OK, so let’s accept that in some circumstances, the price of not wearing a helmet can be very high indeed. But…
My open face helmet just about gave up the ghost recently. The cradle was held in place with Velcro discs. These lost their stickiness. I’ve replace them before, but now the helmet is so old and greasy that new ones won’t stick.
So I treated myself to a new helmet.
So what is there in a helmet? An expanded polystyrene moulding. An outer plastic shell. A couple of webbing straps. A few buckles and catches. A plastic visor.
£50 would buy a cheap TV, VCR or DVD player. £50 would buy a cheap motorcycle helmet.
Expanded polystyrene mouldings are part of the free disposable packaging for almost every electrical item you buy.
You can buy a rucksack or bumbag with no end of webbing straps and buckles and catches for about £20.
A plastic shell? Multi-part children’s toys made of plastic are virtually given away free. You can buy a CD or DVD in a plastic case, and with loads of intellectual property on it, for £15.
Just bought one myself, I agree way too expensive. I know there not compulsary by law, (which they should be) but always too expensive. I have on occassion thought of aternative protection, pillows carpet taped to your forehead, bubble rap raped around whole body, small children carpet taped to forehead, large spikey bits of metal carpet tape to forehead (stop the car drivers running you over), I’ve tried a few all alas had there faults, any other ideas I could try would be most welcome.
Don’t forget the insurance costs. Helmets imply head injury protection, no way around that for the manufacturers. A motorcyclist head injury is usually paid for by the rider’s insurance, or the offending box jockey’s insurance. Tri/bi/uni/cyclists go to an extreme in not insuring thier noggin, beyond the helmet, and the box jockeys aren’t liable except in the case of obvious negligence; not without an insurance agent fighting on the cyclist’s side.
At least on this side of the pond, that surely adds up to one massive insurance bill. The safety business is a dangerous one.
I work in the insurance industry, and spent many years dealing with personal injury and motor claims.
The maths doesn’t add up for cases under English law.
A helmet is simple to make, using fairly cheap materials. They are mass produced, and millions are sold. The R&D costs and testing costs are spread over a huge number of units.
For there to be a successful claim against the helmet manufacturer under English law:
There would have to be an accident
The person would have to sustain an injury which they might reasonably have expected to have been prevented by the helmet (after taking into account all the literature sold with the helmet)
The helmet would have to fail in an obvious and unexpected way
If there was another person to blame (car knocks cyclist off) then the injury would have to be very significant before the car insurers would think about forensic testing of the helmet and trying to bring the helmet manufacturers into the litigation
The person holding the helmet manufacturer responsible would have to provide strong evidence that the helmet failed to perform as expected, and that that contributed to, caused or exacerbated the injury
And so on.
I am confident that the risk (average number of such incidents x average size of claim) is pretty small.
I think that cost of the cost of the helmet is simply “perceived value pricing”. That is, a helmet is seen as important and worth getting a good one - and £30 - £50 is seen as worth paying for something important - regardless of the true cost of production.
You can’t beat the prices for your club or community group. This what we use with the St. George’s Unicycle Club and teh Memphis Unicycle Club to ensure everybody is covered (you might say) and they all look the same for our performances / demos.
And i bought the 661 mullet (one up from the dirtlid) for £20, also from chainreactioncycles. Sounds like you got ripped off, helmet companies must be making a killling, expecialy as there’s no VAT on helmets so they get 100% of that money.
I just recieved my 661 Dirtlid (i ordered a Mullet) from Winstanleysbmx.com. Cost me £26, which isn’t bad but the service was rubbish! Im just going to keep the Dirtlid as i can’t be bothered with the hassle of returning the helmet and i need it for BUC. What are peoples opinions of the Mullet?
You have to remember that cycle helmets have 1 thing over all the cheap goods mentioned… They have to be safety tested and certified, and that costs a lot of money. a CE or British Kite mark test for a cheap plastic toy is nowhere near as rigorous as the full CEN helmet tests for european countries. I don’t know how much this should add to a helmets costs, but £50 seems hugely inflated for something that other manufacturers can sell for £15.
It’s because you bought an expensive helmet. Cheap helmets start around a tenner. They’re tested to the same safety standards. You can get a nice and well ventilated bike helmet for £30 no problems.
Obviously the cost of most things isn’t really related to the cost of the raw ingredients involved in them. Expensive helmets are expensive because people are willing to pay £50 (or £100 or whatever) for a helmet with more ventilation that weighs less. So the manufacturers produce a range of helmets with varying weights and amounts of ventilation.
I guess most people buying a £50 or more helmet will have spent £500-£3000 on a posh bike, so can afford it anyway.