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to helmet or not to helmet

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to helmet or not to helmet

Old 07-23-02, 01:35 PM
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JDP
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to helmet or not to helmet

I've been commuting without a helmet. I looked at a few because riding everyday increases my probability of needing it. Now I'm wondering if I can get away without one. I took a few spills on asphalt when I was in college and I always was able to get my hands down first. A few scars on the palms but I never even tapped my head.

Anybody else out there like to live dangerously?
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Old 07-23-02, 01:44 PM
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Living dangerously? ...or stupidly. It only takes one good hit to put you in lala land. Do you have lots of insurance to take care of your family and an attendant for you?

Wearing a helmet is as much for your protection as theirs. I think you should reconsider your selfish attitude.
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Old 07-23-02, 01:48 PM
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Be careful to judge lest you be judged. The average person would have the same attitude towards you for riding your bike in traffic.
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Old 07-23-02, 01:59 PM
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My bike is trained to not move without its rider wearing a helmet. I actually started zooming in on a bike-commute one day not so long ago and I felt something very odd. My hair (that which remains ) seemed to move a little more freely. About 0.5 miles into the ride I realized I had no helmet, turned around, and got the baby !!!
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Old 07-23-02, 02:04 PM
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seriously though, wear a helmet.
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Old 07-23-02, 02:06 PM
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You are right. You're entitled to gamble with your life exactly as you see fit. But if you have a family you're gambling with their lives too. Is that fair?

If you're single, it makes no difference what you do at all. Do whatever makes you happiest.
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Old 07-23-02, 02:15 PM
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Someone once made fun of me for automatically putting on a seat belt when I was just moving the car in the driveway to wash it.

The helmet is just as automatic. I don't want my wife to have to answer the question "Was he wearing a helmet?" it a "No" should anything untoward happen.

Just because it is possible to be killed even with a seatbelt or a helmet on, doesn't, to me anyway, justify the risk.

Carl
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Old 07-23-02, 02:15 PM
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I only ride without a helmet when Im feeling lucky.
Well
Are you
Punk....
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Old 07-23-02, 02:35 PM
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I've been hit 3 times on my bike, none of which could have been avoided, and none where my fault. In each of these instances, I ended up on the ground tumbling and in each, my helmet sustained significant damage. To the point that I sent it back for a "crash replacement". If I hadn't been wearing a helmet, I would tpue lik dis, cuz Id be 2 stoopid to funksion.

New helmets are cooler due to vents and even stylish, not worth the risk of not wearing one in my book!

L8R
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Old 07-23-02, 02:46 PM
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Originally posted by a2psyklnut
I've been hit 3 times on my bike, none of which could have been avoided, and none where my fault. In each of these instances, I ended up on the ground tumbling and in each, my helmet sustained significant damage. To the point that I sent it back for a "crash replacement". If I hadn't been wearing a helmet, I would tpue lik dis, cuz Id be 2 stoopid to funksion.

L8R
The only response worth a flip. Thanks for the input.

To the others,

There is a line we walk in everything we do between risk and convenience. When you drive/ride in a car do you insist on a full roll cage, racing helmet, frontal and side impact airbags, 5 point harness? When there is a T- storm in the forecast do you bunker down in your local tornado shelter until it's over? I don't really care what line you walk or how you feel about people who don't act just like you. I wanted to see if anybody else on the forum commutes without a helmet. If you have some real world knowledge of where a helmet has helped you or someone you know, that's cool too. If you have no first hand knowledge you are just being ignorant. I'm not insulting you, it's just the definition of ignorance.
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Old 07-23-02, 02:49 PM
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Originally posted by ljbike
You are right. You're entitled to gamble with your life exactly as you see fit. But if you have a family you're gambling with their lives too. Is that fair?

When I went to look at helmets my wife's response was "why?"
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Old 07-23-02, 03:19 PM
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Originally posted by JDP


When I went to look at helmets my wife's response was "why?"
Hmmm...is she the beneficiary on your life insurance policy?

And thank you for giving serious consideration to becoming an organ donor.

I've cracked a helmet and rung my chimes. It is amazing how fast you can go down.
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Old 07-23-02, 03:39 PM
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.This coming from the guy who worries about having fenders.....

Last edited by SD Fixed; 07-23-02 at 04:36 PM.
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Old 07-23-02, 03:54 PM
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It's simple.

Buy a crash helmet

You may wear the Crash helmet the first time, then leave it at home the next, you'll then start questioning yourself wether the ride your going on would be safer with a helmet or not and you'll pick the helmet up, then before you know it you'll feel naked without a crash helmet and you'll wonder how you ever cycled without it.

Try it.
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Old 07-23-02, 04:13 PM
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William, I think you should reread the forum guidelines.

JDP, obviously you had no idea of the can of worms you were opening when you posted your question. The best reason to wear a helmet is to avoid the hostile glare of these self-righteous individuals.

What amazes me is the change in perception that has evolved over helmet usage. When I was a kid, no one wore helmets. Now kids under 13 in NJ are required to wear one. Sometimes I ride without a helmet and other cyclists will give me looks because of it. Why would I ride without a helmet? Because I want to. It's not illegal and It's nobody else's business but mine.

For those members that feel the need to insult cyclists who ride without helmets, I ask you? If you're in a restaurant and see a obese man scarfing down a steak, do you go over and berate him because he is endangering his life and the welfare of his family? Do you ream out motorcyclists because their activity is so stastically dangerous and therefore they are just being ignorant idiots and a*******s? I doubt It.

It's called personal freedom. How much is it worth to you?


Ken kifer has the most intelligent article on helmet usage that I have read. http://www.kenkifer.com/bikepages/advocacy/mhls.htm

By the way, I'm not advocating riding without a helmet. I'm just saying it's your own choice to make.
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Old 07-23-02, 04:39 PM
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Hey, it's a free country. Or close. But to me it really is inconceivable how a bike-commuter would elect, choose, opt to not wear such a safety device.

But I won't flame someone who doesn't agree with me.

In my experience, however, the "no-helmeters" are also the same types that travel the opposite direction, have no lights in the dark, ride on sidewalks, and generally act like absolute rookies.
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Old 07-23-02, 04:46 PM
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Originally posted by thbirks

JDP, obviously you had no idea of the can of worms you were opening when you posted your question. The best reason to wear a helmet is to avoid the hostile glare of these self-righteous individuals.
You are right about that. I didn't intend to start a flame war for my own amusement although some of the responses from the pro- helmet militia have been pretty funny. I just wanted to see how common it was among forum members. I know that most cyclists that I see don't wear helmets. Of course here in Texas people don't even wear helmets on their motorcycles (except for sport bikes).

Excellent article, BTW. You can find statistics in there proving that it is more important to wear a helmet while riding in a car than when riding a bicycle. I doubt that anyone on here wears a helmet everytime they get in a car.

Propaganda can achieve amazing things especially when it's "for the children."
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Old 07-23-02, 04:47 PM
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Originally posted by thbirks
[B]William, I think you should reread the forum guidelines.
Thanks. I did, and removed the offensive portion.

I will disagree with you. I believe he had full knowledge of the results he would attain. In fact, with the exception of me, he was responded to in full civility, I'd say.

The best reason to wear a helmet is to avoid the hostile glare of these self-righteous individuals.
No, the best reason for him to wear a helmet is to protect himself. If he wants to be a political statement, all the power to him.
But as you know,
Courage or stupidity will be defined by history.

For those members that feel the need to insult cyclists who ride without helmets, I ask you? If you're in a restaurant and see a obese man scarfing down a steak, do you go over and berate him because he is endangering his life and the welfare of his family? Do you ream out motorcyclists because their activity is so stastically dangerous and therefore they are just being ignorant idiots and a*******s? I doubt It.
I don't think the obese guy post in a forum saying "I love cholestral and I think that it's my choice to risk cardiac arrest". If this was a fact, point a link to us all.

It's called personal freedom. How much is it worth to you?
Yes. No one was suggesting taking away his personal freedom. I don't see that here. Not by anymeans. So far 10 years of my life have been devoted to freedom.

By the way, I'm not advocating riding without a helmet. I'm just saying it's your own choice to make.
So, let's ask the question: do you wear a helmet when you commute?

And also, it's somewhat a mute point. It's my choice not to be hit when I'm in the bike lane. Yet, if I get hit, what happens? A violation of my choice. Stuff happens.
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Old 07-23-02, 04:49 PM
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Originally posted by Andy Dreisch
In my experience, however, the "no-helmeters" are also the same types that travel the opposite direction, have no lights in the dark, ride on sidewalks, and generally act like absolute rookies.
That may be an accurate generalization but I follow all the rules of the road as if I were a car except in places where I must act as a pedestrian.
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Old 07-23-02, 04:52 PM
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Originally posted by JDP
the pro- helmet militia
You can find statistics
I doubt that anyone
Propaganda can achieve amazing things especially when it's "for the children."
You speak in circles very well.
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Old 07-23-02, 05:18 PM
  #21  
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Ah, the good old helmet wars revisited. JDP, assuming your question was sincere and not a troll (yes, the subject is that touchy), I suggest that you search Google Groups for threads in rec.bicycles.misc regarding helmet usage (or nonusage). You will find no shortage of reading material with many good arguments (and personal attacks too, of course) from both sides. Armed with the knowledge of what helmets are designed for and what their limitations are, you as an adult in a (hopefully) free country can make the decision for yourself.

To the others who have seen fit to flame JDP, (even without bothering to formulate a written reply), I would suggest you read the forum guidelines. Most of the responses were vastly more idiotic than the initial question and follow-up could ever be accused of.

Indeed, there have already been some misconceptions and fallacies regarding helmets already come up in this thread. I'm not going to bother correcting them here as it is a topic more controversial than abortion, religion, politics, gun control and bottom bracket taper-greasing combined.

Here is an interesting article which appeared in the NY times last year, showing how head injuries are increasing, despite increased helmet usage.

http://www.topica.com/lists/massbike...t=d&start=4140

The Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute (pro-helmet)
http://www.bhsi.org/stats.htm/

Another site (anti-helmet):
http://www.magma.ca/~ocbc/hfaq.html

Now, to answer your initial question, yes I wear a foam hat when I ride. No, I don't think you are playing russian roulette simply by not wearing a helmet - how you ride your bicycle is a far, far more important criteria for your risk of injury or death. Yes, I think you should research the subject like so very few people do and make up your own mind. I submit that someone who makes decisions without doing any research on the subject is far more deserving of being called an 'Idiot'.

Now, as a helmet wearer, the differences between a helmet nazi and myself are:

1. I have a realistic idea of what the limitations are (and there are many), what the statistics show (taking the slant from both sides) and I am under no illusions about the amount of protection which exists (if any).

2. I am in favour of personal choice in general. I am not a busybody and I try to avoid telling people what to do. Naturally, I would prefer that any legislation on the topic be based on facts with supporting evidence, rather than an emotional and irrational knee-jerk reaction.

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Old 07-23-02, 09:19 PM
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Originally posted by bikerider
Now, to answer your initial question, yes I wear a foam hat when I ride. No, I don't think you are playing russian roulette simply by not wearing a helmet - how you ride your bicycle is a far, far more important criteria for your risk of injury or death. Yes, I think you should research the subject like so very few people do and make up your own mind. I submit that someone who makes decisions without doing any research on the subject is far more deserving of being called an 'Idiot'.
This is my first and last post in this thread. I largely agree with the above. Wearing a helmet will protect you against certain kinds of injuries, but not all of them. How you ride is far more important. I believe I ride carefully enough to avoid being killed (I've done it so far OK), but we all make mistakes, hence I choose to wear a helmet.

Incidentally, Can I ask why this thread needed all the cheap insults that people were going on with in the early part? It all seems a little unnecessary to me.
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Old 07-23-02, 09:57 PM
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Originally posted by JDP

If you have some real world knowledge of where a helmet has helped you or someone you know, that's cool too.
I've got a good friend, a former cat 4 racer, He's as fast a rider as I know, comfortable on his bike, and skilled at handliing it. He doesn't like helmets and never felt he needed one. About 18 months ago, he was put in the situation of choosing between being hit by a car and hitting a sign post. He chose the post. It took forty stitches to close his head back up. He still suffers short term memory loss. He wears a helmet now, reluctantly. It isn't a matter of personal freedom for him. It's a matter of avoiding another injury. Head trauma is not good.

I'm not saying that he would have escaped uninjured if he'd been wearing a helmet. I am sure that he would have had less serious injuries, though.

The time I cracked a helmet, I had a ringing in my ears and a serious headache for a day. It was, I'm sure, a mild concussion. It would have been worse without the helmet. I won't ride without one.

If you want to argue personal freedom, I'll grant you that. I just hope we don't have the same insurance company. I don't want your injury to cost me money. And, yes, there are all sorts of risks each of us takes every day. Riding a bicycle is inherently risky. That doesn't stop me from doing it. Wearing a helmet is a simple way to minimize some of the risk.
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Old 07-23-02, 11:08 PM
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I'm with a2psyklnut. Hit head-on in 1994 (by a bicyclist!) and sustained a concussion DESPITE the helmet. I was doing nothing wrong, going all of ~8 miles per hour up a hill, and there was nothing I could have done to prevent it.

The concussion took a while to set in, so the guy who hit me had already left when I went to pieces (so my friend Chad tells me, I have no memory of it). Chad went to find a phone and call my parents, and some other cyclists found me lying in the grass with my crumpled-up bike, and covered me up with their jerseys in the meantime. The first thing I remember clearly is being put into a neck brace by an EMT an hour later, and rolled onto a body board. What I'm driving at here is that some things happen so fast you don't have any chance to react.

Hit again last year by a car turning left as it came towards me. Nasty grind marks on my face (but no teeth lost, thank goodness), a crunch to the left temple of the helmet since I was thrown face-first onto the pavement... again, I was doing nothing wrong and there was nothing I could have done.

I can't see any reason to not wear a helmet. They're not expensive (US$30 for a light, well-ventilated Bell). Besides, I need something to attach my 3rd Eye mirror to.
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Old 07-24-02, 01:58 AM
  #25  
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For my 2 cents I wear a helmet. If you want to ride without one so be it. I know that if I can do something that might keep me from becoming a drooling vegetable or dead I'm going to do it. 'nuff said
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