head injuries in unicycling

going along in full armor

it looks like you can’t convince people to use a helmet
(BTW this is why I cannot create easily a unicycling club
I don’t want being brought to court because some youngster
refused to wear a helmet and :frowning: …)

So let’s try another way why do some people refuse to wear a helmet?

  • not trendy … well choose carefully you can pick up and decorate
    some cute helmet and the chicks around will have plenty of things
    to say about your headgear ::stuck_out_tongue:

  • unconfortable, makes you sweat : ok that’s why I did not use
    a helmet in the first place (until I banged my head on a concrete slab) I sweat a lot and have some hair left (hairy bear I am)
    … so I ripped off a fist layer of my helmet (nothing used for safety) and always wear a tennis headband (which I change and wash every day). I do not feel my helmet any more … it’s part of my equilibrium.

  • f*** those bossy people who always try to tell you what to do…
    ok then go to item one … why not try a real offensive helmet hey?

hope this helps


hey come to think of this :

Kris (I mean THE kris) can’t you decide some manufacturer
to build some uni-headgear?
confortable, elegant and trendy you’ll love the KH helmet!

along the same line we could have helmets

  • for street
    - for commuting (yuppies helmet: the ‘chic’ to baffle your boss)
  • for trial and mountain
  • for cokerheads (you can mount a microphone to warn those %$^#& pedestrians)

If people have design ideas please just share!


If you are determined to explain away accidents in such a way as to minimize or eliminate any possible benefit that a helmet may have had in preventing injury there is no way that anyone will ever be able to supply you with evidence that a helmet 100% prevented death or serious injury in a particular accident case. You’ll always be able to find some detail or situation to rationalize to yourself that a particular case does not apply to you. These rationalizations by anti-helmet people go on all the time in the various bicycling forums and newsgroups. I’m sure these rationalizations and arguments by the anti-helmet people have made for some very interesting theses by doctorial students in psychology.

Wearing a helmet for trials and muni should be a given. You are intentionally going out and riding on unstable terrain and unstable objects. There is the desire to push your limits by riding faster or by riding more risky or technical terrain. It is quite possible to fall in an awkward way and hit your head.

Wearing a helmet when commuting on a unicycle should also be a given especially when you must ride near cars or must cross street intersections along a bike trail. If you are hit by a car you will very likely need the protection of a helmet. It doesn’t matter how good of a unicyclist you are and how careful you are. If you ride anywhere near moving cars there is the very real danger that a car will hit you and it may not even be your fault. Drivers don’t always pay attention or keep control of their car.

Going helmetless while riding freestyle is what I would consider acceptable risk. I don’t wear a helmet while doing freestyle except for when I try a new skill like wheel walking where there is a fair chance of taking a hard or unusual fall. Once I’m comfortable with the skill the helmet comes off.

I have had one instance where I believe a helmet may have saved me from a head injury. I was riding my muni through a rock garden. I fell forwards very quickly when I couldn’t recover after a rock moved as I was trying to ride over it. I landed flat on my hands, knees, and stomach. My helmet hit a rock. The rock would have hit me right in the temple by my right ear. It left a dent in the helmet. It doesn’t take much of a hit to the temple to cause injury. How bad would the head injury have been if I didn’t have my helmet on? I don’t know. I may have been OK, but it could have been bad.

I can recall one strange fall when I was just riding around the block. I was idling at a corner waiting for the crosswalk light to change and a foot slipped off the pedal. Both feet got caught on the pedals such that I ended up landing flat on my back really hard. I wasn’t wearing a helmet and didn’t hit my head, but if there had been anything behind me (like a curb, newspaper stand, sign post, etc.) I could have hit my head. I know this case isn’t going to convince you that a helmet would be beneficial, but it does show that freak things can happen even when riding normally and not doing anything extreme.

u do want to be the first, dont u?

as for the second part of my quote from your post, nobody here is going to ‘argue’ with u about wearing or not wearing a helmet
people may suggest, or try to convince u that it’s a good idea
i think iunicycle summed it up the best

my comments on this forum regarding the wearing of protective gear was mainly aimed at people posting videos showing them riding without protection
this, i believe, to be irresponsible as i might set a bad example to more impressionable members of the uni community and i respectfully asked the question of those people

if u choose to go without a helmet, u may very well believe it is your choice
and so it is
just dont ask an ambulance funded by the rates and taxes of other people to come pick u up afterwards…

rowan, there’s nothing to be ‘gained’ in ‘winning’ this argument with cute linguistic and logic tricks

how’s to just wear your helmet?

I’ve just started juggling.

Do you think I should wear a helmet when I get onto the chain saws?

Ya know, I really think Rowan goes from post to post trying to pick a fight. What he doesn’t realize that while many valid points are being made about safety in general, he seeks examples SPECIFICLY about Unicyclists so he dissuades any argument about bikes, skateboards, cars, etc. (my theory is that all the unicyclists are wearing helmets). Of course I see his point, but the subtext of his posts appears to be “It is impossible to hurt your head on a unicycle if you ride within your limits and are careful of your surroundings.” Is this what everyone else is getting? Of course, if you ride within your limits, where will all the wheel-walkers go?

I will follow this up with an event that occurred tonight when I was out on my nightly ride. I was approaching a set of about 20 steps and I was going to attempt to hop up all of them. I had done it several times before without a hassle, so I was very familiar with the terrain I was facing. As I rode forward I was sizing up the stairs, getting a feel for them when all of a sudden, (UH OH!) One of my feet slipped off the pedal and I stumbled forward, I tried to keep from falling so I ended up running forward to keep my balance, utterly normal reflexes. Then my head slammed into a handrail at the bottom of the stairs and I fell down onto my knees and then my back. The more I think about it I shudder to think what would have happened had I not been wearing my helmet.

Really what we find out is that a lot more people have stories about being saved by helmets than suffering severe brain damage from neglecting to. I think we should all be thankful for that.

yes, i would


and while on the topic, this is priceless

and the rest are worth a look as well

oops! i think i’m slightly OT here
well, there is one where a helmet would’ve made a difference…

In my case, I was simply stating that I have treated countless Head injuries…Just never any from Unis…Trust me…Lord forbid I do, I’ll post up on “MOI” (Mechanism of Injury"), etc. I used Bikes/Blades/Skateboards, as an example.
Let’s face it…Unis are a rare thing (KrashinKenny blew my mind the first time I saw him pull it out of the Truck!) in someplaces.:smiley:

Thanks for the links Gild they’re great.

It’s getting too hot in here. But one quick question to those who don’t want to wear a helmet:

When off the uni, do you wear shoes?

if so why?

I disagree about the cars. I take responsibility for my own actions around cars and I do not expect them to see me or give way to me. I look both ways before crossing a road just like I would if I was walking. I don’t think being hit by a car at low speed would damage your head anyway, it would stuff up your legs or torso or whatever was in the path of the vehicle. I think there has been a misunderstanding. That freestyle stuff is exactly what I was talking about. Riding normally to get from A to B does not require head protection. Wheel walking and other crazy stuff is a different story and I don’t have any experience to be able to relate to it.

I am not trying to win. The only winners in life threatening accidents are those who escape with their lives, and safety equipment helps those people to live longer. This does not make the references to rollerblades and bicycles relevant at all to Unicycling. Why don’t I wear a helmet? Because I do not have one yet and it is not a priority to buy one because it would be a waste of money for me until I am ready for it. More important to me is a new pair of trousers because my damn Unicycles keep chewing holes in the inseams.

You have misinterpreted two threads at once. I never said that snapping and folding unicycles is not high risk. As an experienced faller offer you should know this. One low risk manouvre which can fold a Unicycle is jumping a set of four or five stairs. The risk to yourself is very low since you can bail out to any side. The risk to the Unicycle is much higher since it is made from metal parts which can bend or break if you land with your weight on them. If you thought you were stirring up trouble you might have to try harder because it is no trouble to answer you even if we disagree.

Seems like more than just a coincidence. Unicycles are relatively safe compared to other forms of transport which involve higher speeds than the human body was designed for. Low speed crashes do not usually include high impact to the head since you land on other parts of your body. I am happy to continue not wearing a helmet, and I do not mind if others decide to wear one. If I make no sense it is because I have been drinking Steinlagers.

Yes I wear shoes because of gravity. Gravity pushes me groundwards and my feet are the closest to the ground so they suffer more wear and tear than my head which is supported by my neck and spine. My head hardly ever touches the ground unless I intend it to, unlike my feet which constantly make contact with the terrain.

That’s fine, if you have a nice controlled bail prepared. I’d suggest that people don’t always, especially inexperienced people such as myself. Even if you do, you could slip due to unforeseen reasons. And hey look, you have steps behind you…

The reason why people use these examples is that there are way more people rollerblading/biking.

You wear shoes because of gravity!! So millions of people in the third world are not subjected to gravity!!!

I asked why because I thought you would talk about the “effects” of the ground. And yet these effects in reality will only be beneficial. I can assure you that you will not wear your feet out. And yet you choose to cover them in leather! You choose to subject third world citizens to slave labour conditions so that your Nike (and other) executives can earn millions of dolllars, just in case you stub your toe!

If you hit your head there is a chance, however remote, of causing perminant damage. A helmet can look cool - just like your Nazi trainers. You wear one and not the other because you have been told that your trainers are cool by the advertisments. Wise up and stop being a sheep.

Oh and tie the laces on the trainers - thats not cool thats lemming like stupidity.

edited to add smiley as it’s sounds far to heavy
:smiley: :smiley: :smiley: :smiley: :smiley:

Hypocrit. You are not from a third world country . It is your feeble minded government, not mine, who participated in the war which has not yet been justified. Think of all the people in third world countries that could have had shoes if England and America had spent the money on shoe donations instead of on bombs. In the case that you were high on drugs when you posted I will forgive you for thinking that I wear Nikes. You are doing well at expressing your lack of imagination by attempting a sheep joke aimed at a New Zealander. Loosen off the straps on your helmet Big Cheese Head, it must be cutting off the circulation to your brain because you don’t make any sense.

Forgive me, please, for taking this a bit OT, but Rowan, I strenously object to your characterization of my government. My government is deliberate, calculating and manipulative. Highly successful at each, I might add. And the lack of justification to which you refer assumes that the purpose for the war was as publicly stated. If you do not make this assumption, I think it is fair to say that the justification for the war will in time bear the fruit my government intended. Give or take a few lives.

Oh, and by the way, I have over the past year taken to wearing my helmet virtually all the time. I do it for my own protection, but even when I don’t need it, as an example for my daughter and her friends to emulate. They have such precious tender keppies.

Raphael Lasar
Matawan, NJ

Perhaps Weegz can explain what happens when a car hits a pedestrian/bicyclist/unicyclist. There is no such thing as a gentle nudge if a car hits you at anything more than 5 mph. If a car hits you you’ll go flying and you’ll have no control over whether your head hits the ground or the car. If you’re riding in traffic or in a bike lane then you should wear a helmet. If you’re riding like a pedestrian walking on the sidewalk then I would consider a helmet to be optional.

I think the cause of the misunderstanding is that the helmet discussion started out by a comment about the young whippersnappers in many of the trials videos were not wearing helmets even though they were doing high risk trials stuff. Trials is way different than freestyle in terms of head injury potential. Those kids should really be wearing helmets.

If you’re doing traditional freestyle then skip the helmet except for when you try backwards riding and wheel walking for the first time. When normal riding starts to include riding down stairs and jumping off things then a helmet is highly recommended.

rowan posted:

“This does not make the references to rollerblades and bicycles relevant at all to Unicycling.”

Actually, I was making references to “MOI”, or “Mechanism of Injury”…Not specific types of accidents with boards/blades/etc…

rowan posted:

“Low speed crashes do not usually include high impact to the head since you land on other parts of your body…”

Oh, as for Head Injuries? I treated a guy with Brain Bleed and fractured neck, who did this while STANDING NEXT TO HIS BED CHANGING HIS PANTS…Skull Fx and Head trauma happens from Mechanism of Injury, not from a specific device (Uni/Blades/Bikes).

Just some impromptu Trauma Education (I teach it for a Living)


Anyone see anything odd about this?

after many people talked about falling off stairs, picnic tables, etc. Rowan said…


P.S. Rowan, do you feel you use of the word Hypocrite was accurate?

::insert Dr. Evil pinky-to-mouth move here::


I like these lively threads.

I think this is an interesting topic, but when it comes down to helmet use, it’s a simply matter of COMMON SENSE! Take everything that you’ve learned and apply it. There’s no debate as far as I’m concerned.

If you are responsible for young kids hopefully you have enough common sense and experience to advise them appropriately and ensure that they do the right thing. In my opinion, there are a LOT of adults out there who are idiots when it comes to responsibility over their kids safety. It’s one thing if you choose to be ignorant in the conduct of your personal life. It’s your choice. Kid’s are a different story.

The lidless whippersnappers on the videos fall into that grey area between dependency and adulthood. It’s a good thing to give them a friendly reminder about helmets. Most of them are intelligent and take the advice in the spirit in which it was given.

I agree completely with John Childs: when riding in traffic, ALWAYS wear a helmet. A car impact of 5 mph can f*** you up for life. My wife was crossing in intersection on her bike (no helmet) An 82 year old geezer who had no right to be behind the wheel ran her down at about 5mph(didn’t see her because of the the sun in his eyes!) She went up on the hood, was knocked unconscious - it took the old fart 80 feet before he could find the brake. When he did stop, my wife slid off the hood. She is very lucky she didn’t crack her skull on the way down. Who would have expected this? My wife wasn’t even riding in much traffic. This was in a small town, mostly quiet roads. When she got into town, she looked both ways, and went with the flow of the pedestrians. She was the last person crossing the street. The geezer thought everyone had passed, and he accelerated from a stationary position, and Boom! There she was on his hood. Fortunately she got out of this with multiple fractures to the ankle.

A Muni group I ride with had one “brave” lad who was coming out without a helmet on rugged rides. (Before I joined the group) Apparently this created some friction - the group was somewhat split between freedom of choice and the practical concerns of the the group. If this guy cracked his noggin 5 miles out in the woods, whose cleaning up the mess? Well, this seemed to have sorted itself out eventually.

Kids, traffic, group rides, events and videos aside, it’s your choice! Go out and have a ball!

If you want to take the chance, go for it! There are no laws yet, and hopefully there never will be laws, dictating when a helmet must be used on a unicycle. Just use your common sense.

A little backup for Rowan

Helmets are a good idea, but when a skilled unicyclist is just riding around the risk is minimal.

From some of the posts here it sounds like you should wear a helmet at all times, also when you’re not on a uni.

I’ve been unicycling for years and in my personal statistics tell me that brushing my teeth is more dangerous than riding a unicycle.

If you’re taking risks, protect yourself. I’m ok with that. But there are types of riding which are just not dangerous.