Helmets: Do you wear one? Why? When?

I think Kilian was trying to concisely request you desist from being quite so verbose and forgot to say please.

Well, they weren’t going very fast, so perhaps you’re right.

[QUOTE=Ian Smith]

> However, the chance of a helmet protecting you from a head injury
> (concussion, cuts) is far greater.

Almost certainly, but is a slightly greater chance of being a
vegetable an acceptable trade-off for a greater chance of reducing
non-life-changing injury like concussion or merely painful and/or
embarrassing injury like scalp cuts?


I equate wear a helmet to having crumple zones in cars. The crumple zone in cars is to absorb an impact so the occupants do not absorb as much. Likewise, a helmet absorbs the impact so the skull and brain do not absorb as much. So, when it is determined that cars with crumple zones are more life threatening than cars without crumple zones, I will question whether helmets are safer, than no helmets. Also, my kids will wear helmet or they won’t ride.
So, by wearing a helmet, I not only reducing the chance of a non-life-changing injury (concussion can be life changing), but also the chance of a life-changing injury.

If none of the proponents say ‘always ear a helmet, because it protects from cuts and grazes’ why would anyone wear shin and knee guards. That protects more from cuts and grazes, than broken leg and/or knees.

“this neglects that helmet on tarmac has a higher friction than skin and
hair on tarmac”
I think my hair on the tarmac would have a higer friction than my smooth helmet. some biker’s, not I, shave there legs to reduce the friction in a crash on asphalt, not just for wind. Asphalt will rip those hairs out. i.e. asphalt grabbing hairs equals greater friction than a plastic shell sliding across asphalt.

i always were football pads, steel toed boots, shin guards, wrist guards, gloves, and elbow pads with a snow suit underneath. u guys r so unsafe.

and stop using words more than 5 letters long :angry:

Firstly, yes I always wear a helmet, on road, off road, uni or the other two wheeled thingies.
Torsion - yes this would increase with a helmet if the coefficient of friction of helmet to impacted surface is the same or greater than that of scalp/skull to same surface as I agree the lever arm would be greater.
However the lateral speed of impact is likely to be less when coming off a uni than it is from a bike, and therefore quoting statistics gleaned from cycling is innaccurate.
Personal - in many years of one and two wheeled riding I have said thanks to my hat once, low speed, on a bike, up a steep hill the back wheel spat out sideways, I went down hard onto solid rock, hip-shoulder-head.
My cheap bike helmet had a smashed skin and a big dent in the EPS, but I picked myself up, a bit bruised, and rode on. The following day I bought a new, nicer, skid-lid.

I very much agree.

I had a helmet save my noggin big time. I posted here about it, and coincidentally, Ian Smith weighed in there, too.

Ian Smith - we gotta party, dude.

99% of the time, yes. For any real ride, definitely. I like to ride my coker on single track where I have to duck under branches and bushes. I can’t count the number of times I have underestimated how low to duck and end up hitting the branches with my head…big thick branches. If I didn’t wear a helmet I’d have some serious bumps on my head.

Of course, theres always the chance that I could fall on my head, but that hasn’t happened yet on a unicycle. But it has happened mountain biking.

i never wear mine, they’re are so annoying. i will wear one when i start doing backflips and frontflips…

Re: Helmets: Do you wear one? Why? When?

On Wed, 6 Aug 2008, Kilian <> wrote:
> ian u use to many big words

Kilian you don’t use enough letters in your short words.

What big word(s) did you not understand? If there was something in
particular, I could try and explain it using more simple words.

regards, Ian SMith

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Re: Helmets: Do you wear one? Why? When?

On Wed, 6 Aug 2008, surfcolorado <> wrote:

It’s very hard to tell what you are saying, because you’ve somehow
scrambled the attribution marks. I think surfcolorado might have
added this:

> I think my hair on the tarmac would have a higer friction than my
> smooth helmet.

Have you tested it?

It’s very easy to test with low normal forces - just kneel down put
your head on the ground and push. Repeat wearing a helmet. It is
immediately apparent that the plastic of a helmet (every helmet I have
tried) is soft and ‘grips’ the surface. The force required with a
helmet is much greater than with a bare head.

Now, you will presumably say that your no-test is much more accurate
than my test (most people do, for no coherent reason), but why would
your guess be more likely to reflect reality than my approximate test?

> some biker’s, not I, shave there legs to reduce the
> friction in a crash on asphalt, not just for wind. Asphalt will rip
> those hairs out. i.e. asphalt grabbing hairs equals greater friction
> than a plastic shell sliding across asphalt.

That does not follow. The fact that hairy skin is more damaged by
sliding down the road than shaved skin tells you nothing at all about
the coefficient of friction of polystyrene (or whatever the shell is
made of) on road surface. At most, your argument could be taken as
saying that a hairy helmet would be more grippy than a smooth helmet.
I’m not even sure it demonstrates that.

regards, Ian SMith

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Should be: “try to explain it…” :slight_smile:

But surely lower weight makes it more likely - in a tangential impact
you have greater lever-arm than a bare head, so greater applied
torsion, and not equivalently greater mass, so proportionately less
torsional inertia, hence greater torsional acceleration
. is consequent on him possessing a substantial and diverse vocabulary and exceptional linguistic facility.

its not just you

Re: Helmets: Do you wear one? Why? When?

On Wed, 6 Aug 2008, Mikefule <> wrote:
> As always, the anti-helmet argument can be summarised as, “I don’t
> like wearing a helmet, so I’ve thought of these reasons to justify
> not doing so.”

Well, it could be represented as such. Just because you say it,
doesn’t make it a fair summary, however.

Better would be - “I discovered there’s no good reason for wearing a
helmet, so (because I don’t like wearing one) I don’t”. After all,
no-one who actually likes wearing a helmet is going to stop just
because it has no detectable effect on their chances of head injury.
In fact, if they like it enough, they might wear it even if they can
be convinced that it significantly increases their chance of injury.

Your summary falls down because many of the people who don’t wear
helmets and are willing to (or want to) discuss it are actually
people that used to wear them. Those that really don’t like helmets
probably never did the reading to discover the arguments against -
they just don’t wear helmets, from a position as uninformed as
those that just assume it must be the done thing to wear a helmet.
It’s likely the people that believed one thing then had some cause to
change their mind (perhaps through investigating their assumptions)
that will have the interest and the have invested the effort in
examining the matter.

> On the other hand, the pro helmet argument is often simply an
> expression of our society’s irrationally exaggerated obsession with
> safety at all costs.

The strange thing about this is how inconsistent it is - driving (or
being a passenger in a motor vehicle) is not accorded the same
obsessional fear.

regards, Ian SMith

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No, but I’ll try later. you jump to a lot of assumptions about me.

Why would you assume that I will jump to the conclusion that my hypothesis is more accurate than your test. Do you know me? apparently not, cause if you did you would know that, as an engineer, I would/did make a hypothesis based on my background and observations. Now, you believe my hypothesis to be wrong based on your tests. That merely shows that I need to run my own test/research to see if I concur.

So, If I am understand what you are saying. If I’m not please correct me. The reduction in torsional injury from not wearing a helmet outways the reduction in impact from wearing helmet.

Where I believe and I have observed. That a helmet can protect you from cracking your head like an egg on a rock or reduce the impact to your skull and brain by absorbing some of the impact. both of the above can be life-changing, and that outways the increase in torsional injury from wearing a helmet, which I believe to be relatively low.
Plus as an added bonus, you are protected from low lying branches and small crashes that would give you non life-changing injuries to the head.

personally it also allows me to ride with more confidence, knowing that it is unlikely that I will have a head injury at all. On an added note, I have learned to downhill on my mtn b*ke faster from wear protection (knee, shin, elbow) once in a while. It allows me to push my speed envelope without the fear of getting messed up if I push it to far.

Someone in my cycle advocacy group was telling me about those stats and how the reported injuries went down in proportion with the number of riders when the helmet laws were introduced. Some people who would have ridden chose not to ride because of the helmets.

A lot of my students complain about the uncomfortable nature of helmets. They can be hot and itchy. I’ve seen an example of a helmet causing the rotational injury. A student fell over backwards onto grass while wearing a bike-style helmet, and he probably wouldn’t have hit his head in my opinion if he wasn’t wearing the helmet but it forced his head forwards due to the bit jutting out at the back, giving him a sore neck.

I think a lot of accidents happen with cars going over the speed limit. If people wanted to get really serious about road safety then cars would not be equipped to speed. Why is it that cars are “not allowed” to speed yet it is up to the individual driver to choose, making enforcement of the speeding laws a potentially dangerous chase? The road toll is our collective responsibility as road users. We are all aware of the danger- and strapping polystyrene on our heads does not change the fact that there are drunk drivers with out of control lethal weapons on the roads. Reducing the lethalness of their weapons seems logical to me but I guess people love speeding too much to allow their speed to be governed.

I don’t think many people helmetless riders hit their head on low lying branches- I personally tend to hit my head on branches far more often while wearing a helmet, due to the unnatural large protruding head shape that I am not used to. I think that is a negative effect not a bonus.

Yes, I’m sure I hit my head on branches more often wearing a helmet, then if I didn’t wear one, but I also use my helmet to block branches that would hit my face or head.
-1 = hit more branches
+1 = stopping branches that would hit you
0= lets put that in the neutral list

i used a helmet when i was learning to ride which i found out was a good chose when i did a front flip off my uni landed on my head almost broke my neck, skull, and elbow then slid about 5ft on gravel. :astonished:
but i don’t ware one now because i don’t like them and i get to hot when i ware them in the summer.:smiley:

wait, so you found out that using a helmet was a good thing in a accident, but then decided they were to hot? why would you do that?
I guess I would rather have some discomfort while riding, then to find out that I needed a helmet on a ride.

I think even Ian would agree that if you determine that a helmet is an asset, you should wear it.

I understand that if you determine that it is more dangerous to wear a helmet, not to wear one. I don’t believe that it is more dangerous, but at least he has made a logical decision based on his beliefs. To me it seems illogical to determine a helmet is safer, then not wear one.

That’s dialect. Both “try to” and “try and” are common. In mediaeval English, “and” had a conditional sense, similar to word “if”. With this in mind, “try and” makes perfect sense as a contraction of “Try and see if I can…”

I am sure that this is what Kilian had in mind.

Really. So wearing full body armour (as worn by MTBers) would be safer than not wearing it, so, in pursuit of logic, you wear full body armour on every ride, without fail?

Rational decisions are made by comparing complex sets of benefits and disadvantages and choosing an appropriate balance for the circumstances.

On a hot day, I might rationally decide that the certainty of being too hot for comfort in a helmet outweighed the very small probability of the helmet being needed for protection on the ride I have planned.

On a technical ride or in heavy traffic, I might decide that he helmet is essential despite the discomfort - or I might even choose not to ride.