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Verdict: 
Looks good and performs well, being comfortable, a good weight for the money, and with decent ventilation
Weight: 
267g

The Sweet Protection Outrider is a good looking, comfortable and relatively well-ventilated helmet for the money.

  • Pros: Looks, ventilation, strap design
  • Cons: Could be more adjustable for those with smaller heads/bigger ears

The Outrider sits below the Falconer in Sweet Protection's two-model range of road helmets, with four variations on offer: with and without Mips for men, and with and without Mips for women.

> Buy this online here

Sweet Protection has worked across many different sports for the past 30 years and has built a really effective retention system with its Occigrip dial. This controls bands that run from the back of your head to the temples, meaning that tightening runs around most of the head rather than just at the back. It is pretty small compared to many other helmets, so less likely to be annoying on the back of your head. The dial also allows small increments of adjustment, so it's easier to find the right fit.

sweet_protection_outrider_helmet_-_back.jpg

Helping with comfort are the pads, which have a medium depth but more density than many others I have used. This combination means the helmet can sit closer to the head to improve fit, while still providing a decent level of comfort.

sweet_protection_outrider_helmet_-_inside.jpg

Another nice touch is the way the straps have been built, with two different elements, a bit like Specialized's 'Tri-Fix splitters', but adjustable. I found this worked really well as it basically nullified any twisting, but because you can only adjust the clips by a couple of inches, it might not be quite so good for those with smaller heads or bigger ears.

sweet_protection_outrider_helmet_-_strap.jpg

Ventilation is fairly good, although this is one area where you can really notice the difference between a mid-price helmet and a really high-end one. It is slightly better than others I have used in this price bracket, though; I used it on some of the hottest days of the year and didn't ever find myself wishing I was wearing something with more ventilation.

sweet_protection_outrider_helmet.jpg

Weight is pretty good for a helmet in this price bracket, too – 267g isn't far off the Salice Ghibli, which Stu noted was impressive at 255g; by comparison, the Smith Portal weighs 309g.

sweet_protection_outrider_helmet_-_detail.jpg

It's around the same price as both those (the same as the Salice and a fiver more than the Smith), comparable in most respects and better in some, such as head retention and – subjectively – looks. (It's available in four other colours if this doesn't do it for you.)

> Buyer's Guide: Cycling helmets – everything you need to know

Overall, I was impressed with this helmet. It looks really good, is well priced, has decent ventilation and is very comfortable. There's little not to like, although those with larger ears or smaller heads might not get on so well with the straps.

Verdict

Looks good and performs well, being comfortable, a good weight for the money, and with decent ventilation

If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website

road.cc test report

Make and model: Sweet Protection Outrider Helmet

Size tested: Medium

Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

Sweet Protection says, "A sleek, do-it-all road helmet, the Outrider uses impact technology inherited from the high-end models. This means low weight and great ventilation all in a compact shaped value-for-money package."

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10

Performed really well; decent ventilation and fit help to keep it comfortable.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

Seems well made and likely to last.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
8/10

Good weight for a helmet in this price bracket, with similarly priced helmets coming in heavier.

Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
7/10

Good comfort thanks to well-designed pads and decent ventilation.

Rate the product for value:
 
6/10

Pretty good value for a fairly lightweight and comfortable helmet.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

It performed well, offering relatively good ventilation, decent fit, and good looks.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

I really liked its looks combined with the performance. You could happily wear this without looking like a faux-pro while still getting the benefits of its performance elements.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

It would be good to have a little more adjustability in the straps for people with smaller heads/bigger ears.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

The Salice Ghibli comes in at the same price and the Smith Portal is £5 cheaper, both of which offer roughly the same kind of performance.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

It's a decent weight for the money and ventilation is pretty good. It would perhaps be nice to have more adjustability in the straps for those with smaller heads or larger ears, but really that's nitpicking what is otherwise a very good helmet.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 29  Height: 6 ft  Weight:

I usually ride: Cinelli Gazzetta  My best bike is: Cannondale Supersix Evo

I've been riding for: Under 5 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking

George spends his days flitting between writing about data, running business magazines and writing about sports technology. The latter gave him the impetus (excuse) to get even further into the cycling world before taking the dive and starting his own cycling sites and writing for Road.cc. 

When he is not writing about cycling, he is either out on his bike cursing not living in the countryside or boring anybody who will listen about the latest pro peloton/cycling tech/cycling infrastructure projects.  

45 comments

Avatar
Cugel [59 posts] 1 week ago
5 likes

Yet another "review" of a plastic hat that makes no mention of it's supposed primary purpose of head protection in a crash or fall. It's all about how it looks, feels, ventilates and weighs.

Isn't it about time that RoadCC stopped collaborating with the industry con that is the cycling helmet? The evidence shows that these things are not just useless at protecting your head from anything other than a mild bump but that overall the wearers actually suffer more head injuries than do non-wearers, probably due to the delusion that "a helmet will save my life so I can take far more risks".

Even if you did believe that the things offer some safety protection, you never test that aspect. What use your review, then, other than as as an advert for the manufacturers and purveyors of the thing?

Cugel

Avatar
pastyfacepaddy [23 posts] 1 week ago
2 likes
Cugel wrote:

Yet another "review" of a plastic hat that makes no mention of it's supposed primary purpose of head protection in a crash or fall. It's all about how it looks, feels, ventilates and weighs.

Isn't it about time that RoadCC stopped collaborating with the industry con that is the cycling helmet? The evidence shows that these things are not just useless at protecting your head from anything other than a mild bump but that overall the wearers actually suffer more head injuries than do non-wearers, probably due to the delusion that "a helmet will save my life so I can take far more risks".

Even if you did believe that the things offer some safety protection, you never test that aspect. What use your review, then, other than as as an advert for the manufacturers and purveyors of the thing?

Cugel

Exactly this.  The ONLY useful / meaningful measure of protection offered is the recent test by an American University and that only covers 20-30 helmets.

N.B. My last helmet was purchased based on the test results from American Uni study as the previous helmet (Lazer) which was due for replacement fared very poorly in the tests.

 

Avatar
Rich_cb [810 posts] 1 week ago
9 likes

I think it's completely unreasonable to expect every website/magazine that reviews helmets to put them through extensive collision testing.

You wouldn't expect every car magazine to deliberately crash each car they review multiple times to check the airbags.

There is unfortunately only limited independent testing available but it is beyond the resources of most cycling websites to produce their own collision testing so they are restricted to commenting on the things they can test eg 'how it looks, feels, ventilates and weighs'.

If you're really not interested in buying a helmet then save yourself the bother and don't read the review.

Avatar
vonhelmet [1333 posts] 1 week ago
6 likes

Feel free to not read the reviews, or at least read them based on the assumption that helmets work. After all, why read a review for something you’ve already decided you don’t need?

Avatar
John Stevenson [383 posts] 1 week ago
8 likes

Cugel wrote:

Yet another "review" of a plastic hat that makes no mention of it's supposed primary purpose of head protection in a crash or fall. It's all about how it looks, feels, ventilates and weighs.

Isn't it about time that RoadCC stopped collaborating with the industry con that is the cycling helmet? The evidence shows that these things are not just useless at protecting your head from anything other than a mild bump but that overall the wearers actually suffer more head injuries than do non-wearers, probably due to the delusion that "a helmet will save my life so I can take far more risks".

Even if you did believe that the things offer some safety protection, you never test that aspect. What use your review, then, other than as as an advert for the manufacturers and purveyors of the thing?

A bunch of good points there.

My personal opinion is that we should express scepticism about the protective value of helmets far more than we do.

However, we review helmets because people do buy them, and a large part of our job is to provide buying advice. We can't test the protective value of any particular helmet because there's no way to do that. The proxy used in the various test standards, shock absorption, is simply meaningless as is now well known to anyone who looks at the data. 

A member of the American Society for Testing and Materials helmet standards committee , Jim Moss (@recreationlaw on Twitter) has pointed out that helmets are designed only to protect against minor scalp wounds:

https://twitter.com/RecreationLaw/status/1054760377819361281

This is consistent with the fact that there is no reduction in cyclists killed or seriously injured where helmets are widely used. They simply don't provide enough protection to save a life, or even to prevent a concussion.

That leaves us only able to test what we can test by actually using the helmet: comfort, fit and ventilation.

As Jim points out in other tweets, almost no helmet maker claims their helmet provides any protection in a crash. If they did, the resulting class action lawsuit would undoubtedly bankrupt them.

One nit-pick: "wearers actually suffer more head injuries than do non-wearers". It's certainly true that disproportionately more helmet-wearers than non-wearers end up in A&E, and this is partly due to risk compensation. But it's also because helmets tend to be worn by sport cyclists who ride faster and take more risks than people who are just pootling to the shops, and that's the case whether or not sport-cyclists wear helmets; helmets probably just make it slightly worse.
 

Avatar
fukawitribe [2601 posts] 1 week ago
0 likes

Some excellent points John, I would however say that this part 

Quote:

The proxy used in the various test standards, shock absorption, is simply meaningless as is now well known to anyone who looks at the data.

also slightly misses the point that a number of helmet manufacturers conduct internal testing that covers a greater configuration space than the standards do. It is also a bit simplistic to say shock absorption is "meaningless" - it isn't, but it's certainly nowhere near the whole story.

Avatar
stomec [58 posts] 1 week ago
4 likes
Cugel wrote:

Yet another "review" of a plastic hat that makes no mention of it's supposed primary purpose of head protection in a crash or fall. It's all about how it looks, feels, ventilates and weighs.

Isn't it about time that RoadCC stopped collaborating with the industry con that is the cycling helmet? The evidence shows that these things are not just useless at protecting your head from anything other than a mild bump but that overall the wearers actually suffer more head injuries than do non-wearers, probably due to the delusion that "a helmet will save my life so I can take far more risks".

Even if you did believe that the things offer some safety protection, you never test that aspect. What use your review, then, other than as as an advert for the manufacturers and purveyors of the thing?

Cugel

 

Research earlier this year:  https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0925753517302059

Helmets probably help with low speed, single vehicle collisions.  They do not help with high speed crashes, or being hit by a train.

Avatar
Cugel [59 posts] 1 week ago
1 like

The point that many cyclists use helmets, allied to the other point that magazines don't have the facilities to test safety-provision, do go some way to justifying a review looking at what can be measured - weight, comfort, et al. But ...

The effect of this position is to passively recommend a product that probably doesn't function to provide it's primary (indeed only) purpose. If you can't measure, judge or otherwise test this singular and primary function, why publish a review at all? It's like publishing a review of a wheelset or tyre soley to describe how nice it looks or how much it weighs without providing any information about whether it works properly as a wheel or a tyre.

And if it's true, as you say, that manufacturers themselves don't claim any significant safety function of the helmet for fear of being sued when they fail to protect, why does anyone buy one? (I believe the short answer is "fashion").

My point is that you are, in practice, recommending what is supposedly a functional item when you have no idea if it actually functions. The recommendations to buy or not use criteria that aren't so much irrelevant as insignificant compared to that supposed primary function.

There's also a case that you're recommending what is, in effect, an item that functions to produce exactly the opposite effect of that it's supposed to. If helmet use encourages more risk taking and associated head injuries, especially amongst those already risk-avid, that makes it not just unfit for purpose but dangerous. Shouldn't you at least point this out in every review?

Cugel

Avatar
KendalRed [247 posts] 1 week ago
2 likes

Missed a trick here - should have called it 'Swede Protection'

(Yes I know that's the name of the brand, not the model...)

Avatar
Rich_cb [810 posts] 1 week ago
1 like
pastyfacepaddy wrote:

LOL. I don't think anyone is suggesting that a cycling journalist or website / magazine would have either the scientific / technical knowledge or the resources to independently test a sufficient number of each helmet to provide meaningful data regarding the protection afforded by each helmet reviewed. That would be the role of the relevant safety body.

However to use your car magazine example in reviews of cars they DO usually provide a list of the 'standard' safety devices on board especially any new innovations or claims of improved safety it normalises safety as a consideration. When airbags were the next big safety development every manufaturer either crowed about them in the brochure or made plans to develop them for their own cars. Similarly with the reactive / pre tensioner seatbelts and improved headlight units etc. 

The point I would make is that by at least commenting on hemets 'only meeting' the relevant / regional standard or non MIPS helmets having comments about the lack of MIPS it creates an emphasis and encourages improvements and normalises safety as a consideration.

Most reviews I've read will mention MIPS if it's present and give a brief summary of the supposed benefits.

I expect the reason that most helmet reviews don't mention new safety features is that, MIPS aside, there haven't really been that many recently.

Most claimed improvement have been in aerodynamics, fit, weight and comfort.

Avatar
pastyfacepaddy [23 posts] 1 week ago
1 like
vonhelmet wrote:

Feel free to not read the reviews, or at least read them based on the assumption that helmets work. After all, why read a review for something you’ve already decided you don’t need?

'read them based on the assumption they work' - there are differing degrees of 'working'. ;-)MIPS helmets have been shown to be more effective and in the only study I've seen with an increased requirement for protection have consistently scored higher.

Maybe I was reading the review to see if a MIPS version was available or if there was an innovative technological advance employed to improve the protection offered and some background data backing up the claim.

'already decided you don't need' - but maybe if helmet developement was driven by the protection they offered and this improved as a result of the focus put on it in reviews more non helmet wearers may change their minds and become helmet wearers?

Avatar
Rich_cb [810 posts] 1 week ago
0 likes
stomec wrote:

Research earlier this year:  https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0925753517302059

Helmets probably help with low speed, single vehicle collisions.  They do not help with high speed crashes, or being hit by a train.

Thanks for the link, looks like pretty good evidence in favour of the plastic hat.

Avatar
pastyfacepaddy [23 posts] 1 week ago
1 like
Rich_cb wrote:
pastyfacepaddy wrote:

LOL. I don't think anyone is suggesting that a cycling journalist or website / magazine would have either the scientific / technical knowledge or the resources to independently test a sufficient number of each helmet to provide meaningful data regarding the protection afforded by each helmet reviewed. That would be the role of the relevant safety body.

However to use your car magazine example in reviews of cars they DO usually provide a list of the 'standard' safety devices on board especially any new innovations or claims of improved safety it normalises safety as a consideration. When airbags were the next big safety development every manufaturer either crowed about them in the brochure or made plans to develop them for their own cars. Similarly with the reactive / pre tensioner seatbelts and improved headlight units etc. 

The point I would make is that by at least commenting on hemets 'only meeting' the relevant / regional standard or non MIPS helmets having comments about the lack of MIPS it creates an emphasis and encourages improvements and normalises safety as a consideration.

Most reviews I've read will mention MIPS if it's present and give a brief summary of the supposed benefits. I expect the reason that most helmet reviews don't mention new safety features is that, MIPS aside, there haven't really been that many recently. Most claimed improvement have been in aerodynamics, fit, weight and comfort.

Agreed but again IMO if more focus was put on the protection offered by a helmet in reviews and even in general it would become an area quickly identified by the marketing bods as requiring consideration and become more central in the developement process .

Avatar
pastyfacepaddy [23 posts] 1 week ago
0 likes
Rich_cb wrote:

I think it's completely unreasonable to expect every website/magazine that reviews helmets to put them through extensive collision testing. You wouldn't expect every car magazine to deliberately crash each car they review multiple times to check the airbags. There is unfortunately only limited independent testing available but it is beyond the resources of most cycling websites to produce their own collision testing so they are restricted to commenting on the things they can test eg 'how it looks, feels, ventilates and weighs'. If you're really not interested in buying a helmet then save yourself the bother and don't read the review.

LOL. I don't think anyone is suggesting that a cycling journalist or website / magazine would have either the scientific / technical knowledge or the resources to independently test a sufficient number of each helmet to provide meaningful data regarding the protection afforded by each helmet reviewed. That would be the role of the relevant safety body.

However to use your car magazine example in reviews of cars they DO usually provide a list of the 'standard' safety devices on board especially any new innovations or claims of improved safety it normalises safety as a consideration. When airbags were the next big safety development every manufaturer either crowed about them in the brochure or made plans to develop them for their own cars. Similarly with the reactive / pre tensioner seatbelts and improved headlight units etc. 

The point I would make is that by at least commenting on hemets 'only meeting' the relevant / regional standard or non MIPS helmets having comments about the lack of MIPS it creates an emphasis and encourages improvements and normalises safety as a consideration.

Edit: The orignal post may have suggested actually testing them but I agree that's not practical.

Avatar
John Stevenson [383 posts] 1 week ago
1 like

Rich_cb wrote:

Most reviews I've read will mention MIPS if it's present and give a brief summary of the supposed benefits. I expect the reason that most helmet reviews don't mention new safety features is that, MIPS aside, there haven't really been that many recently. Most claimed improvement have been in aerodynamics, fit, weight and comfort.

MIPS is the only new helmet feature with an associated claimed safety benefit that I can remember in 30 years in this game.

I think it's a safe bet those claims will vanish when someone crashes in a MIPS helmet, sustains the sort of injuries MIPS is supposed to mitigate, and sues.

Avatar
pastyfacepaddy [23 posts] 1 week ago
0 likes
stomec wrote:

Research earlier this year:  https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0925753517302059

Helmets probably help with low speed, single vehicle collisions.  They do not help with high speed crashes, or being hit by a train.

Thanks for that. Quite interesting to read although 'hit by a train' or 'drowning' as a result of cycling seem to be more common than I'd have thought. :-o

Avatar
John Stevenson [383 posts] 1 week ago
4 likes

stomec wrote:

 

Research earlier this year:  https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0925753517302059

Helmets probably help with low speed, single vehicle collisions.  They do not help with high speed crashes, or being hit by a train.

The key flaw in that paper is this:

Quote:

"It was reasonable to assume for these injuries that an even distribution of forces and force decrease due to destruction of the helmet material could significantly alleviate intracranial injury"

In other words, they have assumed a helmet would prevent the injuries they found in unhelmeted riders, and then, based on that assumption, concluded that helmets could prevent fatal injury.

However, as Jim Moss has pointed out, prevention of these severe injuries is not what helmets are designed to do. So what we have here is researchers looking at a bunch of dead cyclists and indulging in circular reasoning to support a conclusion they've already drawn.

If helmets really were as effective as this study suggests, there would have been a substantial reduction in cyclist KSIs in jurisdictions where helmets are compulsory or widely used. That there hasn't demonstrates this assumption, and therefore the rest of the paper, is simply wrong.

Avatar
ClubSmed [734 posts] 1 week ago
4 likes
Cugel wrote:

Yet another "review" of a plastic hat that makes no mention of it's supposed primary purpose of head protection in a crash or fall. It's all about how it looks, feels, ventilates and weighs.

Isn't it about time that RoadCC stopped collaborating with the industry con that is the cycling helmet? The evidence shows that these things are not just useless at protecting your head from anything other than a mild bump but that overall the wearers actually suffer more head injuries than do non-wearers, probably due to the delusion that "a helmet will save my life so I can take far more risks".

Even if you did believe that the things offer some safety protection, you never test that aspect. What use your review, then, other than as as an advert for the manufacturers and purveyors of the thing?

Cugel

I wear a helmet on my commute and the main concern for me is "how it looks, feels, ventilates and weighs" as any helmet will be protection enough for me.

I wear a helmet to stop my head getting hit by low hanging branches on my commute along the canal/river paths and through the park. I have tried a cycling had and it is not enough protection, so I wear a helmet as it is perfect for this purpose.

Avatar
Rich_cb [810 posts] 1 week ago
2 likes
John Stevenson wrote:
stomec wrote:

 

Research earlier this year:  https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0925753517302059

Helmets probably help with low speed, single vehicle collisions.  They do not help with high speed crashes, or being hit by a train.

The key flaw in that paper is this:

Quote:

"It was reasonable to assume for these injuries that an even distribution of forces and force decrease due to destruction of the helmet material could significantly alleviate intracranial injury"

In other words, they have assumed a helmet would prevent the injuries they found in unhelmeted riders, and then, based on that assumption, concluded that helmets could prevent fatal injury.

However, as Jim Moss has pointed out, prevention of these severe injuries is not what helmets are designed to do. So what we have here is researchers looking at a bunch of dead cyclists and indulging in circular reasoning to support a conclusion they've already drawn.

If helmets really were as effective as this study suggests, there would have been a substantial reduction in cyclist KSIs in jurisdictions where helmets are compulsory or widely used. That there hasn't demonstrates this assumption, and therefore the rest of the paper, is simply wrong.

You can't draw any conclusions from countries which have introduced compulsory helmet laws as the cycling population changes after the introduction of the law.

The death/ksi rate in the UK fell dramatically as the helmet wearing rate increased

The number of cycling accidents remained static which is good evidence against risk compensation.

Is there any good evidence for risk compensation?

It is perfectly reasonable to assume that helemts will distribute force. Any solid/semi solid head covering would do so.

You can test it yourself. Tap yourself on the head with a hammer. Do the same wearing a helmet. Is the pain equal?

If not then the force from the hammer must have been distributed over a greater area.

Avatar
davel [2674 posts] 1 week ago
2 likes
Rich_cb wrote:
John Stevenson wrote:
stomec wrote:

 

Research earlier this year:  https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0925753517302059

Helmets probably help with low speed, single vehicle collisions.  They do not help with high speed crashes, or being hit by a train.

The key flaw in that paper is this:

Quote:

"It was reasonable to assume for these injuries that an even distribution of forces and force decrease due to destruction of the helmet material could significantly alleviate intracranial injury"

In other words, they have assumed a helmet would prevent the injuries they found in unhelmeted riders, and then, based on that assumption, concluded that helmets could prevent fatal injury.

However, as Jim Moss has pointed out, prevention of these severe injuries is not what helmets are designed to do. So what we have here is researchers looking at a bunch of dead cyclists and indulging in circular reasoning to support a conclusion they've already drawn.

If helmets really were as effective as this study suggests, there would have been a substantial reduction in cyclist KSIs in jurisdictions where helmets are compulsory or widely used. That there hasn't demonstrates this assumption, and therefore the rest of the paper, is simply wrong.

You can't draw any conclusions from countries which have introduced compulsory helmet laws as the cycling population changes after the introduction of the law.

You've concluded that 'cycling changes the cycling population'.

That alone is reason enough, with what we've seen EVERYWHERE that has mandated them, to be 1) vehemently against the mandating of them and 2) skeptical about the encouragement of their use.

Needs mor graphz.

Avatar
CygnusX1 [1014 posts] 1 week ago
1 like

The Spokesmen podcast with Carlton Reid and Jim Moss (ASTM, cycling helmet standards comittee) is very enlightening:

http://www.the-spokesmen.com/?p=937 

Avatar
John Stevenson [383 posts] 1 week ago
2 likes

Rich_cb wrote:

The death/ksi rate in the UK fell dramatically as the helmet wearing rate increased

Citation needed.

Avatar
Rich_cb [810 posts] 1 week ago
0 likes
John Stevenson wrote:
Rich_cb wrote:

The death/ksi rate in the UK fell dramatically as the helmet wearing rate increased

Citation needed.

TRL data for helmets.
ONS stats for deaths/KSIs.

Avatar
Rich_cb [810 posts] 1 week ago
1 like
hawkinspeter wrote:

Risk compensation paper: https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/bf39/4b752ee22ca84bdeb6200b2c3497304312...

Also this one, but doesn't look to be as detailed:

https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/bf39/4b752ee22ca84bdeb6200b2c3497304312...

 

The helmet/hammer test is flawed as you're unlikely to encounter hammers on a typical bike ride, but your point about helmets providing some protection is valid. However, is the protective effect worth the risk compensation effect?

Bike helmets aren't really designed to distribute force (although they do to some extent) - they're designed to compress under force. This is behind a lot of mistaken people who point at a broken helmet and assume that because the helmet split into two pieces that it must have provided a substantial protective effect whereas bike helmets are very weak under tension.

Unfortunately those links don't work.

While you might not encounter many hammers you will encounter lots of kerbs/stones/branches etc that can deliver a similar pattern of force/area.

If risk compensation had any effect in the real world we'd have seen a big increase in the number of cycling accidents after the use of helmets increased.

We didn't.

So the effect is either negligible or non-existent.

Avatar
Cugel [59 posts] 1 week ago
2 likes
ClubSmed wrote:

I wear a helmet on my commute and the main concern for me is "how it looks, feels, ventilates and weighs" as any helmet will be protection enough for me.

I wear a helmet to stop my head getting hit by low hanging branches on my commute along the canal/river paths and through the park. I have tried a cycling had and it is not enough protection, so I wear a helmet as it is perfect for this purpose.

 

That's a reasonable and well-judged reason for wearing a cycling helmet, in that the accidental blows from a branch or similar at the sort of low-medium speeds you'd be doing on river or canal paths is just about the limit of what a helmet can mitigate against.

But these are not the risks to the head that most cyclists encounter. Those risks are to do with the serious blows imparted at high speeds, either by crashing into something immovable and shaped (not a nice flat surface) or, most likely, getting hit by a car. A cycling helmet will do virtually nothing to help in those situations. In practice, the helmet seems to actually encourage wearers to take the sort of risks that might increase the liklihood of such risks realising.

Cugel

 

Avatar
CygnusX1 [1014 posts] 1 week ago
2 likes
Rich_cb wrote:
John Stevenson wrote:
Rich_cb wrote:

The death/ksi rate in the UK fell dramatically as the helmet wearing rate increased

Citation needed.

TRL data for helmets. ONS stats for deaths/KSIs.

And you're attempts to imply causation from correlation of these two dissimilar datasets has be debunked before on this site.

Avatar
davel [2674 posts] 1 week ago
0 likes
Rich_cb wrote:
hawkinspeter wrote:

Risk compensation paper: https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/bf39/4b752ee22ca84bdeb6200b2c3497304312...

Also this one, but doesn't look to be as detailed:

https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/bf39/4b752ee22ca84bdeb6200b2c3497304312...

 

The helmet/hammer test is flawed as you're unlikely to encounter hammers on a typical bike ride, but your point about helmets providing some protection is valid. However, is the protective effect worth the risk compensation effect?

Bike helmets aren't really designed to distribute force (although they do to some extent) - they're designed to compress under force. This is behind a lot of mistaken people who point at a broken helmet and assume that because the helmet split into two pieces that it must have provided a substantial protective effect whereas bike helmets are very weak under tension.

Unfortunately those links don't work. While you might not encounter many hammers you will encounter lots of kerbs/stones/branches etc that can deliver a similar pattern of force/area. If risk compensation had any effect in the real world we'd have seen a big increase in the number of cycling accidents after the use of helmets increased. We didn't. So the effect is either negligible or non-existent.

Joining the dots between there not being an increase in accidents and risk compensation not being 'a thing' in cycling is a huge assumptive leap. It's been shown to be 'a thing' in other everyday travel behaviour, such as car driving behaviour following increases in safety, and sports, such as use of padding in boxing and American Football. I think you'd accept those observations in those other walks of life, so it's pretty bold to suggest it's negligible in an activity that combines elements of both.

You acknowledge yourself that mandating helmets changes the cycling population. An alternative conclusion might be that encouraging helmet use also changes the population to some extent (see countless surveys citing people not riding a bike because of safety fears and the article on the site about cycling only being 2nd to motorcycling in women/men gender imbalance). Again, I think you'd accept those observations. 

Risk compensation could therefore easily be 'a thing', but the cycling population is now made up of relatively sporty, skilled people who get away with it more than we'd see if everyone was happy to ride a bike - or when this bunch do have accidents, they shrug it off and walk away more often than fall awkwardly or panic into a tree. 

In short, I'm not confident in 'accident' stats, and an attempt to use them as evidence for risk compensation not being 'a thing' among cyclists? Hmmmmmmmmmm

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stomec [58 posts] 1 week ago
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John Stevenson wrote:
stomec wrote:

 

Research earlier this year:  https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0925753517302059

Helmets probably help with low speed, single vehicle collisions.  They do not help with high speed crashes, or being hit by a train.

The key flaw in that paper is this:

Quote:

"It was reasonable to assume for these injuries that an even distribution of forces and force decrease due to destruction of the helmet material could significantly alleviate intracranial injury"

In other words, they have assumed a helmet would prevent the injuries they found in unhelmeted riders, and then, based on that assumption, concluded that helmets could prevent fatal injury.

However, as Jim Moss has pointed out, prevention of these severe injuries is not what helmets are designed to do. So what we have here is researchers looking at a bunch of dead cyclists and indulging in circular reasoning to support a conclusion they've already drawn.

If helmets really were as effective as this study suggests, there would have been a substantial reduction in cyclist KSIs in jurisdictions where helmets are compulsory or widely used. That there hasn't demonstrates this assumption, and therefore the rest of the paper, is simply wrong.

 

Hi John

I've had a quick look for info on Jim Moss - are you referring to his comments on concussion ?

If so, that is very different to the injuries described in this paper.

Does he have any evidence about helmets and subdural/extradural/intracranial injury?

Thanks

 

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Rich_cb [810 posts] 1 week ago
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davel wrote:

Joining the dots between there not being an increase in accidents and risk compensation not being 'a thing' in cycling is a huge assumptive leap. It's been shown to be 'a thing' in other everyday travel behaviour, such as car driving behaviour following increases in safety, and sports, such as use of padding in boxing and American Football. I think you'd accept those observations in those other walks of life, so it's pretty bold to suggest it's negligible in an activity that combines elements of both.

You acknowledge yourself that mandating helmets changes the cycling population. An alternative conclusion might be that encouraging helmet use also changes the population to some extent (see countless surveys citing people not riding a bike because of safety fears and the article on the site about cycling only being 2nd to motorcycling in women/men gender imbalance). Again, I think you'd accept those observations. 

Risk compensation could therefore easily be 'a thing', but the cycling population is now made up of relatively sporty, skilled people who get away with it more than we'd see if everyone was happy to ride a bike - or when this bunch do have accidents, they shrug it off and walk away more often than fall awkwardly or panic into a tree. 

In short, I'm not confident in 'accident' stats, and an attempt to use them as evidence for risk compensation not being 'a thing' among cyclists? Hmmmmmmmmmm

You're using correlation as your evidence for risk compensation but don't accept a lack of correlation as evidence against it.

I'm not familiar with the stats for boxing or NFL but the evidence for risk compensation in drivers is weak/non-existent as well.

The year after seatbelts became mandatory in the UK the number of car accidents fell as did the number of cyclist KSIs.

How does risk compensation explain that?

If helmets and seatbelts produced a significant increase in risk taking it would be reflected in the accident statistics following a large increase in the rate of use.

That didn't happen.

In the real world risk compensation doesn't appear to play a significant role.

If you don't want to use accident statistics to support your hypothesis then what are you using?

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Rich_cb [810 posts] 1 week ago
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CygnusX1 wrote:
Rich_cb wrote:
John Stevenson wrote:
Rich_cb wrote:

The death/ksi rate in the UK fell dramatically as the helmet wearing rate increased

Citation needed.

TRL data for helmets. ONS stats for deaths/KSIs.

And you're attempts to imply causation from correlation of these two dissimilar datasets has be debunked before on this site.

If someone claims there is no correlation then you pointing out that there actually is is not 'implying causation'.

We've been over this before as you said. I'm not saying it's proof of causation I'm saying it's a correlation.

If others use a lack of correlation as part of their argument then pointing out the correlation debunks their argument not mine.

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