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Old 12-11-13, 01:21 PM   #1
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Bike helmets are less effective than we think

“One would think that the earliest bike helmets that were made would be less effective than the ones that are made today, but we’re actually seeing an opposite trend: it has become less safe to wear a bike helmet over the years, and that is surprising. The earliest helmets were modelled on motorcycle helmets and covered the entire head. The bicycle helmets that people use today have ventilation holes to keep the head cool. Studies that have compared these two types of helmets have shown that the new type provides less protection than the old one.”

Read the full article:
http://sciencenordic.com/bike-helmet...ctive-we-think
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Old 12-11-13, 01:24 PM   #2
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it has become less safe to wear a bike helmet over the years, and that is surprising.
Not surprising at all.
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Old 12-11-13, 01:29 PM   #3
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yeah, I always admired the old Bell V-1 Pro... hard shell with robust straps.
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Old 12-11-13, 01:37 PM   #4
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Its indeed interesting. Since I don't have the time right now to actually look at the published paper, I will just throw this out there for more expert input:

What kind of injury is more likely with a softer shell helmet? I think piercing type of injuries to be very rare, so how does the softer shell lead to more injuries? Rotational effects? Or perhaps those small minority that wore the old Bell type hard shells were by nature and practice more carful riders and had less crashes? Looking for input here.
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Old 12-11-13, 02:03 PM   #5
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This study--really a meta-analysis--came out a few years ago. I read it then. I don't see a link to it on here, though.

EDIT: I believe this is it http://www.cycle-helmets.com/elvik.pdf

Last edited by gna; 12-11-13 at 02:10 PM.
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Old 12-11-13, 02:08 PM   #6
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yeah, I always admired the old Bell V-1 Pro... hard shell with robust straps.
No, the V-1 Pro had an early version of plastic break-away straps. In fact, this was a selling point. In the event that the helmet got caught on something while sliding along the ground, the straps were designed to give way in order to lessen the twisting of the neck. Bell's earlier helmets had the metal D-loops that wouldn't give way.

They were nice helmets, especially if one wanted to increase one's neck strength.
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Old 12-11-13, 03:00 PM   #7
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There's a decent chance they're more effective than I think they are, though I think they're a lot better than nothing.
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Old 12-11-13, 03:10 PM   #8
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The new POC's and a few others have some nice fuller coverage, esp. at the back of the head area. My helmets have always worked well for me.
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Old 12-11-13, 03:12 PM   #9
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There is an entire thread on helmets ... and in the interests of impartiality, I will say nothing than have fun reading it!
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Old 12-11-13, 03:16 PM   #10
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I had Bell Biker helmet which was before the V1 Pro. It was heavy and hot. There were days that it was too hot to wear it and if you aren't wearing a helmet, it isn't going to help.

Ironically I had an accident within the first 100 miles of using it. It certainly did help and I kept on using it for a few years. That was probably dumb.

In 1993 I did a 3-point landing - 2 hands and my head - after a car pulled out in front of me. A much newer Bell helmet exploded on impact, but about the only thing that didn't hurt was my head afterwards.
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Old 12-11-13, 03:28 PM   #11
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No, the V-1 Pro had an early version of plastic break-away straps. In fact, this was a selling point. In the event that the helmet got caught on something while sliding along the ground, the straps were designed to give way in order to lessen the twisting of the neck. Bell's earlier helmets had the metal D-loops that wouldn't give way.

They were nice helmets, especially if one wanted to increase one's neck strength.
Hmmm don't recall that... But then again, along the way, I may have substituted straps from something else. I had my old V-1 Pro out in the garage until a couple of years ago... all covered in sweat and looking well used.
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Old 12-11-13, 04:40 PM   #12
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One problem is that before 1999 (I think) there was no legal requirement for bicycle helmets to meet any certification in the US. Some were not, some met Snell, some met others, most certifications were private and they changed every few years as new knowledge about head trauma was gained. Then Congress enacted a law that said all bicycle helmets had to meet CPSC guidelines. CPSC is a governmental organization. The deal now is that even though we know that CPSC guidelines are insufficient and do not reflect current science about head trauma, if CPSC wants to change the certification, they have to show monetarily that the dollars saved from changing the standards exceed the dollars that it would cost industry to retool to the new standards.

Yes, government requires a dollar value put on head trauma, and won't let the law change to protect individuals if it would cost companies too much money.

Companies don't have a lot of incentives to make better helmets because the feeling is "they all meet certification so it doesn't matter."

There are better helmets, but you pretty much have to import them, and they're expensive. I am riding with a POC Trabec Race MIPS helmet. It's a $250 helmet, I got it on a sale for $130.

MIPS is currently (AFAIK) the safest bike helmet. It's designed to minimize rotational stresses, which is what causes concussions.
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Old 12-11-13, 05:31 PM   #13
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We have a helmet thread for stuff like this, and on p. 256 of the thread, Ozonation posted a bunch of new studies supporting helmet use.

Including an interesting one which claims that helmets reduce rotational forces resulting from oblique strikes, which is a leading cause of concussion...
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Old 12-11-13, 06:03 PM   #14
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I always thought the Bell Biker was a pretty good helmet. I have no idea what the study is talking about though, other than the Biker, early bike helmets were junk. I went directly from a leather hairnet to a Biker, which I used for quite a while.
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Old 12-11-13, 06:58 PM   #15
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Isn't there a sticky thread for this?
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Old 12-11-13, 08:52 PM   #16
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Isn't there a sticky thread for this?
Yes. It's as much fun as a barrel of monkeys too!
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Old 12-11-13, 09:03 PM   #17
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Yes. It's as much fun as a barrel of monkeys too!
There is only room for so much fun in A&S, that's why it's confined to the sticky thread.

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