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Bontrager WaveCel Helmet - Improved safety claims questioned

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Bontrager WaveCel Helmet - Improved safety claims questioned

Old 05-02-19, 02:14 PM
  #26  
MinnMan
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Originally Posted by tagaproject6 View Post
I question any claim that is trying to encourage me to buy a new product.
Hmmm. If you are saying that you question the claims made by Bontrager about their own product, then I think most people on this thread would agree with you. OTOH, if you question the results of the Virginia Tech lab, funded by no commercial interest, that had the result of encouraging someone on this thread to buy a particular new helmet, that's different.

There really is such a thing as independent product research. (For example, Consumer Reports)
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Old 05-02-19, 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
Hmmm. If you are saying that you question the claims made by Bontrager about their own product, then I think most people on this thread would agree with you. OTOH, if you question the results of the Virginia Tech lab, funded by no commercial interest, that had the result of encouraging someone on this thread to buy a particular new helmet, that's different.

There really is such a thing as independent product research. (For example, Consumer Reports)
I should have been more clear. Any company making a claim tied to a new product that they want me to buy
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Old 05-03-19, 08:25 AM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by tagaproject6 View Post
I should have been more clear. Any company making a claim tied to a new product that they want me to buy
You mean like this?

https://cspinet.org/news/prevagen-ho...ised-effective
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Old 05-09-19, 11:06 PM
  #29  
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All I can say is that Bontrager put out, showing their data and testing methodology. MIPS, who's sales are threatened, has made a lot of noise, taking a lot of pot shots, but presenting no data. Ok, they put up a graph, but without the methodology and data, there is no way to evaluate their claim.

Notice that:
  1. MIPS data shows that Bontrager's helmet is also better than MIPS
  2. The MIPS organization doesn't actually come out and say what head/neck form to use in place of the HIII. Reading about the VT/MIPS methodology, there is apparently no neck form used at all. That's also questionable. Just because it's "industry standard" (which MIPS created, BTW), is not a response. I would argue that MIPS makes the cardinal sin of experimentation... the assumption that if you don't know how to treat something (like the neck-stiffness part of the equation), that it's okay to set that variable to zero.
  3. VT has been around since way back in history... 2018. According to helmets.org, they adopted the MIPS testing protocol entirely, which is calibrated to favor MIPs (helmet very tightly coupled to the head form, no neck, very rough, heavily slopped anvil). Apparently Snell doesn't concur. Bontrager's testing showed both the effectiveness of MIPS, and the effectiveness of their wavecel
  4. All data published by anyone to date shows that Bontrager's helmet is the best on the market
I've reward that aggressive use of data and publication with a purchase. I also own a MIPS helmet, so no harm no foul.
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Old 05-10-19, 11:26 AM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by Brian Ratliff View Post
All I can say is that Bontrager put out, showing their data and testing methodology. MIPS, who's sales are threatened, has made a lot of noise, taking a lot of pot shots, but presenting no data. Ok, they put up a graph, but without the methodology and data, there is no way to evaluate their claim.

Notice that:
  1. MIPS data shows that Bontrager's helmet is also better than MIPS
  2. The MIPS organization doesn't actually come out and say what head/neck form to use in place of the HIII. Reading about the VT/MIPS methodology, there is apparently no neck form used at all. That's also questionable. Just because it's "industry standard" (which MIPS created, BTW), is not a response. I would argue that MIPS makes the cardinal sin of experimentation... the assumption that if you don't know how to treat something (like the neck-stiffness part of the equation), that it's okay to set that variable to zero.
  3. VT has been around since way back in history... 2018. According to helmets.org, they adopted the MIPS testing protocol entirely, which is calibrated to favor MIPs (helmet very tightly coupled to the head form, no neck, very rough, heavily slopped anvil). Apparently Snell doesn't concur. Bontrager's testing showed both the effectiveness of MIPS, and the effectiveness of their wavecel
  4. All data published by anyone to date shows that Bontrager's helmet is the best on the market
I've reward that aggressive use of data and publication with a purchase. I also own a MIPS helmet, so no harm no foul.
Not clear to me that giving weight to GI/GO data variable is any less of a cardinal sin than giving the factor no weight at all. If you don't get better results without using a BS variable, the motivations for using that variable are inherently suspect. I am not the least bit qualified to weigh in on whether the head/neck form really is defensible, but I'll be damned if I can see why VA Tech would choose to exclude it if it was.

Also interesting that Bontrager and MIPS both agree that Snell is wrong about MIPS not being beneficial.

I don't know how qualified helmets.org is to assess VA Tech's disclosure of methodology, but VA Tech has two peer-reviewed articles published on the subject, which makes me wonder why helmets.org didn't care to disclose that or discuss it:

In addition to the articles, there is also this:
https://vtechworks.lib.vt.edu/bitstr...=1&isAllowed=y

I'm going to go with the "you're probably about as safe as you're going to get if you pick something from the top of the VA Tech list" approach, Bontrager's stuff is up there along with some MIPS stuff, so it's all good as far as I'm concerned. There's just too many real-world variables in crashes for me to believe that the lab testing is really going to be able to make fine-grained distinctions for which helmets are better over-all. Like all of these things, further data will probably show that some helmets are better at protecting from some types of crashes with trade-offs that make them worse at others, and good luck sorting out which scenario is most likely to befall your head.

Notice I'm not saying you're wrong, just that I'm skeptical that anyone can reliably tell who's right, and if I'm guessing anyway, comfort and price are going to weigh in my decisions over these theoretical niceties.
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Old 05-10-19, 06:01 PM
  #31  
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Dude, too logical.
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Old 05-13-19, 07:15 AM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
Not clear to me that giving weight to GI/GO data variable is any less of a cardinal sin than giving the factor no weight at all. If you don't get better results without using a BS variable, the motivations for using that variable are inherently suspect. I am not the least bit qualified to weigh in on whether the head/neck form really is defensible, but I'll be damned if I can see why VA Tech would choose to exclude it if it was.
OK, backup. You are right. You are not the least bit qualified. But I'll give you this, you pack a lot of FUD into few words.

However, THIS person is qualified. (Recently published PhD dissertation, coincidentally, from VT, who also is a graduate research engineer at the very helmet lab that "excluded" the head/neck from their tests.)

A bit of history.
  • ALL of the bicycle helmet safety certification standard tests drop a headform onto a horizontal anvil (flat and/or curbstone). None of them include oblique tests.
  • ALL of the bicycle helmet oblique tests are currently "non-standard." Including the current VT tests. (The current VT bicycle helmet oblique tests were *primarily* developed by MIPS. The more fair question is why MIPS didn't include a neck for helmet oblique tests.)
BTW, note that in other sports, including football (both American football and football football), the hybrid III neck is used for helmet testing.

-mr. bill

Last edited by mr_bill; 05-13-19 at 08:38 AM. Reason: Highlighting some FUD in the “logic”
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Old 05-13-19, 07:56 AM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by mr_bill View Post
OK, backup. You are right. You are not the least bit qualified. But I'll give you this, you pack a lot of FUD into few words.

However, THIS person is qualified. (Recently published PhD dissertation, coincidentally, from VT, who also is a graduate research engineer at the very helmet lab that "excluded" the head/neck from their tests.)

A bit of history.
  • ALL of the bicycle helmet safety certification standard tests drop a headform onto a horizontal anvil (flat and/or curbstone). None of them include oblique tests.
  • ALL of the bicycle helmet oblique tests are currently "non-standard." Including the current VT tests. (The current VT bicycle helmet oblique tests were *primarily* developed by MIPS. The more fair question is why MIPS didn't include a neck for helmet oblique tests.)
BTW, note that in other sports, including football (both American football and football football), the hybrid III neck is used for helmet testing.

-mr. bill
Whoa, hold on! I was responding to @Brian Ratliff who asserted that MIPS and VT don't use a neck form of any kind. He asserted that was a reason to go with Bontrager's results. As I said, I'm not the least bit qualified to assess anything about neck tests and their efficacy, and haven't pretended to do so. I don't know what FUD I could possibly be conveying when I say that his argument for crediting Bontrager's results is built on a faulty premise--"relying on an unreliable variable is better than factoring the variable out of the equation".

I'm good at logic, I'm incompetent at technical questions--I was just pointing out the complete and utter failure of Mr. Ratliff's argument as structured.

Well, it now turns out that you have just shown that @Brian Ratliff has built his argument on a premise that is even more faulty than I, with my utter lack of technical knowledge, was able to understand. Apparently, VT does use a neck variable in their model, and doesn't set it at zero as Mr. Ratliff asserted.

The whole point of my post was that I was going with VT as a tie-breaker as they appear to be the closest thing to a neutral well-qualified decider of such things. I just bought the helmet at the top of their list ( a MIPS helmet).

I'm puzzled--I'm "packing" FUD about what?
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Old 05-13-19, 08:05 AM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
Well, it now turns out that you have just shown that @Brian Ratliff has built his argument on a premise that is even more faulty than I, with my utter lack of technical knowledge, was able to understand. Apparently, VT does use a neck variable in their model, and doesn't set it at zero as Mr. Ratliff asserted.
Neckless "No anthropomorphic test device (ATD) neck or effective torso mass is used in this testing...."

-mr. bill
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Old 05-13-19, 09:17 AM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by mr_bill View Post
Neckless "No anthropomorphic test device (ATD) neck or effective torso mass is used in this testing...."

-mr. bill
OK, I missed the point of the dissertation link which I basically just peeked at.

If I read it correctly, it seems to indicate that no one knows whether the neck simulation's lack of biofidelity affects the measurement of rotational forces.

SO, I stand by my assessment that there's really no way of knowing whether Bontrager's claims are overblown in this regard with the current state of knowledge, and I won't be rushing out to spend money on the helmet that will change cycling forever on the off-chance that Bontrager is right AND I just happen to receive exactly the blow to my head that their helmet is supposed to be better at handling.

Again, what is it I FUDed? I certainly didn't say Bontrager's helmet is unsafe, just that I don't see a certainty it's superior, and certainly not superior enough to triple what I typically pay for a helmet.

Frankly, I'm bored with this subject, and I'm not pretending to understand the engineering issues so go ahead and have the last word.
.
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Old 05-13-19, 10:40 AM
  #36  
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To be clear, I am not suggesting the Bontrager's results are "better" than VT/MIPS. I am suggesting that the strategy of setting an unknown to zero in the face of uncertainty is not any better than attempting to quantify it. Normally, you'd test it both ways and bracket the results.

I am definitely suggesting that MIPS is being disingenuous in suggesting that Bontrager's results are "invalid" *because* of the use of a neck form. If Bontrager's results are erroneous based on this criteria, then so are MIPS, since both test setups are not exactly anthropomorphically correct.

An independent evaluation would use both tests to "bracket" the truth. One uses a neck (which is probably too stiff) and shows a large advantage to WaveCel. One uses a loose head with no neck (neck variable is too flexible) and shows a small advantage to WaveCel. That tells me that the WaveCel tech is probably better than the MIPS liner.

Owning both types of helmets tells me that the WaveCel has disadvantages which likely won't go away. Namely, it is heavier, hotter (less airflow through the helmet), and more expensive.
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Old 05-13-19, 12:01 PM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by Brian Ratliff View Post
To be clear, I am not suggesting the Bontrager's results are "better" than VT/MIPS. I am suggesting that the strategy of setting an unknown to zero in the face of uncertainty is not any better than attempting to quantify it. Normally, you'd test it both ways and bracket the results.

I am definitely suggesting that MIPS is being disingenuous in suggesting that Bontrager's results are "invalid" *because* of the use of a neck form. If Bontrager's results are erroneous based on this criteria, then so are MIPS, since both test setups are not exactly anthropomorphically correct.

An independent evaluation would use both tests to "bracket" the truth. One uses a neck (which is probably too stiff) and shows a large advantage to WaveCel. One uses a loose head with no neck (neck variable is too flexible) and shows a small advantage to WaveCel. That tells me that the WaveCel tech is probably better than the MIPS liner.

Owning both types of helmets tells me that the WaveCel has disadvantages which likely won't go away. Namely, it is heavier, hotter (less airflow through the helmet), and more expensive.
I'm just going to quibble with one point because I think it is sort of converging on a "maybe there's a small difference" point, but VT's latest results actually show a MIPS helmet being safer than the WaveCels.

I didn't know about the heavier and hotter part, the hotter part would definitely keep me from buying it. The head's not a good area to over-heat, and I do a lot of riding in hot weather.
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Old 05-13-19, 05:40 PM
  #38  
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Their "scoring" scored one MIPS helmet as "safer" than WaveCel... but I don't know what that means. Again, talking about real data, not some opaque "score" between 0 and 100 "points", or 0 and 5 "stars". Actual data that both Bontrager and MIPS have provided have shown WaveCel to out-perform (to various degrees) MIPS.

EDIT: reading up on the VT scoring system... it's not apparent until you read the paper, but the stars are groupings related to the score, which is essentially a weighted average combined with a concussion risk score. So, not arbitrary, but certainly not data either. It's a weighted average which then moves the question from the accelerations found in testing to the weightings used to modify that data and make a bunch of data into a single number. Published data about testing accelerations favor WaveCel so far. One method of weighted average has found one MIPS helmet which outperforms the WaveCel.
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Old 05-15-19, 09:31 AM
  #39  
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Old 05-21-19, 01:38 PM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
That's sort of cool. It wasn't there yesterday. I guess the site is updated pretty regularly.

$75 is the list price. Sierra.com has it for $35. Hey livedarklions, there's yer next helmet.


Follow up:

So I got the Lazer Cyclone for $35 per your tip, and picked it up last Friday. I rode 187 miles with it on last weekend.
It is a very heavy helmet, really noticeable when you lift it, not so much when it's on your head, but it is very well ventilated and does not get too hot. I like it and it is now my main helmet. Definitely not for the weight wienie, however.
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Old 05-21-19, 03:06 PM
  #41  
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Not to be reviving a thread with no posts for the last few days, but I just purchased a Wavecel Specter at REI for $120 with a coupon. Regardless of test results, that's a pretty decent price for this helmet.

FWIW, I experienced a pretty hard hit to the head while crashing a tandem at 20 mph in 1998 while wearing an old Bell helmet, and I'm pretty sure it saved my life. Since I was knocked out cold for nearly two minutes while suffering from a severe concussion, my wife actually thought that I was on my way out. Of course, the helmet didn't have MIPS or wavecel technology, but it's anyone's guess as to whether or not it may have helped in such a crash. Personally speaking, I tend to feel that any extra bit of protection that we can get these days is likely worth the added cost, even if the protection is minimal.
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Old 05-22-19, 07:37 AM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by jim_pridx View Post
Not to be reviving a thread with no posts for the last few days, but I just purchased a Wavecel Specter at REI for $120 with a coupon. Regardless of test results, that's a pretty decent price for this helmet.

FWIW, I experienced a pretty hard hit to the head while crashing a tandem at 20 mph in 1998 while wearing an old Bell helmet, and I'm pretty sure it saved my life. Since I was knocked out cold for nearly two minutes while suffering from a severe concussion, my wife actually thought that I was on my way out. Of course, the helmet didn't have MIPS or wavecel technology, but it's anyone's guess as to whether or not it may have helped in such a crash. Personally speaking, I tend to feel that any extra bit of protection that we can get these days is likely worth the added cost, even if the protection is minimal.
Can you please follow up with how you find riding with the helmet once it's been on your head a few miles?

Since I don't think we should be experimenting with hitting our own heads, I think the best data we can share is whether we as actual riders find the helmets comfortable and useable, and I'm interested in hearing your "review".

Scary accident. I'm glad you're still here to talk about it.
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Old 05-22-19, 07:44 AM
  #43  
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I am curious about the airflow through their material.
Not that airflow is everything but it is all a balancing act like light, durable and cheap, pick 2.
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Old 05-22-19, 07:55 AM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by bakerjw View Post
I am curious about the airflow through their material.
Not that airflow is everything but it is all a balancing act like light, durable and cheap, pick 2.
My guess is also that trade-offs are being made in the safety area--like better for this type of crash but worse at this one--but that we won't have access to such data, or that the modeling and testing is not sophisticated enough for anyone to know what those trade-offs actually are.

But, yeah, I figure I'll leave the safety ratings to VT for the time being, and listen to fellow riders on comfort and wear factors. Trying it on at the store can only tell you so much, and 100 miles of actual riding can tell you wayyyyy more.
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Old 05-22-19, 07:55 AM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
Can you please follow up with how you find riding with the helmet once it's been on your head a few miles?
Yes, I'd be happy to provide a brief review of the helmet after I've ridden a few miles with it. It felt comfortable in the store but, of course, the road will is the real test. It's been cold and rainy here the last couple of days, so I haven't had a chance to get out yet this week.

Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
Scary accident. I'm glad you're still here to talk about it.
It was indeed a scary accident. It was caused by a large farm dog whose owner taught it to attack for whatever reason. After trying to chew our legs off first, it eventually ran in front of the bike to bring it down. It was just one of those freak things that a cyclist never expects to happen. We've encountered plenty of dogs on our rides before, but nothing like this one.
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Old 05-22-19, 07:56 AM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
Since I don't think we should be experimenting with hitting our own heads, I think the best data we can share is whether we as actual riders find the helmets comfortable and useable, and I'm interested in hearing your "review".
LOL. This is the absolute fact. Weight, cooling, comfort, style, all trump safety by miles. Otherwise we'd all wear full-face motorcycle helmets with built-in mirrors and modified HANS devices. Most crashes are faster than the 13.8 mph or whatever these helmets actually protect from, and because there are so many variables, no one knows or ever will know how any helmet protects compared to any other in real-world scenarios.

Not to put down people who buy $300 helmets. Freedom is wonderful, and if they feel better, that itself is the value they are paying for ... like the people who put 40-pound locks and chains on their bikes, when an angle grinder or bottle jack can defeat any of them anyway. If a person can buy peace of mind, super.

Weight, cooling, general comfort after long rides under different conditions, matter more than MIPS or "Wavecell," whether or not people admit to that. And @livedarklions' $40 helmet is as good as the $300 helmets ... both by his rating and by the rating of the high-tech testing boards.

What does it all mean? We are all constantly balancing reason and emotion, logic and imagination, in our own minds, and we think the picture, the mental model of reality we react to is actually the real world while in fact, most sensory data is elided and a lot of imaginary "data" is added. We live in fantasy worlds in our heads ... and what "works" is what keeps us happily in our fantasies regardless of what reality might be doing.

I "feel" safe riding with no helmet. I might die of a head injury while cycling but I haven't so far. Livedarklions feels safe with his top-rated bargain helmet. He might die of a head injury while cycling but he hasn't so far. Some other person feels safe with his or her Mips or Wavecell helmet, and hasn't died of a cycling head injury and might or might not. But what matters to all of us us is feeling safe---whatever it takes for each of us. And the reality is we might die of Anything at any time----we might get hit from behind by a drunk driver and die of broken necks with our heads perfectly intact.

Statistically we are all more likely to die from slipping in the bathtub and hitting our heads---where none of us wear helmets and would consider it ridiculous. See what I mean?

Last edited by Maelochs; 05-22-19 at 07:59 AM.
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Old 05-22-19, 08:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post

Statistically we are all more likely to die from slipping in the bathtub and hitting our heads---where none of us wear helmets and would consider it ridiculous. See what I mean?
A good point statistically. Just an amusing quibble, though. I have known people who wear helmets in tubs and showers because they have seizure disorders. The probability of something going horribly wrong for them in the tub is high enough that we wouldn't consider wearing the helmet in that situation ridiculous.
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Old 05-22-19, 08:22 AM
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Originally Posted by jim_pridx View Post
Yes, I'd be happy to provide a brief review of the helmet after I've ridden a few miles with it. It felt comfortable in the store but, of course, the road will is the real test. It's been cold and rainy here the last couple of days, so I haven't had a chance to get out yet this week.



It was indeed a scary accident. It was caused by a large farm dog whose owner taught it to attack for whatever reason. After trying to chew our legs off first, it eventually ran in front of the bike to bring it down. It was just one of those freak things that a cyclist never expects to happen. We've encountered plenty of dogs on our rides before, but nothing like this one.
Wow, that owner should have been charged criminally.
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Old 05-22-19, 08:29 AM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
Wow, that owner should have been charged criminally.
Well, FWIW, we did file a lawsuit and easily won a settlement. However, our overall health is much more important than any settlement. My wife went through many hip procedures due to the accident, and she's still having problems to this day.
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Old 05-22-19, 08:52 AM
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Originally Posted by jim_pridx View Post
Well, FWIW, we did file a lawsuit and easily won a settlement. However, our overall health is much more important than any settlement. My wife went through many hip procedures due to the accident, and she's still having problems to this day.
I liked your post for agreement, but what happened to you and your wife sucked, and "like" seems a bit of a strange reaction to it so I feel a need to clarify.

Did you get back on the tandem with her later? I could see how that kind of experience could ruin it for you.
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