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Helmets cramp my style

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Helmets cramp my style

Old 03-04-07, 07:27 PM
  #1201  
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Originally Posted by Aphidman
My family has run (and still runs) a chain of funeral homes in western Canada for 60 years now, serving 25 communities. We've done thousands of funerals in that time, and in 60 years, the number of funerals done for people killed in cycling accidents totals: 1. A 92 year old cyclist (father of one of my high school teachers) was struck by a car, lingered on for 6 months, then died. Would a helmet have saved him? Who knows -- but I can think of a lot of other activities and types of transportation that resulted in a lot more funerals than that. Walking comes to mind. So does using stairs. So does falling out of bed. (In Canada, there were about 64 deaths per year from cycling accidents in 2000--2003. The figure for falls involving beds was 78 per year. I found the figures in Statistics Canada's reports on external causes of morbidity and mortality for those four years.)

Be sure to wear your helmet when you get out of bed! It kills more people than cycling!
I wonder how many people die from heart attacks caused, primarily by the fact they never get any exercise, and eat only highly processed, highly sugared, highly salted, high fat, chemical laden crap?

There is another issue, there are different kinds of cycling, for example DH, BMX and Urban stunt riders, have a much higher risk of injury (or death) in an unplanned dismount, then a MTB'r, and an MTB'r has a much higher risk of injury (or death) in an unplanned dismount then a roadie or a commuter, even though the roadie or commuter has a much higher distance travelled.
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Old 03-04-07, 07:46 PM
  #1202  
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Originally Posted by Dewaine
This might be interesting to some of you:

https://www.nationmaster.com/encyclopedia/Bicycle-helmet
seems similar to wikipedias entry about bicycle helmets

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicycle_helmet

The way wikipedia works would seem to indicate this is what is believed by the mass public who add/delete info on topics on wikipedia. Sounds a lot like what I've posted

They are specified to withstand simple falls onto a flat surface without other vehicles being involved...an impact speed of around 12mph, but will only reduce the energy of a 30 mph impact to 27.5 mph, and even this will be compromised if the helmet fails. This energy calculation is based on the standards, which take no account of the weight of the rider's body...Helmets are not well designed to deal with high speed impacts or rotational stresses (crashes that are not centred, and involve rotation of the head). They are not designed to provide adequate protection for a collision involving another moving vehicle, (e.g. a car)...The major source of serious injury to cyclists is impact with motor vehicles. Current helmet standards are inadequate to protect against such collisions, the energies involved are routinely in excess of the rated capacity of the best motorsport helmets...Evidence for the efficacy of helmets in preventing serious injury is contradictory and inconclusive... A review of jurisdictions where helmet use increased by 40% or more following compulsion showed no measurable change to head injury rates...The definition of injury is also open to debate, and injury figures are acknowledged to be inaccurate...Recent research on traumatic brain injury adds further confusion, suggesting that the major causes of permanent intellectual disablement and death may well be torsional forces leading to diffuse axonal injury (DAI), a form of injury which helmets cannot mitigate...Much of the research is partisan in one way or another. Thompson, Rivara and Thompson were already committed advocates of helmet legislation before publishing their first study...Helmet promoters routinely make claims which manufacturers cannot, due to truth in advertising restrictions. Promotion campaigns are often supported and/or funded by manufacturers...The major problem with helmet promotion, from the point of view of cycle activists, is that in order to present the idea of a "problem" to match the solution they present, promoters tend to overstate the dangers of cycling. Cycling is, according to the evidence, no more dangerous than being a pedestrian...Some bicycle activists complain that focus on helmets diverts attention from other issues which are much more important for improving bicycle safety, such as training, roadcraft, and bicycle maintenance...Official zeal for cycle helmets is greatest where cycling is a minority activity...Overall, cycling is beneficial to health - the benefits outweigh the risks by up to 20:1[41]. Critics assert that anything which jeopardises that benefit should be carefully weighed to ensure it is likely to achieve some meaningful benefit in turn. Thus far, no helmet law has been shown to do that.
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Old 03-04-07, 11:19 PM
  #1203  
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Originally Posted by Wogsterca
I wonder how many people die from heart attacks caused, primarily by the fact they never get any exercise, and eat only highly processed, highly sugared, highly salted, high fat, chemical laden crap?

There is another issue, there are different kinds of cycling, for example DH, BMX and Urban stunt riders, have a much higher risk of injury (or death) in an unplanned dismount, then a MTB'r, and an MTB'r has a much higher risk of injury (or death) in an unplanned dismount then a roadie or a commuter, even though the roadie or commuter has a much higher distance travelled.
Diseases, particularly heart disease and cancer, are what finish off most of us. You can find Canadian figures for age-standardized mortality rates by selected causes for the years 2000 through 2003 at https://www40.statcan.ca/l01/cst01/health30a.htm

Deaths due to cycling aren't listed on that page but for those years they are 54, 73, 75, and 53 (average is 64). (Category V10, "Pedal cyclist injured in transport accident.") The table mentioned in the previous paragraph compares on the basis of deaths per 100,000 population. The population of Canada is about 32.7 million, so that works out to a rate of about 0.2 per 100,000. The average rate for cancer is 178.2/100,000; for heart disease it is 141.8/100,000.

Incidentally, the death rate for falls on stairs is 0.76/100,000, and for pedestrians in transport accidents is 1.2/100,000. (Realistically, a figure for pedestrians should also include deaths from trips and falls on level surfaces and on stairs. That would give a pedestrian death rate of about 2.3/100,000, but let's just leave it at 1.2 for now.)

The most recent estimate of the number of cyclists in Canada is about 12 million (the "frequently"s and "occasionally"s but not the "rarely"s in a CROP Research poll published in September 2006). So if you adjust the cyclist death figures to account for only people who (tell pollsters they) cycle, you get a rate of 0.53/100,000.

So the death rate in Canada for pedestrians would seem to be 1.2/0.53 = 2.26 times greater than cyclists per 100,000 population. (And the heart disease rate is 267 times greater than the cyclist fatality rate.)

There are other ways that the risk could be compared but I don't know of a source of relevant figures. These would include risk per hour and risk per unit of distance traveled. The British have this kind of information available (see Malcolm Wardlaw's article https://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/321/7276/1582) but one would have to be cautious about applying those rates to other countries.

Good point about the different types of cycling. The figures that I've read suggest that road cycling is where most of the (very few) deaths are, but off-road cycling is where most of the non-fatal injuries are. This makes sense when you consider that most cycling fatalities involve a motor vehicle.
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Old 03-05-07, 01:41 PM
  #1204  
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Originally Posted by Dewaine
Some numbers on bicycle deaths:

https://www.iihs.org/research/fatalit.../bicycles.html

Wear a helmet.
That funny that you should highlite in red to wear a helmet when the Nationmaster link you gave contradicts the iihs links suggestions to wear a helmet that you gave.

The iihs page gives 2 references one of which is the TRT study that the nationmaster pages discredits. The wikipedia page give 42 references and seems a more complete examination of the topic.

The first line in the iihs page is

Two percent of motor vehicle-related deaths are bicyclists. The most serious injuries among a majority of those killed are to the head, highlighting the importance of wearing a bicycle helmet. Helmet use has been estimated to reduce head injury risk by 85 percent.
this link between motor vehicle-related death and cyclists reduction head injury by 85% has been shown to have no validity. The study showing 85% reduction in head injury were to children falling from their bikes at a slow speed with no involvment with cars. Bicycle helmets have not been made to withstand these collisions.

If the problem is motor vehicles, the bicycle helmet is not the solution.

It sounds like the wikipedia point that - helmet promoters routinely make claims which manufacturers cannot, due to truth in advertising restrictions.
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Old 03-07-07, 10:09 AM
  #1205  
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yesterday I decided to ride home without my helmet on. I strapped it to my rack and rode. nothing happened. but I felt vaguely uneasy and decidedly "less safe" even though I know this is not necessarily true. wierd. it seems that I "feel" safer with the thing on. Does this mean I am not as careful with the thing on my head because I think I am safer? am I overthinking this? and what about global warming? damn helmets.
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Old 03-07-07, 10:21 AM
  #1206  
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Originally Posted by rando
yesterday I decided to ride home without my helmet on. I strapped it to my rack
just curious why? An experiment? (I don't think its a bad thing, just a bit strange as you had the helmet with you anyway)

Al
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Old 03-07-07, 10:47 AM
  #1207  
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Just an experiment, I guess. I felt like feeling the wind in my hairs.
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Old 03-07-07, 12:15 PM
  #1208  
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Originally Posted by rando
I felt like feeling the wind in my hairs.
Both of them.
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Old 03-07-07, 01:03 PM
  #1209  
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Originally Posted by chipcom
Both of them.
exactly!
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Old 03-07-07, 01:34 PM
  #1210  
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Originally Posted by rando
yesterday I decided to ride home without my helmet on. I strapped it to my rack and rode. nothing happened. but I felt vaguely uneasy and decidedly "less safe" even though I know this is not necessarily true. wierd. it seems that I "feel" safer with the thing on. Does this mean I am not as careful with the thing on my head because I think I am safer? am I overthinking this? and what about global warming? damn helmets.
It's all just social engineering. Why is it that few elsewhere in the world feel the same?

A culture of fear, worrying about the wrong things, looking for solutions in the wrong places.

Exploitation of fear for profit.
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Old 03-07-07, 01:59 PM
  #1211  
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I rode for years without one and now I feel uneasy without it on. it's like they brainwashed me or something! darn social engineering.
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Old 03-09-07, 07:39 PM
  #1212  
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Brainwashing. For some reason when I first started riding my bike to work, I would feel like I was missing something. Only it wasn't a helmet. It's a seat belt. Yep, a seat belt. Especially if I met a police car. The first thing that came to mind is whether my seat belt was fastened.

And, it wasn't just a thought. I could "feel" that it is was missing...I was so used to being buckled up on the roads that even when riding my bike a "missed" the sensation of the seat belt.

I still on occassion, when I see an LEO, glance down to check my seat belt...and feel foolish.
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Old 03-09-07, 08:11 PM
  #1213  
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In 1974, when she was 17, my sister was involved in a bicycle accident. She was riding around a patch of water on the street when a motorist decided he could pass between her and the curb. He couldn't, and she was hit from behind. She hit the back of her head on something and suffered a basal skull fracture. She spent one week in intensive care and a total of four weeks in the hospital. When she first regained consciousness, her eyes were crossed, she suffered a significant hearing loss in one ear, a significant loss in her sense of taste, and a significant loss in her sense of smell. When she returned to school two months later, she found that she could no longer do math. When she entered Northwestern University the following fall, this former honor student who had been tested as having an IQ of 143 flunked out. She has since recovered her vision and some of her sense of taste. This being 1974, bicycle helmets were unknown. Would one have prevented this injury? Almost certainly.

Eight years ago, while I was riding my motorcycle to work, a motorist turned left directly in front of me while I was crossing an intersection. When I woke up, someone was trying to get me up from the pavement. I declined, and laid back down on the street. In what seemed like a few seconds, the EMTs were there removing my helmet and putting me on a backboard. The total extent of my injuries were a minor concussion, a cracked bone in my left arm, and a cracked bone in my right leg. When I recovered the helmet I had been wearing, it had a big swatch of green paint from the side of the truck that had turned in front of me. If I hadn't been wearing a helmet, I'd certaintly have had a major injury to my jaw, and almost certainly had a sever concussion and possibly irreversable brain damage.

If you'd like some information on helmets that is expert but is not part of the industry, try the Snell Memorial Foundation: https://www.smf.org/
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Old 03-11-07, 01:46 PM
  #1214  
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Always wear your helmet!

I just came home from the ER after being hit from a truck!
I was side swiped, I think he hit me with his mirror. Kinda hard to imagine that the driver didn"t see me with my bright yellow jersey.
I have no broken bones, my elbow is huge from swelling and my knee has some serious abrasions on it but aside from all the road rash I am alive.
My helmet is smashed on it's left side and the plastic is all cracked. I just placed an order for my new helmet.
I will ride again, always with a helmet. I feel it honestly saved my life!
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Old 03-11-07, 04:12 PM
  #1215  
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I still don't understand why full face bicycle helmets are not the standard. Everyone swears by them, but current helmets don't offer the complete protection that they actually could or should.

I suffered a brain injury in a car wreck. I still don't wear a helmet when driving.
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Old 03-12-07, 04:51 PM
  #1216  
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I know people who have had brain injury from not only car wrecks, but falling off ladders, falling down stairs and from strokes.

It's an emotional issue if you're personally involved and it's a good thing to look at things from an objective point of view. This isn't always done.

I always have looked at Snells warnings about a bicycle helmet being the best protection avalible with disdain because it's so obvious that it isn't. It's a compromise in protection. A full face motorcycle helmet is much better isn't it?

It all depends on a point of view as to what's best.

I'm personally unaware that areas with high rates of helmet wearing have any better records of injury compared with areas with lower rates of helmet wearing. Any drop in injury has always been attributed to a drop in the amount of people cycling. There has been more reports of increases in injuries with increases of helmet wearing attributed to risk compensation.

At the very least, it's very inconclusive on results of helmet wearing. There are strong feelings about it, but as far as real results go, it's very inconclusive. Nowhere near what promoters claimed as 85% reduction of injuries.

Last edited by closetbiker; 03-12-07 at 06:55 PM.
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Old 03-13-07, 07:58 AM
  #1217  
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Originally Posted by closetbiker
I always have looked at Snells warnings about a bicycle helmet being the best protection avalible with disdain because it's so obvious that it isn't. It's a compromise in protection. A full face motorcycle helmet is much better isn't it?
actually...

from the days when i was knee-jerk into motorcycles, i learned a lot about helmets; there were several serious studies done, one that leaps to mind that was disturbing.

in a full-face mc helmet, a facial impact jams the helmet into the chin, locking the jaw in place and transferring the torque of impact to the skull itself, resulting many times in "slicing" the spinal cord at the point it exits the skull. instant death! i think i'd personally rather have the jaw rebuilt and new teeth screwed in than to be dead.
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Old 03-13-07, 09:34 AM
  #1218  
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OK, maybe a regular motorcycle helmet is better?

on an earlier link I gave

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

the head of the leading UK testing lab for helmets claims motor cycle helmets give far superior protection for cyclists at the cost of excessive bulk and inadequate ventilation, so while bicycle helmets are lighter and cooler, they are also less protective.

Last edited by closetbiker; 03-13-07 at 09:54 AM.
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Old 03-13-07, 03:11 PM
  #1219  
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Originally Posted by closetbiker
OK, maybe a regular motorcycle helmet is better?

on an earlier link I gave

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

the head of the leading UK testing lab for helmets claims motor cycle helmets give far superior protection for cyclists at the cost of excessive bulk and inadequate ventilation, so while bicycle helmets are lighter and cooler, they are also less protective.
yep, if protection from head trauma is job 1, get a motorcycle helmet; me, i'll stick w/ the tried & true. (broke the cherry on my new bell slant today on a 3-hour jaunt through unseasonably warm weather)
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Old 03-14-07, 10:05 AM
  #1220  
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Originally Posted by bigpedaler
... me, i'll stick w/ the tried & true.
by tried & true, you're not suggesting a regular 'ol bicycle helmet are you?

They've been tried and are true to prevent superficial injuries as long as the force isn't greater than 300gs' (a simple fall, little or no forward momentum) but getting hit on the helmet going over 20 kmh, it's not so true.

The BHSI has a page on the limitations of helmets

Bicycle helmets are designed as a compromise between impact management, cooling, weight, cost and many other factors...Under US standards bike helmets are tested in 2 meter drops that achieve about 14 miles per hour...Why so low, when bicyclists frequently exceed 14 mph in forward speed?...The typical bike crash involves a drop to the pavement...Although forward speed can contribute some additional energy...It is gravity that determines how fast your helmet closes with the pavement. Some of the crash energy is often "scrubbed off" by hitting first with other body parts...parts. The typical bicycle crash impact occurs at a force level equating to about...a falling speed of 10 MPH. The rider's forward speed before the crash may be considerably higher than that, but the speed of the head closing with the ground, plus a component of the forward speed, less any energy "scrubbed off" in other ways, normally average out at about 10 MPH.
So, it seems, as long as you have little forward movement (as in, not riding at a typical bicycling speed), and you manage to contact the ground with other body parts first, therefore slowing yourself down before your head manages to make contact with the ground (or other object), a helmet may be of some value. (but even that is under scrutiny if you read the cyclehelmets paper link) (you should also re-read post #1029 back on page 42 where it descibes case of a helmeted cyclist running into the side of a car at between 9-12 mph and having brain damage due to the "standards" of helmet design leaving the most vunerable areas of the skull unprotected)

If, however, you're riding along at a typical bicycling speed, (say, 30 kmh), some bozo in an SUV decides to make a quick left in front of you and you run into the bozo's rear quarter panel with your front wheel first, and your helmet second, I'd wonder how much good it'd do.

It sure isn't a 10mph fall with body parts "scubbing off" energy. It's twice the force directly into a hard object.

The experience (tried & true) in areas where there are large groups of cyclists wearing helmets show injury rates equal (or greater) to areas with little helmet wearing.

Maybe these types of collisions are why.

Last edited by closetbiker; 03-14-07 at 04:04 PM.
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Old 03-15-07, 01:38 PM
  #1221  
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here's one for you to chew on...

i wish i could remember WHICH issue of Bicycling magazine this article appeared in, but the author told the story of a morning road training ride, coming around a wide curve at 35mph -- whereupon he collided with a deer! his riding partners filled in the blanks for him at the hospital, as he was knocked unconscious -- by landing on, and skidding on, the top of his helmet. the helmet split in two and shredded under the impact, and was used in a subsequent safety display which the rider attended. that's right -- no permanent injury.

i myself have had some crashes that involved more speed than described, always with a helmet, and have yet to show so much as a lump on this knobby ol' head.
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Old 03-15-07, 04:12 PM
  #1222  
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here's one for you o chew on too.

Remember Marco Pantani descending and crashing head first @ 70(?) kph into a car that somehow made it onto the course? No helmet and he survived too? How about Manuel Sonora? Helmet worn, died anyway.

Point is, everybody has a story, and there's no way to give each one a particular validity because too much happens in each circumstance and there is just not enough information about the instance to make a sound judgement.

You can look at how a helmet is made, what the parameters of brain injury are and what happens when a collsion occurs.

You can look at large groups over time wearing and not wearing and see if there are any differences.

The topic is very inconclusive. Do some reading, start with wikipedia, keep an open mind, there are rarely magic bullets.
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Old 03-15-07, 11:57 PM
  #1223  
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not looking for magic bullets -- and i've been an avid reader since b&w TV was the norm. but i wil not succumb to excessive fear and resort to a m/c helmet, i will wear the vented styrofoam lid that is designed to mitigate the impact of skull on pavement.
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Old 03-16-07, 06:25 AM
  #1224  
closetbiker
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that's cool, and mitgate is the operative word.

When our MHL came into effect and a large compliance with it followed, I watched the rates of injury with baited breath because i expected it it to drop like a stone, but it never happened. Injury rates did drop a little, but then I found there were less riders out there and now the death rates of cyclists with helmets on equal the rates with those who still choose to not wear helmets.

After I read a couple of quotes by some high profile people about helmets

( . . helmets will mitigate the effects of falling off your bicycle and striking your head . . . If a cyclist is accelerated by a car, then the helmet will not work and will not prevent a severe or even fatal injury.

-- Dr. Michael Schwartz, neurosurgeon and member of Canadian Standards Association Committee establishing helmet standards

. . . it is impossible to build a helmet that will offer significant impact protection.

-- Dr. George Shively, The Snell Memorial Foundation

In situations of a fall they [helmets] are next to useless because they do not protect against diffused brain damage. The damage to the brain would still have occurred because it is the rattling inside the skull that caused the damage.

-- Chief Pathologist Clive Cooke,
Coroner's Court Testimony, Perth, Australia )

I started to do some more reasearch and found out a few things.

It's not to say helmets are a bad thing or that they don't do some good, it's just that there are very many more things that are much more effective that don't get near the attention they should.

The start of this thread showed the disdain some feel towards towards others that don't wear helmets, and is representative of the perceived benefit that is out of balance with it's real benefits.

Tolerance should be used when addressing those who choose not to wear one. It's not all that bad to not wear a helmet.

Last edited by closetbiker; 03-16-07 at 10:52 AM.
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Old 03-16-07, 09:16 PM
  #1225  
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So much debate over the exact effectiveness of the representative helmet. What about the differences between helmets??

Let's say you want to 'mitigate' your chances of head trauma to whatever extent is possible. Which bike helmet designs perform best? Which are best designed to protect those critical parts of the skull, provided don't just wear a motorcycle helmet.

The situation is complex. I'd imagine how you wear your helmet is also a factor. And probably the most important determinant is how you ride your bike. Still, all else equal I find it rational to assume that a bike helmet is better than nothing at all, even if it only works for those 7 mph impacts. I have a lot more of those than I have 30 mph collisions with SUVs.

Any responses to my question about which helmets are safest would be much appreciated. Thanks.
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