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Please wear a helmet guys and gals

slim_boy_fatslim_boy_fat Posts: 1,808
edited July 2013 in Road general
I know there is an awful lot of debate over helmets but after today I implore you all to wear one.

Just started a ride today, couple of miles in, came to a set of lights with a driver coming in the opposite direction, my garmin showed I was doing 28mph and slowed to 20mph when I spotted her. She didn't bother looking for me and just turned right across me. I hit the brakes and took avoiding action in front of her but back wheel slipped on a huge patch of gravel. I went down hard, slid across the road and helmet met kerb. Kerb won!

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Her first words to me were, 'I just didn't look' :roll: So a volley of abuse was followed by a kindly chap giving me a lift home. Got in the shower and tried to clean off the serious road rash down my left side but quickly realised my left elbow was not right. Three hours in A & E later revealed a fractured radius at the elbow and now I've got six weeks in plaster to look forward to :roll:

God knows what would have happened if I hadn't had a helmet on. So no matter how confident you are of your own ability there's no accounting what some idiot might do. Please put a lid on.
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Posts

  • hatch87hatch87 Posts: 352
    Good advice, always wear my lid, although touch wood I've not needed it yet. But one thing to take away from this is don't use your rear brake, with all the weight going forward and lifting the rear, its guaranteed to lock up.

    Hope you get better soon!
    http://app.strava.com/athletes/686217
    Come on! You call this a storm? Blow, you son of a censored ! Blow! It's time for a showdown! You and me! I'm right here! Come and get me!
  • tlw1tlw1 Posts: 18,358
    Tough day dude - hope you get better soon
  • petemadocpetemadoc Posts: 2,667
    After falls both with and without a helmet, I know which I personally prefer

    Prepare to be flamed for this post by the "don't tell me what to do" brigade.
  • slim_boy_fatslim_boy_fat Posts: 1,808
    hatch87 wrote:
    Good advice, always wear my lid, although touch wood I've not needed it yet. But one thing to take away from this is don't use your rear brake, with all the weight going forward and lifting the rear, its guaranteed to lock up.

    Hope you get better soon!
    Had to go for both brakes as other side of the kerb were a load of trees and a metal fence and I had no chance of missing them :shock:
  • raymondo60raymondo60 Posts: 735
    I do believe in personal choice; I choose to wear a helmet EVERY time I ride.

    Glad you're OK and hope you are back on the bike soon.
    Raymondo

    "Let's just all be really careful out there folks!"
  • chrisaonabikechrisaonabike Posts: 1,919
    Sorry to hear this, hope you're Ok again soon.

    This is the reason I have front lights, one steady, one flashing, on during the day. I had two close-ish calls early on, one was a car turning right in front of me just like the OP - except I was going slowly enough to get the anchors on.

    The other was someone coming out of a side turning.

    Not a scientific test at all, and not reliant on the lights at all, but nothing like that in the 6 months since getting the lights.

    Always wear a helmet though.
    Is the gorilla tired yet?
  • NavrigNavrig Posts: 1,352
    I feel naked riding without a helmet.

    When I had a motorbike I felt naked riding without leathers (only did that if popping out to fill up with fuel).

    It is amazing how quickly you become accustomed to something.

    I hope your fracture heals soon. Is it the radius or the radius head? The may not put you in plaster for the radius (radial) head fracture.
  • ct8282ct8282 Posts: 414
    Personally I think it should be the law to wear a helmet.

    I had an accident as a teenager where I landed square on my head. Without a helmet my skull would have been smashed and I wouldn't be here today.
  • Fil6914Fil6914 Posts: 74
    Good advice, I won't go out on the bike without mine. Glad your not too seriously injured but six weeks off the bike is a bummer

    How's the bike ??

    Phil
    Road - Giant Defy 0
    Road - carrera virtuoso
    MTB - Kona cindercone MTB 1997
  • BarteosBarteos Posts: 657
    This is the reason I have front lights, one steady, one flashing, on during the day...

    +1

    Statistically most of accidents happen at junctions.
    +1000 lumens in a flashing mode is more likely to increase one's chances of survival than a helmet, but I can't see many cyclists using lights during daytime...
  • neilrobinsneilrobins Posts: 102
    Just to reiterate "how's the bike" ????
    Ps. Always wear a lid!
  • slim_boy_fatslim_boy_fat Posts: 1,808
    Thanks for your thoughts guys. Great shout on the lights. Don't do any riding in the dark so hadn't considered. Will defo be buying some now. Bike is ok from what I can see, think I broke it's fall :D , but not had a good look at it yet. Guess it was a bit of an extreme way to get the week off work to watch the first week of the tour :D

    Off to Normandy for two weeks on Friday taking in stage 11 & 12 whilst we are there. The Mrs is now gutted she has to do all the driving.
  • CiBCiB Posts: 6,098
    I do virtually all of my riding in the countryside where traffic lights, busy junctions and kerbs are a rarity. Would you mind if I pass wrt you advice? Thanks.
  • BarteosBarteos Posts: 657
    Based on my experience from NF area, lights are just as useful in the countryside where roads can be full of overly relaxed local drivers going too fast, texting, driving in the middle of narrow lanes etc., especially in places where trees cut off the sunlight.
  • zardozzardoz Posts: 251
    CiB wrote:
    I do virtually all of my riding in the countryside where traffic lights, busy junctions and kerbs are a rarity. Would you mind if I pass wrt you advice? Thanks.

    So no hard road surfaces in the countryside then? I must remember that.
  • DruidorDruidor Posts: 230
    I ride in the countryside, barbed wire, blackthorn fences, tractors & townies driving like imbeciles the odd splattering of horse $h!t & sink holes in the road.

    Perfect riding conditions !!

    Still wear a helmet whenever I venture out, been taken out twice by cars in my cycling years & came off a few to many to remember so better safe than sorry imo
    ---
    Sensa Trentino SL Custom 2013 - 105 Compact - Aksium Race
  • Sorry to hear of your very nasty accident, and I hope you (and your bike) are OK soon.

    I guess I'm going to be in a minority here but I don't agree with helmet wearing at all. When I started cycling (early 70's) there was no such thing as a cycle helmet. Even the pros didn't wear them, despite frequent high speed mountain road TDF crashes. Our roads are busier now, but I don't think the risk has increased substantially. It's only perceived as being greater. It was minimal then and it still is. Cycle helmets arrived on the scene, I believe, at the same time as the mass market mountain bike, and this is no coincidence. They were introduced not as a safety device but to make money, and clearly they have become very successful in this, as somehow they have changed in people's minds from being an optional extra accessory to something you absolutely mustn't get on a bike without. Mountain bikes were marketed as a more rugged, intrepid type of cycle, so, it would be suggested, you need the appropriate safety equipment. While knee and elbow pads, shin protectors, heavy duty gloves and so on would look a bit silly for popping down the shops (which is all most mass market mountain bikes are ever used for) a helmet is surely a reasonable precaution to take? After all, you might fall off and hit your head. Better safe than sorry?

    Statistically, more people suffer head injuries as pedestrians than cyclists - slipping on ice, tripping over wonky paving, being knocked over crossing the road, etc, so if you take the better safe than sorry line to its logical conclusion you ought to put on a helmet whenever you go for a walk.

    The original poster has included a photo of his shattered helmet, wondering what the outcome would have been if he hadn't been wearing it. This argument doesn't stand up either, but you hear it a lot. "If I hadn't been wearing my helmet I wouldn't be here now!" But without measuring the forces involved by replicating the exact circumstances, which is nearly impossible, you can't say what the damage would have been. Human skulls are actually pretty tough. All a shattered helmet really shows is that helmets aren't.

    There is even a scenario where not wearing a helmet when you hit your head might save your life when wearing one might cost you it.

    Version 1: You're out on a ride, wearing your helmet, you fall off and hit your head on the ground. Your helmet cracks but your head doesn't, so go go home thanking your helmet, with only a slight headache to show for your mishap.

    Version 2: As above, but no helmet. The impact with the ground causes your scalp to spit, and as scalp wounds bleed easily and profusely, you make your way to hospital for some stitches. While you're there you tell the doctor about your headache. He asks if there are any other symptoms, you mention you're feeling sick and in the last few minutes your vision has become blurred. Then you collapse, due to a burst blood vessel inside your head. Fortunately, because you have taken your superficial scalp wound to hospital, you are in the right place to have the swift treatment that saves your life.

    Meanwhile, in version one, you have gone to bed feeling ill and shaky. By the time your symptoms escalate, it is too late. Brain injuries of this sort are caused by the shaking of the brain inside the skull, something a helmet will do nothing to stop, as it is a result of sudden loss of momentum - the brain keeps moving after the skull has been stopped by the impact - not by shockwaves that might be absorbed by the helmet.

    This little story is of course speculation, but it seems a perfectly plausible scenario to me.

    Sorry if this is a bit of a rant, and I know not many people will agree with me, but I do feel strongly that the dangers have been grossly exaggerated. This disproportionate emphasis on the risks puts people off taking up cycling. There are millions of cycle journeys made every day and only a tiny, tiny proportion of them end in an accident, and an even tinier proportion of those involve serious head injuries. While if you're racing, or hurtling up and down steep trails, by all means wear a helmet, but for every day, non competitive cycling, you simply don't need one.

    If helmet wearing is made compulsory, I will stop cycling.
  • TheSmithersTheSmithers Posts: 291
    I've said before in another thread, a helmet can save your life. FACT! Clearly in this case, it did.
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,003
    Sorry to hear of your very nasty accident, and I hope you (and your bike) are OK soon.

    I guess I'm going to be in a minority here but I don't agree with helmet wearing at all. When I started cycling (early 70's) there was no such thing as a cycle helmet. Even the pros didn't wear them, despite frequent high speed mountain road TDF crashes. Our roads are busier now, but I don't think the risk has increased substantially. It's only perceived as being greater. It was minimal then and it still is. Cycle helmets arrived on the scene, I believe, at the same time as the mass market mountain bike, and this is no coincidence. They were introduced not as a safety device but to make money, and clearly they have become very successful in this, as somehow they have changed in people's minds from being an optional extra accessory to something you absolutely mustn't get on a bike without. Mountain bikes were marketed as a more rugged, intrepid type of cycle, so, it would be suggested, you need the appropriate safety equipment. While knee and elbow pads, shin protectors, heavy duty gloves and so on would look a bit silly for popping down the shops (which is all most mass market mountain bikes are ever used for) a helmet is surely a reasonable precaution to take? After all, you might fall off and hit your head. Better safe than sorry?

    Statistically, more people suffer head injuries as pedestrians than cyclists - slipping on ice, tripping over wonky paving, being knocked over crossing the road, etc, so if you take the better safe than sorry line to its logical conclusion you ought to put on a helmet whenever you go for a walk.

    The original poster has included a photo of his shattered helmet, wondering what the outcome would have been if he hadn't been wearing it. This argument doesn't stand up either, but you hear it a lot. "If I hadn't been wearing my helmet I wouldn't be here now!" But without measuring the forces involved by replicating the exact circumstances, which is nearly impossible, you can't say what the damage would have been. Human skulls are actually pretty tough. All a shattered helmet really shows is that helmets aren't.

    There is even a scenario where not wearing a helmet when you hit your head might save your life when wearing one might cost you it.

    Version 1: You're out on a ride, wearing your helmet, you fall off and hit your head on the ground. Your helmet cracks but your head doesn't, so go go home thanking your helmet, with only a slight headache to show for your mishap.

    Version 2: As above, but no helmet. The impact with the ground causes your scalp to spit, and as scalp wounds bleed easily and profusely, you make your way to hospital for some stitches. While you're there you tell the doctor about your headache. He asks if there are any other symptoms, you mention you're feeling sick and in the last few minutes your vision has become blurred. Then you collapse, due to a burst blood vessel inside your head. Fortunately, because you have taken your superficial scalp wound to hospital, you are in the right place to have the swift treatment that saves your life.

    Meanwhile, in version one, you have gone to bed feeling ill and shaky. By the time your symptoms escalate, it is too late. Brain injuries of this sort are caused by the shaking of the brain inside the skull, something a helmet will do nothing to stop, as it is a result of sudden loss of momentum - the brain keeps moving after the skull has been stopped by the impact - not by shockwaves that might be absorbed by the helmet.

    This little story is of course speculation, but it seems a perfectly plausible scenario to me.

    Sorry if this is a bit of a rant, and I know not many people will agree with me, but I do feel strongly that the dangers have been grossly exaggerated. This disproportionate emphasis on the risks puts people off taking up cycling. There are millions of cycle journeys made every day and only a tiny, tiny proportion of them end in an accident, and an even tinier proportion of those involve serious head injuries. While if you're racing, or hurtling up and down steep trails, by all means wear a helmet, but for every day, non competitive cycling, you simply don't need one.

    If helmet wearing is made compulsory, I will stop cycling.

    Great post. Unfortunately, you've made the mistake of trying to present a rational argument - which will shortly be shouted down by the assembled masses of the sanctimonious majority... ;)
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,490
    I've said before in another thread, a helmet can save your life. FACT! Clearly in this case, it did.
    As I've said in another thread - so can a lifejacket ...

    The only thing CLEAR in this case is that the OPs helmet took an impact and (as designed) broke up.

    Skulls are incredibly tough and can take quite a bit of blunt trauma. Helmets are good for taking point impact and spreading it over a larger area.

    Surely the OPs mesg should've been "Wear Elbow pads" ... as one of those would surely have saved him from breaking his elbow.
    Or perhaps wider tyres that wouldn't have skidded out on the gravel patch ...
    Or looking further ahead to avoid an emergency stop ...
    Or better brakes/brake pads that would've slowed him more quickly ...
    Or any number of other little things that can go into avoiding a crash situation and potentially save a life.

    So - yes - wear a helmet if you like - but don't think it's the first and last bit of safety equipment to save your life ... your brain is the best bit of safety equipment - you just need to apply it and consider where the dangers are and what are the risks of those occurring.
  • DruidorDruidor Posts: 230
    Your skull might be strong its the squishy grey bit inside that gets damaged when it gets slapped against the inside of the skull,

    A helmet cannot protect in all instances but as in this case its done its job and protected the head from the curb stone.

    Wearing a helmet or not is a personal decision the same as wearing viz clothing you do you don't.

    if your time is up there is not much you can do about it.
    ---
    Sensa Trentino SL Custom 2013 - 105 Compact - Aksium Race
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,490
    Imposter wrote:
    Great post. Unfortunately, you've made the mistake of trying to present a rational argument - which will shortly be shouted down by the assembled masses of the sanctimonious majority... ;)
    Yes - as usual we are going to get the "A helmet saved my life" or "A helmet saved the life of my brothers mates, girlfriends 1/2 sisters brother" who mistake the state of a helmet after a crash to be the equivalent of the state of the skull after a crash.
    The sort of ppl who obey safety instructions to the letter without considering what those safety instructions mean.

    Unlike oblongomaculatus I do believe in mostly wearing a helmet whilst cycling - I didn't whilst I was in my teens and didn't bother into my 20's whilst riding to college - but the sort of riding I was doing didn't put me at high risk.
    More recently I've started commuting to work - which involves a good stretch of country A roads. Most vehicles give me plenty of room, but you get the odd few who don't bother - and these are the ones who are more likely to cause an accident that I'll be involved in - given the disparate speed an impact would be significant and the chance of head injury quite high - so to afford me the best chance of protecting my head I'll wear a helmet - but I'm under no illusion that an impact could cause significant injuries to me.
    Conversely, a pootle down the "road" to the shop/docs/pub/wherever is more likely to be on quiet roads or cyclepaths and the chance of any impact tiny - especially if you're on a single track road and can hear a vehicle approach giving you time to stop and get out of their way - so I may choose not to wear a helmet for that sort of ride.

    Lights were mentioned in the thread - I would advocate a permanently fitted back light that you can turn on whilst riding. It's not needed most of the time, but on a bright day when your course takes you through wooded area the contrast is huge and a flashing backlight may just give the overtaking driver that little bit more notice of your presence. I've not generally had a problem with oncoming drivers and there's much less street furniture/clutter where I tend to ride - but it's worth a consideration if you do experience that sort of driving.
  • raymondo60raymondo60 Posts: 735
    Rational arguments for and against helmet wearing here. Personally I'm a full-time wearer, but I would NOT want helmets to be compulsory by law, as their are too many variables involved in the argument for and against.

    What I would like to see encouraged is better cycle training at school-age level and a greater acknowledgement of cyclists and their requirements in all aspects of the car driving test. Cycle saftety can never be about 'individuals', and let's not forget that the OP's experience all began because a car driver admitted that they 'didn't look' when making a right-hand turn; so car drivers 'don't look' and we have to wear helmets by law - that doesn't sound right to me....
    Raymondo

    "Let's just all be really careful out there folks!"
  • petemadocpetemadoc Posts: 2,667

    Version 1: You're out on a ride, wearing your helmet, you fall off and hit your head on the ground. Your helmet cracks but your head doesn't, so go go home thanking your helmet, with only a slight headache to show for your mishap.

    Version 2: As above, but no helmet. The impact with the ground causes your scalp to spit, and as scalp wounds bleed easily and profusely, you make your way to hospital for some stitches. While you're there you tell the doctor about your headache. He asks if there are any other symptoms, you mention you're feeling sick and in the last few minutes your vision has become blurred. Then you collapse, due to a burst blood vessel inside your head. Fortunately, because you have taken your superficial scalp wound to hospital, you are in the right place to have the swift treatment that saves your life.

    The same could be applied to any form of head protection in any sport. Ridiculous argument to make.
  • BozmanBozman Posts: 2,570
    Freedom of choice and long may it remain that way.
  • Daz555Daz555 Posts: 4,040
    Bozman wrote:
    Freedom of choice and long may it remain that way.
    +1 potato.
    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.
  • Pickled PigPickled Pig Posts: 233
    Got in the shower and tried to clean off the serious road rash down my left side but quickly realised my left elbow was not right.


    I hope you kept your helmet on in the shower.

    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/world-news/exdictator-died-after-shower-fall-29281770.html
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,003
    but quickly realised my left elbow was not right.

    Correct. Your left elbow is on the left - and your right elbow is on the right. Remember to reverse this when looking in a mirror.
  • HoopdriverHoopdriver Posts: 2,023
    CiB wrote:
    I do virtually all of my riding in the countryside where traffic lights, busy junctions and kerbs are a rarity. Would you mind if I pass wrt you advice? Thanks.
    I never knew it was impossible to fall on a country road - or at least that it was impossible to hurt yourself. Die in the country, as they say, it's healthier...
  • petemadoc wrote:

    Version 1: You're out on a ride, wearing your helmet, you fall off and hit your head on the ground. Your helmet cracks but your head doesn't, so go go home thanking your helmet, with only a slight headache to show for your mishap.

    Version 2: As above, but no helmet. The impact with the ground causes your scalp to spit, and as scalp wounds bleed easily and profusely, you make your way to hospital for some stitches. While you're there you tell the doctor about your headache. He asks if there are any other symptoms, you mention you're feeling sick and in the last few minutes your vision has become blurred. Then you collapse, due to a burst blood vessel inside your head. Fortunately, because you have taken your superficial scalp wound to hospital, you are in the right place to have the swift treatment that saves your life.

    The same could be applied to any form of head protection in any sport. Ridiculous argument to make.

    And in theory it would be just as true. Not really talking about sport, though. As I said, given the frequency and speed of crashes in competitive cycling, a helmet is a good idea there. The casual, low speed cycling most of us do most of the time isn't the same thing. Anyone who had a crash in a race would be checked out thoroughly by a doctor as a matter of course. In the hypothetical situation I described the cyclist makes the decision not to do that himself, based on the fact that there's no blood, he feels basically OK (at first) and because "his helmet saved him".

    One piece of safety kit I do think is a good idea is a mirror. They may not be very cool, especially on a road bike, but they dramatically improve your awareness of what's around you, which means you're much better placed to avoid an accident in the first place.
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