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Old 02-09-07, 02:18 PM   #1
graed8
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Could bike helmets provide more protection?

Hi my name's Graham, currently studying Product Design at DeMontfort Uni in Leicester. I'm currently in the process of researching into cycle hemlets for competition use, and could really do with some feedback on what you think of the current situation of bike helmet safety. Are they too bulky? Why would some people be put off from wearing them? what direction do you see head safety equipment going in the future? Have you ever fallen foul of head safety equipment in the past?

I'd be really grateful for any feedback on this issue to help me design a new helmet which could be marketed in 5 years time.

Any other info, stories, or stats would be most welcome.

Thanks for your time
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Old 02-09-07, 02:24 PM   #2
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What kind of competetion? There's cyclocross, criteriums, single day road races, multi day road races, single track, down hill, etc.
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Old 02-09-07, 02:42 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by graed8
Are they too bulky?
Some are, some are not. I depends on what you buy, you get what you pay for in terms of comfort & style. The safety rating should be the same or similar in terms of how well it protects the head.

Quote:
Originally Posted by graed8
Why would some people be put off from wearing them?
Some are just dead set against them because the idea of using any type of safety protection equipment is appaling to them, these people are usually & probably the same people who do not wear seat belts as well. Some don't wear them because they are not comfortable, no matter what style they try. Some think they do no good at all & you will suffer the same type of head injuries as you would with out a helmet despite numerous stroies & absolute proof to the contrary. Some believe a helmet will not protect you from death because they believe when the good lord wants he will take you & when it's your time, it's your time. Nothing can be done to change that. Some think a helmet actually makes an injury worse if one is worn then going with out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by graed8
What direction do you see head safety equipment going in the future?
I hope to see improvments. Maybe if some of these myths about why people will not wear one can be busted then maybe they will wear one. If a helmet is designed to protect the head regardless of what kind of impact & at what speed occurs & be comfortable on whom ever wears one more people would wear one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by graed8
Have you ever fallen foul of head safety equipment in the past?
Not yet. Every time I have hit my head in the event of an accident, though it has been a long time the helmet did it's job & kept my head protected. Even with damage to the helmet I basically walked away from every one.

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Originally Posted by graed8
I'd be really grateful for any feedback on this issue to help me design a new helmet which could be marketed in 5 years time.
Why do we have to wait 5 years? Why not sooner? Also why wait until a new helmet is tried out in competition before it trickles down to use by non-competitors? When that happens the general public often has to wait even longer. So 5 years could turn into 10.
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Old 02-09-07, 02:58 PM   #4
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Some people think helmets are uncool. If you could in some way make it cool, then people may be more inclined to buy them. People also feel compelled to rebel against an authority that forces them to wear the helmets. Therefore, despite data to the contrary, they don't wear a helmet. It seems that helmets need to have their image overhauled not the design.
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Old 02-09-07, 03:11 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by slowandsteady
not the design.
I disagree. I think that with modern design analysis and materials a helmet could be designed that is not much different than current sizes/weights but provides better protection, not to the levels needed for many accident scenarios, but better than the fairly low protection they do currently provide. A new standard could be defined perhaps.

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Old 02-09-07, 03:15 PM   #6
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Jaw and mouth protection badly needed
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Old 02-09-07, 03:17 PM   #7
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Gimme a helmet that is pretty much the same weight, look and feel of a cycling cap and can prevent head trauma from an impact of say 25mph.

If that isn't feasible, show me ANY helmet that can PREVENT accidents.
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Old 02-09-07, 03:17 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kf5nd
Jaw and mouth protection badly needed
I thought about that in writing the above in terms of 'same size'

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Old 02-09-07, 03:24 PM   #9
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Wearing a helmet is safer than not wearing a helmet. No question about it.

That being said, I used to wear a helmet religiously. If I was on the bike, I had a helmet on and properly buckled.

These days I only wear one at night, and that is primarily because the one I used to wear, my old commuter helmet, has reflective tape all over it and a headlight mounted to it. During the day I wear a ballcap.

What price range do you expect to target when you make your helmets available commercially? Someone like me, even when I wore a helmet all the time, is not going to shell out 200 bones for one. I don't think I've ever spent more than $40 for a helmet. Much more than that, and all you're paying for is style and a name.
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Old 02-09-07, 03:41 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chipcom
Gimme a helmet that is pretty much the same weight, look and feel of a cycling cap and can prevent head trauma from an impact of say 25mph.

If that isn't feasible, show me ANY helmet that can PREVENT accidents.
Prevent accidents, no. Prevent injury, yes.
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Old 02-09-07, 03:44 PM   #11
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I don't believe we'll get much further in the protective aspects of helmets, just weight and shape. There's only so much a helmet can do.
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Old 02-09-07, 03:46 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Dchiefransom
I don't believe we'll get much further in the protective aspects of helmets, just weight and shape. There's only so much a helmet can do.
Really? Is there no material better per volume or weight than stryofoam at absorbing energy? Is there no material better at resisting puncture and providing structural ridigity to the energy aborbing foam inside than molded plastic?

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Old 02-09-07, 03:50 PM   #13
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the lighter and cooler the better. I don't wear a helmet when the weather gets really hot because it's just miserable to wear one.
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Old 02-09-07, 03:53 PM   #14
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the lighter and cooler the better. I don't wear a helmet when the weather gets really hot because it's just miserable to wear one.
Seriously? Every bike helmet I've ever worn from $15 Target to $120 Giro has kept my head cooler in the summer sun vs. no helmet at all. The helmet shade is part of what makes it possible to ride midway in the summer. (a good ventilated hat would work too)

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Old 02-09-07, 04:00 PM   #15
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seriously! I don't know if it's just me or what, but my head gets so hot I just wanna rip the thing off.
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Old 02-09-07, 04:11 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by graed8
Hi my name's Graham, currently studying Product Design at DeMontfort Uni in Leicester. I'm currently in the process of researching into cycle hemlets for competition use, and could really do with some feedback on what you think of the current situation of bike helmet safety. Are they too bulky? Why would some people be put off from wearing them? what direction do you see head safety equipment going in the future? Have you ever fallen foul of head safety equipment in the past?

I'd be really grateful for any feedback on this issue to help me design a new helmet which could be marketed in 5 years time.

Any other info, stories, or stats would be most welcome.

Thanks for your time
At this point, my anecdotal experience is that people who are motivated to wear a helmet have already choosen to do so and others will not change their behavior unless the protection provided by a helmet increases dramatically.

Kids, however, have been conditioned to wear a helmet so without making any changes, I expect helmet use to increase over time.

That written, if you could design a helmet that could protect a rider from head injury at relatively high cycling speeds--say Chipcom's 25 mph--without simply redesigning a motorcycle helmet, then you might be able to motivate the helmetless holdouts.

I do think that you have a difficult problem, however. My understanding is that rigidity of the helmet surface is not the problem; but dissipating all of the energy before my brain gets smushed is the problem. Although I will point out that I am neither a physicist nor an engineer.
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Old 02-09-07, 04:16 PM   #17
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+1 face/jaw protection, w/o being obtrusive. I would say something like a football quarterback guard, but that might end up breaking your neck if it snagged on something pokey.

How about a little beanie cap you wear with 360 degree sensors. When it detects an imminent crash (w/ distance and acceleration sensors) it deploys a swarm of nanobots which destroy everything in your path. or they could just form a barrier to protect you.

more seriously, what about using some type of gel instead of a static foam, which would help the pressure/impact to be distributed over a larger area. It could also have the added benefit of causing the helmet to become snugger once impact began, helping it stay on your head.
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Old 02-09-07, 04:24 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chipcom
Gimme a helmet that is pretty much the same weight, look and feel of a cycling cap and can prevent head trauma from an impact of say 25mph.

If that isn't feasible, show me ANY helmet that can PREVENT accidents.

How about this helmet?

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Old 02-09-07, 04:26 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rando
seriously! I don't know if it's just me or what, but my head gets so hot I just wanna rip the thing off.

It's you. I forget the thing is even on my head. Frankly, I can't understand why anyone complains. What helmet do you have that gets so hot?
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Old 02-09-07, 04:27 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kf5nd
Jaw and mouth protection badly needed

They already exist. Just buy one.

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Old 02-09-07, 04:28 PM   #21
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How about a helmet that deploys an airbag for your head when it senses you are falling toward the ground? It could be integrated into a cycle cap & have sensors that cause it to deploy when you are falling to the ground in the event of an accident. Light, cool & protective all at the same time.
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Old 02-09-07, 04:35 PM   #22
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I could see a market for bicycle helmets utilizing this technology:
http://www.cardowireless.com/index.php

As per what I said above, I wouldn't want one, but someone who likes to yap a lot (like my wife and daughter)........
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Old 02-09-07, 04:42 PM   #23
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I used to use a Bell V1 Pro. Had a thick hard shell, rounded edges and the usual foam inner liner with soft foam pads.


"...the first helmet developed specifically for bicycle racing..."

That was the height of bike helmet technology as far as I am concerned.

Everything from there is downhill... especially the microshell technology, and the odd aero helmets with the strange protrusions out the back... that can grab pavement and tourque your neck as you roll and slide down the road.
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Old 02-09-07, 04:48 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CommuterRun
I could see a market for bicycle helmets utilizing this technology:
http://www.cardowireless.com/index.php

As per what I said above, I wouldn't want one, but someone who likes to yap a lot (like my wife and daughter)........
I would like to see more technology put in current helmets. In fact, I have a wishlist I have been thinking of (no particular order):

#1. Less bulky yet more coverage (make them so they don't look like something is just sitting on the top of your head)

#2. Inclusion of some sort of speaker system to interface via bluetooth to phone or mp3 player. Speakers, while not ideal, would be safer than headphones if played at a reasonable volume.

#3. More styles available. There are basically 3 types of helmets for bicycles right now: the Bell Metro, the skateboarder/x-games style, and everything else that looks exactly the same.

#4. Included rear view/side view mirrors thus helping to avoid accidents.

That is all for now. Otherwise you can run over to the stickied thread on helmets and read about 2000 posts of helmet opinions.
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Old 02-09-07, 04:49 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rando
I don't know if it's just me or what, but my head gets so hot I just wanna rip the thing off.
It's not just you. I normally wear a helmet almost always, but on hot days my head drips buckets of sweat unless I remove the styrofoam insulation and let the wind cool my head.

I don't buy the top-of-the-line 5 gram helmets with 300 vents, but they are pricey mid-range helmets with good ventilation and reasonably light weight.

RFM
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