Helmet on road?

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  • Helmet on road?
  • Premier Icon GrahamS
    Subscriber

    Presumably all those saying it is a “no brainer” and that not wearing one is “darwinism” are also wearing head-to-toe high-viz and proper neck/spine armour?

    If not then why not? Why put looking cool before your safety? It’s a no brainer. 😉

    (I mostly wear a helmet these days, having recently bought a new Specialized S3 that I really like and having a daughter to set an example to. But likewise I spent a year not bothering with one on my 11 mile commute and I didn’t die).

    Premier Icon mrblobby
    Subscriber

    Well there is some, albeit far from conclusive, evidence that not wearing a helmet affects the way other road users behave and makes them more likely to give more space. Graeme Obree summed it up quite nicely when he said to look wobbly on your bike to get other user to give you more room.

    Found that this is true when you have a toddler in a child seat on the back of the bike! Motorists seem to give me a lot more room. Not sure a helmet makes much difference though.

    Premier Icon GrahamS
    Subscriber

    Found that this is true when you have a toddler in a child seat on the back of the bike! Motorists seem to give me a lot more room.

    Try a puppy:


    http://bikeyface.com/2011/09/28/perfec-safety-gear/

    Premier Icon mrblobby
    Subscriber

    Try a puppy:

    How do you expect motorists to see that? Maybe if you wore the puppy on your head you’d get better protection and greater visibility for motorists.

    Premier Icon kilo
    Subscriber

    I wear one off road and very, very rarely on road (if it’s required for the event mainly)and that includes club runs, commuting and last year the RvVlaandren sportive, tbh as it’s nobody else’s business if I choose to wear one or not I don’t understand why people get so het up about it, live and let live etc. I’m 46 does that make me a young or old roadie?

    I’m 46 does that make me a young or old roadie?

    borderline, do you wear a racing cap?

    Premier Icon Kryton57
    Subscriber

    When I had a major off road accident in 2010, my head hit a gravel trail and my helmet was split in half by the impact.

    I consider it sheer luncacy then not to wear one on the road.

    IanW
    Member

    Wear one when riding vigorously(road or mtb), not when pootling, so far so good.

    I do have a friend though that makes her whole family dress up with hi viz and crappy helmets badly fitted for trip down the local cycle path.

    The kids hate cycling and cant wait to get saxo’s.

    edlong
    Member

    There’s another argument that seems to be missing so far: what about the old “helmets make cycling look like a dangerous sport that you need special equipment for rather than a normal form of transport and the stats in Australia showed that when helmets were made compulsory levels of cycling decreased, and the more people who cycle the safer all cyclists are (since other road users expect to encounter them, critical mass and all that) so everyone should not wear helmets to encourage more people to cycle making all cyclists safer” one?

    tonyd
    Member

    aren’t there manufacturers now claiming that they have designed the vents so well that you get more airflow to the scalp than on a naked head?

    Not heard this but it wouldn’t surprise me. I recently got a Specialized Prevail in that trade in offer they were running. It’s got what can only be described as an air scoop on the front, reminds me of those pictures of whale sharks feeding. My head feels much cooler than in my old Giro and I have some pretty impressive helmet hair going on these days.

    Check it out (that’s not me!)

    tonyd
    Member

    I don’t understand why people get so het up about it, live and let live

    This for me, same with RLJ’ing. We all make our choices.

    edlong – good point but some punctuation would have been nice, I’m out of breath now reading that!

    Premier Icon mrblobby
    Subscriber

    and the more people who cycle the safer all cyclists are (since other road users expect to encounter them, critical mass and all that) so everyone should not wear helmets to encourage more people to cycle making all cyclists safer” one?

    Interesting point when applied to big towns and cities. So in times when cycling isn’t safe, should we take the long term view and not wear helmets, take the hit, lose a few more cyclists a year.

    Would imagine that would probably have a greater impact in the minds of the public than the shift in perception caused by seeing cyclists not wearing helmets.

    Premier Icon kilo
    Subscriber

    muppetWrangler – Member

    I’m 46 does that make me a young or old roadie?

    borderline, do you wear a racing cap?

    Yes, racing cap and I have a carradice bag on the commuter – suspect I know the answer to the question now 😀

    Premier Icon dazh
    Subscriber

    Presumably all those saying it is a “no brainer” and that not wearing one is “darwinism” are also wearing head-to-toe high-viz and proper neck/spine armour?

    Exactly. There comes a point where the risk is low enough to justify not using available safety equipment. IMO the risk of *me* crashing at high speed on the road is low enough to justify not wearing a helmet, as long as I use other mitigating strategies (eg riding completely within myself and not pushing it on descents). Other people will use different criteria and thresholds of risk, which is obviously up to them. It’s a situation where there is no right or wrong.

    Premier Icon scotroutes
    Subscriber

    wrote:

    I don’t understand why people get so het up about it, live and let live

    This for me, same with RLJ’ing. We all make our choices.
    Except that only one of these actions is illegal.

    Premier Icon GrahamS
    Subscriber

    So in times when cycling isn’t safe, should we take the long term view and not wear helmets, take the hit, lose a few more cyclists a year.

    Except cycling IS safe.

    Really. It is.

    The fatality levels per mile are roughly the same as walking and I don’t see many pedestrians wearing helmets.

    lemonysam
    Member

    I’ve no idea if mine’s ever saved my life but I’m pretty sure it’s saved me from some fairly unpleasant cuts and grazing when landing head first on a gravelly, cobbled street before. I find mine very comfortable in general although the pads have just disintegrated on the forehead which is annoying.

    ska-49
    Member

    Helmet helps cover my ugly mug. Especially when its got a peak! Reason enough.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    Interesting that the ‘old roadies’, who will have ridden rather more miles than most seem to have survived.

    Lol.. hilariously poor thinking. The ones that die don’t get old, do they? 90% of people who started cycling without a helmet in 1950 could have been killed, you’d still see old people cycling without them…

    I slid on some ice, fell on to a grass verge and hit my head on the ground with not a great deal of force. My helmet still split along the side, so I’m just not convinced they do very much at all in a more serious impact.

    They’re designed to break to absorb the crash energy. The fact it split means it DID do its job perfectly.

    To the OP – I’d think riding on the road would be more likely to need a helmet. Lots of traffic waiting to knock you off or chuck you over its bonnet, and lots of hard tarmac and bodywork all over the place, much of which is ramming around at 50mph or more.

    The fatality levels per mile are roughly the same as walking and I don’t see many pedestrians wearing helmets

    Good grief, we’re not doing very well today are we? If the stats are the same PER MILE then cyclists are far more at risk of fatality since we ride a lot more miles than people walk, generally.

    gonefishin
    Member

    Lol.. hilariously poor thinking. The ones that die don’t get old, do they? 90% of people who started cycling without a helmet in 1950 could have been killed, you’d still see old people cycling without them…

    It’s no worse than those who use an anecdote of “a helmet saved my life one time” as a reason for wearing one and a lot better than

    Lots of traffic waiting to knock you off or chuck you over its bonnet, and lots of hard tarmac and bodywork all over the place, much of which is ramming around at 50mph or more.

    because if you think a cycling helmet is going to protect you from the consequences of being hit by a vehicle doing 50 mph you are sadly mistaken.

    Junkyard
    Member

    and the more people who cycle the safer all cyclists are (since other road users expect to encounter them, critical mass and all that)

    Even if true it has no impact on the efficacy of the helmet I wear in a crash

    The fatality levels per mile are roughly the same as walking and I don’t see many pedestrians wearing helmets.

    I would be very disappointed if my cycling mph was not significantly higher than my walking speed

    Its not the best stat to use but yes cycling is generally safe

    Premier Icon ransos
    Subscriber

    They’re designed to break to absorb the crash energy. The fact it split means it DID do its job perfectly.

    Yes, I agree. Helmets are designed to offer limited protection in low speed accidents, which is what it did in my case.

    That’s not really an overwhelming case for wearing one, though is it?

    crapknees
    Member

    That’s not really an overwhelming case for wearing one, though is it?

    So whats your overwhelmeing case for not wearing one?

    but not as light and well ventilated as no helmet.

    Not as light, sure, but aren’t there manufacturers now claiming that they have designed the vents so well that you get more airflow to the scalp than on a naked head? I may have dreamed that?

    yea i remember that too, they also said that the newer faired/semi-TT helmets were almost as good as the normal helmets of a few years ago too.

    Junkyard
    Member

    So whats your overwhelmeing case for not wearing one?

    So bangs to the head knock some sense into him 😉

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    They’re designed to offer all the protection they can. They DO offer limited protection. Your wording seems to imply that they are designed to offer less protection than they could.

    Anyway – yes, to me it is a good case for wearing one. It’s not about the speed of the crash, it’s about the speed your head hits things with. And any protection is better than none imo.

    Would you wear knee or elbow pads on say, an Alpine holiday? Would it save your life if you fell off a cliff or hit a tree at speed? No. But it can help save that valuable skin on your extremities. My brain is more valuable than my elbow and shin skin, to me at least.

    spacemonkey
    Member

    I always wear a helmet unless testing the bike up and down the local BW. Really can’t see the sense in not wearing one on trails or on t’ road.

    Premier Icon dazh
    Subscriber

    because if you think a cycling helmet is going to protect you from the consequences of being hit by a vehicle doing 50 mph you are sadly mistaken.

    This is another of the things I’ve considered. As much as people think it’s common sense, is an inch thick bit of polystyrene really going to make much difference in the grand scheme of things? Seems to me if you’re worrying this much about getting hit by a vehicle at speed then you should give up and do something else. Of course if a helmet is there as a psychological safety-net then fair enough, but you shouldn’t be under any illusion about its actual usefulness in this situation.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    is an inch thick bit of polystyrene really going to make much difference in the grand scheme of things?

    Yes.

    Junkyard
    Member

    Aye and if you worry about falling when climbing you should either give up or free climb

    Liking your logic

    In fact if you wear any form of PPE you should just stop

    Helmets – not for real men as we dont need a useless psychological safety-net as we laugh in the face of danger

    Make your case but save this style of language please – it will end up as an argument even if we try really hard not to

    Premier Icon ransos
    Subscriber

    So whats your overwhelmeing case for not wearing one?

    I’ve already said that I do wear one.

    Would you wear knee or elbow pads on say, an Alpine holiday? Would it save your life if you fell off a cliff or hit a tree at speed? No. But it can help save that valuable skin on your extremities. My brain is more valuable than my elbow and shin skin, to me at least.

    Hmm, not convinced that a thin layer of polystyrene is going to offer much brain protection. I can see it saving you a trip to A&E for stitches though.

    Premier Icon dazh
    Subscriber

    Yes.

    In the example of being hit by a vehicle at high speed which was what I was talking about? I don’t know BTW, just asking the question, but it seems unlikely to me.

    Premier Icon Teetosugars
    Subscriber

    *Sighs*

    Where’s TJ when you don’tneed him… 😉

    Premier Icon ononeorange
    Subscriber

    We can debate forever whether or not helmets are a genuine improvement or not (I personally would always wear one but that is my choice). However that’s not what the question was – why is there a difference between road and mtb riders? Generally the latter wear helmets, why the former less so (yes, aware that a fair few do, but I see a good number who don’t)? What’s the difference? A road surface can still do a lot of damage in an accident, so why the different approach?

    Premier Icon GrahamS
    Subscriber

    Good grief, we’re not doing very well today are we? If the stats are the same PER MILE then cyclists are far more at risk of fatality since we ride a lot more miles than people walk, generally.

    That is how transport risk is generally measured though, no?

    Hence why you get the “flying is the safest form of transport” stuff when in reality plane crashes are obviously more likely to be fatal than car crashes.

    It does beg the question: how far would you have to walk before it would be a “no brainer” to wear a helmet?

    I was off out on the road bike last week and got all the way out of the door without my helmet when I thought what if my son spots me coming back wihout it and I went back inside and got it. Oh how life has changed in the last few years. Would the helmet evangelists not ride if the arrived by car to a trail and realised they’d forgotton their helmet. Hasnt happend to me for a while but I would still go and ride.

    Premier Icon kilo
    Subscriber

    What’s the difference? A road surface can still do a lot of damage in an accident, so why the different approach?

    I don’t fall off on the road nor do I bang my head on branches I tend to do this off road though

    Premier Icon ransos
    Subscriber

    why is there a difference between road and mtb riders? Generally the latter wear helmets, why the former less so (yes, aware that a fair few do, but I see a good number who don’t)? What’s the difference? A road surface can still do a lot of damage in an accident, so why the different approach?

    I propose three reasons:

    1. Historical. MTBing is a relatively new sport which emerged just as helmet wearing was becoming commonplace. Road riding has a much longer tradition and any older riders would’ve grown up not wearing a helmet.

    2. Usefulness of helmets. They are designed to offer protection in low speed accidents. So striking your head on low branches etc, which happens off road.

    3. Risk. You’re more likely to fall off mtbing.

    edlong
    Member

    However that’s not what the question was – why is there a difference between road and mtb riders? Generally the latter wear helmets, why the former less so (yes, aware that a fair few do, but I see a good number who don’t)? What’s the difference?

    Answering for myself, although I’m now always helmeted, I used to wear helmets off road, but not on road. I think when I set off on a mountain bike, although I’m not exactly planning on falling off, I’m doing an activity where falling off, or at least headbutting a tree branch on the way under, are quite likely occurrences. On road, I’m pretty much planning on getting from my departure point to my destination “rubber side down” each and every time. As I ride more off-road, I tackle trickier terrain which I wouldn’t do if I wasn’t prepared to go OTB. If I thought a particular road was likely to result in me coming off, I wouldn’t ride it.

    EDIT: Plus the speed of the likely off – to be frank, I expect most of my MTBing falls to be at the sort of speeds where a helmet will help. On road, I’m not necessarily expecting that the layer of polystyrene will do much if I go under a cement truck…

    Premier Icon dazh
    Subscriber

    Aye and if you worry about falling when climbing you should either give up or free climb

    Funny you should say that cos I was going to use a climbing analogy. Ever climbed before? In some circumstances climbing without a rope (soloing) can be much safer than using one. Also climbers use many other strategies to compensate risk other than simply having a rope tied to them, such as knowledge of the crag/route/area, an accurate assessment of their own ability, climbing well within their own limits etc. Would it surprise you to know that many climbers (and not just the elite) solo routes on a routine basis? Is it any different to riding a bike without a helmet?

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