open topic, for anything cycling related.
I'm a bit confused by this poll. In Oz, you are required by law to wear a helmet. Therefore, unless you forget **puts hand up** or are deliberately ignoring the law, you're wearing a helmet. The choice isn't about safety, which is where this poll would be useful, it's about whether you obey the road rules and that is a whole different question.
Personally, I'm opposed to compulsory wearing of helmets, for a variety of reasons. One of those is personal choice. Another is that compulsion means that people don't think about the helmet, it's just something you put on - the result is many riders with unadjusted or poorly adjusted helmets, often not done up, with the result that the helmet is useless. I think decent education is a better move.
Readers should also note that I was wearing bike helmets on a regular basis about five years BEFORE they became compulsory, so I'm not against helmets, just against badly worn helmets and bandaid laws.
You wouldn't catch me pushing 70km/h on two skinny wheels and a lump of glorified plastic without a helmet.
It only needs to save you from serious injury or death once to make it worth wearing ALL THE TIME. Even if it only saves you from scraping your scalp on asphalt, it's still worth it.
IMO we don't have compulsory helmets in Aus, because I have never, ever seen the law enforced. A law that isn't enforced is BS.
For $20, you might save your life. For $100, you can save your life, and be comfortable around the ears.
I have never had a fall in which my head hit the ground, but IMO it's something you just cannot take a gamble on. All it takes is one error of judgement, one inconsiderate motorist, one unseen rock or pothole, and you can have your life changed.
I partly agree with Richard. I am also against them being compulsory. They may as well not be compulsory with the number of people not wearing them up here, especially the more tanned variety.
My wife is a nurse and in her opinion a helmet is more likely to result in a brain injury in an accident which may have resulted in a death without the helmet and that the helmet law is just politicians saying, "Look, I reduced cyclist road deaths while in office." but they don't say, "Look, I reduced cyclist road deaths and created lots of brain injuries causing a burden on the hospital system and society in general while in office."
They have their purpose which is to stop what may have been a minor injury becoming a major injury therefore I wear one and I bet I'm not the only person here who has innocently ridden off and forgotten to put it on.
I had a small spill on the hybrid a few months ago, it was on a small section of gravel path skirting some fenced off council works on the beach front. I was only doing 8km at the time but needed to brake for a elderly couple who appeared around the corner, the front wheel jammed itself on a stone and over i went, it was embarrassing. I got up and checked myself over and had a bit of gravel rash on one hand and a sore shoulder nothing to serious i thought, till i got home and saw two large stone chips embedded deep into the helmet!.
Helmets were made compulsory because of the statistics of serious and fatal head injuries from low speed falls. Most people underestimate or are simply ignorant of the damage a simple fall can do and given the choice themselves would be apathetic about wearing one.
I think the legislation works by giving people a reason to wear one even if they are dismissive about the safety aspect.
You need to be wary about using anecdotes to support helmets. I came off three weeks ago at 35 km/hr. My head hit the pavement ... HARD. My helmet did stuff all - not a mark on it (though I did drip blood on the thing) because it was my face that hit the deck. Is this an argument for NOT wearing a helmet? Of course not.
Incorrectly worn helmets do NOT protect your brain so the argument that 'any helmet is better than no helmet' is nonsense and has been proven so by studies in the past. A poorly adjusted helmet will shift on your head and has been proven to cause neck injuries. A badly worn helmet not only does not protect you, it can make things worse. In the early days, even a properly worn helmet could cause neck injuries as the outer shell grabbed on the pavement - I don't know if that has been addressed in more recent designs as I've been out of this sort of discussion from some years.
Helmets do not help for all head injuries - only a select few, those that affect the brain. Still, I tend to take the view that my brain is a relatively useful part of my structure, especially when it's working properly ... sort of.
Wear the rotten things. You have to wear them (and it is enforced here) so you'd might as well wear it properly and adjust it correctly - I've never seen the point of doing otherwise (regardless of whether you want to be wearing it or not).
The problem with the helmet debate is that it tends to get polarised - yes or no. That's a nonsense. Helmets do a lot of good, they do a lot of 'nothing', and can do some negatives. If you are ever unlucky enough to NEED the helmet to do the job it was DESIGNED for, they are darned useful and the consequences of not wearing one are rather dire. For that reason alone, I wear a good helmet, replace it well before I think it needs it, and have done so since the eighties.
The 'compulsory' aspect would make more sense if the powers that be did something about eductating riders on how to wear their helmets so that the rotten things actually have a chance to work if needed - I might almost agree with it then. However, the compulsory laws were only ever a bandaid, a law passed to make it look as though they were doing something and hence don't have my support.
ALWAYS. Never leave home without one.
Sorry Tuco, but the above statement makes me a bit angry, as then you could extend the argument to cover seatbelts etc and every other driving/safety improvement ever brought into law (including workplace safety).
As a victim of a fairly major road smash on a motorbike (me on motorbike and car turns into me), I would rather be injured than dead by any means. To say otherwise is just plain ignorant. I spent 4 months in hospital, 12 months off work and am left with permannent injuries which include ;
# fused PIP joint on 4th finger L Hand
# mal-fomed PIP joint 5th finger L Hand (cannot make proper fist so grip is compromised)
# compound fracture to left femur - leg is now 3/4" shorter than right
# hairline fracture of Left lateral Condyle (joint between femure & Tib/Fib) means I'll get arthritis early
# skin graft on left arm
# ruptured ligament in right ankle - easily sprained
Not that you can have your own opinions, but I think it changes dramatically when you come out of a situation where it could have gone either way.
For a long time I wouldn't entertain the thought that I was lucky, but know I know different.
I have seen many cops enforce the law for people who are too dumb to realise the potential benefit that a proper fitting helmet (I agree with Richard) can bring.
As an ad a while ago reminds us all "If you have a $10 head, then buy a $10 helmet"
Fully agree about education, and enforcement.
Was stopped at the lights once, a rider rode across in the bike lane perpendicular in front of me on an obviously K-mart special bike, without a helmet on.
I waved, smiled, and lightly tapped my lid to remind him about helmets. I got a lovely one finger salute in return.
I also find helmets good for protecting against magpie attacks
Now to get serious. I have a brain injury due to a blow to the head. I was not on a bicycle when it happened. It is not fun living with this. I also have suspected neck injuries. This happened over 20 years ago and I have been living with it since.
I have to put up with taking tablets to control a rare form of epilepsy, I have fingers and toes drop dead whenever, I have less control of the right hand side of my body sometimes than the left. There are many other problems.
So in my opinion, if you would like to end up like me, don't wear a helmet.
However the strange thing is that when I posed the question to the neurologist about the brain injury, he said that if I had of been wearing a helmet the major part of the damage would have still occurred as it was a contra cue (something or other) injury, where the brain bounces around inside the skull.
The helmet would have stopped damage to the skull.
Living with a brain injury is not fun, but if wearing a helmet can reduce the damage, then in my opinion, you should wear one properly.
Now, have you seen the prices of real estate on the moon? I was up there last week and.....
Okay, I'll qualify her statement which I should have done first. She was referring to people ending up in a vegetated state, bed bound, maybe or maybe not having a clue they even exist and requiring 24 hour a day assistance just to exist. Certainly not her or even my idea of living.
Seat belts are possibly in a different league as they avoid injury to the entire body, not just the head and greater forces are involved in vehicles (comparing a single vehicle accident to a single bike accident).
I always wear my helmet, it has saved my face once, then the second time my life.(helmet was repaced each time) No matter where I am going I wear my helmet as the second time was on a bikeway.
The only time I do not wear it is when I ride the bike up and down the driveway after minor maintenance!
BCC give us some more bikeways fore safe travel!!!!
Upgrade the NCL now QR!!!!!!
My views do not represent any organisation I may be apart of unless otherwise stated
Modern seat belt design also makes it easy to wear them effectively if not properly - the same can't be said for bike helmets (and is possibly impossible anyway).
Don't laugh because the poms were dead serious. Back in the nineties (I think, about that era), the poms looked at introducing a new design of motorcycle. It featured full leg shields, etc, all in attempt to protect the rider. Fortunately, in a test crash, the rider was pinned by the shields and the scheme was abandonned. Don't think some eejit won't attempt something equally bizarre with push bikes, particularly with modern body armour.
There's too much emphasis on secondary safety - things that protect you once you've had the accident (airbags, bash hats, pretty nurses in Emergency wards, etc). Nothing wrong with that, it's all nice to have when sliding down the road. However, primary safety, avoiding the prang in the first place, gets a very low priority because it's difficult, it's expensive and it's hard to compensate for the human being's love of applying Darwinian principals of evolution.
My personal approach is to wear suitable protective equiptment, make sure my machinery is up to the job I'm demanding of it, to ride with a very active mind (what used to be called Defensive riding/driving, though a lot of it is actually quite agressive) and to PRACTICE the bike handling skills needed to handle dramas. This won't prevent accidents (as recent experience shows) but it does tend to make the whole thing a lot more manageable.
How bout this? full body armour!
though the lass on his back should get herself a proper helmet, none of this "wreath of flowers" style-over-safety contraptions (well, apart from the fact that she shouldn't really be there in the first place)
PS. Check out the main site, it's actually quite an interesting bike resource.
This is a similar issue to compulsary seat belt, legality of suicide and many other rules that governs our civilized society.
With all due respect to your wife, I would only say that this is a subjective opinion and a poorly qualified one. I would not quote the number of well qualified medical and statistical sources that says the opposite. That statement is only true if you don't count whipped creamy white matter as a form of brain injury.
Helmets are designed to reduce the energy transfer to the skull, thereby reducing the severity of brain injury, be it contra-coup or direct force. From a medical point of view, there's no way in hell that one can argue against a safety device such as that of a well designed and fitted helmet.
Bianchi, Ridley, Montague, GT, Garmin and All things Apple
Note the qualifiers - highlighted. Not because I'm disagreeing with sogood, but because I am agreeing - as a number of people have noted, take the time to make sure it fits (try lots) and make sure you wear it properly.
But enough of the doom and gloom (I think we've made the point)
Who wear's a helmet that's colour co-ordinated with their bike?
Mine isn't, but the nice blue sets off the black of the Beast quite nicely
Your N=1 has nothing to do with the statistical criteria collected on this issue. Your face can be reconstructed even if you've lost all your facial muscles (yes, transplant). A mashed brain is like mashed bean curd, you don't get a second chance. Until the day you've actually held a brain in your hand and "played around" with all the delicate structures surrounding and enclosed in it, you won't know just how fragile the brain is.
The argument wrt poor fitting helmet is no contest as that's a special case. Compulsary usage is part of a method to ensure widespread use within the cycling community. Poor fitting is a follow up issue that relates to education of the users and is a transitional issue. With better user awareness and familiarity (takes time), the fit in the community would improve leading to further increases in the effectiveness of this measure.
Bianchi, Ridley, Montague, GT, Garmin and All things Apple
That all depends on the severity of your primary injury. An energy absorbing helmet would buffer both direct force as well as contra-coup brain injuries. I think your neurologist was just trying to make you feel better and get you to look ahead. By all account of logic and medical knowledge, wearing a helmet may have only left you with dropped toes but not dropped fingers. Who knows, it's luck of the draw at the end of the day. We are constantly playing with dice in our lifes, but I sure would like to improve the odds whenever possible.
Last edited by sogood on Thu Apr 12, 2007 1:41 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Bianchi, Ridley, Montague, GT, Garmin and All things Apple
Again with all due respect, that's a view taken without a perspective on the whole issue of traumatic brain injury.
From a statistical point of view, the frequency of occurance decreases with severity grade of injury. So for every one patient who ended up in vegetative state (ie. Saved from brain death), there would be multiple patients who have avoided a potential vegetative state to that of a more limited cerebral deficit. So the progression goes down the chain.
I can understand the background for coming up with such a view when one works in a neuro ICU where day in day out are these patients with GCS of 10 or below. But that really is a very shuttered view of the overall issue.
See my post below. Poor fitting by some is not a reason to stop progress. Users will become more knowledgeable, equipment will improve, it's just a transitional period. Overall, the benefit of compulsary helmet law is far greater, especially in the long term, compared with any downside in the short term.
Ahh, he wasn't wearing a crash hat then, otherwise he would have had helmet hair
Try lots on. It should sit comfortably without a lot of moving around. The cheaper ones use soft foam pads to get it to sit right ... which doesn't work as well as it might.
Every one's head is a different shape. Manufacturers can't afford to make different shaped helmets to suit everyone, so they do one or two standard shapes. The trick is to find the shape that suits you and this is why you may like one brand and your best mate might like another.
Then there are the straps. You should be able to adjust the strap so it sits comfortably under your chin, not too tight (some people suggest allowing enough slack to put a finger in there), all straps evenly tensioned, the wee buttons that make the Y shape in the straps just under your ears and the hat sitting on top of your head (surrounding the skull). Once there, the helmet should sit comfortably without moving around.
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