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  1. #1
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    What made you stop wearing a helmet?

    I always used to, everyone just assumed they could save your life, so we were all told to wear one. Then when I got back into cycling, I was reading up about how safe it is, and happened across a mention that the evidence that helmets can prevent death is extremely ambiguous. I looked into as many papers as I could find, and discovered that this was true, and in fact there is some evidence that it can worsen injuries due to rotational accelleration, and makes you more likely to hit your head, etc etc... Anyway, I decided to stop kidding myself that a styrofoam hat could save me from a >30mph impact with a car, and started going without. I noticed that I was riding more carefully, and that it was a lot more pleasant, with the wind in my hair and no buckles under my chin.

    Anybody else a convert?

  2. #2
    Senior Member rando's Avatar
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    I love helmet threads!
    "Think of bicycles as rideable art that can just about save the world". ~Grant Petersen

    Cyclists fare best when they recognize that there are times when acting vehicularly is not the best practice, and are flexible enough to do what is necessary as the situation warrants.--Me

  3. #3
    Peripheral Visionary spock's Avatar
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    What made me stop? Well, I figured if I fall, I'll just get into the fetal position and cover my head with hands. You gotta know how to fall. The best way to learn is to practice.

    Not really

    If anything is gonna stop me, it's the sweat and mildew, but since it's the winter time, I'll see how I feel next summer.

  4. #4
    20+mph Commuter JoeyBike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Basil Moss View Post
    ...I decided to stop kidding myself that a styrofoam hat could save me from a >30mph impact with a car...
    I don't think helmet companies claim that either.

    By far, street or single-track, my crashes are low speed. Cornering, or doing some slow maneuvering in a tight space at under 5 mph would be the most likely. Certainly under 10 mph. Just falling over from a near stop (yes...it happens) and hitting my head on a curb/mailbox/car bumper can cause some pretty serious injury or at least some stitches and the end of my ride.

    Bicycle and Motorcycle helmets are mostly designed to save you injuries at low speed. Hopefully they minimize damage at high speed - but that involves lots of ifs and buts.

    I have maybe 100 falls - mostly off road - I broke one helmet. I continued my ride despite other injuries. Would it have been worse bear-headed? Probably, but who knows.

    I don't try to rationalize the helmet debate. I wear one because I wear one. Most of my friends do not. They almost all smoke too. I don't care what others do.
    "For all we know his skills may be excellent, allowing him to ride like an idiot without actually being one." - FBinNY

  5. #5
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    No options where I live, compulsory.

  6. #6
    You gonna eat that? Doohickie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeyBike View Post
    I have maybe 100 falls - mostly off road - I broke one helmet. I continued my ride despite other injuries. Would it have been worse bear-headed? Probably, but who knows.
    If you first you don't succeed, maybe it's time to try something else before you kill yourself. Srsly? 100 falls?
    I stop for people / whose right of way I honor / but not for no one.



    Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."

  7. #7
    20+mph Commuter JoeyBike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doohickie View Post
    Srsly? 100 falls?
    I am 50 years old. Started biking seriously at 15. Don't own a car. God only knows how many commuting/utilitarian miles I have piled up in my life. I have biked across the USofA 5 times self-contained. Now lets add off road riding to all that. Then speed skating for 5 years and other outdoor skating when I am not cycling. I commute on skates fairly often as well. Almost forgot 5 years of "parking lot" inline hockey.

    Yes. 100 falls. I am not the sit-at-home type. I do things. Hard and fast mostly.
    Last edited by JoeyBike; 12-07-08 at 12:10 PM.
    "For all we know his skills may be excellent, allowing him to ride like an idiot without actually being one." - FBinNY

  8. #8
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    I was astounded to find out from threads like this at BF, that there are supposedly rational people out there who think that riding a bicycle without a helmet is better than riding with one. The willingness of people to jump onto bandwagons based on "the generally accepted wisdom must be wrong" is a bizarre feature of human nature. Creationism, global warming denial, 9/11 conspiracy theorists, and now I can add the anti-helmet crowd to that list.

  9. #9
    uke
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    it's easy if you let it. uke's Avatar
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    ^ This country voted for Bush twice. Nothing should surprise you after that.

    JesseDuncan:I just love how "cars will be forced to cross the double yellow lines on dangerous limited visibility roads".

    I don't want to have a head on but oh god, I HAVE to fling myself into oncoming traffic to pass, theres no alternative!!!

  10. #10
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    i stop using a helmet when, no matter how much i clean it, it still looks old, beat-up.
    or
    with the one that saved my life (1999, Bell Image Pro) i stopped wearing it then.

    i always have back-up helmets, still partial to Bell brand. the newer the helmet you use, more engineered protection is added.

    spin safe!!

  11. #11
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    On a charity I passed a guy that was standing on the side of the road scraped up, and his helmet in pieces. Perhaps if he didn't have a helmet he wouldn't have been standing. I've endo'ed twice on one ride, my lid had had a few scrapes and cuts, better that than my head.
    Do what you want, I'll keep wearing mine.

  12. #12
    Senior Member cyclefreaksix's Avatar
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    I became tired of eating solid foods and having the ability to wipe my own *****.

  13. #13
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    If I ever stop, the inane pro-helmet statements on this subforum will probably be a key factor.

  14. #14
    www.theheadbadge.com cudak888's Avatar
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  15. #15
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cudak888 View Post
    It seems that that thread is a debate on helmet use, based on social judgement. (Some feel others should be doing what they think is right, as opposed to what others may think is right, to be safe)

    It seems this thread is asking a totally different question.

    What made me stop wearing a helmet? Well I haven't completely stopped, but it's been a while since I put one on (even though I'm legislated to wear one and risk not only a fine but a confiscation of my bike if an officer chooses to enforce the law).

    Maybe one of the first problems I had was when I discovered what the test was that confirmed the helmet had met it's protective qualities. (What? That's it?)

    One of the other things that made me question a helmets worth was when everyone started wearing them and still had the same injuries that happened before everyone started wearing them. Maybe I wouldn't have been so disappointed had the expectations not been so high when mandatory legislation was passed. I still have a couple of press clippings claiming that those who wear helmets will have their lives saved so when everyone must wear one the death rate will certainly drop. Of course this didn't happen. The death rate actually went up, as ridership dropped.

    I guess one more reason would be that after looking into this for some time, I've yet to see any evidence that cyclists hurt their heads more than anyone else. I've only known people hospitalized from head injuries that weren't on a bike.

    Are helmets perfect? No. Could someone benefit from wearing one? To a certain degree, sure. Beyond a certain degree, not really. Could someone benefit wearing one walking (or doing something else)? Sure. Just as much as a cyclist would but really, helmets are suited for pedestrians more than for cyclists, so isn't it a little back *ssward to be using them as we are?

    Maybe taking it off isn't as much a big deal as some think it may be. Maybe that would put them inline with the rest of the world who haven't bothered to put them on in the first place.

    It sure is more comfortable wearing a toque in place of the helmet this winter.
    Last edited by closetbiker; 12-07-08 at 11:27 PM.
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  16. #16
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    I love the feel of wind in my hair, and I like hats. But I try to remember my helmet at night, and offroad.

  17. #17
    Old Fogy
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    I often ride the MUP without one, much to the chagrin of my best bike riding buddy, who fell and broke his helmet on a MUP. As far as I'm concerned, it's a matter of risk management, and I don't feel the risk is great, nor is the benefit. On the road is a different matter, I almost always ride with a helmet there.

  18. #18
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeyBike View Post
    I am 50 years old. Started biking seriously at 15. Don't own a car. God only knows how many commuting/utilitarian miles I have piled up in my life. I have biked across the USofA 5 times self-contained. Now lets add off road riding to all that. Then speed skating for 5 years and other outdoor skating when I am not cycling. I commute on skates fairly often as well. Almost forgot 5 years of "parking lot" inline hockey.

    Yes. 100 falls. I am not the sit-at-home type. I do things. Hard and fast mostly.
    Tend to agree Joey.

    My son rides MTB, pretty hard... he falls all the time. Always coming home with scrapes and bruises. He uses a full face helmet. His choice.

    I myself am pretty much a roadie/commuter. I have toured. And yeah, I've taken my share of spills too. The most recent was doing a very low speed turn on the MUP... it was too tight and I lost balance. I went down and hit my shoulder hard and just barely missed banging my head.

    Seems that when you are doing something that requires balance, there is a chance that you may fall.

    Sure, 99% of the time you don't need a helmet... Just like a seatbelt. But how are you gonna grab it during that 1% you do need it?

  19. #19
    Senior Member gcottay's Avatar
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    I recently ceased wearing a helmet because of sheer forgetfulness, but only for one ride.
    George
    Laissez les bon temps rouler

  20. #20
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    Tend to agree Joey....

    Seems that when you are doing something that requires balance, there is a chance that you may fall.

    Sure, 99% of the time you don't need a helmet... Just like a seatbelt...
    Funny thing is, a helmet isn't at all like a seat belt. It was never built to withstand against, and has never been shown to protect against, anything other than superficial injuries. Most people are most afraid of collisions with cars, and seat belt are made for that, while a bicycle helmet is not.

    Maybe that's why after reaching an almost 80% usage rate, 12 year after our law passed, usage rates have fallen to pre-legislation rates.

    Seems more than a few people up here have had their own reasons to stop wearing helmets (or maybe those who had stopped riding because of helmet law enforcement started riding again when police stopped enforcing the law except when going after cyclists who ride like JoeyBike).
    Last edited by closetbiker; 12-08-08 at 06:18 AM.
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  21. #21
    Senior Member EatMyA**'s Avatar
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    I stopped wearing one, when I stopped having a pencil neck. The conditions I ride in dont warrant the use of one. I wear one at night because I have a blinkie attached to it.

    I do miss the helmet though. The wind sure does fuss up your hair.
    Last edited by EatMyA**; 12-08-08 at 09:23 AM.

  22. #22
    Spelling Snob Hobartlemagne's Avatar
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    I stopped wearing a helmet when I arrived home from my last ride.

    The first rule of flats is You don't talk about flats!

  23. #23
    Senior Member EatMyA**'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by closetbiker View Post
    Funny thing is, a helmet isn't at all like a seat belt. It was never built to withstand against, and has never been shown to protect against, anything other than superficial injuries. Most people are most afraid of collisions with cars, and seat belt are made for that, while a bicycle helmet is not.

    Maybe that's why after reaching an almost 80% usage rate, 12 year after our law passed, usage rates have fallen to pre-legislation rates.

    Seems more than a few people up here have had their own reasons to stop wearing helmets (or maybe those who had stopped riding because of helmet law enforcement started riding again when police stopped enforcing the law except when going after cyclists who ride like JoeyBike).
    You know something? Your posts just got me thinking...I have known A LOT of people who ride bicycles on a regular basis. I also remember when I was a kid, all my friends used bicycles. They usually did some pretty stupid things on them.

    I have NEVER met anyone, or even heard of anyone who got a head injury while riding a bike. Not one. I do know off the the top of my head 5 people who had head injuries while driving automobiles. I know of two people who recieved head injuries while walking.

    I don't think that's even relevant to this thread but I just realized that after reading your post and was pretty confused.

  24. #24
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by closetbiker View Post
    Funny thing is, a helmet isn't at all like a seat belt. It was never built to withstand against, and has never been shown to protect against, anything other than superficial injuries. Most people are most afraid of collisions with cars, and seat belt are made for that, while a bicycle helmet is not.

    Maybe that's why after reaching an almost 80% usage rate, 12 year after our law passed, usage rates have fallen to pre-legislation rates.

    Seems more than a few people up here have had their own reasons to stop wearing helmets (or maybe those who had stopped riding because of helmet law enforcement started riding again when police stopped enforcing the law except when going after cyclists who ride like JoeyBike).
    A seatbelt will no more save you in a head on collision then will a helmet save you in a direct collision with a vehicle. (that's why air bags were later invented)

    Seatbelts will save you in common collisions such as the very common rear ender; just as helmets will protect your head in the very common "falling down" accident. So in effect they both protect you for the most common situations you will encounter.

    But bottom line, make your own choice... I will no more tell you to wear a helmet than you can convince me not to wear one. I actually abhor all mandatory use laws, and feel that any helmet discussions are worthless... except discussions regarding better helmets.

  25. #25
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    at least they test seat belts with dummies in situations of a car crashing that simulates in a small way the way crashes happen in real life, whereas with a bicycle helmet they don't do that. They drop it (with no forward momentum) onto the most unlikely spot to be involved in a collision. The least they could do is strap a helmet on a dummy on a bike and send it on down a track and crash it in a more realistic manner.

    True it's most likely cyclists fall without a collision involving a motor vehicle, but it's also the most unusual circumstance that a cyclist is seriously injured without a collision with a motor vehicle.

    I have no problem with people who want to wear a helmet and I don't think judgement should be passed on others no matter what their decision but do have a problem with not dealing with behavior that leads to collisions or lack of further improvements in designs to produce a better helmet. The current standard isn't any better than it was decades ago because I think the current design is a good investment to profit ratio.
    "My two favourite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything" -Peter Golkin
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