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Advocacy & Safety Cyclists should expect and demand safe accommodation on every public road, just as do all other users. Discuss your bicycle advocacy and safety concerns here.

View Poll Results: Helmet wearing habits?
I've never worn a bike helmet 178 10.66%
I used to wear a helmet, but have stopped 94 5.63%
I've always worn a helmet 648 38.80%
I didn't wear a helmet, but now do 408 24.43%
I sometimes wear a helmet depending on the conditions 342 20.48%
Voters: 1670. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 10-25-11, 11:21 AM   #301
chipcom 
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My view exactly. Cycling just isn't that dangerous when done properly, certainly a lot less risky that walking down stairs or stumbling home drunk. Nobody suggests stair helmets or drinking helmets, so why are they apparently required for cycling?
cuz a lot of people ride like they're drunk, falling down and going boom more in a month than most of us do in a decade.
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Old 10-25-11, 07:12 PM   #302
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Prevention v mitigation. I believe that becomes a smoke screen - any safety program involves both. Drive your care safely, obey the traffic laws, but wear a seatbelt and have airbags. Handle tools carefully, restrict access, but still have workers below you wear hard hats. On and on and on. We use the safety device just for the instance where we make a screwup. The lady certainly made an error by running over the pipe, but that isn't the issue! The issue is helmets. Would the helmet have helped? Might my helmet help me in a mishap?

Here is a clear instance where no X-thousand pound vehicle was involved. Speed didn't seem to be (yes, I said seem) the culprit. She possibly made an error in riding over the pipe. Might the helmet have helped? That is the question, NOT her riding skills. Prevention is a different discussion - parallel, but different.

By deflecting the discussion from the potential safety benefit (mitigation) of a helmet to focusing on riding skills, you defeat your own argument!! Because who else would better need a helmet than someone that might make a riding skills mistake? I certainly fit in that group, and I suspect most of us might...
Actually, this demonstrates my main arguement perfectly. My arguement that cycling while paying attention to your surroundings is so safe that helmets are not necessary. Should she have stopped and removed the pipe from the bikeway and continued her ride we wouldn't even be having this discussion, as, like I said, proper cycling is inherently safe. If you think you can do all sorts of stupid things like try and ride over pvc pipes, you maby be putting yourself into danger. We'll never know, in reality, if a helmet would have mitigated any injuries or now, but we do know that riding safely and avoiding obstacles instead of trying to ride over them will. Which is my point exactly.
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Old 10-25-11, 07:36 PM   #303
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We also would not be having this discussion if she had suffered the same injury from the same cause while on foot. It would be regarded merely as an unfortunate and freak accident. Decades ago, that would have been the reaction even though she was riding rather than walking.

But these days it takes on a whole different character simply because she was on a bicycle. Is that rational?
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Old 10-25-11, 07:49 PM   #304
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We also would not be having this discussion if she had suffered the same injury from the same cause while on foot. It would be regarded merely as an unfortunate and freak accident. Decades ago, that would have been the reaction even though she was riding rather than walking.

But these days it takes on a whole different character simply because she was on a bicycle. Is that rational?
LOL, actually I can picture my grandpa saying how stupid riding over a pipe is. He'd have said she asked for it!
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Old 10-26-11, 07:44 AM   #305
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Prevention v mitigation. I believe that becomes a smoke screen - any safety program involves both.....
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and most helmet promotion focuses on use, not prevention of incidents.

It's about misplaced priorities and attitudes, the attitude that the most important factor in bicycle safety is helmet use, when it's not.
and to this point, according to the Canada Safety Council, it is more important to wear a helmet than text while cycling

Paying attention to riding and avoiding distractions from cellphones and music players ranks second on the Canada Safety Council's top tips for improving cycling safety behind wearing a helmet

Canada Safety Council? And people question helmet skeptics when they say helmet promotion reduces cycling safety?
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Old 10-26-11, 06:41 PM   #306
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Has your helmet saved your life?

I don't actually want this to be a "Another helmet debate" thread. So I'm hoping you won't post your thoughts/opinions/anecdotes! I'm really just interested in the title question: do you think your bicycle helmet has ever saved your life in a bicycle crash?
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Old 10-26-11, 06:48 PM   #307
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Saved my life. As in I'd be dead, or just prevented a headache worse than what I had or the skin tearing away from my skull. Are we being literal or metaphorical?
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Old 10-26-11, 06:50 PM   #308
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Literal, though you don't have to have any proof one way or another. If you think you've probably been saved from fatal injuries thanks to your helmet, that's a "yes".
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Old 10-26-11, 06:51 PM   #309
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How could one possibly know? That's the problem.

My helmet may have saved my life. I went down hard enough to crack my helmet and drive part of it down to the bone of my forehead. I had a terrible headache and a hole in my head afterwards, but I was fine really. Without the helmet I might not have had a hole in my head, but I also might have suffered, say, a fatal brain injury. I will never know, but on balance I'm slightly more inclined to wear a helmet since that incident.
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Old 10-26-11, 06:52 PM   #310
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Saved my life, I crashed into a big rock(2-4ft across) in the middle of the road at 30mph on a downhill. It was right after a corner so I didn't see the rock. Did a front flip and landed on my head(according to my friend behind me, i don't remember anything) My helmet(cheap $15 helmet form Target) had a huge crack down the middle and the back part was broken off. If I wasn't wearing it I would be dead.
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Old 10-26-11, 06:54 PM   #311
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How could one possibly know? That's the problem.

My helmet may have saved my life. I went down hard enough to crack my helmet and drive part of it down to the bone of my forehead. I had a terrible headache and a hole in my head afterwards, but I was fine really. Without the helmet I might not have had a hole in my head, but I also might have suffered, say, a fatal brain injury. I will never know, but on balance I'm slightly more inclined to wear a helmet since that incident.
That's a good point, which is why I'm trying to allow for as much subjectivity as possible. If you think your helmet probably saved your life, then it's a "yes". If you doubt it did - even if you think it may have prevented serious injuries - then that's a "no".
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Old 10-26-11, 06:55 PM   #312
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im pretty sure it has. this year i went down at 30 MPH head first in a road race. helmet was cracked and smashed pretty badly. the doctors at the hospital said i would probably be dead right now if i wasn't wearing a helmet. i don't really think much of that though, because why the hell wouldn't have i been wearing a helmet? anyway, i wear a helmet no matter what, even on an easy stroll to the store.

and what the H is a "helmet debate"? that makes about as much sense as the global climate change debate
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Old 10-26-11, 07:23 PM   #313
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I had a pretty good endo on pavement last March and hit my head and skinned up my chin, shins, knees and elbows. I'm confident the helmet prevented a more serious injury or worse.
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Old 10-26-11, 07:43 PM   #314
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Old 10-26-11, 08:09 PM   #315
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Old 10-26-11, 08:10 PM   #316
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Knock on wood, I managed to keep my head from hitting the ground the dozens of times I have fallen off my bike.

My father however is a different story. At 74, he got T-boned by a 1 ton truck. He ended up with a broken collar bone, 9 ribs, spine and femur. His helmet was broken and off his head as he was lying on the road.

I'm thankful that he was wearing his helmet.
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Old 10-26-11, 08:12 PM   #317
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How could one possibly know? That's the problem.
Yes it is and that's why such a poll is meaningless.

Back in the 60s and early 70s I only personally knew one cyclist who was fatally injured. When hardshell helmets became popular by the late '70s there were only a few people I knew who claimed they would have been killed without one. Then the soft- and micro-shell helmets were developed that were more likely to crack in a crash and now I've known dozens of people who make such a claim. But I still only know a couple people who actually died due to a cycling crash. The national statistics also show that the number of cyclist fatalities per year have remained fairly constant at around 700 - 1000 in the US, but based on the sample of cyclists that I know there must be many thousands each year supposedly 'saved' by their helmets. Yet there was no such carnage back in the gas crisis cycling boom of the '70s when we all rode without them.
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Old 10-26-11, 08:26 PM   #318
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Thanks for the input, folks, but let's be careful - most helmet threads turn into arguments, and I really want this thread to last long enough to get a decent sample size.
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Old 10-26-11, 08:29 PM   #319
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mine saved my head from serious injury for sure..no doubt in my mind...doing sign sprints with friends back in the early 9o's, riding about 25+ mph and jumped into a sprint when my cleat broke, foot hit the ground which forced me backwards, landing on the back of my head (first point of impact..other than my foot)..knocked out in the middle of the road..helmet split into 5 pcs.. i walked away with a headache...i always wear a helmet when riding
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Old 10-26-11, 08:39 PM   #320
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Saved my life.

Helmet cracked apart. Lining flattened to 1/8 inch in perfect outline of the right side of my cranium.

My 2nd major accident. The first one was with no helmet (1974) and used up 8 of my 9 lives. It also kept me off bicycles for over 30 years.

Now, I'm never without a helmet.
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Old 10-26-11, 08:41 PM   #321
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Twice. Both times my helmet split in half
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Old 10-26-11, 08:47 PM   #322
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Old 10-26-11, 09:27 PM   #323
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Yes my helmet saved my life. Was in a pretty bad crash right in the middle of a draft line during a century ride. flipped over my handle bars and landed directly on the back of my head which gave me a concusion. My helmet cracked in several directions. sucked I had to buy a new S works helmet but it was worth saving my skull and it did it's job.
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Old 10-26-11, 09:34 PM   #324
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Old 10-26-11, 09:43 PM   #325
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Yes it is and that's why such a poll is meaningless.

Back in the 60s and early 70s I only personally knew one cyclist who was fatally injured. When hardshell helmets became popular by the late '70s there were only a few people I knew who claimed they would have been killed without one. Then the soft- and micro-shell helmets were developed that were more likely to crack in a crash and now I've known dozens of people who make such a claim. But I still only know a couple people who actually died due to a cycling crash. The national statistics also show that the number of cyclist fatalities per year have remained fairly constant at around 700 - 1000 in the US, but based on the sample of cyclists that I know there must be many thousands each year supposedly 'saved' by their helmets. Yet there was no such carnage back in the gas crisis cycling boom of the '70s when we all rode without them.
You're not taking into account the fact that we all had mad skills back in the '60s and '70s. In fact, the older I get, the better cyclist I used to be.
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