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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 05-02-14, 12:04 PM   #7551
wphamilton
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Originally Posted by prathmann View Post
There's only one test I've ever seen reported on older helmets. It's at the BHSI website - they took a well-used and sun-yellowed Bell Biker helmet that was over 10 years old and sent it off to Snell for testing. The results were that it did just as well as new Bell Bikers had originally.

I still have my Bell Biker but usually use a newer Bell model that's only 22 years old. It's still 100% effective in its primary function - to avoid complaints on club rides that have a mandatory helmet requirement.
That's what I'd expect to see, and I don't really buy into the notion that the plastic covering has been designed to improve the crush protection. I think that's likely marketing hype, and that fishnet or knotted threads would do as well for that (if any effect at all). But now I've almost talked myself into getting an accelerometer and doing a drop test, just to see. I actually have three beat up helmets - the whole family got new - so I could do several.

On the other hand ... I've got some fake carbon fiber covering on order (my twisted sense of humor - in order to fake a CF look on cheap accessories like my seat post or knockoff headlight). If I could wrap that around the Styrofoam on that old Schwinn helmet that could look pretty sharp. Maybe shave it down a bit first so it's not so bulky ...

Last edited by wphamilton; 05-02-14 at 12:20 PM.
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Old 05-02-14, 12:14 PM   #7552
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
Is that what the "manual" says: a helmet is always just as effective/ineffective either way for head protection, whether it is "heat damaged" or not?
The "manual" does not answer your question.

The "manual" does say "You can scramble an egg just by shaking it."


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Old 05-03-14, 02:31 PM   #7553
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I don't really like wearing a helmet, it's uncomfortable for me and i look, well, weird wearing one. I know I probably should start wearing one again so does anyone know how much should you spend on a helmet. I'm not going 100 km/h, mostly mtb and around 20 to max 40 km/h
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Old 05-03-14, 05:56 PM   #7554
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The writer misses Big Time with his accepting as gospel the conclusions of infamous Thopmpson-Riveria study. "According to a 1989 study in the New England Journal of Medicine, riders with helmets had an 85% reduction in their risk of head injury and an 88% reduction in their risk of brain injury. That's an overwhelming number that's backed up study after study."

Yes that is an overwhelming number that had to be retracted by the study's authors as being inflated, AND has NOT been backed up by "study after study." The study is notorious for its tiny non-random sample selections as well as comparisons of very dissimilar populations of cyclists.

Short critique of this study:
http://www.cyclecraft.co.uk/digest/seattle.html

Longer critique:
http://www.cyclehelmets.org/1068.html
How about this study, from a more reliable, peer-reviewed source:

Quote:
Accid Anal Prev. 2014 Mar 28;70C:1-7. doi: 10.1016/j.aap.2014.02.016. [Epub ahead of print]
Bicycle helmets are highly effective at preventing head injury during head impact: Head-form accelerations and injury criteria for helmeted and unhelmeted impacts.
Cripton PA1, Dressler DM2, Stuart CA3, Dennison CR4, Richards D3.

Abstract

Cycling is a popular form of recreation and method of commuting with clear health benefits. However, cycling is not without risk. In Canada, cycling injuries are more common than in any other summer sport; and according to the US National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration, 52,000 cyclists were injured in the US in 2010. Head injuries account for approximately two-thirds of hospital admissions and three-quarters of fatal injuries among injured cyclists. In many jurisdictions and across all age levels, helmets have been adopted to mitigate risk of serious head injuries among cyclists and the majority of epidemiological literature suggests that helmets effectively reduce risk of injury. Critics have raised questions over the actual efficacy of helmets by pointing to weaknesses in existing helmet epidemiology including selection bias and lack of appropriate control for the type of impact sustained by the cyclist and the severity of the head impact. These criticisms demonstrate the difficulty in conducting epidemiology studies that will be regarded as definitive and the need for complementary biomechanical studies where confounding factors can be adequately controlled. In the bicycle helmet context, there is a paucity of biomechanical data comparing helmeted to unhelmeted head impacts and, to our knowledge, there is no data of this type available with contemporary helmets. In this research, our objective was to perform biomechanical testing of paired helmeted and unhelmeted head impacts using a validated anthropomorphic test headform and a range of drop heights between 0.5m and 3.0m, while measuring headform acceleration and Head Injury Criterion (HIC). In the 2m (6.3m/s) drops, the middle of our drop height range, the helmet reduced peak accelerations from 824g (unhelmeted) to 181g (helmeted) and HIC was reduced from 9667 (unhelmeted) to 1250 (helmeted). At realistic impact speeds of 5.4m/s (1.5m drop) and 6.3m/s (2.0m drop), bicycle helmets changed the probability of severe brain injury from extremely likely (99.9% risk at both 5.4 and 6.3m/s) to unlikely (9.3% and 30.6% risk at 1.5m and 2.0m drops respectively). These biomechanical results for acceleration and HIC, and the corresponding results for reduced risk of severe brain injury show that contemporary bicycle helmets are highly effective at reducing head injury metrics and the risk for severe brain injury in head impacts characteristic of bicycle crashes.
Bicycle helmets are highly effective at prev... [Accid Anal Prev. 2014] - PubMed - NCBI
John
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Old 05-03-14, 06:35 PM   #7555
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Originally Posted by John C. Ratliff View Post
How about this study, from a more reliable, peer-reviewed source:

... At realistic impact speeds of 5.4m/s (1.5m drop) and 6.3m/s (2.0m drop), bicycle helmets changed the probability of severe brain injury from extremely likely (99.9% risk at both 5.4 and 6.3m/s) to unlikely (9.3% and 30.6% risk at 1.5m and 2.0m drops respectively). These biomechanical results for acceleration and HIC, and the corresponding results for reduced risk of severe brain injury show that contemporary bicycle helmets are highly effective at reducing head injury metrics and the risk for severe brain injury in head impacts characteristic of bicycle crashes.

Bicycle helmets are highly effective at prev... [Accid Anal Prev. 2014] - PubMed - NCBI


John
Wait a minute, their implication is that a fall from a bicycle (1.5 meters drop) is 99.9% likely to result in a severe brain injury.

It seems that they make a lot of biomechanical assumptions there, since we obviously know that's not true ...
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Old 05-03-14, 07:33 PM   #7556
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Originally Posted by TranceLov3 View Post
I don't really like wearing a helmet, it's uncomfortable for me and i look, well, weird wearing one. I know I probably should start wearing one again so does anyone know how much should you spend on a helmet. I'm not going 100 km/h, mostly mtb and around 20 to max 40 km/h
You don't need to spend a lot of money unless you want to. All bicycle helmets sold in America must pass the same federal CPSC requirement regardless of price. However, cheap helmets found at Walmart etc type of places are made with inferior hardware which do fail rather quickly, by hardware I mean especially the straps and strap system, and the helmet external plastic covering. The best thing to do is to find a closeout price on a discontinued model, like these:
Bell Furio Road Helmet - Dig In HUGE SAVINGS While Items Last
Giro Rift Sport Helmet - Dig In HUGE SAVINGS While Items Last
Louis Garneau Letour Sport Helmet - Dig In HUGE SAVINGS While Items Last
Louis Garneau Edge Sport Helmet - Dig In HUGE SAVINGS While Items Last
Fox Flux Helmet - Dig In HUGE SAVINGS While Items Last (MTB helmet)
Louis Garneau Orbit Mountain Helmet - Dig In HUGE SAVINGS While Items Last
Bell Alchera Road Helmet - Dig In HUGE SAVINGS While Items Last
Bell Variant Mountain Helmet - Closeout - Dig In HUGE SAVINGS While Items Last (MTB helmet)

this is just one example of closeout helmets one company is offering, there are others too like Performance. These closeout helmets will be about the same price as Walmart type of helmets but will be made a lot better.
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Old 05-03-14, 10:26 PM   #7557
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
Wait a minute, their implication is that a fall from a bicycle (1.5 meters drop) is 99.9% likely to result in a severe brain injury.

It seems that they make a lot of biomechanical assumptions there, since we obviously know that's not true ...
You need to re-read the citation:
Quote:
Accid Anal Prev. 2014 Mar 28;70C:1-7. doi: 10.1016/j.aap.2014.02.016. [Epub ahead of print]
Bicycle helmets are highly effective at preventing head injury during head impact: Head-form accelerations and injury criteria for helmeted and unhelmeted impacts.
Cripton PA1, Dressler DM2, Stuart CA3, Dennison CR4, Richards D3.
Author information

Abstract
Cycling is a popular form of recreation and method of commuting with clear health benefits. However, cycling is not without risk. In Canada, cycling injuries are more common than in any other summer sport; and according to the US National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration, 52,000 cyclists were injured in the US in 2010. Head injuries account for approximately two-thirds of hospital admissions and three-quarters of fatal injuries among injured cyclists. In many jurisdictions and across all age levels, helmets have been adopted to mitigate risk of serious head injuries among cyclists and the majority of epidemiological literature suggests that helmets effectively reduce risk of injury. Critics have raised questions over the actual efficacy of helmets by pointing to weaknesses in existing helmet epidemiology including selection bias and lack of appropriate control for the type of impact sustained by the cyclist and the severity of the head impact. These criticisms demonstrate the difficulty in conducting epidemiology studies that will be regarded as definitive and the need for complementary biomechanical studies where confounding factors can be adequately controlled. In the bicycle helmet context, there is a paucity of biomechanical data comparing helmeted to unhelmeted head impacts and, to our knowledge, there is no data of this type available with contemporary helmets. In this research, our objective was to perform biomechanical testing of paired helmeted and unhelmeted head impacts using a validated anthropomorphic test headform and a range of drop heights between 0.5m and 3.0m, while measuring headform acceleration and Head Injury Criterion (HIC). In the 2m (6.3m/s) drops, the middle of our drop height range, the helmet reduced peak accelerations from 824g (unhelmeted) to 181g (helmeted) and HIC was reduced from 9667 (unhelmeted) to 1250 (helmeted). At realistic impact speeds of 5.4m/s (1.5m drop) and 6.3m/s (2.0m drop), bicycle helmets changed the probability of severe brain injury from extremely likely (99.9% risk at both 5.4 and 6.3m/s) to unlikely (9.3% and 30.6% risk at 1.5m and 2.0m drops respectively). These biomechanical results for acceleration and HIC, and the corresponding results for reduced risk of severe brain injury show that contemporary bicycle helmets are highly effective at reducing head injury metrics and the risk for severe brain injury in head impacts characteristic of bicycle crashes.
Note that these were actual measured values, not some hypothetical. Yes, these values happen from a height of 1.5-2 meters, dropped onto pavement or cement. This is why we advocates for helmets say that it is important to wear one; these injuries can happen from a normal fall height. The reason we don't always see it is that the head may or may not strike the ground in a fall. If the person tucks his/her head and rolls, or uses arms to keep the head from hitting, then the head doesn't suffer the potentially fatal impact.

Head Injury Criterion (HIC) is defined in Wikipedia, which also states:
Quote:
At a HIC of 1000, one in six people will suffer a life-threatening injury to their brain (more accurately, an 18% probability of a severe head injury, a 55% probability of a serious injury and a 90% probability of a moderate head injury to the average adult).[4]
The Snell Standard states:
Quote:
E4.4 Impact Test Interpretation

The peak acceleration of the headform shall not exceed 300 G's for any valid test impact. Similarly, the helmet's protective structures shall remain intact throughout the testing. If, the Foundation's technical personnel conclude that the headgear has been compromised by breakage, the sample shall be rejected.
Snell Foundation - B-90A helmet standard
As you can see, measuring 827g's means that a traumatic brain injury from that impact is almost certain. It is the luck of the draw as to whether the head actually impacts or not.

Above, there was mention of the effects of heat and cold. I thought people would also like to see the criterion for testing under these conditions using the Snell Standard:
Quote:
E1. Conditioning for Testing

The barometric pressure for all conditioning and testing environments shall be 75 to 110 kPa. The laboratory temperature and relative humidity shall be within 17C to 27C and 20% to 80% respectively. All test samples shall be stabilized within these ambient conditions for at least four hours before further conditioning and testing.

a. Cold. The sample shall be conditioned by being exposed to a temperature of -20 C ± 2 C for a period of not less than four (4) hours, nor more than twenty-four (24) hours.

b. Heat. The sample shall be conditioned by being exposed to a temperature of 50 C ± 2 C for a period of not less than four (4) hours, nor more than twenty-four (24) hours.

c. Wet. The sample shall be immersed crown down in potable water at a temperature of 17C to 27C to a crown depth of 305 mm ± 25 mm for a period of not less than four (4) hours, nor more than twenty-four (24) hours.

All testing of these hot, cold and wet helmets shall begin within two (2) minutes from the time of removal from the conditioning apparatus. The samples shall be returned to the conditioning apparatus between tests.
Snell Foundation - B-90A helmet standard
By the way, I switched from CPSC certification to Snell certification in my most recent helmet.

John

Last edited by John C. Ratliff; 05-03-14 at 10:40 PM.
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Old 05-03-14, 10:50 PM   #7558
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Originally Posted by John C. Ratliff View Post
You need to re-read the citation:

Note that these were actual measured values, not some hypothetical. Yes, these values happen from a height of 1.5-2 meters, dropped onto pavement or cement. This is why we advocates for helmets say that it is important to wear one; these injuries can happen from a normal fall height. The reason we don't always see it is that the head may or may not strike the ground in a fall. If the person tucks his/her head and rolls, or uses arms to keep the head from hitting, then the head doesn't suffer the potentially fatal impact.

Head Injury Criterion (HIC) is defined in Wikipedia, which also states:


The Snell Standard states:

As you can see, measuring 827g's means that a traumatic brain injury from that impact is almost certain. It is the luck of the draw as to whether the head actually impacts or not.

Above, there was mention of the effects of heat and cold. I thought people would also like to see the criterion for testing under these conditions using the Snell Standard:

By the way, I switched from CPSC certification to Snell certification in my most recent helmet.

John
I don't want to appear to flippantly dismiss your long post, but there's just one key part here:

"As you can see, measuring 827g's ..."

You are incorrectly assuming that a fall from 1.5 or 2 meters will result in this g force impact. A disconnected head will. Obviously, most falls from a bicycle do not result in this trauma.

This was alleged to be a study of biomechanics. Doesn't it seem absurd to you to cite a 99.9% chance of brain trauma in an alleged biomechanics study, which disregards all of the actual biomechanics involved?
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Old 05-04-14, 12:53 AM   #7559
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That's what I'd expect to see, and I don't really buy into the notion that the plastic covering has been designed to improve the crush protection. I think that's likely marketing hype,
No marketing hype. But it does not tell you what it was being compared too.

Remember that the helmet that just predated the the thin shell model was just the styrofoam only helmet (with maybe a cloth covering for appearance). When the styrofoam hit the ground, it stuck and caused severe rotational forces = neck injuries and concussions. The helmet manufacturers began to understand that their helmets were causing many more injuries than not having a helmet.

Their solution was the thin plastic to let the helmet skip across the ground a little better. They also needed to get rid of the evidence before anyone else realized what was going on, so they began the free helmet with the return of a helmet that was in a crash program.

So the thin plastic coating does reduce injury when comparing to the styrofoam only helmet.
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Old 05-04-14, 01:23 AM   #7560
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
I don't want to appear to flippantly dismiss your long post, but there's just one key part here:

"As you can see, measuring 827g's ..."

You are incorrectly assuming that a fall from 1.5 or 2 meters will result in this g force impact. A disconnected head will. Obviously, most falls from a bicycle do not result in this trauma.

This was alleged to be a study of biomechanics. Doesn't it seem absurd to you to cite a 99.9% chance of brain trauma in an alleged biomechanics study, which disregards all of the actual biomechanics involved? (emphasis added, jcr)
Ah, but some falls will result in head contact, and if it ever happens, those g-forces can happen without a helmet...I know that as a fact. My head was in this helmet when it contacted the pavement.

John
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Old 05-04-14, 07:06 AM   #7561
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trancel

You say you look weird with a helmet. Depending on the skills of the undertaker, you might look really weird laying there in the casket because you were not wearing a helmet. Think about that.
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Old 05-04-14, 09:09 AM   #7562
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No marketing hype. But it does not tell you what it was being compared too.

Remember that the helmet that just predated the the thin shell model was just the styrofoam only helmet (with maybe a cloth covering for appearance). When the styrofoam hit the ground, it stuck and caused severe rotational forces = neck injuries and concussions. The helmet manufacturers began to understand that their helmets were causing many more injuries than not having a helmet.

Their solution was the thin plastic to let the helmet skip across the ground a little better. They also needed to get rid of the evidence before anyone else realized what was going on, so they began the free helmet with the return of a helmet that was in a crash program.

So the thin plastic coating does reduce injury when comparing to the styrofoam only helmet.
Correct and the human scalp has some movement against the skull for similar effect. Yet to that point any plastic cover over the styrofoam is as good as another, all else being hype.
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Old 05-04-14, 08:18 PM   #7563
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Originally Posted by TranceLov3 View Post
I don't really like wearing a helmet, it's uncomfortable for me and i look, well, weird wearing one. I know I probably should start wearing one again so does anyone know how much should you spend on a helmet. I'm not going 100 km/h, mostly mtb and around 20 to max 40 km/h
I don't know what is uncomfortable for you and I don't know what looks weird to you. But I'm pretty sure you can find a helmet that's comfortable and there are so many different styles of helmet these days maybe even one that doesn't look "weird".

Start by looking at Bell and Giro and POC and even Yakkay. There are certainly many many more styles out there. Browse.

Once you decide the look, find a LBS that carries them or something like them. Then go try them on. Find one that fits, is comfortable, and doesn't look "weird" to you.

How much does it cost? That's how much you should spend.

Don't bargain hunt on the the interwebs. You will have no idea how it fits or if it's comfortable. (You may or may not even have a good idea if it looks "weird" on you.)

An unworn helmet is not worth very much, no matter how much you paid for it.

-mr. bill
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Old 05-04-14, 08:37 PM   #7564
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Originally Posted by mr_bill View Post
...I'm pretty sure you can find a helmet that's comfortable and there are so many different styles of helmet these days maybe even one that doesn't look "weird"....
*sigh*...300+ pages on this thread have not changed most minds here.

“Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you." - The Bible

I am not religious or superstitious but good advice can sometimes be teased from that Old Book. If you are not familiar with this advice, here is the meaning of the sentence above. If you have a minute it will probably set you free from trying to convert people who do not desire conversion whatsoever. Learning to plant seeds in fertile soil can save you a lot of wasted time.

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Old 05-04-14, 11:31 PM   #7565
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*sigh*...300+ pages on this thread have not changed most minds here.

“Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you." - The Bible

I am not religious or superstitious but good advice can sometimes be teased from that Old Book. If you are not familiar with this advice, here is the meaning of the sentence above. If you have a minute it will probably set you free from trying to convert people who do not desire conversion whatsoever. Learning to plant seeds in fertile soil can save you a lot of wasted time.
Thanks for the quote. You need to be aware, however, that I am not aiming to change people who are arguing against helmets. Their minds are made up. But if by providing information to counter their arguments, I can influence an independent reader of this thread that helmets are worthwhile, then the time and effort expended are worth the investment.

John
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Old 05-05-14, 05:58 AM   #7566
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Good point. "collateral damage" so to speak.
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Old 05-06-14, 04:17 PM   #7567
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Well, I've watched this thread from a safe distance for 2-1/2 years now, and finally voted. I voted "Didn't wear a helmet, but now do". Reasons:
  1. When I bapped my head on the concrete in 1991, I did not enjoy the concussion
  2. When I bapped my head on the concrete in 2003, helmeted, I enjoyed not having the concussion
I'm not clear on the science of why or why not or what type or whatever, I'm just sayin'. But I'm not going to try to pass any laws, either.
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Old 05-06-14, 05:50 PM   #7568
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Well, I've watched this thread from a safe distance for 2-1/2 years now...

...I'm not going to try to pass any laws...
I believe that most people who stay away from this thread feel the same way. Wear a helmet, or don't...just don't make me do what YOU do.
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Old 05-06-14, 09:12 PM   #7569
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I believe that most people who stay away from this thread feel the same way. Wear a helmet, or don't...just don't make me do what YOU do.
Exactly
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Old 05-07-14, 08:01 AM   #7570
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  1. When I bapped my head on the concrete in 1991, I did not enjoy the concussion
  2. When I bapped my head on the concrete in 2003, helmeted, I enjoyed not having the concussion
I'm not clear on the science of why or why not or what type or whatever, I'm just sayin'. But I'm not going to try to pass any laws, either.
Curious what you were doing in each of these cases? Bicycle riders in The Netherlands have an injury (of any sort, including fairly minor cuts) from a bicycle crash about once every 73 lifetimes and a head injury about once every 900 lifetimes. You've had two in one lifetime.
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Old 05-07-14, 08:50 AM   #7571
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Curious what you were doing in each of these cases? Bicycle riders in The Netherlands have an injury (of any sort, including fairly minor cuts) from a bicycle crash about once every 73 lifetimes and a head injury about once every 900 lifetimes. You've had two in one lifetime.
I have no idea what he was doing, but could it be that Texas ain't the Netherlands, and 25 km is quite a bit more than 3.5 km, let alone 30 mph (and up) versus 30 kph?

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Old 05-07-14, 09:32 AM   #7572
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Originally Posted by CrankyOne View Post
Curious what you were doing in each of these cases? Bicycle riders in The Netherlands have an injury (of any sort, including fairly minor cuts) from a bicycle crash about once every 73 lifetimes and a head injury about once every 900 lifetimes. You've had two in one lifetime.
I've had three total, in 40 years of bicycling - The 1991 was when a car illegally pulled into a MUP from behind a bush (in a Denver, CO greenbelt where cars should not have been), and I went over the bars onto the concrete at about 12 or 13 mph. The helmeted crash was when I rode too fast (18 or 19 mph) over an unpainted speed bump I didn't see in a parking lot. I actually was laughing too hard to get up, and it happened right in front of a packed pizza joint - I was sore the next morning, but no injuries.

I probably need to move to the Netherlands lol
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Old 05-07-14, 10:09 AM   #7573
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Originally Posted by tractorlegs View Post
I've had three total, in 40 years of bicycling - The 1991 was when a car illegally pulled into a MUP from behind a bush (in a Denver, CO greenbelt where cars should not have been), and I went over the bars onto the concrete at about 12 or 13 mph. The helmeted crash was when I rode too fast (18 or 19 mph) over an unpainted speed bump I didn't see in a parking lot. I actually was laughing too hard to get up, and it happened right in front of a packed pizza joint - I was sore the next morning, but no injuries.

I probably need to move to the Netherlands lol
But if you move to the Netherlands it would wreak their score, and help "prove" that wearing a helmet is more dangerous than not wearing a helmet, and that helmet wearers are more reckless...
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Old 05-07-14, 10:35 AM   #7574
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But if you move to the Netherlands it would wreak their score, and help "prove" that wearing a helmet is more dangerous than not wearing a helmet, and that helmet wearers are more reckless...
Hahahaha - - I had been wondering why I was banned from entering the Netherlands, now I know!
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Old 05-07-14, 02:56 PM   #7575
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