks or fractures to collar bone, shoulder or ribs, so I was very lucky and got away with some large and very colourful bruising to my left leg and chest, the latter which still hurts badly ten days on.
Did the helmet save my head from injury? Well, no doubt statistics could be quoted about the limited value of wearing a helmet or how they are not fit for purpose
and opinions could be expressed about infringements of personal freedom, but I am just so glad I was wearing one. I feel it made all those sweaty summer rides worth it for the protection it gave me during this one incident. It's easy for me to assert that it saved me from a head injury yet just as easy for skeptics to point out the subjectivity of my assertion, but I am just glad I had it on and wonder what might have been. Since then,I've gone and bought the best replacement I can afford, one that fits well and is comfortable.Money well spent as far as I am concerned based on my experience on this occasion.

User avatar
[XAP]Bob
Posts: 17179
Joined: 26 Sep 2008, 4:12pm

Re: Cycle helmet broken in falle way to hospital I could see

Postby [XAP]Bob » 25 Nov 2014, 3:35pm

Let's go to the ghetto in style...

A cracked helmet is one that has failed - it will have helped with some minor lacerations and surface soft tissue injury, but nothing 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.

oneten
Posts: 133
Joined: 11 Aug 2014, 2:49pm
Location: Whitstable, Kent

Re: Cycle helmet broken in falle way to hospital I could see

Postby oneten » 25 Nov 2014, 3:40pm

Sorry... Heading should've read 'Cycle Helmet Broken in Fall' :roll:

oneten
Posts: 133
Joined: 11 Aug 2014, 2:49pm
Location: Whitstable, Kent

Re: Cycle helmet broken in falle way to hospital I could see

Postby oneten » 25 Nov 2014, 3:44pm

Agreed, but they even recommend replacing a motorcycle helmet - even when suprficially without signs of damage - if a rider has had an accident. Why? Does this mean it too has failed?

oneten
Posts: 133
Joined: 11 Aug 2014, 2:49pm
Location: Whitstable, Kent

Re: Cycle helmet broken in falle way to hospital I could see

Postby oneten » 25 Nov 2014, 3:49pm

Moreover, saying that without a helmet a rider would just suffer some surface some bruising and surface laceration seems as subjective and unscientific a prediction as saying that it saved a cyclist from a more severe head injury.

Vorpal
Moderator
Posts: 17924
Joined: 19 Jan 2009, 3:34pm
Location: Not there ;)

Re: Cycle helmet broken in falle way to hospital I could see

Postby Vorpal » 25 Nov 2014, 3:51pm

oneten wrote:Agreed, but they even recommend replacing a motorcycle helmet - even when suprficially without signs of damage - if a rider has had an accident. Why? Does this mean it too has failed?

No. But it means that it *may* have failed, even though there is no visible damage.

It is likely that your helmet was damaged, perhaps from being bumped or dropped, before your incident. Otherwise the polystyrene should have compressed, rather than shattering.
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

User avatar
jezer
Posts: 1547
Joined: 29 Sep 2007, 5:16pm
Location: North Wiltshire

Re: Cycle helmet broken in falle way to hospital I could see

Postby jezer » 25 Nov 2014, 4:06pm

I think it shows the helmet did its job by absorbing the impact. Better a helmet that the head. I've wrecked two over the years in crashes, and on neither occasion did I realalise my head had hit the tarmac until I removed the helmet later. Of course they would be unlikely to help if hit by a motor vehicle, but in the more common crashes I'm convinced of the benefit.
Power to the pedals

User avatar
yakdiver
Posts: 1197
Joined: 12 Jul 2007, 2:54pm
Location: North Baddesley Hampshire

Re: Cycle helmet broken in fall

Postby yakdiver » 25 Nov 2014, 4:10pm

Glad your OK, helmets can be replaced.......
Alias Numbnuts

Bicycler
Posts: 3400
Joined: 4 Dec 2013, 3:33pm

Re: Cycle helmet broken in fall

Postby Bicycler » 25 Nov 2014, 4:46pm

I've no idea how we can handle polystyrene on a regular basis yet still view broken and cracked bits as evidence of huge forces at work. Nor can I see why people who suffer no significant injury to any of their body inevitably manage to attribute their lack of serious head injury to wearing a helmet.

Problem here is that we only ever hear the anecdotal evidence one way. No-one is ever needing to justify having a skull so all the times people bang their heads sans helmet don't result in earnest forum posts letting people know how much they feel the skull and hair surrounded by air combination works.

beardy
Posts: 3382
Joined: 23 Feb 2010, 4:10pm

Re: Cycle helmet broken in fall

Postby beardy » 25 Nov 2014, 4:50pm

The common belief is that they cant post such anecdotal evidence because they are all lined up in the morgue.
About 3,000 a year if you believe what a certain charity used to say.

Mike Sales
Posts: 4505
Joined: 7 Mar 2009, 3:31pm

Re: Cycle helmet broken in fall

Postby Mike Sales » 25 Nov 2014, 5:00pm

Bicycler wrote:Problem here is that we only ever hear the anecdotal evidence one way. No-one is ever needing to justify having a skull so all the times people bang their heads sans helmet don't result in earnest forum posts letting people know how much they feel the skull and hair surrounded by air combination works.


I once touched wheels and went down, banging my head. Luckily I was wearing a cotton "Festina" cap. Not even a bruise! I recommend Festina caps to all cyclists.

User avatar
jezer
Posts: 1547
Joined: 29 Sep 2007, 5:16pm
Location: North Wiltshire

Re: Cycle helmet broken in fall

Postby jezer » 25 Nov 2014, 5:04pm

Ah, but you remember what happened to the Festina team :?
Power to the pedals

User avatar
mjr
Posts: 15051
Joined: 20 Jun 2011, 7:06pm
Location: Norfolk or Somerset, mostly
Contact:

Re: Cycle helmet broken in fall

Postby mjr » 25 Nov 2014, 5:42pm

It may even be that the extra size of the helmet means that oneten's head hit the ground when a more naked head would have missed or allowed neck muscles to pull it in and protect it.

Why not focus on the cause of the crash? It's not clear if oneten was in the major or minor road: if in the minor road, why did oneten not approach so as to be able to stop or emergency-turn? If in the major road, why the heck did the taxi turn across oneten's path? Were the police called and the collision reported?
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
All the above is CC-By-SA and no other implied copyright license to Cycle magazine.

TonyR
Posts: 5390
Joined: 31 Aug 2008, 12:51pm

Re: Cycle helmet broken in fall

Postby TonyR » 25 Nov 2014, 6:00pm

jezer wrote:I think it shows the helmet did its job by absorbing the impact. Better a helmet that the head. I've wrecked two over the years in crashes, and on neither occasion did I realalise my head had hit the tarmac until I removed the helmet later. Of course they would be unlikely to help if hit by a motor vehicle, but in the more common crashes I'm convinced of the benefit.


Of course it could be that the only reason your head hit the tarmac was it was made a couple of inches bigger all round by the helmet.

TonyR
Posts: 5390
Joined: 31 Aug 2008, 12:51pm

Re: Cycle helmet broken in fall

Postby TonyR » 25 Nov 2014, 6:07pm

Bicycler wrote:Problem here is that we only ever hear the anecdotal evidence one way. No-one is ever needing to justify having a skull so all the times people bang their heads sans helmet don't result in earnest forum posts letting people know how much they feel the skull and hair surrounded by air combination works.


Yebbut you can pretty much dismiss most of the anecdotal claims. Accidents such as the OP's are ten a penny amongst cyclists. But we know how many cyclists go to hospital with head injuries and we know that there is approx. one helmet wearer for every two bare headed cyclists. That means if we take the number of head injuries and assume (incorrectly) that they were all bare headed and that the accident rate of cyclists is independent of whether they wear a helmet, then we can say that there were no more than half that number that had an accident and got away without a head injury because of their helmet. That number is not very large at all. And if you make some more realistic assumptions it gets smaller still.

Bottom line, the chance that the OPs helmet saved anything significant is pretty remote.