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The helmet thread

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I didn't wear a helmet, but now do
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I sometimes wear a helmet depending on the conditions
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The helmet thread

Old 08-14-14, 04:29 PM
  #8501  
meanwhile
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Originally Posted by 350htrr View Post
I'm talking average falls where head hits pavement, probably around 90%, (made up number), you are talking about a much smaller % of falls that the helmet may increase injury instead of helping...
Yes: congratulations on understanding part of what the smart kids understood pages ago. Helmets are useful in relatively minor but relatively common impacts, at the possible cost of making more significant injuries worse. Is this a good trade off? It's doubtful.

You also have several more problems:

1. Helmets increase effective head size making a hit more likely

2. The evidence is that helmets make drivers take more risks with cyclists - and cause cyclists to take more risks too

3. Helmets may interfere with balance, hearing, periperal vision. *May.*

..So given that the benefits of wearing a helmet are slight - at best - and the downsides are hard to assess but potentially more significant than the benefits, hassling other people for not wearing them is just stupid. Like deciding that one side in a case must be lying because you (or rather, someone a lot smarter than you) caught the other side doing it..

So why do people make a big deal out of helmets? Well -

- Most people are stupid, but don't like being made aware of this

- Most people are very social consensus oriented - ie they believe what society tells them, and trying to argue with "social signals" causes them acute discomfort (this is often especially the case with people who boast of being independent thinkers)

- Many people are scared and rely on the comfort of helmets to deal with a fear that, rationally, they shouldn't have

This is why the only people in this debate to take a fact based approach are helmet sceptics: the facts are so damning that you have to be irrationally invested in wearing a helmet to ignore them. (In fact, most of the sceptics probably started by wanting to buy a helmet, but being in the tiny minority of "rationals" checked to see which model would be safest - then found out that none offered worthwhile safety and became annoyed with helmet makers deceptive marketing and the gullibility of most wearers. I did.)
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Old 08-14-14, 05:53 PM
  #8502  
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Originally Posted by meanwhile View Post

..In theory, a helmet should take up to about 100J. To give an idea of how little this is, a Snickers bar contains about 1,000,000J.
...this is impressive, even for the helment thread. @meanwhile, you go, girl.
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Old 08-14-14, 05:55 PM
  #8503  
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Originally Posted by meanwhile View Post

- Most people are stupid, but don't like being made aware of this
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Old 08-14-14, 05:59 PM
  #8504  
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... my new helment is gonna be one of these.

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Old 08-14-14, 07:51 PM
  #8505  
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Originally Posted by meanwhile View Post
Yes: congratulations on understanding part of what the smart kids understood pages ago. Helmets are useful in relatively minor but relatively common impacts, at the possible cost of making more significant injuries worse. Is this a good trade off? It's doubtful.

You also have several more problems:

1. Helmets increase effective head size making a hit more likely

2. The evidence is that helmets make drivers take more risks with cyclists - and cause cyclists to take more risks too

3. Helmets may interfere with balance, hearing, periperal vision. *May.*

..So given that the benefits of wearing a helmet are slight - at best - and the downsides are hard to assess but potentially more significant than the benefits, hassling other people for not wearing them is just stupid. Like deciding that one side in a case must be lying because you (or rather, someone a lot smarter than you) caught the other side doing it..

So why do people make a big deal out of helmets? Well -

- Most people are stupid, but don't like being made aware of this

- Most people are very social consensus oriented - ie they believe what society tells them, and trying to argue with "social signals" causes them acute discomfort (this is often especially the case with people who boast of being independent thinkers)

- Many people are scared and rely on the comfort of helmets to deal with a fear that, rationally, they shouldn't have

This is why the only people in this debate to take a fact based approach are helmet sceptics: the facts are so damning that you have to be irrationally invested in wearing a helmet to ignore them. (In fact, most of the sceptics probably started by wanting to buy a helmet, but being in the tiny minority of "rationals" checked to see which model would be safest - then found out that none offered worthwhile safety and became annoyed with helmet makers deceptive marketing and the gullibility of most wearers. I did.)
So could you be... To not wear a helmet because you just don't really want to wear a helmet and thus are justifying, Trying to justify it with studies that back up your version of the truth, maybe you are just a little too smart for your own good, just a tad too smart...JMO

Last edited by 350htrr; 08-14-14 at 08:10 PM.
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Old 08-15-14, 04:56 AM
  #8506  
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post
... my new helment is gonna be one of these.

Well, at least you'd be able to eat if you bonked...
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Old 08-15-14, 05:10 AM
  #8507  
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Originally Posted by 350htrr View Post
So could you be... To not wear a helmet because you just don't really want to wear a helmet and thus are justifying,
Nope: I'll repeat myself because you're obviously bad at reading:

most of the sceptics probably started by wanting to buy a helmet, but being in the tiny minority of "rationals" checked to see which model would be safest - then found out that none offered worthwhile safety and became annoyed with helmet makers deceptive marketing and the gullibility of most wearers. I did.)


If I could buy a reasonably effective helmet - which I define as one that would reduce the risk of death or serious head injury by 40 or 50%, or of concussion by 50% and death by 20% - then I'd spend at least $300 buying one, assuming that it was wearable enough for everyday use.

The difference between you and me isn't our attitude to headwear (I'm locked under a hood anyway for much of the year in the UK - and my shell is designed to fit a helmet.) It's that unlike you I bothered to look at the information the helmet companies, certifiers, and test engineers provide. (And that I'm smart enough to understand it.) From the POV of someone who wants to buy a worthwhile helmet, there are none available.

And one of the reasons for that is that people like you are too silly and lazy to ask questions about the equipment you buy - you literally have no idea what it can do in either terms or energy absorbed, injuries it can prevent, or types of accident where it is useful. You buy helmets like a teenager buying trainers - the colour matters, the price matters, whether the brand is cool matters - the last thing you care about is what the damn thing can actually do.
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Old 08-15-14, 06:56 AM
  #8508  
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Originally Posted by meanwhile View Post
You also have several more problems:

1. Helmets increase effective head size making a hit more likely

2. The evidence is that helmets make drivers take more risks with cyclists - and cause cyclists to take more risks too

3. Helmets may interfere with balance, hearing, periperal vision. *May.*

..So given that the benefits of wearing a helmet are slight - at best - and the downsides are hard to assess but potentially more significant than the benefits, hassling other people for not wearing them is just stupid. Like deciding that one side in a case must be lying because you (or rather, someone a lot smarter than you) caught the other side doing it..

So why do people make a big deal out of helmets? Well -

- Most people are stupid, but don't like being made aware of this

- Most people are very social consensus oriented - ie they believe what society tells them, and trying to argue with "social signals" causes them acute discomfort (this is often especially the case with people who boast of being independent thinkers)

- Many people are scared and rely on the comfort of helmets to deal with a fear that, rationally, they shouldn't have

This is why the only people in this debate to take a fact based approach are helmet sceptics: the facts are so damning that you have to be irrationally invested in wearing a helmet to ignore them. (In fact, most of the sceptics probably started by wanting to buy a helmet, but being in the tiny minority of "rationals" checked to see which model would be safest - then found out that none offered worthwhile safety and became annoyed with helmet makers deceptive marketing and the gullibility of most wearers. I did.)
1. Head hit because of helmet how much more likely? Crashing is a rare event; crashing with a head hit rarer still. A minor percentage of very rare is still very rare. Helmet circumference plays into the whole oblique strike/head rotation/TBI argument, too, but there was at least one study posted here (regarding skate-board helmets) indicating that helmets did help mitigate the action of oblique strikes.

2. One study by one guy found that cars are more likely to pass closer. OTOH same guy found that long hair/being a woman makes drivers pass further away. If you want to believe that study, I'd expect bare-headers concerned with safety to grow their hair out or ride in wigs & a stuffed bra. Causes cyclists to take more risks, jury is still out. Another study stated that those who rode without helmets on a regular basis did not ride any riskier while wearing a helmet, but those who wore helmets on a regular basis ride less risky when asked to ride without.

3. I've never noticed that riding with a helmet interfered with peripheral vision or balance. I could go along with the hearing thing -- I do hear better without a helmet because of the lack of wind noise due to air rushing around the helmet -- but it's a very low percentage loss of hearing, not remarkable.

Hassling people about helmet use, however, is just stupid.

- Stupid would only be if helmets did not do a thing. However, they do. People wearing them for the wrong reasons could indeed be ignorant or fearful.

- Part of the social consensus consciousness is also nothing but fashion or style. Roadies like their light, airy, color coordinated helmet, part of their "kit"; hipsters love their nutcase or more skate-oriented helmets. Part of the social uniform of how they see themselves.

- Fear sells.

I went from wearing a helmet out of ignorance, assuming it did as much for me on a bicycle as a motorcycle helmet would do in the event of a motorcycle crash (BTDT, helmet and protective gear helped a lot), to wearing a helmet based on what I learned here. I became a skeptic, just a helmet-wearing one.

You also forgot some stuff:
- Road helmets with all the vents, visors, etc. may increase chance of TBI in cases of oblique head strike as the shapes may stick instead of slide. They also don't provide better area of protection -- in both these cases, more skate-like helmets are a better choice.

- Most people wear helmets incorrectly. Pushed back on their head, adjusted incorrectly, etc.

There are, however, companies researching and marketing safer helmets. POC and Smith come to mind, both of which offer MIPS systems in their higher end helmets. POC also uses a different liner system than standard, supposedly for increased safety ...based on their studies. Grain of salt stuff, but there is an increased perception among manufacturers that making safer helmets is s sales plus, that there's now a market for designing more safety into them.
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Last edited by mconlonx; 08-15-14 at 07:01 AM.
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Old 08-15-14, 10:01 AM
  #8509  
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Originally Posted by mconlonx View Post
there was at least one study posted here (regarding skate-board helmets) indicating that helmets did help mitigate the action of oblique strikes.
Skate helmets have smoother and tougher shells than most modern cycling helmets, so they're not a reliable guide - they're less prone to rotation and much less likely fail outright.

3. I've never noticed that riding with a helmet interfered with peripheral vision or balance. I could go along with the hearing thing -- I do hear better without a helmet because of the lack of wind noise due to air rushing around the helmet -- but it's a very low percentage loss of hearing, not remarkable.
It's personal and probably always a minor effect. But so is any benefit from wearing a helmet, so..

I went from wearing a helmet out of ignorance, assuming it did as much for me on a bicycle as a motorcycle helmet would do in the event of a motorcycle crash (BTDT, helmet and protective gear helped a lot), to wearing a helmet based on what I learned here. I became a skeptic, just a helmet-wearing one.
That's rational.

You also forgot some stuff:
- Road helmets with all the vents, visors, etc. may increase chance of TBI in cases of oblique head strike as the shapes may stick instead of slide. They also don't provide better area of protection -- in both these cases, more skate-like helmets are a better choice.

- Most people wear helmets incorrectly. Pushed back on their head, adjusted incorrectly, etc.
Yes: most of the people reading this thread will be wearing their helmets in such a way that there is little chance of them working. But I get tired of telling people their faults and so tend to choose the more interesting ones.

There are, however, companies researching and marketing safer helmets. POC and Smith come to mind, both of which offer MIPS systems in their higher end helmets. POC also uses a different liner system than standard, supposedly for increased safety ...based on their studies. Grain of salt stuff, but there is an increased perception among manufacturers that making safer helmets is s sales plus, that there's now a market for designing more safety into them.
The most promising of all is probably

BiOS -!- anatomical protection helmets invented by a neurosurgeon

..But it probably doesn't matter. Most people who buy helmets are so damn lazy and stupid they simply don't check what level of safety the helmets provide, so they're not going to pay the cost of these new features. And cert levels won't change because they follow lobbying money, and the big companies for whom helmets are very profitable like the current super low level because it allows them to sell products that cost almost nothing to produce.

No one seems willing to answer my question on testing, so I will - and it should tell anyone with a brain that the certification level is totally lobbyist controlled. The helmets tested are those provided by manufacturers - NOT random samples. So a manufacturer can easily cheat - if they think that 90% of the helmets coming out of production will fail, they can hand pick "golden samples" for testing. And when helmets have been bought in stores and randomly tested, a good number have failed the (already low) levels that they are supposed to be certified for.

Again, this is something people should be angry about and exert pressure over. Instead of making idiotic "I fell off a bike and lived! TEH HELMET SAVED MY LIVES!!!" posts.

Last edited by meanwhile; 08-15-14 at 10:23 AM.
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Old 08-15-14, 10:06 AM
  #8510  
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Btw: the last time a cyclist was killed on a route I use, he was wearing a helmet. It probably worked perfectly when he hit the ground after his front wheel hit a pot hole that was hidden by rain and night, but we can't be sure because his skull was turned to jam by the lorry that then ran over him.

I rode the same road often. On an MTB with 1.5" slicks. He was commuting on a racing bike with 25mm tyres. Commuting on a racing bike in an English winter at night is taking a risk relative to using a bike with fatter tyres, but no one thinks twice about it. This is because the helmetoids are not concerned with risk, but with perception, fear and fashion. No one breaks down safety and actually does the math, which is the way only rational way to proceed.

(Oh - except for whamilton, who couldn't do the maths..)

Last edited by meanwhile; 08-15-14 at 10:16 AM.
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Old 08-15-14, 10:40 AM
  #8511  
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Originally Posted by meanwhile View Post
...
But I get tired of telling people their faults and so tend to choose the more interesting ones.
...
You never seem to tire of this.
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Old 08-15-14, 10:43 AM
  #8512  
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Originally Posted by MMACH 5 View Post
You never seem to tire of this.
I can understand why it would seem that way to you. Even though we've just discussed, on this page, several faults you have that I couldn't be bothered to point out...
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Old 08-15-14, 11:32 AM
  #8513  
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
rekmeyata

Yes I remember the Bell Biker, and as I have posted later they made the Tourlite that I had. It too had the lexan cover. I still wish I could buy a new one just like it.
I have no clue why Bell got away from that Lexan cover, maybe due to weight? All they had to do to improve it was add better and more ventilation openings and it would have been fine in both ventilation and reduced weight. I never found the helmet to be heavy even after doing over 100 miles at a time it never bothered me, but some people have weak necks I guess. Then they could have later added in the new MIPs technology which would have enhanced the helmet more.
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Old 08-15-14, 02:33 PM
  #8514  
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I rode my bicycle without a helmet a few times over the past couple of weeks. For me, this is rare. I had to make some relatively short trips mostly on 20mph neighborhood streets and did not really want to deal with carrying a helmet around after arriving at my destination and locking the helmet outside was not an option. So I took my chances and discovered something interesting:

Right now in New Orleans is is 94* in the shade with a heat index around 115* IN THE SHADE. I tried wearing various hats for sun protection during my helmet-free rides (so I could just stick a hat into a pants pocket at the destination) and I found that my helmet is WAY cooler and more comfortable than an other hat I own. I tried wearing baseball caps, boonie hats, hats with partial mesh, and cycling caps. No go. Helmet wins hands-down for comfort when it comes to hats for me. The ventilation is worth any inconvenience.
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Old 08-15-14, 02:47 PM
  #8515  
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I've told you twice that you're on ignore.

Please don't pester me. Pablum like this isn't worth any effort, but it is insulting.

Originally Posted by meanwhile View Post
..Which you will now make a complete mess of.



..But incorrect.



Per mile travelled or per hour? There's a VERY big difference! (In fact, cycling PER HOUR is as safe as driving - which is what matters in calculating risk exposure.)



Yes: if you were an idiot, this is the logic you would apply. However, if you were not, then you would ask whether the helmet would actually reduce the danger. Which is why intelligent people wear seat belts to drive, but do not wear cycling helmets - the seat belt reduces an already low level of danger of death, but the helmet has no effect. I think you don't have to be very smart to understand this strategy, but it seems to be beyond you - you literally just proposed taking safety "precautions" according to the level of danger without considering whether the precautions work.



Ah, Big Word Time! Which has resulted, as is usually the case, in nonsense - ie "traumatic head injury". Really: you just say "head injury" or "head trauma". Because the set of non-traumatic injuries is, by definition, zero. Look up "tautology" in a dictionary while you are in the mood for vocabulary building.

...And again you miss the point that you can't evaluate whether you should use a safety measure by the risk without it alone - you have to consider whether it reduces the risk.
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Old 08-15-14, 02:54 PM
  #8516  
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Originally Posted by rekmeyata View Post
I have no clue why Bell got away from that Lexan cover, maybe due to weight? All they had to do to improve it was add better and more ventilation openings and it would have been fine in both ventilation and reduced weight. I never found the helmet to be heavy even after doing over 100 miles at a time it never bothered me, but some people have weak necks I guess. Then they could have later added in the new MIPs technology which would have enhanced the helmet more.
Here are some images of my first bicycle helmet, also by Bell. This helmet visor was clear smoked and had about five adjustments up and down. The only helmet I ever had I liked better is the one I have now - Bell Super. Otherwise, the old hard-shell was awesome!

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bell helmet.jpg (31.2 KB, 13 views)
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Old 08-15-14, 04:55 PM
  #8517  
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I once inspected a motorcycle helmet that slide to a stop from 150+ mph with Steve Baker’s head in it. Steve had no head injury, not even a mild concussion. Why? – He fell less than three feet to the asphalt surface of the track; his forward speed was of no importance.

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Old 08-15-14, 05:18 PM
  #8518  
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Originally Posted by Joe Minton View Post
I once inspected a motorcycle helmet that slide to a stop from 150+ mph with Steve Baker’s head in it. Steve had no head injury, not even a mild concussion. Why? – He fell less than three feet to the asphalt surface of the track; his forward speed was of no importance.

Joe
This is silly. Because

1. Concussions from falling from a height of 3 feet are not terribly common

2. Kissing the tarmac at 150mph would actually be very painful indeed without protection

...So the injury that he was saved from was not concussion from falling but having his face - indeed at that speed, his skull - sanded away. And what saved him was a helmet shell many, many times stronger than any cycling helmet has.

(And, again, I can only wonder at the lack of sense shown here - you're going to hit the tarmac at racing car speeds and you're really worried that you'll also take a 3 foot fall? Ok...)

Last edited by meanwhile; 08-15-14 at 05:25 PM.
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Old 08-15-14, 05:22 PM
  #8519  
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Originally Posted by rekmeyata

I have no clue why Bell got away from that Lexan cover, maybe due to weight? All they had to do to improve it was add better and more ventilation openings and it would have been fine in both ventilation and...
Bell are a business; their goal is to make a profit; the Lexan helmet cost more to make and most people don't check the safety level of a helmet before buying it. When Bell made that helmet the cert level was higher and expected to go higher still - instead the helmet makers lobbied for it to be dropped to the current meaningless level. (Bell also sponsored the disgraced 85% study, btw.)
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Old 08-15-14, 06:10 PM
  #8520  
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Originally Posted by meanwhile View Post
And when helmets have been bought in stores and randomly tested, a good number have failed the (already low) levels that they are supposed to be certified for.
I have never heard this. It seems pretty damning. Where can I find the study?
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Old 08-15-14, 06:15 PM
  #8521  
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Well try this on for size. The Anti Helmet Crowd---AHC say that wearing helmet embolden people. If it gives some people that are scared to ride the security to ride, that is a good thing. Then since they are riding the AHC say they are almost totally safe cycling (which I agree with) it is a win win situation. Bottom line, helmets mean more cyclist.
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Old 08-15-14, 06:44 PM
  #8522  
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
Well try this on for size. The Anti Helmet Crowd---AHC say that wearing helmet embolden people. If it gives some people that are scared to ride the security to ride, that is a good thing. Then since they are riding the AHC say they are almost totally safe cycling (which I agree with) it is a win win situation. Bottom line, helmets mean more cyclist.
That would be a great point, if we didn't already know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is not true.
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Old 08-15-14, 09:55 PM
  #8523  
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I'm not certain but I believe there are no motorcycle helmets being made with Lexan shells. Lexan has a fatal weakness; it develops very small cracks and checks when exposed to petrochem solvents. Riders would sometimes clean their helmet exteriors with some solvent or other, gasoline for instance. The damage was immediate and fatal to the efficacy of the Lexan; when struck as in an accident or even by being dropped it would shatter. The most common failure was cracking around the rivets that held the chin straps.

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Old 08-16-14, 03:16 AM
  #8524  
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Originally Posted by Six jours View Post
I have never heard this. It seems pretty damning. Where can I find the study?
It was done by the main US consumer association, I think. I've posted the link before - which doesn't help much. (From now on I keep everything in Evernotes.) (However note that randomly selected helmets also fail in the test referenced in my next post.)

The good news is that helmets with a Snell Foundation certification will have been randomly tested - and I think random testing continues as long as the helmet is in production. The bad news is that the Snell tests are still very poor: as well as the energy level being low, the helmets strike a smooth polished stationary surface instead of a rough moving one and there is no testing for rotational injury. If I was going to buy a helmet, then I'd order a Bios from France:

BiOS -!- anatomical protection helmets invented by a neurosurgeon

- these helmets have what seems like a seriously tough shell, a non-standard impact absorption system designed by a neurosurgeon, and they're claimed to exceed key standards by a considerable amount. (Although unfortunately most of the key information on the maker's site is in French.)

Last edited by meanwhile; 08-16-14 at 03:28 AM.
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Old 08-16-14, 03:24 AM
  #8525  
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Originally Posted by Joe Minton View Post
I'm not certain but I believe there are no motorcycle helmets being made with Lexan shells. Lexan has a fatal weakness; it develops very small cracks and checks when exposed to petrochem solvents.
That's completely true - there are better materials you could made a strong helmet shell from (bios use a CF reinforced polycarbonate.) But very cycling helmet makers attempt to provide strong shells - they cut profits and the modern dumbed down standard doesn't need them:

https://cyclehelmets.org/1081.html
In the early 1990s, market research suggested that in excess of 90% of the cycle helmets sold in the UK were certified to the Snell B-90 standard, at that time the most stringent cycle helmet standard in the world. In 1998, Head Protection Evaluations (HPE), my safety helmet laboratory, conducted a test programme for the Consumers Association (reported in Which? October 1998) to assess cycle helmets available in the UK. By that year all of the helmets were labelled to EN1078. The results showed that, with only one or two exceptions, the helmets tested were quite incapable of meeting the higher Snell B-90 standard, to which many of the models had been previously certified. Some helmets were even incapable of meeting the weak EN1078 standard
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