This guy's helmet worked.

I found this on Yahoo news…

MADISON, Wis. - A delivery truck ran over a cyclist’s head, leaving him only with a concussion and a mangled helmet. Ryan Lipscomb, 26, was shaken up, especially after he saw the condition of his helmet.

“I didn’t see it coming, but I sure felt it roll over my head,” he said. “It feels really strange to have a truck run over your head.”

Lipscomb, a graduate student in medical physics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, was riding swiftly down a bike path in Madison Friday afternoon. As he approached an intersection where he said he had a green light, he noticed the truck preparing to make a right turn in front of him.

The truck wasn’t going to stop, Lipscomb said, so he slammed on his brakes, flipping his bike and landing in the street.

A moment later the truck rolled over his head — and kept going.

His black Giro helmet was flattened, tread marks visible on the cracked frame.

Lipscomb was taken to the hospital and released about three hours later.

“I’m OK except for a concussion,” he said Friday night.

Police initially declined to call the incident a hit-and-run, saying it was unclear whether the driver knew someone had been hit. But Sgt. Bernie Gonzalez later updated the accident report to include the designation.

Lipscomb said he was already in the street as the truck was turning.

“The truck driver definitely would have known,” he said. “You know when you run over a curb and my head was definitely higher than a curb.”

A message left for police spokesman Mike Hanson was not immediately returned Sunday.

I’ve got a Giro helmet. Kewl!

Great now you don’t have to ever worry about getting run over!

Take a good look at the picture at

It looks as though the van ran over the pointy bit at the back of the helmet, rather than the bit containing the cyclist’s head. If this is the case then it seems plausible that the van would not have made contact with the cyclist if he hadn’t been wearing the helmet, although it would have come pretty damn close.

As the van ran over the back of the helmet we can speculate that the helmet may have become momentarily tighter around the cyclists head. The cyclist stated that he felt the van run over his head, but the memory does funny things at times of stress and this scenario might well feel like having one’s head run over.

I think it most likely that the concussion will have been caused by movement of the brain within the skull when he hit the floor, rather than having anything to do with the van.

I was wondering how long it would take for one of the anti-helmet advocates to spin this story.

that is amazing, I showed my mom, she freaked, now i have a good excuse to wear a helmet.

In the name of science I’ve just made my old helmet be useful one last time; I propped it on its side and stood on it.

Stepping on very gingerly it creaked and bent inwards a bit but was okay; a bit of a “lunge” downwards and one of the sides caved in.

Admittedly it’s been a while since I stood on some scales but I don’t think I weigh as much as a truck.

Helmets definitely have their place, and I rarely go out without one, but an inch of polystyrene will not stop a truck from crushing someone’s head.

He is a damned lucky character and I’d imagine he’d have some pretty nasty scrapes if it weren’t for the helmet, but I don’t believe for a minute the helmet was all that stood between him and person flavoured jam under a van wheel.


Significantly longer than it took the pro-helmet advocates to get on it.

a friend of mine was riding his bike and a jogger listening to an iPod stepped out infront of him. not wearing a helmet resulted in him having an iPod shaped indentation in the top of his forehead for 2 weeks. you could make out the dial and everything! hehe

I rather believe you’re referring to me, yet I am not anti-helmet and would thank you not to describe me as such. I am strongly in favour of people making informed decisions to wear or not to wear a helmet, which means that I am inclined to speak up on the frequent occasions when people make unjustified or exaggerated claims for the efficacy of cycle helmets.

I am also strongly pro-choice, as a result of which I am an active anti-compulsion campaigner. There is a marked tendency for pro-compulsionists to mistake an anti-compulsion stance for an anti-helmet stance.

Here in the UK our Department for Transport has a policy of seeking mandatory cycle helmet legislation when voluntary wearing rates reach a level where legislation could reasonably be enforceable. We also have politicians who would like to impose mandatory helmet legislation. For the good of all cyclists, therefore, those of us who believe that cycling without a helmet is not so dangerous that it should be banned often feel the need to correct misconceptions about helmets.

For a summary of my take on the subject, see

you guys realize that the helmet is crushed, that is the foam structure is broken and once it breaks it does not hold any weight at all. The helmet did not prevent the guys head from being crushed.

Helmets are designed to protect against a sharp impact NOT a crushing force. I am not saying that he would have been better off without a helmet, Im sure that it helped prevent brain damage on the initial impact of him flipping off his bike. (that is what they are supposed to do)

I am not anti helmet but I don’t think you should be saying that this guys helmet worked because it is crushed and his head is fine. You know a helmet protected a head when the foam is flattened and not broken, that is not the case here.

He should have worn a skater style helmet :p.

That makes sense. One thing’s for sure, the truck didn’t directly bump over his head/helmet. I don’t think either would have survived that!

Still, being in that guy’s situation I’d rather hedge my bets and have a helmet on, preferrably a skate helmet if I know what’s about to happen…

I was just going to post the same observation. Looks like the back pointy bit of the helmet is what got run over. One could speculate that had he been wearing a skate style helmet that his helmet would have only been brushed by the trucks wheel rather than being run over by it.

I’d still not want to go through that without a helmet. Even just being brushed or grazed by a truck wheel wouldn’t be a good thing without a helmet.

There is a TV news story about the accident here. Check the online video of the story to see the intersection where it happened. Also looks like he was riding a city style mountain bike.

I would like the see the pointy aero style helmets go away for consumer use. Make them only available to racers. The aero advantages serve no advantage for the speeds that mere mortals ride their bike. The professional racers go fast enough and long enough that aero designs like that might make a slight difference. I’d like to have some good road and MTB style helmets available without that pointy bit on the back of the helmet.

That type of accident is very common.
The driver can’t see the cyclist in the mirror so he turns right. The right rear wheel runs over the cyclist. The driver just thinks he got too close to the curb and drives on.
Always stay behind big trucks at intersections even if you have the right of way.

Exactly. And there are studies to prove that helmet wearing cyclists not only have poorer vision and awareness, but also feel more “invulnverable” and take greater risks.

Any REAL biker, who wasn’t a moron, would have checked the traffic, seen the truck comming and prepared for it. This accident is ENTIRELY his fault, and there is a great possibility the the use of the helmet led directly to this happening.

And I’m glad that there are a lot of people in this thread who are actually being real and stating that though helmets have their uses, this IS NOT one of them. And that these style of helmets do very little, and if you’re all going to go pro-helmet, then you should at least get a helmet that will do what you are expecting your toy-store helmet to do.

After reading the accounts and watching the TV news clip, it’s still unclear to me how that intersection was set up. It looks like the bike path was parallel to the road where the truck was turning, and the truck was going the same direction as the guy on his bike. Does this mean they both had the green light? Reading the text description it sounds like the truck ran a red light but I don’t get that impression from the video. It also doesn’t look like there are curbs along the side of the street for the truck driver to run over, to make them think they didn’t hit something else. Looks like a clear case of hit and run.

If the light just turned green, this means the bike was overtaking the truck and the truck may not have been able to see him at all (including all mirrors and head-turning). If the light was already green and the truck was already moving, it means it must have passed the bike on its way to the corner. The driver should have noticed a bike going in the same direction.

So unfortunately there isn’t enough information to make a snap judgement like some of you have above. But there’s one thing that’s always true, and that is that the truck always wins. This was one of the little truisms I used to use when working for the driving school. You can have all the right of way in the world, and the truck’s still going to win. The only time the truck doesn’t win is when the other player is a train.

So there’s a lesson to be learned by Mr. super-lucky cyclist. Bigger vehicles carry a lot of weight! Regardless of whether cars were supposed to be stopping for the traffic on the bike path, a smart cyclist has to ride more defensively than a motorcyclist, and many times more defensively than someone in a car.

So unfortunately, the real lesson that can be learned from this amazing incident is being completely ignored. Sure, having a helmet on is better than not having one on if you’re going to be under a truck. But that wasn’t the problem. Riding under a truck was. If you want to keep your head head-shaped, your best bet is prevention. The guy never mentioned anything along the lines that maybe he should expect traffic not to yield, or to not see him at all. That’s the real world of the on-road cyclist.

Oh ffs, before jumping to conclusions and labelling people as morons do some research, read more than one article and look at a map; the bike path has its own set of lights, which were green. The truck jumped the light and knocked him off.

I have a biking friend who was knocked off when a car jumped a light; is he disqualified from being a “REAL biker”, in your words? If someone got hit on a pedestrian crossing because someone jumped the light are they at fault too?


Someone posted here a while ago saying that he was very glad to have been wearing a helmet when he came off his mountain bike because if he hadn’t been wearing the helmet then he would instinctively have put his arms out to avoid hitting his head, so might have injured his arms. I’m pretty sure it was in either 2003 or early 2004, but I can’t find the post.

I find the thought that anyone would expect a foam hat to provide sufficient protection that they will not take steps to avoid a bop on the bonce quite worrying. But at least it provides a mechanism for the findings that helmets can prevent limb injuries :slight_smile:

I’ve been riding my Nimbus 36 on the streets of Los Angeles for a few months now, and I do wear a helmet. Numerous times I have had to adjust my riding for the actions of the drivers. At every intersection I assume someone taking a left turn or right turn won’t see me, to time an opening in the traffic I either speed up or slow down(or sometimes just have to stop).

My only uni to vehicle incident was when a guy stopped at a stop light, about four cars back from the intersection, and his kid opened the door to jump out… I was passing on the shoulder coming up to the intersection… I saw the door open and jumped of the back but my momentum was enough that the uni slammed into the open door. It scared the crap out of the kid!

At night I have front white light, back red light and reflective strips on my head and body (I’m lit up like a christmas tree). I prefer riding at night as I think my lights are more visible to people in cars. I’ve never had any incidents during a night ride.