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  1. #1
    Good Enough ginger green's Avatar
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    Helmet - your opinion please

    I wear my helmet when I leave our neighborhood - always. When I ride with the family down to the park (0.5 miles - very friendly drivers) The kids all wear helmets - I some times wear mine.


    Is this a mistake or not a big deal?
    Last edited by ginger green; 06-21-05 at 10:12 AM.

  2. #2
    cab horn
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    You sometimes wear yours? That's smart.

  3. #3
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    helmets? what are those? look - millions of people around the world are riding bicycles without helmets. what's with them? are they not getting it? yeah, i know helmets mean safety and kids need them (not when I was a kid!), but honestly, most adult recreational riders who know their bikes and are safety aware can do just fine without them. (in my humble opinion, of course! )

  4. #4
    Good Enough ginger green's Avatar
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    helmet - not helmut - sorry I have been playing a WWII game this week.

    Hey - I judge the level of danger when I ride on busy roads to be high and or unpredictable - I always wear a helmet. When I ride 3 blocks to the park - I don't wear a helmet. My wife thinks I'm setting a confusing double standard for the kids. I think I'm using good judgement.

    Some people drive in cars w/o airbags, some people don't wear lifejackets, some people use their weed eater w/o safety glasses. Life is full of choices and risks.

    What's the big deal?

  5. #5
    Senior Member va_cyclist's Avatar
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    I do the same -- for rides inside the subdivision I sometimes skip the helmet because there's almost no traffic and the speeds are low. Anytime outside the neighborhood the helmet goes on. It's sort of hypocritical, because I make the kids wear their helmets no matter what. So far I haven't heard "but why isn't dad wearing his?", but as soon as I do, my helmet will go on.

  6. #6
    But Getting Smaller Bigmark's Avatar
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    I guess no one in these neighborhoods have people who donít look when they pull out of their drive. Yea, I watched her stop, and she looked right at me, and then pulled her car into my path. Smack. ďOH I DIDNíT SEE YOUĒ Do you need a Band-Aid? That was 21 years ago in Bremerton Washington. The people who say they donít need a helmet never had a concussion. Try having a head ach like there is no tomorrow, and throw-up at the same time. Now I put it on when I leave the garage, and so does my son. Just donít leave them in the garage. My brother put one on, and it had a hornets nest in it.

    Helmets donít have to be a joke, they do work. I cracked the outside of another one the next year while riding in the ship yard. I caught my tire in one of those crane track notches in the road, and hit the ground faster than I knew what happened. And the side of my head hit the pavement. I am sure if I want wearing a helmet I wouldnít be able to do long division anymore.

    Just my two cents.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member phinney's Avatar
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    ginger,

    Totally your choice, as it should be.

    On the one hand if you fall and manage to whack your head on something it may help a little. On the other hand most bike helmets are pitifully weak and may not help much anyway. Either way your chances of not getting a severe head injury from riding your bicycle are excellent.

    Make sure your kids don't wear their helmets when off their bikes and out of adult supervision. While it can be argued as to how effective helmets have been for reducing children's cycling related brain injuries, it cannot be argued whether children have died due to asphyxiation when their helmets have snagged and hung the child.

  8. #8
    Calamari to go cc_rider's Avatar
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    Personally, I don't ride down my own dirveway without a helmet.
    The worst crash I've had was in my own neighborhood, two streets over. Broke my right hand, which I will never have full, pain-free use of again. And since I had my helmet on, the fall that cracked it left me with only a headache.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by ginger green
    helmet - not helmut - sorry I have been playing a WWII game this week.

    Hey - I judge the level of danger when I ride on busy roads to be high and or unpredictable - I always wear a helmet. When I ride 3 blocks to the park - I don't wear a helmet. My wife thinks I'm setting a confusing double standard for the kids. I think I'm using good judgement.

    Some people drive in cars w/o airbags, some people don't wear lifejackets, some people use their weed eater w/o safety glasses. Life is full of choices and risks.

    What's the big deal?
    Ginger- Sounds like you've made up your mind. So, are you looking for reassurance, or a helmet debate?

    1. Sure, nobody wore helmets when we (well, I ) was a kid. But I did have a number of concussions, including three resulting from falls off my bike. Would a helmet have prevented the concussion? Maybe, maybe not, but any reduction in the severity of the impact would have been appreciated at the time. Who knows what long term damage those head injuries caused, and how it affects me today?

    2. Sure- there is less objective risk (risk you can't control other than by avoiding the acitvity all together) in your driveway than on the street, etc. But you can fall off you bike and break your head anywhere. Staying healthy, and productive, is about managing the subjective risks- what are the risks I can address in the event of a wreck? Can I minimize my downtime in the event of an accident by wearing a helmet? Yep. Have I seen people disabled by hitting their heads? Yep. Is it worth the cost to me to wear a helmet? Yep.

    3. Your kids may be masters at rational thought, but most kids I know, mine included, don't know how to compute the odds of a head injury in the driveway versus the street. My job as a dad is to teach my son and daughter methods of avoiding damage to themselves due to preventable accidents, until they are old enough and wise enough to make those assessments themselves. If my son falls off his bike without his helmet on during a ride (as I did at the age of seven), and suffers a blackout (no memory at all for 15 minutes before the event until nearly three hours later) because I showed him that it was safe to ride around the block without the helmet I would never forgive myself. I have control over this. It is one of the few things as a parent I do have control over.

    You make your own decision. They're YOUR kids.

  10. #10
    there ARE no bad rides
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    I personaly don't care what adults do regarding helmet use but I'm left wondering after reading posts by non users: Do you ever wear safety glasses when using power tools, rubber gloves while handling poisonous chemicals, seat belts while driving/riding, a dust mask when sanding or spray painting? Do you wear leather shoes when mowing your lawn or sun block when at the beach? Most of you probably protect yourselves from at least some of these dangers. It's strange how we (myself included, although I wear a bike helmet) rationalize protecting ourselves from only certain dangers, but I'm willing to bet the chances of getting hurt on a bike are greater than getting cancer after a weeks vacation at the beach, or after spraying your garden with pesticide or even lopping off a toe with the mower.
    To each his/her own I guess, but it at least try to protect your kids.

  11. #11
    Good Enough ginger green's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slooney
    3. Your kids may be masters at rational thought, but most kids I know, mine included, don't know how to compute the odds of a head injury in the driveway versus the street. My job as a dad is to teach my son and daughter methods of avoiding damage to themselves due to preventable s, until they are old enough and wise enough to make those assessments themselves. If my son falls off his bike without his helmet on during a ride (as I did at the age of seven), and suffers a blackout (no memory at all for 15 minutes before the event until nearly three hours later) because I showed him that it was safe to ride around the block without the helmet I would never forgive myself. I have control over this. It is one of the few things as a parent I do have control over.

    You make your own decision. They're YOUR kids.
    You are right - It's kind of like saying I will only wear a seatbelt if I plan on getting in an . I need to remember that I'm teaching them how to behave when I'm not around. The issue is not how I feel about riding with a helmet - the issue is teaching my kids that it is important to wear a helmet.

    thx

  12. #12
    1/2 a binding 1/2 a brain telenick's Avatar
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    That was fast and uneventful. I was expecting a knock down drag out discussion.

  13. #13
    hobby-ist peterbarson's Avatar
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    Aren't helmets kind of like natural selection?
    Wear one or don't that's certainly among the choices we make.
    The bothersome part is when the boys in the government think they should make those choices for us.
    I wear mine because it irrates me to hear my kids say "what about dad" and because head injury's bleed alot, ruining clothes, Primal Wear Jersys are expensive man :>

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by peterbarson
    The bothersome part is when the boys in the government think they should make those choices for us.
    Right on! Maybe we need more GIRLS in government! Isn't it interesting how conservatives want to govern morality, while progressives are speaking more and more about choice. My, how times have changed. Who needs a helmet? My head's plenty hard already!

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    hobby-ist peterbarson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spoonido
    Right on! Maybe we need more GIRLS in government! Isn't it interesting how conservatives want to govern morality, while progressives are speaking more and more about choice. My, how times have changed. Who needs a helmet? My head's plenty hard already!
    my comment was definatly more about the misgided government of moral and safety then the gender of our "leadership" we need less "faith based decision making" in American government. And more people willing to make decisions for them selves, and responsibilities for those decisions.
    Helmet laws Suck. But so do a thousand other laws.
    I think this is the wrong site for this little tirade of mine. sorry everyone.

  16. #16
    Senior Member freeranger's Avatar
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    And "sometimes", people have accidents and hit their heads on the pavement. No rider plans on falling, but things happen-I once had a squirrel run right under my front wheel, enough to cause me to fall, heard the helmet hit the trail. If you don't mind your children being without their parent "sometime", don't bother wearing your helmet all of the time. Crashes happen anytime, anywhere. I have some helmets with rock dings, and I sure didn't "plan" to fall then either. Some people MAY ride their entire life without a helmet and never fall, others may fall the first time they ride without one-are you sure which category you fall into? Is it worth the chance?

  17. #17
    cab horn
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    Quote Originally Posted by va_cyclist
    I do the same -- for rides inside the subdivision I sometimes skip the helmet because there's almost no traffic and the speeds are low. Anytime outside the neighborhood the helmet goes on. It's sort of hypocritical, because I make the kids wear their helmets no matter what. So far I haven't heard "but why isn't dad wearing his?", but as soon as I do, my helmet will go on.

    Good job with the naive thinking. The short trips close around your home are the ones where you're most likely to get injured.

  18. #18
    Specialized Member ChAnMaN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by operator
    Good job with the naive thinking. The short trips close around your home are the ones where you're most likely to get injured.
    I have heard this about car satistics but are you sure it applys to bicycles?

    I always wear a helmet when I communte and am riding in traffic, but if i am just going out in the middle of no where to hit the flats i usually skip out on the helmet.
    You can never be too Specialized
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by peterbarson
    we need less "faith based decision making" in American government. Helmet laws Suck.
    amen to that, brother!

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChAnMaN
    I have heard this about car satistics but are you sure it applys to bicycles?
    ChAnMaN- I have always understood that to be a question of frequency. It's based on this- The majority of car trips are for shorter destination trips (sad, but true- for my diatribe on car-based communities send me a PM) the odds of you having an accident are far greater near home too. I would guess that the same goes for bikes, especially when you don't differentiate use. If kids riding recreationally in the neighborhood are included in the group then the probability of "close to home" accidents goes way up. I know I contributed to the "close to home" accident statistic when I was a kid- often, and with dramatic results.

    As well, it depends on how one defines "close to home."

  21. #21
    Giant-Riding Ogre Don Gwinn's Avatar
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    Are you guys really trying to apply Left Wing-Right Wing partisan politics to Bicycle Helmet Laws?
    Doesn't a stretch like that cause muscle tears?

    Seriously, if you think one side or the other in American politics is the party of "choices and freedom" or the party of statism and oppression, you're only paying attention to a narrow set of pet issues. I'm a registered Republican, but let's face it, both parties have issues where they pay lip service to freedom and issues where it's the last thing they want.

    Republicans (in all fairness, since I be one):

    --Anything sexual, esp. pornography and prostitution
    --Illegal narcotics
    --Religion . . . there are some valid points to be made as to how Christians are targeted for more scrutiny in this country, but they're 80% of the population. The Republican party as an organization does NOT push religious freedom nearly as much as they do Christianity.
    --Speech . . . yeah, an amendment against burning a flag is all about freedom and choice.

    Democrats:
    --Firearms--the national party is just plain shrill and kooky when it comes to firearms.
    --Taxation--Taxes are the money the government doesn't allow you to have, vs. the money the government allows you to keep.
    --Religion--too many Democrats on the national stage think they advance the cause of religious choice by stamping religion out and reducing it to a historical curiosity we study in school.
    --Public vs. private schools. I teach in a public school, but why the Democrats hate vouchers so much is a bit of a mystery. Well, it's not, because the NEA has made it clear what position the Democrats are to take on this, and it is NOT the position of "choice."


    Personally, I don't think bike or motorcycle helmets are issues you can clearly divide down party or ideological lines. The only people who consistently favor freedom over government coercion are the Libertarians, and they're not going to be winning any national races any time soon. My take is that you should wear your helmet or not, but don't whine about the consequences. I don't own a helmet at present. I will be picking one up soon.
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  22. #22
    hobby-ist peterbarson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Don Gwinn
    Are you guys really trying to apply Left Wing-Right Wing partisan politics to Bicycle Helmet Laws?
    Doesn't a stretch like that cause muscle tears?
    I am also a conservitive, but not because a higher power tells me to be one, to me it's all about what the boys in the wigs(our founding fathers) had in mind. A bunch of fellas who got all worked up about tea certainly wouldn't want "big brother" style governing. It's my melon, let me wreck it or wrap it if and when I'm incined to. Yes I wear a helmet when I ride, and I make my kids wear theirs, mainly because I don't really trust the dope's in the SUV's watching TV and yelling @ their phone to be looking out for us.

    And lets cross our fingers for the libertarians, as you mentioned they are about the rights. not about the glory or the power.

  23. #23
    Giant-Riding Ogre Don Gwinn's Avatar
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    Yes, but unfortunately, there's a big difference between a small "l" libertarian (they tend to be Republicans or Democrats) and big "L" Libertarians (Libertarian Party members.)

    Libertarians seem to think they'll make a good start in politics by winning the White House, then work their way down to Congress, state legislatures, judges, governors, mayors, aldermen, county boards and dog catchers when they get around to it. Thus they continually serve as nothing more than punchlines. And until they learn to start small, that's all they're going to manage.

    The Republican-Democrat thing is illusory anyway, especially in Illinois. If you're from a suburb of Chicago and you're a conservative, you're probably represented by a Republican, but he's probably more liberal than you are. I, on the other hand, live about half an hour south of Springfield. I am represented by a Democrat, but I'll vote for him every time because he represents me. He could never run for President (or even Governor) with the Democratic party because he doesn't toe the national party line, but few Democrats down here do. The reason Rod Blagojevich is running into so much trouble with some of his more extreme ideas, such as *** control, is not the Republicans. They couldn't stop him if he had all the Democrats on his side. Rather, it's Democrats like my rep who have blocked him at every turn.

    I'm just saying that most people who want to say they're all about freedom are all about freedom in the specific cases where it would mean freedom to do what they would want to do. Ask them to respect the other guy's freedom, and it generally doesn't go quite so well. A depressing number of my fellow *** rights activists (not *** owners, but the people who actually spend time and money "fighting for freedom" are crowing about the new flag burning amendment. Mention the idea of legalizing pot and watch their eyes roll back in their heads. They want freedom to use guns because they like to use guns, not because of any general principled stand on freedom.
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  24. #24
    hobby-ist peterbarson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Don Gwinn
    Yes, but unfortunately, there's a big difference between a small "l" libertarian (they tend to be Republicans or Democrats) and big "L" Libertarians (Libertarian Party members.)


    I'm just saying that most people who want to say they're all about freedom are all about freedom in the specific cases where it would mean freedom to do what they would want to do. Ask them to respect the other guy's freedom, and it generally doesn't go quite so well. A depressing number of my fellow *** rights activists (not *** owners, but the people who actually spend time and money "fighting for freedom" are crowing about the new flag burning amendment. Mention the idea of legalizing pot and watch their eyes roll back in their heads. They want freedom to use guns because they like to use guns, not because of any general principled stand on freedom.
    well put thoughts about the Libertarians,
    you do not seem to be a casual observer of the political scenery of this fine state. you are definatly better versed then little old me.
    your absolutly right, I may not want to burn a flag but thousands of people have died for an Americans RIGHT to burn one. and I may not get high cause it makes it harder to ride but I think that legalizing and taxing drugs could be a great way to gain real headway on the national debt or whatever.
    I think this thread has stopped being about helmets though.

  25. #25
    Embrace the weirdness. primaryreality's Avatar
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    I'll bring it back to being about helmets.

    It seems like everybody wants to argue about helmets until they finally crash and hit their head on something hard enough to do damage, at which point they become converts.

    My eighteen-year-old son, who goes everywhere by bike, has refused to wear a helmet, and we've had many discussions about it. "Not cool" and "too uncomfortable" and etc. etc. Whatever. On the way to a friend's house yesterday afternoon he hit some kind of uneven spot in the road and crashed his bike, and he says he remembers feeling his head hit the ground really hard.

    I got the call that makes any parent's blood run cold: "Your son fell on his bike and hit his head and they're loading him into the ambulance." This was from an employee of the store in front of which he fell, who told me they'd keep his bike there for him.

    He was very very lucky. He only got a deep gash in his head--nine stitches--and some road rash and a sprained hand and gravel embedded in his palm and lots of bruises. I'm glad and grateful that he wasn't hurt worse, but I'm also glad he had this opportunity to see firsthand the value of head protection.

    If he'd had a helmet on, he'd still have been scraped up, but he would have gotten back on the bike and ridden home, or to his friend's house, instead of taking a ride in an ambulance and spending six hours in the ER.

    He's a believer now, is going shopping for a helmet, and as soon as he can tolerate one on his head is eager to get back on the bike.

    It's also worth noting that the kind of accident he had could happen anywhere--could happen in your driveway--so the arguments people make about not wearing a helmet "in the neighborhood" etc. really seem kind of silly to me. You can fall anywhere, for any number of completely unpredictable reasons. If they were all predictable, there'd be no such thing as accidents.

    Fall from bike, land on head. That's all it takes. It only takes once.

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