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Helmets don't make you safer !

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  • weadmireweadmire Posts: 165
    rickeverett,

    You know how it is with the r sole drivers we meet - the sense you have their behaviour doesn't come out of the blue, that they have previous, that you are not the only person who finds them stupid. Indeed that it is likely everyone who knows them finds them stupid. You can see this most clearly if there are passengers in their vehicle. When they go off on one, snarling, running cyclists into kerbs, gesticulating and shouting expletives, you can see the passengers are embarrassed by their driver. Their wives and their families, whoever, wishes the driver was not the r sole he or she is clearly demonstrating themselves to be. The passengers wish their driver would stop speaking for, to and of themselves. I am sure you will have noticed this, not least because you so often describe others in these terms on these forums. It is why this perception comes to mind now as you call all and sundry "dicks" "dickish" and "stupid". With this in mind please try to be honest with us now: Have you ever reflected on what people say about you? Is there an inkling of suspicion people who know you think you're, as you put it, the "ultimate censored cyclist"?

    London might be different to other parts of the country but only in the density of its traffic lights. That traffic lights diminish safety rather than enhancing it is clear and to some degree that would remain the case whatever the location. Similarly that cycling helmets do not make you safer is born out by the lack of evidence they are effective. If you want to make a case otherwise let's have your evidence. Perhaps you could start with an explanation for the lack of evidence for something you think should so clearly be beneficial.
    WeAdmire.net
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  • drlodgedrlodge Posts: 4,824
    Not wearing a helmet might reduce the probability of being in an accident as drivers will take more care. Possibly, but unlikely I think - how many drivers actually notice whether a cyclist is wearing a helmet or not and change their behaviour?

    Wearing a helmet might make no difference to the outcome if I should have an accident, compared to if I wasn't wearing one. I doubt that, but its possible, may be.

    However, unless someone can prove to me that wearing a helmet actually makes it more risky as a cyclist, why would I not wear one?
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  • weadmireweadmire Posts: 165
    drlodge,

    With regard to your question why would I not wear one? I would say they are uncomfortable, they concentrate perspiration, they encourage a false sense of security, not only in drivers' minds but also in your own, (the research concerning the behaviour of drivers with regard to cyclists wearing one and otherwise was quite telling, have you read it? Not so easily dismissed as you seem to presume) they are an impediment, they are bad value, they must make it more likely you will hit your head ("head" here being the combination of head and helmet), they reinforce/cause anxiety. With regard to causing anxiety oblongomaculatus' Clarkson "Die" quote is a good example of such an effect.

    In sum if they make you feel better go ahead and wear one but if you believe in them to the point of wanting to wear one take care they can metaphorically bite you.
    WeAdmire.net
    13-15 Great Eastern Street
    London EC2A 3EJ
  • weadmire wrote:
    drlodge,
    ...if they make you feel better go ahead and wear one

    Agreed. As I said before, the chances are so tiny you will ever actually have an accident you will never have to find out if they are effective or not. I don't care what anyone else chooses to do with regard to helmets, as long as I am free to not wear one if I choose. The thing that concerns me about the more vocal advocates of helmets is that they may at some point cause the politicians to introduce legislation to make them mandatory, because there is little a politician likes more than jumping on a bandwagon if they think it will gain them votes. As far as I can tell few of them are cyclists (wobbling gamely past a posse of journalists for publicity purposes doesn't count, Mr Cameron) and they're not exactly known for letting a reasoned argument get in the way of their opinions, are they?
  • rickeverettrickeverett Posts: 987
    weadmire wrote:
    drlodge,

    With regard to your question why would I not wear one? I would say they are uncomfortable, they concentrate perspiration, they encourage a false sense of security, not only in drivers' minds but also in your own, (the research concerning the behaviour of drivers with regard to cyclists wearing one and otherwise was quite telling, have you read it? Not so easily dismissed as you seem to presume) they are an impediment, they are bad value, they must make it more likely you will hit your head ("head" here being the combination of head and helmet), they reinforce/cause anxiety. With regard to causing anxiety oblongomaculatus' Clarkson "Die" quote is a good example of such an effect.

    In sum if they make you feel better go ahead and wear one but if you believe in them to the point of wanting to wear one take care they can metaphorically bite you.


    There's a ton of research out there about helments and the protection they offer. Most sports now involve helments as is is proven and sensible.

    Google it.

    There's far more research that is in favour than against.

    The human skull is fragile. Not designed for our modern lifestyles. Helmets are also designed to break. That's why cycle helmeats split or crack in a accident.
    That is the impact force dispersing through the helmet and not the bone.
  • KajjalKajjal Posts: 3,404
    weadmire wrote:
    drlodge,

    With regard to your question why would I not wear one? I would say they are uncomfortable, they concentrate perspiration, they encourage a false sense of security, not only in drivers' minds but also in your own, (the research concerning the behaviour of drivers with regard to cyclists wearing one and otherwise was quite telling, have you read it? Not so easily dismissed as you seem to presume) they are an impediment, they are bad value, they must make it more likely you will hit your head ("head" here being the combination of head and helmet), they reinforce/cause anxiety. With regard to causing anxiety oblongomaculatus' Clarkson "Die" quote is a good example of such an effect.

    In sum if they make you feel better go ahead and wear one but if you believe in them to the point of wanting to wear one take care they can metaphorically bite you.


    There's a ton of research out there about helments and the protection they offer. Most sports now involve helments as is is proven and sensible.

    Google it.

    There's far more research that is in favour than against.

    The human skull is fragile. Not designed for our modern lifestyles. Helmets are also designed to break. That's why cycle helmeats split or crack in a accident.
    That is the impact force dispersing through the helmet and not the bone.

    This is exactly what happen when my friend crashed head first on the top of his head into the road. The helmet cracked in half. We were only doing around 10-15 mph. He had strained neck and shoulders, without the helmet the top of his head would have taken the impact.
  • It's interesting to note that in the history of the Tour de France, only four riders have died, despite crashes, often at high speed, being common. For the majority of the 100 times the race has been run, riders did not wear helmets. Only two deaths were as a result of crashes.

    In 1910 Adolphe Heliere drowned while swimming on a rest day. In 1935 Francisco Cepeda left the road and plunged down a ravine. In 1967 Tom Simpson died of a heart attack. In 1995 Fabio Casartelli died after crashing into a concrete block. He wasn't wearing a helmet- they weren't mandatory at that point - but the doctor attending him stated that the impact was so severe that a helmet would have made no difference.
  • weadmireweadmire Posts: 165
    rickeverett

    "The human skull is fragile. Not designed for our modern lifestyles." This strikes me as self important "road warrior" claptrap but more particularly it is not accurate. What our heads, neck and shoulders are not designed for is the effort required to properly control our heads in extreme circumstances while wearing a helmet.

    Kajjal

    You said you were no longer going to take part and here you are repeating the nonsense of someone landing "on top of their head". I see this time you have dropped the word "vertically". I also see you have spared us the "he wouldn't be with us now" hyperbole of your post about this incident to the other "legal helmet" thread. Start at page four for anyone interested,

    What really happened: Your friend fell off his bike going over the handle bars. He could not control his head at the critical moment because the extra mass of the helmet overpowered the muscles in his neck and shoulders at the critical moment and his head and helmet hit the ground. His helmet broke as it is designed to do. Would his head have hit the ground had he not been wearing a helmet? Probably not.

    Why probably not? If you are walking and you fall is it likely you will hit your head? Have you ever hit your head when you fell when running or walking? Would you expect to hit your head if you fell when running or walking? It is no more likely it will happen if you fall from a bike, indeed it might be less likely because your head will be closer to the ground when you are riding than when you are walking. Even rickeverett understands this, at least from one of his earlier posts I think he does. Do you have any direct personal experience of falling, either when walking, running or riding your bike?

    oblongomaculatus,

    Thank you for those details, very enlightening.
    WeAdmire.net
    13-15 Great Eastern Street
    London EC2A 3EJ
  • Paulie WPaulie W Posts: 1,492
    edited March 2014
    I have crashed a number of times whilst mountainbiking, striking my head and writing off the helmet on 3 separate occasions. I'm not going to suggest the helmet saved my life but I am confident it prevented me from receiving a blow directly to the head on those occasions and the cuts and bruises at the very least that would have gone with that, i.e. I am confident that given the velocity and the angle of the crashes I would not have been any more able to prevent my head stiking the ground had I been helmetless.

    Now, this was mountainbiking and clearly there are different reasons for wearing a helmet in that context than on the road but I am a little bewildered by Weadmire's continued insistence that those who strike their heads while wearing a helmet would most likely not have done so without one. I get the point about increased velocity caused by the helmet, larger 'target', etc. but these are only part of the equation and the nature and speed of the crash are highly significant.
  • drlodgedrlodge Posts: 4,824
    weadmire wrote:
    rickeverett

    "The human skull is fragile. Not designed for our modern lifestyles." This strikes me as self important "road warrior" claptrap but more particularly it is not accurate. What our heads, neck and shoulders are not designed for is the effort required to properly control our heads in extreme circumstances while wearing a helmet.

    Well this is utter claptrap. What additional effort is required to control our heads while wearing a helmet? A helmet is very light compared to the mass of our head, its mostly expanded ploystryene.

    If you're going at speed and hit something (a car, pedestrian), the bike is going to slow down very quickly but the body keeps going. And guess which part of the body is leading? The head. Its just like in a car accident, its the head that leads and hits the windscreen. So its the speed of cycling thats the most relevant factor here, compared to walking where the speeds are much slower.

    I do agree that the probability of having a crash where the helmet would be beneficial is very very small. Everyone has their own appetite for risk and has to make the decision whether they feel the risk of not wearing a helmet is worth taking, given the advantages of feeling "free" with the hair blowing in the wind etc.

    I disagree with the statement "helmets don't make you safer" but would agree that the additional safety provided by helmets is perhaps over estimated. They may save your life. They may prevent serious injury. But the number of cases involved is probably quite small.
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  • weadmireweadmire Posts: 165
    drlodge,

    "Well this is utter claptrap. What additional effort is required to control our heads while wearing a helmet? A helmet is very light compared to the mass of our head, its mostly expanded ploystryene."

    Do you know of what you speak with regard to crashing/being hit or are you dealing with what strikes you as obvious?

    It is tedious repetition (you want the more complete version of my experience go the the "legal helmet" topic, page four). I came to do without my helmet about half way through my crashing experience - it's eight in all, only counting broken bone and sinew events, not offs and minor stuff. The observation regarding what happens to your head with and without came from Dr Tom Crisp a consultant orthopaedic surgeon for among others the British ParaOlympic squad. He treated and represented a very close friend of mine in her case against a car driver. His testimony concerning our reduced ability to control our heads in an accident when wearing a helmet won the day. His case was that we are hard wired to get our heads out of the way of an impending collision in a similar way we blink when our eyes are threatened. But our ability to control our heads in this way is compromised by the mass of the helmet. The mass is small but the accelerations/decelerations of our heads at the critical moments of a whack are very high 30G-300G apparently.

    By the time I saw his testimony I had had most of my whacks and it was certainly the case that when I was wearing a helmet I always hit my head and save for two whacks, when I did not wear a helmet I didn't. Tom Crisp's explanation of why this might have been so was therefore particularly interesting. It is not the only factor but it contributes to the fact helmets are useless in my experience and similarly useless in the population level experiences of New Zealand for example.
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  • hibsterhibster Posts: 58
    so to summarise weadmire
    8 offs not counting minor stuff & 4 with helmet & 4 without
    not a massive sample size
    still, that's al you've given to work with

    always hit head when wearing it (100%) & save for two whacks, not at all when you didn't
    - so by your figures that's 50% of the time isn't it?
  • drlodgedrlodge Posts: 4,824
    weadmire wrote:
    When I was wearing a helmet I always hit my head and save for two whacks, when I did not wear a helmet I didn't.

    So out of 8 occasions, you hit your head on 6 of them (4 when wearing helmet and 2 [whacks] when not). So you hit your head 75% of the time.

    And your point is? What's to prove if you hadn't been wearing your helmet for the first 4 occasions you'd still be with us?
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  • weadmireweadmire Posts: 165
    hibster,

    You are statistically there with regard to my whacks as I have reported them.

    Dangerous to presume but I will presume here that you think my experience lacks credibility for being a small sample, certainly that seems to be the case for drlodge. Take care if so the simple numbers don't tell the whole story. For example one of those where I was not wearing had me hitting a oncoming car at 20mph plus and getting about 30 horizontal feet of air with no damage to my head. And two, when wearing, my first two as it happens, were very slow speed affairs, where on the strength of later experience I would not have expected to crack my head. But they had me laid out and carted off to A&E. One had me climbing a short ramp on Mayfield Lane in Wadhurst. I just decided to mash it rather than change gear. The bb axle sheared, Shimano ultegra square taper if you are interested. My right foot went to the ground and caused a sort of handbrake turn. I fell backwards with my left foot still clipped into the pedal and whacked my head. I was knocked unconscious. The other had me clipped from behind by a car while moving off from traffic lights in Tunbridge Wells, I went down and once again whacked my head. I was similarly knocked unconscious. I also split my cheek and rubbed the dirty salty and gritty emulsion from the road surface into the wound, it was an unpleasant evening in November. An hour or so of cleaning in T Wells A&E ahead of being sewn up left enough dirt under the skin to leave the scar picked out in black on my cheek to this day.

    Your post and that of drlodge have given me pause to try and recall all the offs I have had. I can recall half a dozen where I was not wearing a helmet I haven't previously mentioned where let's say I would not have been surprised to have hit my head but didn't, including two where I broke my collar bone. One of this pair was caused by a pothole on the A267 just outside Frant at a traffic pinch point and the other not far from the first going down the hill toward Wadhurst from the A267 on the B2099. But I have also come off on ice at speed on the road bridge across the rail lines on Faircrouch Lane and once over the bars and into a parked trailer with sheep in it. I can think of a couple of others.

    You will understand, I am sure, that these incidents have particular credibility for me in a way I understand they may lack sample size for you. That said if sample size equals credibility you should only be interested in my whacks by way of understanding my certainty that helmets are useless. My experience apparently does not resonate with you but it might resonate with quite a few others. For the proof this is so consider the lack of real evidence that shows helmets work. Ask yourself why are so many experienced cyclists underwhelmed by the pro helmet argument especially when it is espoused by people with limited experience given to melodrama. And if that doesn't do it for you look at the population level samples that the NZ experience represents. Helmets do not work and it is misleading and potentially more dangerous than you might expect to believe they do.
    WeAdmire.net
    13-15 Great Eastern Street
    London EC2A 3EJ
  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 15,963
    weadmire wrote:
    Ask yourself why are so many experienced cyclists underwhelmed by the pro helmet argument......

    Because they don't want to wear a helmet. They feel it will have an adverse impact on their enjoyment of cycling.
    Faster than a tent.......
  • fwgxfwgx Posts: 114
    I think of it like this. If I fall off my bike the main force is going to be gravity hurtling my head towards tarmac from 1.2-1.5 meters away (at guess). A quick google suggests that a common household brick is actually lighter than a human head and so this analogy is weighted in favor of not wearing a helmet. I don't want anyone to drop a brick on my head from 1.2 meters up. I think that would hurt. I'll wear a helmet thank you.
  • arran77arran77 Posts: 9,260
    fwgx wrote:
    I think of it like this. If I fall off my bike the main force is going to be gravity hurtling my head towards tarmac from 1.2-1.5 meters away (at guess). A quick google suggests that a common household brick is actually lighter than a human head and so this analogy is weighted in favor of not wearing a helmet. I don't want anyone to drop a brick on my head from 1.2 meters up. I think that would hurt. I'll wear a helmet thank you.

    You think but you don't know as you don't have first hand experience :P
    "Arran, you are like the Tony Benn of smut. You have never diluted your depravity and always stand by your beliefs. You have my respect sir and your wife my pity" :lol:

    seanoconn
  • MattC59 wrote:
    The only inclusion that I can make from this thread, is that the OP is a moron.

    Well, whatever he is, he is not alone. There are a few threads about that going at the moment. A video of someone spouting misinformation in a sassy manner is all it takes for the credulous masses to give credit to the most stupid ideas.

    Here are a few hilarious statements I've read today, and the 'evidence' for them.

    "Dr. Henry Marsh, a neurosurgeon at St. George's Hospital in London, believes bicycle helmets are pointless."

    That is, a physician poaching out of field says that what countless experiences teach us is false.

    "Statistically you have a 14% greater chance of having an accident if you are wearing a helmet."

    "Your risk of brain injury in an accident is higher when you are wearing a helmet."

    -- Mikael Colville-Andersen

    http://www.cnet.com/uk/news/brain-surge ... e-helmets/

    It's sad to see so many duped by this piece of pseudoscience, not to mention dangerous.

    One needs few facts to decide on this.

    There are only two kinds of bikers, those who will fall and those who have fallen and will fall again.

    If you ride often falling is almost a certainty. And when you fall the chances that you hit your head are not negligible. That's all really you need to know, damn the studies.
  • Manc33Manc33 Posts: 2,157
    People that think they look silly in a helmet = lol.

    Listen buddy, when I got a smack in the face from a tree at 15 MPH down a frozen canal path without a helmet, I bought a helmet that day. Riding around without one hoping you won't have an accident or thinking it won't happen to you, or thinking you look silly... isn't where it's at.

    It's like UFO's, do they exist, don't they? If you've seen one it kinda makes your mind up.
  • Tiglath wrote:
    One needs few facts to decide on this.

    There are only two kinds of bikers, those who will fall and those who have fallen and will fall again.

    If you ride often falling is almost a certainty. And when you fall the chances that you hit your head are not negligible. That's all really you need to know, damn the studies.

    These are not facts, they are opinions. If you want some facts, I reproduce the link I posted on page 2 of this debate,which demonstrates how statistically unlikely a fatal accident is while cycling less likely than while walking. The figures clearly show that the chances of such a cycling accident occurring are indeed negligible.

    The figures on this site are taken from a D of T document, which can be accessed by clicking on the source link near the top of the article.

    http://cyclinguphill.com/safe-cycling-s ... asualties/
  • Manc33Manc33 Posts: 2,157
    My mate never wears a seatbelt in a car but check this part out - he actually puts the belt across him so if cops see, it looks like he is wearing one. He holds the male clip of the seatbelt about 1 inch away from the female clip but doesn't actually clip it in. Somehow this is more convenient for him to do the whole time, than just clip it in. I guess he must think he is somehow getting one over on any cops that are around, I don't know. I ain't even gonna start trying to understand these types of mentalities, I just observe it. Next time I should say "You can go hands free you know, it clips in there" but he isn't the type to take a joke/criticism.
  • bompingtonbompington Posts: 7,373
    Manc33 wrote:
    My mate never wears a seatbelt in a car but check this part out - he actually puts the belt across him so if cops see, it looks like he is wearing one. He holds the male clip of the seatbelt about 1 inch away from the female clip but doesn't actually clip it in. Somehow this is more convenient for him to do the whole time, than just clip it in. I guess he must think he is somehow getting one over on any cops that are around, I don't know. I ain't even gonna start trying to understand these types of mentalities, I just observe it. Next time I should say "You can go hands free you know, it clips in there" but he isn't the type to take a joke/criticism.
    Just as long as it's not done up too tight ;-)
  • Tiglath wrote:
    One needs few facts to decide on this.

    There are only two kinds of bikers, those who will fall and those who have fallen and will fall again.

    If you ride often falling is almost a certainty. And when you fall the chances that you hit your head are not negligible. That's all really you need to know, damn the studies.

    These are not facts, they are opinions. If you want some facts, I reproduce the link I posted on page 2 of this debate,which demonstrates how statistically unlikely a fatal accident is while cycling less likely than while walking. The figures clearly show that the chances of such a cycling accident occurring are indeed negligible.

    The figures on this site are taken from a D of T document, which can be accessed by clicking on the source link near the top of the article.

    http://cyclinguphill.com/safe-cycling-s ... asualties/



    You should read your own evidence a bit more carefully. The link you provide shows very clearly a histogram with the title 'Relative Risk of Different Forms of Transport' in which the cyclist risk is much higher than for pedestrians, and second only to motorcycles.

    The number of casualties does not tell the whole story. A better metric would the rate per million rather than total, because there are far more pedestrians than cyclists the total for pedestrians is not proportionate.
  • Manc33Manc33 Posts: 2,157
    Think about how many times you had avoided an accident, or made it so the accident isn't anything like as bad as it could have been were you not being so vigilant.

    I remember on a roundabout a woman just pulled straight onto it when I was just going past her... she hit me really slow but I still went flying, my bike lights and batteries went all over the road. I got her address in case my bike lights were broke, I was more bothered about buying new sets of them than anything else, plus being late for work and the boss not believing I got hit by a car.

    Who remembers those old "Ever Ready" bike lights... they took two D cells and looked like the lights you see hanging off skips. Those were the days. Now its all billions of lumens for 20p.
  • Tiglath wrote:
    One needs few facts to decide on this.

    There are only two kinds of bikers, those who will fall and those who have fallen and will fall again.

    If you ride often falling is almost a certainty. And when you fall the chances that you hit your head are not negligible. That's all really you need to know, damn the studies.

    These are not facts, they are opinions. If you want some facts, I reproduce the link I posted on page 2 of this debate,which demonstrates how statistically unlikely a fatal accident is while cycling less likely than while walking. The figures clearly show that the chances of such a cycling accident occurring are indeed negligible.

    The figures on this site are taken from a D of T document, which can be accessed by clicking on the source link near the top of the article.

    http://cyclinguphill.com/safe-cycling-s ... asualties/

    Whether cyclists fall sooner or later is not an opinion, it's a fact. Only people who have been riding a short time or have rare luck are the exceptions.

    Also the concern is not only fatal accidents, but all accidents. You are again comparing cyclist and pedestrian in a careless manner. All the studies I have seen compare total casualties or fatalities of one against the other, ignoring the fact that pedestrians are over-represented. The only meaningful and proper comparison would be that of casualties per million, or other number, of each.
  • KajjalKajjal Posts: 3,404
    Interestingly in mountain biking this is not even a debate. Anyone not wearing a helmet is seen as taking too much risk.
  • FJSFJS Posts: 4,820
    Tiglath wrote:
    Tiglath wrote:
    One needs few facts to decide on this.

    There are only two kinds of bikers, those who will fall and those who have fallen and will fall again.

    If you ride often falling is almost a certainty. And when you fall the chances that you hit your head are not negligible. That's all really you need to know, damn the studies.

    These are not facts, they are opinions. If you want some facts, I reproduce the link I posted on page 2 of this debate,which demonstrates how statistically unlikely a fatal accident is while cycling less likely than while walking. The figures clearly show that the chances of such a cycling accident occurring are indeed negligible.

    The figures on this site are taken from a D of T document, which can be accessed by clicking on the source link near the top of the article.

    http://cyclinguphill.com/safe-cycling-s ... asualties/

    Whether cyclists fall sooner or later is not an opinion, it's a fact. Only people who have been riding a short time or have rare luck are the exceptions.
    from a narrow British perspective where cycling is only a recreational sport, yes. But in other countries, say Denmark, Holland, Germany, people use old-fashioned town bikes to get through town all their lives and never ever fall off. No coincidence perhaps that they don't tend to wear helmets
  • Daz555Daz555 Posts: 4,040
    Kajjal wrote:
    Interestingly in mountain biking this is not even a debate. Anyone not wearing a helmet is seen as taking too much risk.
    It is not much of a debate in any form of cycling where the participants regard it as a sport. I make the distinction myself - when road riding or MTB riding part of my focus is getting from A to B as fast as possible. This leads to risk taking - which is half of the fun - but also the reason why I wear a lid. I'd also wear a helmet if I took my car on a track day and if I took my motorcycle on a track day I'd wear a race suit.

    I choose not to wear a helmet for other types of "casual" cycling - simply because I prefer not to.
    You only need two tools: WD40 and Duck Tape.
    If it doesn't move and should, use the WD40.
    If it shouldn't move and does, use the tape.
  • Fido5599Fido5599 Posts: 7
    The airbag system is already employed in 2/3 motorcycle suits....Dianese and Spyke. I m getting the Dianese d air for track stuff.
    Surprised it didn't exist in some form for cyclists
  • sebbypsebbyp Posts: 106
    my folks were following a young lad down a difficult descent in the Isle of man. Said lad fell off, smashed his head on a stonewall (helmetless) and spent a week in hospital. If they hadn't been there and had a paramedic in the back seat they reckon he wouldn't have made it, blood everywhere. Surely a lid would have helped? How can it not when that is what they are designed for?
    I always wear my helmet, but then I do crash every year, and never ride slowly. Due to gravity you often hit your bonce. Better safe than sorry IMO.
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