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Helmets are overrated?

May 19, 2016, 9:37 p.m.
Posts: 5738
Joined: May 28, 2005

"Nobody really gives a shit that you don't like the thing that you have no firsthand experience with." Dave

May 20, 2016, 8:29 a.m.
Posts: 354
Joined: June 11, 2013

I'm actually surprised some of you commenting here have not yet hit your head. Even my wife who never crashes cracked a helmet the first season I got her off road. Also know a couple of people personally who have long term issues from concussions.

That's the crazy part…. myself everyone I ride with have at some point written off a helmet, and been thankful that it was not our head. A buddy went down hard in the Chilcotins a couple years back, his helmeted head took a glancing blow on a small tree stump on the way down. Really run his bell, got him checked out in Whistler on the way home, ended up he had a concussion. Without the helmet he would have had a really serious injury in an area a long way from medical help. That scared the heck out of me.

If you don't want to wear a helmet for yourself, fine. Wear it for your friends and family.

May 20, 2016, 11:15 a.m.
Posts: 5738
Joined: May 28, 2005

i've cracked three helmets, two on trails and one while courriering

has anyone in this thread actually advocated against wearing a helmet? there seems to be a lot of outrage, umbrage and incredulity directed at… no one? these guys?

"Nobody really gives a shit that you don't like the thing that you have no firsthand experience with." Dave

May 20, 2016, 6:53 p.m.
Posts: 8
Joined: Aug. 20, 2010

has anyone in this thread actually advocated against wearing a helmet? there seems to be a lot of outrage, umbrage and incredulity directed at… no one?

Nope, not even me, who prefers to be thrown clear of the vehicle!

May 20, 2016, 10:12 p.m.
Posts: 663
Joined: March 9, 2005

Wear a hardhat when on site at a tower saved my ass twice,wear a helmet when I ride saved my ass from serious damage more time then I want to think about, only an idiot does not use personal protective equipment when it's called for.

The raw, primitive, unrefined trails that see little to no maintenance are the kinds of trails that really build skill. What kind of skills do you learn riding a trail that was made by a machine, groomed to perfection and void of any rocks, roots or other obstacles that could send you careening over the handlebars?

May 20, 2016, 10:19 p.m.
Posts: 663
Joined: March 9, 2005

I feel it is safer to be thrown clear of the vehicle…

You sound just like my nephew before he died being thrown clear of his truck…Shane always was to stupid to follow important rules.

The raw, primitive, unrefined trails that see little to no maintenance are the kinds of trails that really build skill. What kind of skills do you learn riding a trail that was made by a machine, groomed to perfection and void of any rocks, roots or other obstacles that could send you careening over the handlebars?

May 20, 2016, 10:40 p.m.
Posts: 21
Joined: May 20, 2014

Was riding upper John deer today with some friends and witnessed a guy with his helmet strapped to his pack complete both rock faces and the gap jump, give us a nod and continue down the lower section of the trail… On a double black section of trail I think maybe taking a second to put on a helmet could be a good call

May 23, 2016, 7:38 p.m.
Posts: 333
Joined: Dec. 21, 2008

i'm ambivalent about it

i think that helmets, on a number of counts, depress rates of cycling activity - the "but it will mess up my hair" issue is a canard; and whatever we may think of people who don't/won't ride because they have to wear a helmet isn't really important. helmts definitely don't reduce collision rates - and while they (marginally) reduce rates of head injuries among those who suffer collisions, they don't reduce rates of serious injury and hospitalization overall

increase cycling rates do impact safety, unequivocally, by reducing collision rates - see my second slide on the previous page

my attitude towards helmets is that personally i think they're a good idea, and i almost always wear one. for other people, i say wear one (on the road) if it makes you feel better - but if you're not going to ride if you have to wear one, then do ride and don't wear one, definitely: at both the public and individual level, cycling has a much higher health benefit that it poses an injury risk. personally, and as a country, the benefits outweigh the risks between 10 and 100 to 1

plus there are, at all levels, things that you/we can do that will have a much bigger impact on cyclist safety. effectively encouraging more people to ride bikes and building better infrastructure will keep cyclists much safer than mandating helmet use. at an individual level, good route choice (i.e. ride on a bike lane or quiet street vs. riding on an arterial) will have an exponentially higher impact on your personal safety than wearing a helmet does

finally, consider: motorists and pedestrians receive the same, if not greater, benefits to head-safety from wearing helmets as do cyclists. knowing that, are you going to put on a helmet when you go for a walk, or get behind the wheel of a car?

I agree with most of your comments, but the point is that wearing a helmet is safer than not, and the downside is negligible, so why not wear one?

May 23, 2016, 8:56 p.m.
Posts: 8
Joined: Aug. 20, 2010

Was riding upper John deer today with some friends and witnessed a guy with his helmet strapped to his pack complete both rock faces and the gap jump, give us a nod and continue down the lower section of the trail… On a double black section of trail I think maybe taking a second to put on a helmet could be a good call

It is easy to forget to put it on… one of the downsides of not wearing it continuously. But if you sling it over the bar, then its in the way and annoying and more likely to be re-donned before the downs.

May 23, 2016, 8:56 p.m.
Posts: 8
Joined: Aug. 20, 2010

You sound just like my nephew before he died being thrown clear of his truck…Shane always was to stupid to follow important rules.

I was kidding, obvs. That was the refrain I always heard in the 70s when the debate was going strong on seatbelts.

Sorry about your nephew.

May 23, 2016, 9:06 p.m.
Posts: 663
Joined: March 9, 2005

I was kidding, obvs. That was the refrain I always heard in the 70s when the debate was going strong on seatbelts.

Sorry about your nephew.

Darwin is a bitch he never would listen and it bit him in the ass but thanks.

The raw, primitive, unrefined trails that see little to no maintenance are the kinds of trails that really build skill. What kind of skills do you learn riding a trail that was made by a machine, groomed to perfection and void of any rocks, roots or other obstacles that could send you careening over the handlebars?

May 24, 2016, 12:11 a.m.
Posts: 1
Joined: July 5, 2015

Having heard the sound my helmet made when my head hit the road after a crash that was 100% not my fault (hit from behind by a truck that cut onto the shoulder to try and pass a slow car; driver admitted in court that he didn't see me because he was watching the car, and lost his license for a substantial period of time) I would never, ever ride without one. I came out of that with a very bad concussion; without a helmet, I would not be here typing this. I haven't hit my head mountain biking yet but it's not about the relative likelihood, regardless of whether you're on the trails or on the road. It's about having the helmet on that one day when things go badly and it turns out you need it.

May 24, 2016, 9:22 a.m.
Posts: 27
Joined: Dec. 1, 2004

http://www.timescolonist.com/news/local/coroner-investigating-victoria-man-s-mountain-bike-death-1.2260898

well, I would say that helmets are not overrated.
There was another fatal head injury this week in Nanaimo. Helmets do protect, however, they aren't 100% effective for all crashes. RIP rider down. If people don't want to wear a helmet when riding, i guess that is their personal liberty. However, when people die from head injuries while wearing helmets, i can only imagine the impact of not wearing one is.

i've worn my bike helmet since 1990, even for short trips to the store, ect. it just feels off not not have one on!

May 24, 2016, 10:12 a.m.
Posts: 1029
Joined: Feb. 12, 2009

Look at it this way - If you are going to ride you bike into a vehicle moving at highway speed, a helmet is all but useless, but a smaller impact of going OTB and hitting your head the helmet is likely to have a very real impact on how much protect it will offer. Could be the difference between a concussion or not, or perhaps just a concussion (not trying to minimize concussions) vs a very serious brain injury or death.

That said, I can't recall ever seeing anyone being ticketed for not wearing a helmet, so to each their own if it was just their injury. However we are all stuck with a part of the cost for our medical system, so I say, just wear your damn helmet.

Funny, two of my worst crashes have been on the road when there were no real hazards around. In one instance, my back brake failed coming down a hill and I went OTB to asphalt. The other I came out from behind a parked car and somehow went OTB. Both times landed on my head, both times the helmet saved me.

I know I have seen the police stopping people on the Ontario / 10th Ave bike lanes and ticketing them, but that was a few years ago.

May 24, 2016, 10:52 a.m.
Posts: 5738
Joined: May 28, 2005

great article in the most recent (?) issue of momentum magazine that brings the "safety benefits of helmets" issue up to date. it doesn't seem to be online yet, but i'll post it if and when it's up

in the mean time, here's some good stuff:

https://momentummag.com/a-little-more-fuel-for-the-helmet-debate-fire/

In this week’s episode of “I Can’t Believe We’re Still Talking About This,” researchers in Canada have determined that mandatory helmet laws have no impact on bicycling injury hospitalization rates across Canada.

The factors that did have a measurable impact, the team determined, were mode share and sex. “For all injury causes, sex was associated with hospitalisation rates; females had rates consistently lower than males,” the authors explain. “For traffic-related injury causes, higher cycling mode share was consistently associated with lower hospitalisation rates.”

and on that last note,

http://www.vox.com/2014/5/16/5720762/stop-forcing-people-to-wear-bike-helmets

biking, it turns out, isn't an especially dangerous form of transportation in terms of head trauma. And the benefits of helmets may be overstated. While they do protect your head during accidents, there's some evidence that helmets make it more likely you'll get in an accident in the first place.

this is my favorite quote (from that article, but also, possibly, generally)

Let's stop thinking of helmets as a critical protection against the risky activity of biking. Let's start thinking of biking as a normal, safe activity, like walking — and helmets as an optional accessory for people who are really into it.

"Nobody really gives a shit that you don't like the thing that you have no firsthand experience with." Dave

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