Home

https://www.facebook.com/sussexpoliceforce/posts/1776482492397300

“Wearing a helmet saved my son’s life” – these are the words of a mother who's backing our summer cycle safety message.

It follows the deaths of two cyclists in Sussex already this month. That’s two too many in our opinion.

In light of this, we’re urging all road users to ‘think bike’

As some of the commenters below have said already, there seems to be plenty of evidence to suggest compulsory helmet wearing does naff all to increase safety... also what have the two deaths got to do with the photo in question? Might have helped in that instance, but I doubt would have prevented the deaths! Seems a bit of a muddled message from the coppers.  

 

 

 

64 comments

Avatar
ClubSmed [788 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes
madcarew wrote:
grumpyoldcyclist wrote:

I wear a helmet when I ride my bike, in case I fall off, it may help. If I'm hit by a driver / vehicle it will potentially have negligible benefits.

One issue Sussex police fail to address is that for the occupants of vehicles involved in a crash, the biggest cause of fatalities is head injuries. A lot more drivers than cyclists die on the roads every day and I don't see the police 'suggesting' that drivers wear helmets.

Really that's kind of silly. They may not insist on helmets for drivers, but they do insist on a large raft of safety implements in modern cars before they can be used on the roads. Head injuries may well be the major killer because we've managed to seriously reduce most of the other ways of dying in a vehicle via compulsory safety aids.  All activities carry risk, some of which we simply accept because of social norms and the nature of the activity. Thus we don't insist on all swimmers wearing oxygen tanks. 

I do not support compulsory helmet wearing because on balance I think it is probably detrimental to the safety of the cycling population. However, there are very real individual safety benefits from wearing a helmet. 

Really, I was not aware that Sussex Police insisted on "a large raft of safety implements in modern cars before they can be used on the roads".

Avatar
hawkinspeter [4096 posts] 1 year ago
1 like
madcarew wrote:
hawkinspeter wrote:
wknight wrote:

The one key statistic we are missing is how many people saved a trip to The hospital or even calling an ambulance because the helmet saved them. 

 

I witnessed two crashes very recently where the person walked away, but their helmet was a complete shattered mess. That would have been their head and yes it is personal choice, but no one complains about wearing a seat belt. Please don’t say there is data, because the data we need re Helmets has not been gathered. Go visit a&e and see head injuries. 

If the police get involved why not, remember it’s them who have all the paperwork, investigation and having to give the family the bad news

If a bike helmet is a "complete shattered mess", it means that the energy involved was much greater than the helmet was designed to protect against. The main protection from a bike helmet comes from compressing the expanded polystyrene inside it, not from the thin plastic outer that holds it together, so if the helmet shatters, it means it's not doing its job correctly and most likely provided only very minimal protection.

Real life impacts are very complicated actions, and it's entirely possible that the inital 'killing' impact deformed the helmet and protected the wearer, but also ruined the integrity of the helmet such that subsequent smaller impacts destroyed the now substantially weakened helmet, but those impacts were not capable of doing serious damage to the encased skull. So, a destroyed helmet does not mean either that it was subject to impacts outside it's design envelope, nor that it offered skant protection. Just because an air bag is a torn bloody, muddy floppy mess and the vehicle didn't stop when it deployed doesn't mean that the air bag offered no protection at the time of impact. 

I get your point, but does that mean you support the opposite view, that if a helmet is destroyed it means that it provided a high level of protection? That's what I was arguing against.

Avatar
madcarew [1002 posts] 1 year ago
1 like
hawkinspeter wrote:
madcarew wrote:
hawkinspeter wrote:
wknight wrote:

The one key statistic we are missing is how many people saved a trip to The hospital or even calling an ambulance because the helmet saved them. 

 

I witnessed two crashes very recently where the person walked away, but their helmet was a complete shattered mess. That would have been their head and yes it is personal choice, but no one complains about wearing a seat belt. Please don’t say there is data, because the data we need re Helmets has not been gathered. Go visit a&e and see head injuries. 

If the police get involved why not, remember it’s them who have all the paperwork, investigation and having to give the family the bad news

If a bike helmet is a "complete shattered mess", it means that the energy involved was much greater than the helmet was designed to protect against. The main protection from a bike helmet comes from compressing the expanded polystyrene inside it, not from the thin plastic outer that holds it together, so if the helmet shatters, it means it's not doing its job correctly and most likely provided only very minimal protection.

Real life impacts are very complicated actions, and it's entirely possible that the inital 'killing' impact deformed the helmet and protected the wearer, but also ruined the integrity of the helmet such that subsequent smaller impacts destroyed the now substantially weakened helmet, but those impacts were not capable of doing serious damage to the encased skull. So, a destroyed helmet does not mean either that it was subject to impacts outside it's design envelope, nor that it offered skant protection. Just because an air bag is a torn bloody, muddy floppy mess and the vehicle didn't stop when it deployed doesn't mean that the air bag offered no protection at the time of impact. 

I get your point, but does that mean you support the opposite view, that if a helmet is destroyed it means that it provided a high level of protection? That's what I was arguing against.

If a helmet is destroyed, as I pointed out, it may have provided a high level of protection, but  for sure there will be instances where the helmet provided negligible protection and was destroyed. I think these may be the minority of cases where the rider survived though. To me it's hard to envisage an impact destructive enough to destroy a helmet that wouldn't have had fairly devastating effects on the head contained within  had it not been there, which is really what saying 'it provided negligible protection' means

Avatar
madcarew [1002 posts] 1 year ago
1 like
ClubSmed wrote:
madcarew wrote:
grumpyoldcyclist wrote:

I wear a helmet when I ride my bike, in case I fall off, it may help. If I'm hit by a driver / vehicle it will potentially have negligible benefits.

One issue Sussex police fail to address is that for the occupants of vehicles involved in a crash, the biggest cause of fatalities is head injuries. A lot more drivers than cyclists die on the roads every day and I don't see the police 'suggesting' that drivers wear helmets.

Really that's kind of silly. They may not insist on helmets for drivers, but they do insist on a large raft of safety implements in modern cars before they can be used on the roads. Head injuries may well be the major killer because we've managed to seriously reduce most of the other ways of dying in a vehicle via compulsory safety aids.  All activities carry risk, some of which we simply accept because of social norms and the nature of the activity. Thus we don't insist on all swimmers wearing oxygen tanks. 

I do not support compulsory helmet wearing because on balance I think it is probably detrimental to the safety of the cycling population. However, there are very real individual safety benefits from wearing a helmet. 

Really, I was not aware that Sussex Police insisted on "a large raft of safety implements in modern cars before they can be used on the roads".

Ok, fair call on my wording, in a way.

See what the Sussex police insist on if you try driving down the road in a car without brakes, or a seat belt, or collapsing steering column (unless you have a special derogation), or selling a new car with out ABS, EBD, airbag etc etc. Lots of cars get pink stickered all the time, which is effectively the police insisting on a large raft of safety implements / accessories / features before it can be driven.

Avatar
hawkinspeter [4096 posts] 1 year ago
3 likes
madcarew wrote:
hawkinspeter wrote:
madcarew wrote:
hawkinspeter wrote:
wknight wrote:

The one key statistic we are missing is how many people saved a trip to The hospital or even calling an ambulance because the helmet saved them. 

 

I witnessed two crashes very recently where the person walked away, but their helmet was a complete shattered mess. That would have been their head and yes it is personal choice, but no one complains about wearing a seat belt. Please don’t say there is data, because the data we need re Helmets has not been gathered. Go visit a&e and see head injuries. 

If the police get involved why not, remember it’s them who have all the paperwork, investigation and having to give the family the bad news

If a bike helmet is a "complete shattered mess", it means that the energy involved was much greater than the helmet was designed to protect against. The main protection from a bike helmet comes from compressing the expanded polystyrene inside it, not from the thin plastic outer that holds it together, so if the helmet shatters, it means it's not doing its job correctly and most likely provided only very minimal protection.

Real life impacts are very complicated actions, and it's entirely possible that the inital 'killing' impact deformed the helmet and protected the wearer, but also ruined the integrity of the helmet such that subsequent smaller impacts destroyed the now substantially weakened helmet, but those impacts were not capable of doing serious damage to the encased skull. So, a destroyed helmet does not mean either that it was subject to impacts outside it's design envelope, nor that it offered skant protection. Just because an air bag is a torn bloody, muddy floppy mess and the vehicle didn't stop when it deployed doesn't mean that the air bag offered no protection at the time of impact. 

I get your point, but does that mean you support the opposite view, that if a helmet is destroyed it means that it provided a high level of protection? That's what I was arguing against.

If a helmet is destroyed, as I pointed out, it may have provided a high level of protection, but  for sure there will be instances where the helmet provided negligible protection and was destroyed. I think these may be the minority of cases where the rider survived though. To me it's hard to envisage an impact destructive enough to destroy a helmet that wouldn't have had fairly devastating effects on the head contained within  had it not been there, which is really what saying 'it provided negligible protection' means

I'm not convinced as the general design of bike helmets has very clear structural weaknesses (or vents as they are often called) and any non-flat object hitting a helmet has a reasonable chance of destroying it. Your argument that a destroyed helmet most likely provided significant protection is begging the question.

Avatar
madcarew [1002 posts] 1 year ago
1 like
hawkinspeter wrote:
madcarew wrote:
hawkinspeter wrote:
madcarew wrote:
hawkinspeter wrote:
wknight wrote:

The one key statistic we are missing is how many people saved a trip to The hospital or even calling an ambulance because the helmet saved them. 

 

I witnessed two crashes very recently where the person walked away, but their helmet was a complete shattered mess. That would have been their head and yes it is personal choice, but no one complains about wearing a seat belt. Please don’t say there is data, because the data we need re Helmets has not been gathered. Go visit a&e and see head injuries. 

If the police get involved why not, remember it’s them who have all the paperwork, investigation and having to give the family the bad news

If a bike helmet is a "complete shattered mess", it means that the energy involved was much greater than the helmet was designed to protect against. The main protection from a bike helmet comes from compressing the expanded polystyrene inside it, not from the thin plastic outer that holds it together, so if the helmet shatters, it means it's not doing its job correctly and most likely provided only very minimal protection.

Real life impacts are very complicated actions, and it's entirely possible that the inital 'killing' impact deformed the helmet and protected the wearer, but also ruined the integrity of the helmet such that subsequent smaller impacts destroyed the now substantially weakened helmet, but those impacts were not capable of doing serious damage to the encased skull. So, a destroyed helmet does not mean either that it was subject to impacts outside it's design envelope, nor that it offered skant protection. Just because an air bag is a torn bloody, muddy floppy mess and the vehicle didn't stop when it deployed doesn't mean that the air bag offered no protection at the time of impact. 

I get your point, but does that mean you support the opposite view, that if a helmet is destroyed it means that it provided a high level of protection? That's what I was arguing against.

If a helmet is destroyed, as I pointed out, it may have provided a high level of protection, but  for sure there will be instances where the helmet provided negligible protection and was destroyed. I think these may be the minority of cases where the rider survived though. To me it's hard to envisage an impact destructive enough to destroy a helmet that wouldn't have had fairly devastating effects on the head contained within  had it not been there, which is really what saying 'it provided negligible protection' means

I'm not convinced as the general design of bike helmets has very clear structural weaknesses (or vents as they are often called) and any non-flat object hitting a helmet has a reasonable chance of destroying it. Your argument that a destroyed helmet most likely provided significant protection is begging the question.

I don't think any of it is as absolute as your alterrnative proposition "the opposite view, that if a helmet is destroyed it means that it provided a high level of protection?".  And at this point we get to semantics, because I'm uncomfortable with "most likely" but comfortable with "fairly likely".  I take your point about the vents and a non-flat surface (eg rock or top of  fence post) but what would the effect on the skull be in the absence of the helmet. I think it's going to be generally unlikely that in the event a helmet is destroyed (I was envisaging the majority of the  helmet being in pieces) that an unprotected skull in the same instance wouldn't have benefitted from a helmet between it and the striking surface.

Avatar
hawkinspeter [4096 posts] 1 year ago
3 likes
madcarew wrote:
hawkinspeter wrote:
madcarew wrote:
hawkinspeter wrote:
madcarew wrote:
hawkinspeter wrote:
wknight wrote:

The one key statistic we are missing is how many people saved a trip to The hospital or even calling an ambulance because the helmet saved them. 

 

I witnessed two crashes very recently where the person walked away, but their helmet was a complete shattered mess. That would have been their head and yes it is personal choice, but no one complains about wearing a seat belt. Please don’t say there is data, because the data we need re Helmets has not been gathered. Go visit a&e and see head injuries. 

If the police get involved why not, remember it’s them who have all the paperwork, investigation and having to give the family the bad news

If a bike helmet is a "complete shattered mess", it means that the energy involved was much greater than the helmet was designed to protect against. The main protection from a bike helmet comes from compressing the expanded polystyrene inside it, not from the thin plastic outer that holds it together, so if the helmet shatters, it means it's not doing its job correctly and most likely provided only very minimal protection.

Real life impacts are very complicated actions, and it's entirely possible that the inital 'killing' impact deformed the helmet and protected the wearer, but also ruined the integrity of the helmet such that subsequent smaller impacts destroyed the now substantially weakened helmet, but those impacts were not capable of doing serious damage to the encased skull. So, a destroyed helmet does not mean either that it was subject to impacts outside it's design envelope, nor that it offered skant protection. Just because an air bag is a torn bloody, muddy floppy mess and the vehicle didn't stop when it deployed doesn't mean that the air bag offered no protection at the time of impact. 

I get your point, but does that mean you support the opposite view, that if a helmet is destroyed it means that it provided a high level of protection? That's what I was arguing against.

If a helmet is destroyed, as I pointed out, it may have provided a high level of protection, but  for sure there will be instances where the helmet provided negligible protection and was destroyed. I think these may be the minority of cases where the rider survived though. To me it's hard to envisage an impact destructive enough to destroy a helmet that wouldn't have had fairly devastating effects on the head contained within  had it not been there, which is really what saying 'it provided negligible protection' means

I'm not convinced as the general design of bike helmets has very clear structural weaknesses (or vents as they are often called) and any non-flat object hitting a helmet has a reasonable chance of destroying it. Your argument that a destroyed helmet most likely provided significant protection is begging the question.

I don't think any of it is as absolute as your alterrnative proposition "the opposite view, that if a helmet is destroyed it means that it provided a high level of protection?".  And at this point we get to semantics, because I'm uncomfortable with "most likely" but comfortable with "fairly likely".  I take your point about the vents and a non-flat surface (eg rock or top of  fence post) but what would the effect on the skull be in the absence of the helmet. I think it's going to be generally unlikely that in the event a helmet is destroyed (I was envisaging the majority of the  helmet being in pieces) that an unprotected skull in the same instance wouldn't have benefitted from a helmet between it and the striking surface.

I think we need some experimenters to figure out the real value of destroyed helmets.

I just object to the naive view that a destroyed helmet must have provided significant protection, when I would expect the opposite to be more likely.

Avatar
madcarew [1002 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes
hawkinspeter wrote:
madcarew wrote:
hawkinspeter wrote:
madcarew wrote:
hawkinspeter wrote:
madcarew wrote:
hawkinspeter wrote:
wknight wrote:

The one key statistic we are missing is how many people saved a trip to The hospital or even calling an ambulance because the helmet saved them. 

 

I witnessed two crashes very recently where the person walked away, but their helmet was a complete shattered mess. That would have been their head and yes it is personal choice, but no one complains about wearing a seat belt. Please don’t say there is data, because the data we need re Helmets has not been gathered. Go visit a&e and see head injuries. 

If the police get involved why not, remember it’s them who have all the paperwork, investigation and having to give the family the bad news

If a bike helmet is a "complete shattered mess", it means that the energy involved was much greater than the helmet was designed to protect against. The main protection from a bike helmet comes from compressing the expanded polystyrene inside it, not from the thin plastic outer that holds it together, so if the helmet shatters, it means it's not doing its job correctly and most likely provided only very minimal protection.

Real life impacts are very complicated actions, and it's entirely possible that the inital 'killing' impact deformed the helmet and protected the wearer, but also ruined the integrity of the helmet such that subsequent smaller impacts destroyed the now substantially weakened helmet, but those impacts were not capable of doing serious damage to the encased skull. So, a destroyed helmet does not mean either that it was subject to impacts outside it's design envelope, nor that it offered skant protection. Just because an air bag is a torn bloody, muddy floppy mess and the vehicle didn't stop when it deployed doesn't mean that the air bag offered no protection at the time of impact. 

I get your point, but does that mean you support the opposite view, that if a helmet is destroyed it means that it provided a high level of protection? That's what I was arguing against.

If a helmet is destroyed, as I pointed out, it may have provided a high level of protection, but  for sure there will be instances where the helmet provided negligible protection and was destroyed. I think these may be the minority of cases where the rider survived though. To me it's hard to envisage an impact destructive enough to destroy a helmet that wouldn't have had fairly devastating effects on the head contained within  had it not been there, which is really what saying 'it provided negligible protection' means

I'm not convinced as the general design of bike helmets has very clear structural weaknesses (or vents as they are often called) and any non-flat object hitting a helmet has a reasonable chance of destroying it. Your argument that a destroyed helmet most likely provided significant protection is begging the question.

I don't think any of it is as absolute as your alterrnative proposition "the opposite view, that if a helmet is destroyed it means that it provided a high level of protection?".  And at this point we get to semantics, because I'm uncomfortable with "most likely" but comfortable with "fairly likely".  I take your point about the vents and a non-flat surface (eg rock or top of  fence post) but what would the effect on the skull be in the absence of the helmet. I think it's going to be generally unlikely that in the event a helmet is destroyed (I was envisaging the majority of the  helmet being in pieces) that an unprotected skull in the same instance wouldn't have benefitted from a helmet between it and the striking surface.

I think we need some experimenters to figure out the real value of destroyed helmets.

I just object to the naive view that a destroyed helmet must have provided significant protection, when I would expect the opposite to be more likely.

 

Well, I nominate Donald Trump as crash test dummy #1

 

I don't think the opposite is more likely, and just because it's a naiive view doesn't mean it's wrong  1

Really, to my mind, the crux of that argument is given that a head was encased in the helmet at time of destruction, and significant force is likely to have been applied to destroy it,  what would have been the state of the head had the helmet not been there. Generally speaking I think the answer has to be "worse", probably normally coupled with "considerably".  1

Avatar
hawkinspeter [4096 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
madcarew wrote:
hawkinspeter wrote:
madcarew wrote:
hawkinspeter wrote:
madcarew wrote:
hawkinspeter wrote:
madcarew wrote:
hawkinspeter wrote:
wknight wrote:

The one key statistic we are missing is how many people saved a trip to The hospital or even calling an ambulance because the helmet saved them. 

 

I witnessed two crashes very recently where the person walked away, but their helmet was a complete shattered mess. That would have been their head and yes it is personal choice, but no one complains about wearing a seat belt. Please don’t say there is data, because the data we need re Helmets has not been gathered. Go visit a&e and see head injuries. 

If the police get involved why not, remember it’s them who have all the paperwork, investigation and having to give the family the bad news

If a bike helmet is a "complete shattered mess", it means that the energy involved was much greater than the helmet was designed to protect against. The main protection from a bike helmet comes from compressing the expanded polystyrene inside it, not from the thin plastic outer that holds it together, so if the helmet shatters, it means it's not doing its job correctly and most likely provided only very minimal protection.

Real life impacts are very complicated actions, and it's entirely possible that the inital 'killing' impact deformed the helmet and protected the wearer, but also ruined the integrity of the helmet such that subsequent smaller impacts destroyed the now substantially weakened helmet, but those impacts were not capable of doing serious damage to the encased skull. So, a destroyed helmet does not mean either that it was subject to impacts outside it's design envelope, nor that it offered skant protection. Just because an air bag is a torn bloody, muddy floppy mess and the vehicle didn't stop when it deployed doesn't mean that the air bag offered no protection at the time of impact. 

I get your point, but does that mean you support the opposite view, that if a helmet is destroyed it means that it provided a high level of protection? That's what I was arguing against.

If a helmet is destroyed, as I pointed out, it may have provided a high level of protection, but  for sure there will be instances where the helmet provided negligible protection and was destroyed. I think these may be the minority of cases where the rider survived though. To me it's hard to envisage an impact destructive enough to destroy a helmet that wouldn't have had fairly devastating effects on the head contained within  had it not been there, which is really what saying 'it provided negligible protection' means

I'm not convinced as the general design of bike helmets has very clear structural weaknesses (or vents as they are often called) and any non-flat object hitting a helmet has a reasonable chance of destroying it. Your argument that a destroyed helmet most likely provided significant protection is begging the question.

I don't think any of it is as absolute as your alterrnative proposition "the opposite view, that if a helmet is destroyed it means that it provided a high level of protection?".  And at this point we get to semantics, because I'm uncomfortable with "most likely" but comfortable with "fairly likely".  I take your point about the vents and a non-flat surface (eg rock or top of  fence post) but what would the effect on the skull be in the absence of the helmet. I think it's going to be generally unlikely that in the event a helmet is destroyed (I was envisaging the majority of the  helmet being in pieces) that an unprotected skull in the same instance wouldn't have benefitted from a helmet between it and the striking surface.

I think we need some experimenters to figure out the real value of destroyed helmets.

I just object to the naive view that a destroyed helmet must have provided significant protection, when I would expect the opposite to be more likely.

 

Well, I nominate Donald Trump as crash test dummy #1

 

I don't think the opposite is more likely, and just because it's a naiive view doesn't mean it's wrong  1

Really, to my mind, the crux of that argument is given that a head was encased in the helmet at time of destruction, and significant force is likely to have been applied to destroy it,  what would have been the state of the head had the helmet not been there. Generally speaking I think the answer has to be "worse", probably normally coupled with "considerably".  1

By the way, I meant "naive" as in the mother's views - I think most people on this forum have read at least some discussions of helmet efficacy.

A problem with using a destroyed helmet as a signature of a high level of protection, is that it leads to the paradox whereby the weaker the helmet, the more often it is judged to have provided protection.

My view on bike helmets is that they are good at protecting against scrapes and possibly minor skull fractures, but next to useless in preventing brain damage due to the brain 'sloshing' against the inside of the skull. Combined with the data that shows drivers give less space to helmet wearing riders, and I think that their net benefit is negligible.

 

Avatar
PRSboy [566 posts] 1 year ago
1 like
hawkinspeter wrote:

Combined with the data that shows drivers give less space to helmet wearing riders, and I think that their net benefit is negligible.

 

 

Interesting one that...

I am also convinced that drivers seem more patient/safe around me when I am giving it some welly rather than pottering about on the tops.  Anyone else noticed this, or the opposite?

Avatar
brooksby [5046 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
madcarew wrote:
hawkinspeter wrote:
madcarew wrote:
hawkinspeter wrote:
wknight wrote:

The one key statistic we are missing is how many people saved a trip to The hospital or even calling an ambulance because the helmet saved them. 

 

I witnessed two crashes very recently where the person walked away, but their helmet was a complete shattered mess. That would have been their head and yes it is personal choice, but no one complains about wearing a seat belt. Please don’t say there is data, because the data we need re Helmets has not been gathered. Go visit a&e and see head injuries. 

If the police get involved why not, remember it’s them who have all the paperwork, investigation and having to give the family the bad news

If a bike helmet is a "complete shattered mess", it means that the energy involved was much greater than the helmet was designed to protect against. The main protection from a bike helmet comes from compressing the expanded polystyrene inside it, not from the thin plastic outer that holds it together, so if the helmet shatters, it means it's not doing its job correctly and most likely provided only very minimal protection.

Real life impacts are very complicated actions, and it's entirely possible that the inital 'killing' impact deformed the helmet and protected the wearer, but also ruined the integrity of the helmet such that subsequent smaller impacts destroyed the now substantially weakened helmet, but those impacts were not capable of doing serious damage to the encased skull. So, a destroyed helmet does not mean either that it was subject to impacts outside it's design envelope, nor that it offered skant protection. Just because an air bag is a torn bloody, muddy floppy mess and the vehicle didn't stop when it deployed doesn't mean that the air bag offered no protection at the time of impact. 

I get your point, but does that mean you support the opposite view, that if a helmet is destroyed it means that it provided a high level of protection? That's what I was arguing against.

If a helmet is destroyed, as I pointed out, it may have provided a high level of protection, but  for sure there will be instances where the helmet provided negligible protection and was destroyed. I think these may be the minority of cases where the rider survived though. To me it's hard to envisage an impact destructive enough to destroy a helmet that wouldn't have had fairly devastating effects on the head contained within  had it not been there, which is really what saying 'it provided negligible protection' means

 

The site linked through http://road.cc/content/feature/241993-when-should-i-replace-my-bike-helmet - https://helmets.org/ - seems to reckon that you should replace a bike helmet when there's pretty much the slightest scratch/dent/fading.  The helmet currently sitting on top of my wardrobe at home has lots of scratches, all of which are from poorly trimmed shrubbery on my local cycle route, none from actual falling off or collisions...  Does this mean that the helmet is now ready to go to landfill?

Avatar
Simon E [3847 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes

Shrewsbury PSCOs committed a similar faux pas on twitter last week:

Quote:

A cycle helmet and shatterproof sunglasses are a must for anyone on their bike this sunny Bank Holiday Monday. Quite a few more mature males seen without. Experience counts for nothing when you hit a pothole. #SafeCycling #WearAHelmet

https://twitter.com/ShrewsburyCops/status/993524733189738496

I'd like to think that they actually read some of the informative responses.

PRSboy wrote:
hawkinspeter wrote:

Combined with the data that shows drivers give less space to helmet wearing riders, and I think that their net benefit is negligible.

 

 

Interesting one that...

I am also convinced that drivers seem more patient/safe around me when I am giving it some welly rather than pottering about on the tops.  Anyone else noticed this, or the opposite?

No but the research on helmeted vs bare-headed riders is real. For best results grow your hair long (or wear a wig) and wobble a bit.

Avatar
Podc [159 posts] 1 year ago
1 like
PRSboy wrote:
hawkinspeter wrote:

Combined with the data that shows drivers give less space to helmet wearing riders, and I think that their net benefit is negligible.

 

 

Interesting one that...

I am also convinced that drivers seem more patient/safe around me when I am giving it some welly rather than pottering about on the tops.  Anyone else noticed this, or the opposite?

 

Definitely. The slower I go, the more close passes, beeps and rants I get. Doesn't even matter if the reason I am going slower is that I am with the kids.

Avatar
Morgoth985 [181 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes

Definitely. The slower I go, the more close passes, beeps and rants I get. Doesn't even matter if the reason I am going slower is that I am with the kids.

[/quote]This last.  Although slightly off topic, I simply cannot believe (well actually I can, but that’s even worse) that grown adult males are prepared to shout foul mouthed abuse at children.

Avatar
madcarew [1002 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes
hawkinspeter wrote:

 

By the way, I meant "naive" as in the mother's views - I think most people on this forum have read at least some discussions of helmet efficacy.

A problem with using a destroyed helmet as a signature of a high level of protection, is that it leads to the paradox whereby the weaker the helmet, the more often it is judged to have provided protection.

My view on bike helmets is that they are good at protecting against scrapes and possibly minor skull fractures, but next to useless in preventing brain damage due to the brain 'sloshing' against the inside of the skull. Combined with the data that shows drivers give less space to helmet wearing riders, and I think that their net benefit is negligible.

 

Very fair point on 'the weaker the helmet...', except one assumes most helmets being worn have passed the relevant safety standards, and so from that standpoint most destructive hits have had some fair degree of force behind them.

I have to disagree with you on the brain damage issue, because it is the rate of acceleration (negative or positive) that is of prime importance in that instance, and if you consider under the same impact loading, if a head hits the ground unprotected there is say +/- 3mm of combined cushioning of skin and skull deformation at the point of impact and for arguments sake lets say that results in a 150g deceleration, if there is under the same scenario a combined cushioning of 12mm resulting from polystyrene deformation (whether or not it ruptures) then that drops the deceleration to under 40g, which is orders of magnitude less dangerous for the brain. 

I think, possibly contrary to many on this forum, that for your average around town cyclist helmets do little to improve their safety and would agree with you on your limited net benefit. For chidren with their combined poorer judgement and more susceptible brains etc, I suspect they provide quite some benefit, even in the accumulated non-destructive knocks which (a la rugby, boxing et al) can aggregate brain damage. For me as a racer who, when I hit I tend to hit with some force, I think they can be a 'life saver'. I am fairly sure that compulsory helmet wearing has a negative health effect on the total population but makes negligible difference to the individual cyclist. I'm fairly certain that individual choice to wear a helmet in quite a number of cases helps prevent major injuries and on that basis confers a helath or safety advantage to the individual cyclist.

Avatar
don simon fbpe [2997 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

A couple of plod were seen riding around that there Liverpool (0-3 Real Madrid) today without helmets and conspicuously all in black with no hi-viz. You'd think that they'd take note of their own advice.

Avatar
madcarew [1002 posts] 1 year ago
1 like
don simon wrote:

A couple of plod were seen riding around that there Liverpool (0-3 Real Madrid) today without helmets and conspicuously all in black with no hi-viz. You'd think that they'd take note of their own advice.

Probably incognito, hadn't filled out their whereabouts forms for UCI (a la Chicken Rasmussen)

Avatar
hawkinspeter [4096 posts] 1 year ago
4 likes

@madcarew - your point about helmet testing should be valid, but for one thing. Helmets are tested for hits against flat surfaces and not for irregular shaped objects. This means that a much weaker hit by an edge can cause a helmet to break in two and not provide any significant protection.

There is also an important point about the nature of the expanded polystyrene used in bike helmets - it is used for its ability to be compressed when hit and thus provide some protection. When you see a helmet split apart, that means that the polystyrene has failed in its tensile strength which is not a selling point of EPS (e.g. it's easy to break apart polystyrene packaging, but difficult to compress).

Also, I'm not convinced by your figures on brain deceleration as I think you're underestimating the size of forces involved when hitting another object at speed (AFAIK helmets are typically tested at up to 12mph). However, it is reasonable to assume that helmets would provide good head/brain protection for children due to their slower speeds and reduced height, although this could be offset by their increased risk taking if they believe that helmets are effective.

The big problem with talking about helmets as PPE is that it's completely missing the point. We need to be looking towards the European countries that have much smaller cyclist KSIs; they have good cycle infrastructure and tend to not wear cycle helmets.

Avatar
Yorkshire wallet [2428 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes

Still in two minds about helmet use. Been using a cotton cap all week as I just sort of felt like it but this weekend I'm off on a climbing route and I'll probably hit 50 on the downhills so I guess I'll put the helmet on. 

My mate has spent two weeks in a coma after a helmetless accident but he still won't wear one so I guess once you've really made your mind up there's no changing. 

Avatar
brooksby [5046 posts] 1 year ago
1 like
Yorkshire wallet wrote:

Still in two minds about helmet use. Been using a cotton cap all week as I just sort of felt like it but this weekend I'm off on a climbing route and I'll probably hit 50 on the downhills so I guess I'll put the helmet on. 

Isn't that the very point?  If its a glorious sunny day with dry ground, or you're just pootling around (or whatever counts as pootling for you) then you wear a cap.  If you open the door and there's snow and ice (hence a greater chance of falling off?) or you are planning on some downhill MTBing, then maybe you decide to wear a helmet.   If  Its all down to your assessment of the likely conditions/risks that you'll encounter, isn't it?

(I wish I could explain it like that to my wife, who went ballistic when she discovered I'd not been wearing a helmet for my commute, not even on "busy city streets".)

Avatar
Simon E [3847 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes
brooksby wrote:

(I wish I could explain it like that to my wife, who went ballistic when she discovered I'd not been wearing a helmet for my commute, not even on "busy city streets".)

It's sad that your wife doesn't trust your ability to research a topic, assess risk and come to your own conclusions.

Fear is a powerful emotion and the scaremongering, victim-blaming crap put out by government, industry bodies, some of the police and naturally by the people selling the stuff can be so persuasive, causing otherwise sensible people to swallow it without a second thought.  2

Avatar
hawkinspeter [4096 posts] 1 year ago
5 likes
Simon E wrote:
brooksby wrote:

(I wish I could explain it like that to my wife, who went ballistic when she discovered I'd not been wearing a helmet for my commute, not even on "busy city streets".)

It's sad that your wife doesn't trust your ability to research a topic, assess risk and come to your own conclusions.

I'm guessing that you're not married.

Avatar
brooksby [5046 posts] 1 year ago
1 like
Simon E wrote:
brooksby wrote:

(I wish I could explain it like that to my wife, who went ballistic when she discovered I'd not been wearing a helmet for my commute, not even on "busy city streets".)

It's sad that your wife doesn't trust your ability to research a topic, assess risk and come to your own conclusions.

Fear is a powerful emotion and the scaremongering, victim-blaming crap put out by government, industry bodies, some of the police and naturally by the people selling the stuff can be so persuasive, causing otherwise sensible people to swallow it without a second thought.  2

The irony is that she doesn't actually ride, herself.  She used to ride when she was a kid, up until she went to university; she bought a bike a few years ago but I can count on one hand the number of times she's ridden it (and, she didn't wear a helmet but that was just riding around the village so "it's different!" ​).

Avatar
andyp [1606 posts] 1 year ago
1 like
madcarew wrote:
nextSibling wrote:

The only way to know if a "helmet saved my life" would be to have exactly the same crash twice, once with a helmet and once without.

Which would discount the predictive effects that modelling gives us, which enables us to predict an awful lot of things rather accurately as it turns out (that's why they train pilots in simulators, run computer modelling stress tests on critical components for all sorts of things, and have computer modelling in side CPR dolls to predict the effects of someone's actions.) It is not difficult to demonstrate the effectiveness of many life saving devices (bullet proof vest) without having to run exactly the same 'accident' twice. 

Look at an NCAP crash test. The dummies have recording devices which accurately predict the likelihood of failure of certain human parts, in a less technical way we drop heavy weights on helmets  in such a way that we know that that force applied to a skull would generally cause damage to the skull, we also know that a certain amount of deformation associated with an impact implies damage to a skull. We can know these things with a certain degree of confidence. So, I'm not arguing that helmets save lives on a regular basis, just that your argument ignores an enormous amount of work and data that has been accrued over the years in safety research, and is used to accurately predict the outcome certain actions without having to kill people just to make sure it's right. 

Personally I went all the way through a car windscreen some years ago (from the outside to the inside) and although knocked out briefly, my skull and all the skin on it was intact. The helmet was badly deformed and then broken by a later impact. Research shows that people who penetrate windscreens with their head with the amount of force that I did (buried up to my shoulders) rarely escape a broken skull, and with it all the concommitant dangers. So, although I wouldn't claim my helmet saved my life it is undeniable that it saved me from some fairly serious injuries (I didn't need a single stitch on my head, other parts of my body which weren't protected in the same way needed dozens) including the high likelihood that it saved me from a fractured skull. Considering a large proportion of people who contact a car at the closing speed that I did die as a result of the collision, and the majority of those deaths are the result of head injuries, it's not a long bow to draw to say that on the balance of probabilities the helmet may have been instrumental in saving my life.

 

Not ignoring the data and the hard work etc etc etc, all very valid. From modelling, research and anecdotal evidence we can say that a helmet 'possibly' or 'probably' saved a life - but never that it actually *did*.

Avatar
Kendalred [384 posts] 1 year ago
5 likes

Let's face it, when plod keep banging on about helmets in the context of road safety, isn't this really an admission they can't keep us safe from bad drivers? Given the laughable treatment of cyclists who are killed/maimed/injured/close-passed, then this is simply shifting the onus onto the victim yet again.

What a sad yet entirely predictable state of affairs. I bet the residents of places such as The Netherlands and Denmark look on us with pity.

Having said that, given a helmet will give SOME protection in SOME circumstances, then I'll usually wear one, but would fight tooth and nail against making it compulsary, which is the real issue. We can argue about the science all day long, but you can't argue with the figures of the decrease in cycling in places that make it compulsary (Oz etc).

Avatar
Daveyraveygravey [702 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes
Yorkshire wallet wrote:

Still in two minds about helmet use. Been using a cotton cap all week as I just sort of felt like it but this weekend I'm off on a climbing route and I'll probably hit 50 on the downhills so I guess I'll put the helmet on. 

My mate has spent two weeks in a coma after a helmetless accident but he still won't wear one so I guess once you've really made your mind up there's no changing. 

 

I was in two minds, but have had four accidents, all my own fault, all involving the front wheel going from under me when there was either ice mud or wet/frozen white lines on the ground.  Every time I banged my head, on top of the excuriating road rash and in one case broken wrist, so for me, it's a case of that would have been a lot worse.  I guess in these cases, it happens so fast you can't stop yourself from hitting the ground once the front wheel slips out, so not sure what else I could have done. 

This is in a four year period, all on the road bike.  I ride 5,000 miles a year, probably 65/35 road v off road.  From my own personal experience, the chances of banging your head are much worse on a road bike than an mtb, although I can't count the low branches I have scraped under or bits of stone that could have pinged off the helmet.

I'm passionately against compulsory helmet use, but still wear one on every ride I do.  The non-cycling public just don't get it though, they think anyone without a helmet is a fool waiting to be crushed to death.  

Avatar
Simon E [3847 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes
hawkinspeter wrote:

I'm guessing that you're not married.

Nearly 18 years.

My wife knows that I am far better versed on this topic than she is and that it is a waste of time arguing with me about it; though I always acknowledge her and others' concern. She respects that it is my considered choice and not merely a stubborn refusal to bow to convention or pressure. I would take offence at being told what to do in the manner described by brooksby, however well intentioned.

In the wider context I find that the people with the most firmly held beliefs are invariably the least informed, whether it is about helmets, chain lube, pedals, immigration, politics, religion etc etc. As time goes by I am less and less willing to engage with narrow-minded people that refuse to acknowledge another point of view. My time is better spent doing something else.

Avatar
hawkinspeter [4096 posts] 1 year ago
1 like
Simon E wrote:
hawkinspeter wrote:

I'm guessing that you're not married.

Nearly 18 years.

My wife knows that I am far better versed on this topic than she is and that it is a waste of time arguing with me about it; though I always acknowledge her and others' concern. She respects that it is my considered choice and not merely a stubborn refusal to bow to convention or pressure. I would take offence at being told what to do in the manner described by brooksby, however well intentioned.

In the wider context I find that the people with the most firmly held beliefs are invariably the least informed, whether it is about helmets, chain lube, pedals, immigration, politics, religion etc etc. As time goes by I am less and less willing to engage with narrow-minded people that refuse to acknowledge another point of view. My time is better spent doing something else.

Fancy doing a trade?

Avatar
alansmurphy [2290 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

My Ventoux crash destroyed one side of my helmet and also my shoulder - it's fair to say I wouldn't have liked the marks and damage seen to the helmet on the side of my head (force looked around the temple). The shoulder was also smashed to a degree that suggests bone wouldn't have fared well.

 

We can argue that the helmet was wider than my head, but i was flying towards a metal post in mid air and had no control, reflexes etc. 

 

On the other hand, don't wear one on the town centre commute and i enjoyed my Wednesday tootle wearing a cap instead - though the gang of us did pass comment...

Avatar
brooksby [5046 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes
hawkinspeter wrote:
Simon E wrote:
hawkinspeter wrote:

I'm guessing that you're not married.

Nearly 18 years.

My wife knows that I am far better versed on this topic than she is and that it is a waste of time arguing with me about it; though I always acknowledge her and others' concern. She respects that it is my considered choice and not merely a stubborn refusal to bow to convention or pressure. I would take offence at being told what to do in the manner described by brooksby, however well intentioned.

In the wider context I find that the people with the most firmly held beliefs are invariably the least informed, whether it is about helmets, chain lube, pedals, immigration, politics, religion etc etc. As time goes by I am less and less willing to engage with narrow-minded people that refuse to acknowledge another point of view. My time is better spent doing something else.

Fancy doing a trade?

Hey, that's not fair! I wanted to!! (I've known my wife for 25 years, been married for 15, and in all that time I have never ever managed to win an argument, never made her change her mind on something she already thought... EVER.)

Pages