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Helmets cramp my style

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Helmets cramp my style

Old 09-03-08, 04:23 PM
  #3901  
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Originally Posted by degnaw View Post
The main reason I wear a helmet is because in driving school, they showed us a video of someone drunk driving and hitting a cyclist from behind - apparently the cyclist didn't have a helmet and died of head injuries (from his head hitting the windshield). And once I got here, peoples' stories of splitting helmets and stuff like that are pretty convincing. Statistics and rate of head injury/helmet usage isn't really as convincing, especially when different people are posting different results.
I always like Andy Rooney's line about lottery winners and newspapers. He said, he'd like to see the newspapers print the names of not the winners of the lottery, but all those names of those who bought a ticket and lost. That way, people would have some sort of realistic perspective of what they were buying.

Maybe you'd feel different if you were to see helmeted cyclists injured. It's easy to show injured cyclists who were not wearing helmets because so few wear them, but once they do start to wear them, outside of a bit of superficial injury mitigation, they are just as injured as the ones who don't wear them.

Zealots, of course claim their injuries would have been worse without the helmet but there's no way they can show that's the case, they just shout loud enough to make it the case.

I have no problem with people wearing helmets, and I do so myself, but to claim life saving qualities when even the manufacturers do not claim this quality and no reduction of death has been recorded in any area that has adopted the widespread use of helmets, is bordering on zealotry and decidedly away from a reasonable analysis of their true quality.
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Old 09-03-08, 04:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Ed in GA View Post
I can almost positively say that if I had not been wearing a helmet, I would either have a fractured skull or some other type of serious head injury. Made a believer out of me, big time.

YMMV
could you almost positively say that Lance or Iban Mayo had a fractured skull or serious head injury here?

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Old 09-03-08, 05:26 PM
  #3903  
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Originally Posted by closetbiker View Post
could you almost positively say that Lance or Iban Mayo had a fractured skull or serious head injury here?

Nope, can't say anthing at all positively about that photo one way or another.

It doesn't show that either of their heads hit the pavement. Does It?

And, I actually don't care as my post was about my experience, not thiers.

Have a nice day.
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Old 09-03-08, 06:13 PM
  #3904  
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Originally Posted by Ed in GA View Post
Nope, can't say anthing at all positively about that photo one way or another.

It doesn't show that either of their heads hit the pavement. Does It?

And, I actually don't care as my post was about my experience, not thiers.

Have a nice day.
I think you care about what you think might have happened.

Sure, I'll give you that something might have happened, but based on the probabilities of the accumulated experience of millions of riders over about 100 years, very little probably would have happened.

Since the rise in the use of helmets, people have been crediting them with the prevention of imagined injuries that never would have occurred to them that may have happened, had the helmets not been available or worn.

Helmets are very fragile, dent and break easily. Cyclists fall. Put 2 and 2 together. The assumption is, the helmet prevented a serious injury whereas the most likely outcome would have been a minor abrasion, if that.

Check out hospital records and you'll find cyclists make up a tiny portion of patients admitted and with the rise of helmet use, the admission rates have hardly changed at all. Not surprising considering cycle helmets help mitigate injuries from simple falls and fall well short of preventing serious injury.

Last edited by closetbiker; 09-03-08 at 07:09 PM.
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Old 09-03-08, 07:00 PM
  #3905  
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Originally Posted by closetbiker View Post
I think you care about what you think might have happened.

Sure, I'll give you that something might have happened, but based on the probabilities of the accumulated experience of millions of riders over about 100 years, very little probably would have happened.

Since the rise in the use of helmets, people have been crediting them with the prevention of imagined injuries that never would have occurred they may have happened had the helmets not been present. Cyclists fall, and helmets dent and crack. The assumption is, they prevented a serious injury whereas the most likely outcome would have been a minor abrasion, if that. Helmets are very fragile and break easily. Check out hospital records and you'll find cyclists make up a tiny portion of patients admitted and with the rise of helmet use, the admission rates have hardly changed at all. Not surprising considering cycle helmets help mitigate injuries from simple falls and fall well short of preventing serious injury.
Closetbiker,

Here, you have made some assumptions that may not be true. Hospital records of admissions, or treatments, will tell you nothing about head injuries. You have to look at head injuries. A helmet won't prevent a broken leg or arm, for Pete's sake! Helmets, by your own admission, will absorb impacts. If those impacts, which could produce potentially life-threatening skull fractures and internal brain injuries, are mitigated, and the person still has other injuries, (s)he will still be admitted to the hospital. We know from tests that today's helmets will mitigate a fall from 1.5 meters onto a flat or curved surface, and keep internal forces on the brain/skull under 200 g's. We also now know that helmets will mitigate the oblique impacts that often accompany bicycle falls. Further, we know that the side of the skull is more prone to fractures that either the top or front (as pointed out to me my a trauma surgeon). The difference between having and not having a helmet on is that after healing, the person will again assume the role of a productive, thinking human being.

Would you drop onto your knee from 1.5 meters with any force without a knee pad? If not, then why all the fuss about wearing a helmet?

John

Last edited by John C. Ratliff; 09-03-08 at 07:16 PM. Reason: add material
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Old 09-03-08, 07:13 PM
  #3906  
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not assumptions John. It's based on examination of facts

You're familialar with New Zealands example:



This next graph shows head injuries to cyclists that do not involve a motor vehicle. Just a scenario that fits into the the design performance of helmets.

Show the year that the law was introduced and police enforced an over 90% compliance rate of wear


Last edited by closetbiker; 09-03-08 at 07:19 PM.
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Old 09-03-08, 07:26 PM
  #3907  
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Originally Posted by John C. Ratliff View Post
Closetbiker,

Would you drop onto your knee from 1.5 meters with any force without a knee pad? If not, then why all the fuss about wearing a helmet?

John
I've fallen on my knee from my bike many times. I got up, brushed off the road grit and got right back up on that bike (just like Lance and Iban did)

Originally Posted by John C. Ratliff View Post
The difference between having and not having a helmet on is that after healing, the person will again assume the role of a productive, thinking human being.
check out https://members.shaw.ca/jtubman/deadhelmet.html
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Old 09-03-08, 07:32 PM
  #3908  
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Originally Posted by closetbiker View Post
I think you care about what you think might have happened.
And you would think, assume, incorrectly. I care that when the side of my head hit the concrete pavement, without the helmet, there would have been far greater injury than what there was. Which was none, and in my opinion, due directly to the fact I was wearing a helmet.
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Old 09-03-08, 07:50 PM
  #3909  
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Originally Posted by Ed in GA View Post
And you would think, assume, incorrectly. I care that when the side of my head hit the concrete pavement, without the helmet, there would have been far greater injury than what there was. Which was none, and in my opinion, due directly to the fact I was wearing a helmet.
and we both are guessing, not knowing
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Old 09-03-08, 07:57 PM
  #3910  
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Originally Posted by John C. Ratliff View Post
... We also now know that helmets will mitigate the oblique impacts that often accompany bicycle falls. Further, we know that the side of the skull is more prone to fractures that (than?) either the top or front (as pointed out to me my a trauma surgeon). ...
mitigate oblique impacts to a skull, not to the brain within the skull and isn't that the big problem? What causes brain injury anyway??


(Sorry for breaking up my reply in pieces, but I'm pretty busy right now and I'm getting to what I can, when I can)
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Old 09-03-08, 08:05 PM
  #3911  
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Originally Posted by closetbiker View Post
mitigate oblique impacts to a skull, not to the brain within the skull and isn't that the big problem? What causes brain injury anyway??


(Sorry for breaking up my reply in pieces, but I'm pretty busy right now and I'm getting to what I can, when I can)
Actually, according to the paper I cited, those are forces on the brain too.

John
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Old 09-03-08, 08:07 PM
  #3912  
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Originally Posted by closetbiker View Post
and we both are guessing, not knowing

And, that may be quite true.

I would for sure be guessing as to what would have happened had I not had the helmet on.

But, I did have it on and I'm not guessing what didn't happen.
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Old 09-03-08, 08:35 PM
  #3913  
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Since I've hit my head with and without a helmet, and hit my head harder on the helmeted incident, without a guess, I personally like a helmet covering my head.
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Old 09-03-08, 09:14 PM
  #3914  
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Originally Posted by John C. Ratliff View Post
As time goes by, there are changes, and the results may not be directly comparable decade to decade. Can you compare the performance of your computer today with the one you had in the 1980s? I donít think so. We did not even have the internet then. Hereís another bit of information on some of those changes:
I hope you are not proposing that the changes to or advancements in the manufacturing of helmets are in any way comparable to that of the advancements in computers/science. You listed three basic changes in helmet design: vents, rear thickness, and adjustable circumference head bands. As far as I can tell, improved airflow through a helmet has nothing to do with how well it protects. The thicker rear sections of bike helmets seem to be a controversial feature (note the lack of this rear thickness on motor cycle helmets). Not all bike helmets have adjustable circumference headbands, which while possibly acting to keep the helmet in place during a fall, are mostly a bonus to the helmet manufacturers as they can get away with fewer sizes (less tooling and manufacturing costs). I haven't looked at every children's bike helmet made but I have never seen one with an adjustable circumference headband, so if that feature did make a big difference in safety during a minor fall, the helmet manufacturers are missing what should be their main target.

Science and computer technology have made great leaps in the past 20 years. Look at the advancements in medicine for fighting cancer and aids. Look at hard drive capacity/size and processor speeds. There is no comparison to the minor changes made to helmet design (unless we consider cosmetics of major importance). It's almost laughable that you would try to apply the "old studies are invalid" attitude.
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Old 09-03-08, 09:25 PM
  #3915  
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Originally Posted by John C. Ratliff View Post
Actually, according to the paper I cited, those are forces on the brain too.

John
actually, the headform that was used in the study did not even have a simple rendering of a brain within or any indication as to what happens to a brain when those forces are applied to it.

Last edited by closetbiker; 09-03-08 at 09:30 PM.
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Old 09-03-08, 10:14 PM
  #3916  
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Originally Posted by closetbiker View Post
actually, the headform that was used in the study did not even have a simple rendering of a brain within or any indication as to what happens to a brain when those forces are applied to it.
No, it did not have a brain inside. It had two accelerometers to measure the forces that would be applied to a brain, one for rotational forces and one for triaxial linear forces. They did say, in a statement which goes to the heart of your criticism, that "However, it would be necessary to test helmets containing instrumented cadaver heads to check Henderson's criticism [15], and check the levels of peak linear acceleration for a 1.5 m drop height, compared with the use of a 5 kg metal headform." So they are thinking in that direction. But that does not mean that they did not measure the forces the brain would be subjected to. By the way, there is no "simple rendering of a brain..." to be had.

John
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Old 09-03-08, 10:36 PM
  #3917  
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Originally Posted by joejack951 View Post
I hope you are not proposing that the changes to or advancements in the manufacturing of helmets are in any way comparable to that of the advancements in computers/science. You listed three basic changes in helmet design: vents, rear thickness, and adjustable circumference head bands. As far as I can tell, improved airflow through a helmet has nothing to do with how well it protects. The thicker rear sections of bike helmets seem to be a controversial feature (note the lack of this rear thickness on motor cycle helmets). Not all bike helmets have adjustable circumference headbands, which while possibly acting to keep the helmet in place during a fall, are mostly a bonus to the helmet manufacturers as they can get away with fewer sizes (less tooling and manufacturing costs). I haven't looked at every children's bike helmet made but I have never seen one with an adjustable circumference headband, so if that feature did make a big difference in safety during a minor fall, the helmet manufacturers are missing what should be their main target.

Science and computer technology have made great leaps in the past 20 years. Look at the advancements in medicine for fighting cancer and aids. Look at hard drive capacity/size and processor speeds. There is no comparison to the minor changes made to helmet design (unless we consider cosmetics of major importance). It's almost laughable that you would try to apply the "old studies are invalid" attitude.
Joejack951,

Are you telling us that there has been little or no advancement in the science of foams since the late 1980s? Here is the helmet, the Skid Lid, that I was using in the 1980s:

https://www.helmets.org/history.htm

The Skid Lid is the second helmet down, the yellow one. My brother was still using his Skid Lid a year and a half ago, and I told him to throw it away and get a good bicycle helmet. It had about 10 mm of open cell foam neoprene "protecting" the rider. Here is an account of a person who was wearing one when he crashed:

https://www.helmets.org/crashmor.htm

Look at the story that was added on March 6, 2006.

I have found my wife's Bell V1-PRO hard-shelled helmet from that time period. Inside, it states that the helmet shell is made of "injection molded thermoplastic." The liner is "expanded polystyrene." The foam is 15 to 18 mm thirk, with the thinnest part on the sides. In the front, over the temple area, the foam is reduced to about 12 mm because this is where the strap must fit underneath the hard shell. The helmet is uniformely symetrical side to side, and end to end. It is thickest on the right and left front, at about 18 mm. And yes, it is tested to the Snell Standard. It has no adjustable headband, but the strap system is adjustable. Open cell foam is used to adjust for head fit. There are 8 vents in this helmet, all symetrical oblongs oriented in the direction of travel on the top of the helmet.

My wife now rides with a Giro Mojav '02 helmet. It is not symetrical front-to back, as the back extends down about 2-3 cm further than the Bell V1-PRO. It has an adjustible headband, the Giro Roc-Loc. Thte sides of the helmet are 18-20 mm thick, the front 28 mm thick, and the top and rear are about 30 mm thick. This helmet uses an expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam, which is also known as a "glassy foam." There is another foam in more expensive helmets called a expanded polypropylene (EPP), which my son uses in his helmets (he's a racer now). This helmet has 13 top vents, 2 side vents, and 4 rear vents. It has a more complex shape than the Bell V1-PRO, and a series of vertical foam supports that are 38 mm thick. The shell is a molded-in plastic shell.

All in all, her newer Giro Mojav '02 helmet is much more sophisticated, more comfortable, more secure, and looks to be a better head protection system than the older Bell V1-PRO. And, of course, my Skid Lid from the 1980s would not hold a candle to either of these helmets.

John

Last edited by John C. Ratliff; 09-03-08 at 11:34 PM. Reason: add text, add helmet name, add date and link for Skid Lid
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Old 09-04-08, 12:48 AM
  #3918  
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Originally Posted by John C. Ratliff View Post
No, it did not have a brain inside... they are thinking in that direction...
nor did they did even consider the fine linkage of connections between the brain and skull of vessels and axons that tear when the direction of the skull and direction of the brain move differently after impacts contributing the tremendous damage of brain injury, but it's good to see they are thinking about it when they are conducting a study to disprove a criticism that directly points this point out
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Old 09-04-08, 02:33 AM
  #3919  
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Originally Posted by John C. Ratliff View Post
Joejack951,

Are you telling us that there has been little or no advancement in the science of foams since the late 1980s? Here is the helmet, the Skid Lid, that I was using in the 1980s
I'm sceptical that advancement in foam technology automatically leads to an increase in helmet performance.

The helmet manufacturers are interested in selling more helmets at a greater profit. They do this by:
- finding ways to decrease the manufacturing cost
- improving the styling so they are more attractive to purchasers

They also have to ensure that whatever they sell meets the current standard.

They have no reason to create helmets that exceed the standards. To do so would simply add to the manufacturing costs and / or make the styling less appealing. And for what? It would be virtually impossible to market a helmet as 'exceeding the standards', or 'safer than normal'. Note how shy helmet manufactures are about talking about the safety of their products even now; there are real commercial restraints on what they can say without fear of litigation.

Thus I would say the improvements in foam technology have been used to drive down costs and improve styling. It apparently seems to be working, as from your quote above it seems the person writing is highly impressed with the styling of the newer helmet compared to the old.

But is it safer? Well, most testing professionals agree that the Snell standard is amongst the most demanding standard there is. Most modern helmets (certainly those for sale in Australia) are not certified to that standard. They are only certified to the lower Australian standard. So it is quite possible that the older helmet offers as good or better protection than modern designs.

Just as a clarification, in case you think I am casting the helmet companies as the villain in this piece, I am not. They are acting exactly as a rational enterprise would and should be expected to act - that is to deliver maximum shareholder value. They actual have to act this way. If there is a villain on the piece, it is the legislators who have allowed the standards for helmet protection to be eroded, rather than made more stringent.
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Old 09-04-08, 06:59 AM
  #3920  
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Closetbiker,

I'm sure that even if they had a mock brain, or a cadaver head, you would criticize them as not being realistic to a living tissue. Force is force, and once it is measured, the potential effects can be extrapolated onto what is know of living tissue.

Trombone,

Are you then saying that a greater depth of foam, with better elestic qualities than expanded polystyrene, covering more area of the head, especially the vital temple area and the back of the head, with a better retention system, makes for a worse helmet just because it is tested to a different standard? This is a direct comparison of helmets from one era to another. Think about what you are saying.

John
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Old 09-04-08, 07:29 AM
  #3921  
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Hi John,

No, that's not what I am saying; I guess you must have read my post in a bit of a rush as usually you are quite precise.

However, to illustrate the point a different way.

Imagine you were offered the choice of two helmets; both in boxes so you could not see them.
Helmet A was designed to meet a stringent test standard for impacts, and subsequently tested by an independent laboratory to ensure it did indeed meet that standard.
Helmet B was designed to meet a much less stringent standard for impacts, and was only ever tested by the manufacturer prior to being certified.
Which helmet would you choose?
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Old 09-04-08, 07:30 AM
  #3922  
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Originally Posted by John C. Ratliff View Post
Closetbiker,

I'm sure that even if they had a mock brain, or a cadaver head, you would criticize them as not being realistic to a living tissue. Force is force, and once it is measured, the potential effects can be extrapolated onto what is know of living tissue.
I'm sure if it was evident that bicycle helmets reduced brain injury I would not criticize them but they have not so I enquire as to why that is so.

Holbourn used two-dimensional jelly moulds to compare the effects of linear and rotational forces. It was possible to see the damage caused to the jelly, and compare that with the autopsies of actual head injury victims. Gennarelli et al followed up on Holbourn's work using live monkeys.

It can be done
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Old 09-04-08, 08:43 AM
  #3923  
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Originally Posted by closetbiker View Post
I'm sure if it was evident that bicycle helmets reduced brain injury I would not criticize them but they have not so I enquire as to why that is so.

Holbourn used two-dimensional jelly moulds to compare the effects of linear and rotational forces. It was possible to see the damage caused to the jelly, and compare that with the autopsies of actual head injury victims. Gennarelli et al followed up on Holbourn's work using live monkeys.

It can be done
Holbourn, as I recall, did that in the 1940s. Ever heard of computer simulation?

John
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Old 09-04-08, 08:44 AM
  #3924  
John C. Ratliff
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Originally Posted by trombone View Post
Hi John,

No, that's not what I am saying; I guess you must have read my post in a bit of a rush as usually you are quite precise.

However, to illustrate the point a different way.

Imagine you were offered the choice of two helmets; both in boxes so you could not see them.
Helmet A was designed to meet a stringent test standard for impacts, and subsequently tested by an independent laboratory to ensure it did indeed meet that standard.
Helmet B was designed to meet a much less stringent standard for impacts, and was only ever tested by the manufacturer prior to being certified.
Which helmet would you choose?
If that were the only criteria I had to go with, then yes, I'd take the one tested to the higher standard.

Now, suppose I decide to be a good consumer, and actually tried these two helmets on. I found that the one tested to the higher standard did not fit, and had a helmet retention system that was antiquated. When I tightened the chin strap, and got it adjusted, it still rotated significantly and would not stay in place. When I pushed up on it, it went high up on my forehead. When I rotated side-to-side, it had a significant wiggle to it.

But when I tried on the helmet with the lower standard, it fit very nicely, had an adjustable headband, and sat correctly on my head. I tried to push this helmet up onto my forehead, and it would not go. Wiggling my head side-to-side, the helmet stayed in place.

My point is that, over the last twenty plus years, the standards are only one of the many factors that give a helmet a competitive advantage. People do look at safety, especially for their head, and that impacts what the helmet companies produce. Comfort is another issue, as well as fit. So there is not a single factor, such as the standard to which it is tested, that drives companies to develop better, and safer, helmets.

John

Last edited by John C. Ratliff; 09-04-08 at 08:56 AM. Reason: add comments
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Old 09-04-08, 08:53 AM
  #3925  
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Originally Posted by John C. Ratliff View Post
Holbourn, as I recall, did that in the 1940s.
yes it was. In 1943, and followed up by Gennarelli in 1974

Funny how this was researched long ago, the results not disputed, yet the results ignored by those who want to sell us helmets with the impression of protection from brain injury, but no claim of brain injury reduction, just a claim of impact absorption that can only be achieved through little to no forward momentum even though bicycles have been known to move forward, sometimes with much forward momentum.

You'd think that helmets were made for children who fall more often, from lower heights and at slower speeds. Oh wait. That's what they were meant for!

https://www.cyclehelmets.org/papers/c2023.pdf

the standard specifies requirements for helmets intended for use by pedal cyclists on ordinary roads, particularly by young riders in the 5 years to 14 years age group, but which may also be suitable for off the road. It is not intended for high-speed or long distance cycling, or for riders taking part in competitive events. Cycle helmets are primarily designed for falls without any other vehicle involved. Among adult cyclists, helmets have a greater potential benefit in incidents that take place at lower speeds and without any third party involvement.

Last edited by closetbiker; 09-04-08 at 09:54 AM.
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