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Helmets

runnyrunny Posts: 13
edited October 2013 in Commuting general
Hi everyone, I'm new to the forum.

I have ridden bikes all my life; I've mostly used a mountain bike up until very recently when I purchased a Specialized Dolce Elite. So now I'm taking things a little more seriously!

I have a helmet which was an inexpensive one purchased from Halfords. In fact most of my life I've never worn one, I only began actually wearing my helmet about 2/3 years ago when a colleague pulled me up on it!

I was just wondering about the fit and safety standards of hats. With horse riding (one of my other hobbies), the hat safety standards change every once in a while, and you are always advised to have the hat properly fitted in a shop.

How should a helmet fit? Can I get one fitted? Should I consider purchasing a new one? Are more expensive helmets safer or is it more of a question of comfort and style?

Thanks for any advice you may have.

Posts

  • I'd say generally more expensive helmets look nicer, weigh less and are more comfortable. Just because it's more expensive doesn't mean it won't protect you any better.

    Helmets in the UK generally meet a British, European or American standard. I'm not sure if any standard is better than another.

    I find features such as a visor (to reduce getting blinded by the sun) and the size of the vent holes (for attaching a helmet mounted light) just as important as any safety related aspects of a helmet.
    So far, the most a helmet's ever done to stop me getting seriously hurt is allowing low branches to slide over the top of me rather than gouging a hole in my scalp. When I've fallen off, I've not yet managed to hit my head.
  • CiBCiB Posts: 6,098
    runny wrote:
    I only began actually wearing my helmet about 2/3 years ago when a colleague pulled me up on it!.
    If you were quite happy without one for all those years I'd have thought the best response to well-meaning colleagues is to point out that it's your own personal choice whether or not you wear additional safety gear thanks very much and then ask if there are any other aspects of your personal life that he might be planning to offer an opinion on.

    All helmets comply with the requirement that it must protect a 5Kg mass dropped from a height of 2 metres. Beyond that it's largely a case of making sure it fits properly, is correctly fastened and is facing the right way. They're also handy for attaching lights & a camera to, i believe.
  • simon_esimon_e Posts: 1,677
    All helmets must comply with the EN1078 European standard standard. Some, such as some Specialized and Bell models IIRC, are tested to the higher CPSC standard.

    If you're going to wear one then make sure you get one that fits properly and suits your head shape. If it doesn't fit and isn't adjusted correctly then it's hardly worth wearing and could add to the impact. I find Bell suits my head than Giro or Met. Expensive helmets have more holes (so are lighter with better ventilation) but do not have better crash protection.

    After 3 years of wearing one under duress (only done after emotional blackmail by family) I stopped this spring and have felt a real sense of liberation. However, I think everyone should be free to decide for themselves.

    As much impartial info as you'll find anywhere - http://cyclehelmets.org/
    Aspire not to have more, but to be more.
  • I have a Kask Evo k50 and it is lovely, light and airy. I wear a helmet all the time when riding - TBH if I don't wear it now then I feel like something is wrong (like driving without a seatbelt feels wrong somehow, at least to me). The Kask is much lighter and a better fit than my older Met helmet - one advantage of Kask helmets is the way they fit around the back of your head in a way that does not need a really tight chin strap to be secure.
  • anewmananewman Posts: 70
    CiB wrote:
    runny wrote:
    I only began actually wearing my helmet about 2/3 years ago when a colleague pulled me up on it!.
    If you were quite happy without one for all those years I'd have thought the best response to well-meaning colleagues is to point out that it's your own personal choice whether or not you wear additional safety gear thanks very much and then ask if there are any other aspects of your personal life that he might be planning to offer an opinion on.
    I think that's a bit unfair. A suggestion to wear safety gear can be taken or ignored. They're hardly buying a helmet, taking money out of your wallet, and forcing it onto your head.

    A condom is probably a far more crucial piece of safety equipment for casual sex, but still people don't wear them as often as they should, hence STI clinics everywhere.

    There's a *MUCH* greater chance of coming off your bike and smacking your head than there is winning the National lottery, but people still play the lottery because they think it might happen.
  • CiBCiB Posts: 6,098
    edited October 2013
    anewman wrote:
    I think that's a bit unfair. A suggestion to wear safety gear can be taken or ignored. They're hardly buying a helmet, taking money out of your wallet, and forcing it onto your head.

    A condom is probably a far more crucial piece of safety equipment for casual sex, but still people don't wear them as often as they should, hence STI clinics everywhere.

    There's a *MUCH* greater chance of coming off your bike and smacking your head than there is winning the National lottery, but people still play the lottery because they think it might happen.
    Ho hum. My point was that if someone came into my office and 'pulled me up on it' I'd tell him or her exactly that - it's not your business to pull me up on wearing or not wearing safety gear based purely on your idea of risk perception thanks very much, and was a slight pop at OP for giving in just like that after years of being relaxed about it. Perhaps I should inquire if m'colleague uses Head & shoulders as I don't think her hair looks as shiny as it used to, to which you'd quite rightly wonder what business it is of mine and to which I would probably do the James May celebratory dance and reply 'touché', maybe. If same colleague demanded to know if I was planning to carry condoms on a Friday night lads outing I'd also take the WTF? approach to her nosing.

    FWIW I play the lottery because although I accept that my chances of winning it are minimal for the odd pound every week or so it's effectively free and the net gain - the odd tenner, or something big to the point of being hugely beneficial - makes it something that if it did happen would be a massive benefit to me, my immediate & extended family and various others. I know it probably won't happen, but for a quid [or two from this week], what's the benefit in not doing it? I've been falling off bikes for about 44 years now with neutral outcomes. I don't see a comparison, except for some clutching at statistical straws.


    *** EDIT ***
    Oh FFS. Wear a helmet, wear five if you want to; I don't care. But please lay off this preachy attitude about how everybody really should wear one just in case. That's what gets on my wick, which is what my original response was about. Wear your helmet, wear it with pride. But keep your advice about mine and anybody else's well-being to yourself please.
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,494
    anewman wrote:
    There's a *MUCH* greater chance of coming off your bike and smacking your head than there is winning the National lottery, but people still play the lottery because they think it might happen.
    Is there by jove ... really ... would you like to show me the calculations for the probability of coming off my bike and smacking my head ... are the two independent probabilities? ie - could I smack my head without coming off first or come off without smacking my head? If so, please show how you come to the final probability figure for the combined event.

    btw - the chance of winning the lottery is 1 in 13,983,816 per line per entry. (that's 0.00072% chance per line per entry)
  • simon_esimon_e Posts: 1,677
    anewman wrote:
    some rubbish
    Condoms, Lottery chances... keep clutching at those straws, why dontcha.

    If you're not prepared to look at the facts but spout some dogma you've swallowed and regurgitate it then do us all a favour and go ride yer bike (and no, I don't mind whether you wear a helmet or not, it's up to you).
    Aspire not to have more, but to be more.
  • YossieYossie Posts: 2,600
    I sometimes use an open faced m/bike helmet if I know its going to be a tough commute (ie around Christmas).

    Its yellow and I've drilled some holes in it for ventilation (not too many and not too big as I don't want to impaire structural rigidity) but so far its held up fine.
  • shortcutsshortcuts Posts: 366
    9pok.jpg
  • CiBCiB Posts: 6,098
    anewman wrote:
    people still play the lottery because they think it might happen.
    Actually people play the lottery because the risk v reward ratio is massive. For the sake of not having a pound coin in your pocket, you can become a multi-millionaire and most weeks someone does. For helmets the risk v reward is not on the same planet; it was a very silly analogy, in keeping with the helmet enthusiasts' approach to the whole business.
  • arran77arran77 Posts: 9,260
    shortcuts wrote:
    9pok.jpg

    I believe when I pulled that stunt recently, one of the fat tyre brigade objected :wink:

    http://www.bikeradar.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=40088&t=12942903
    "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
  • bigmatbigmat Posts: 5,111
    Do more people suffer life changing head injuries due to not wearing a helmet than "win" the lottery? You'd have to take each as a percentage of the numbers involved. Very difficult to tell given the lack of evidence / research on the benefits of helmet use. I would suggest though that the former is as bad as the latter is good. FWIW, I have smashed a helmet once - over 20 years ago. Have scuffed / scraped helmets a couple of times since but not clear whether my head would have suffered an impact had I not been wearing one. My most recent crash was a face plant on tarmac, braking hard from 20mph+ and colliding with a pedestrian (his fault!) - helmet didn't get a scratch, my face took full impact, so full face helmets would probably make sense!

    I'll keep wearing one as its become habit and can't see any harm in doing so but its for the individual to decide.

    Back to OP, main issue is fit. As others have said, more expensive helmets will be lighter, better ventilated, better looking, maybe have a better retention system but the most important thing is that it fits your head - should stay in place without having the strap done up tight and be reasonably comfortable.
  • shortcutsshortcuts Posts: 366
    arran77 wrote:
    shortcuts wrote:
    9pok.jpg

    I believe when I pulled that stunt recently, one of the fat tyre brigade objected :wink:

    http://www.bikeradar.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=40088&t=12942903
    such is life :D
  • fossyantfossyant Posts: 2,549
    Ribble has got a sale on helmets if you wear them.

    Just picked up a replacement Bell Sweep for £50. My old one is getting tired, and I payed well over £100 a few years ago.
  • MichaelWMichaelW Posts: 2,226
    I really like the Met helmet webbing system, it alters for shape as well as size. If I find them on sale, I buy 2.
    Cheaper helmets tend to have more helmet and less air. Fewer, larger vents that you can fit a lock through. For winter use, you don't need lots of vents.
    MTB style visors are useful in the rain.
    I prefer helmets to be a light, bright colour and have some reflective stuff.
    Helmets dont last forever. Occasional drops onto the floor are part of everyday use but these accumulate and eventually cracks will show. One of my helmets disintegrated after a few years due to cracks with no major impact or crash.
  • YossieYossie Posts: 2,600
    If I'm not using George (the yellow helmet) I tend to just buy any helmet that I like the colour of - if its too big whack a car sponge inside - this smallernises it and soaks up sweat as you go along.

    You can generally get mahoosif size helmets cheaper than normal sizes for obvious reasons so its a win - win situation all round.
  • MattC59MattC59 Posts: 5,433
    I've got a massive helmet.
    Science adjusts it’s beliefs based on what’s observed.
    Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved
  • Mikey23Mikey23 Posts: 5,028
    Would it be sensible to wear a helmet while winning the lottery?
  • shortcuts wrote:
    9pok.jpg

    This.

    If you feel nervous riding, have a concern you're going to fall off, think a helmet has magical powers to make you safer ... then get a helmet.

    If so and if you want actual protection, get a full-face motorcycle helmet.

    If so and you want to protect against the chance of head injuries in case of an accident, wear it first and foremost in your car and when a pedestrian, when the risk is highest.

    If you want to follow the fashion for wearing a thin bit of foam on your head then buy the one you think looks good. They are all broadly the same in terms of sweatiness, discomfort, inconvenience carting around.

    You seemed to be doing fine until your probably nervous rider colleague mentioned it ....
  • anewmananewman Posts: 70
    If so and you want to protect against the chance of head injuries in case of an accident, wear it first and foremost in your car and when a pedestrian, when the risk is highest.
    ZZZzzzzz. So a bike has over a tonne of metal, ABS, and airbags as standard to protect you?!

    Plus I think you are conflating the number of incidents, with the relative risk. There are far more pedestrian journeys made, and so by definition the risk is higher for pedestrians. Just like, surprisingly, women don't get testicular cancer as often as men.

    "Statistical thinking will one day be as necessary for efficient citizenship as the ability to read and write.” H. G. Wells
  • YossieYossie Posts: 2,600
    I've just found out that the cat has been pizzing in George - I always thought that it was sweat.

    Oh well, it seems to be conditioning my hair, so no worries there then.
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,494
    Funny that - I picked up my lid this morning - went to put it on and it was still damp with sweat from the ride home last night :(
    So put it back down and picked up my other lid ... :)

    I only wear one because it looks more Pro ...
  • runnyrunny Posts: 13
    Crumbs, I never imagined I'd start a huge debate about it!

    WIth regards to my colleague, it was of course my decision. He was well-meaning and someone I respect, and also an avid cyclist.

    I didn't go out and buy a helmet the same day. But once he'd brought it to my attention, I thought about it, made my own decision and decided it was probably more sensible and I should stop being concerned about how my hair would look after wearing a helmet.

    Anyway, thanks for the input, I read your replies with interest. I've finally adjusted my helmet so it's a good fit (it was sliding round all over the place) so it actually might do some good if I come off. After reading through your replies I think I'll stick with the one I already have if there's no difference in safety etc.
  • Crumbs, I never imagined I'd start a huge debate about it!

    Def quote of the year.

    Campag vs Shimano vs Sram anyone?
  • I don't do the lottery, can I wear a helmet?
    12 year old claud butler MTB
    2012 giant defy 0 (black is slimming you know!)
  • I don't do the lottery, can I wear a helmet?

    Of course. You can wear what you like on a bike. So can anyone else. It's like anywhere else outside. I find it weird that people get so annoyed about another person's clothing choice.
  • My hair looks better after wearing my helmet! :roll:
  • matt581matt581 Posts: 219
    I have always worn helmets before. I always do if i'm mountain biking but recently have started to not wear it for the commute.

    Reason, i guess i find it more comfortable. Does it make a difference if its off road, on road. As mentioned before. I have had a bad crash on a commute a few years a go and lost a front tooth. If i had a full face helmet this wouldn't have happened. Did ifeel like i should start wearing a full face, not really.

    It's all down to personal choice and what you feel comfortable/confident with.

    But, i'm sure we will all be having this conversation again very shortly.

    On another [email protected]#K YEAH.....ITS FRIDAY!
  • chris_basschris_bass Posts: 4,913
    Some people wear them some people don't, get over it, it doesnt affect anyone except the wearer or non wearer, can no one mention anything to do with helmets without this debate being churned out again?

    Back to the question in hand, if you are happy with the one you have no reason to change it, I'm pretty sure they all have to comply with safety standards so should be as safe as each other.

    the more expenive ones tend to be better ventilated, lighter and some might think they look better but that is a personal choice.

    With winter approaching the cheaper one might actually keep your head warmer so that may be an added bonus!
    www.conjunctivitis.com - a site for sore eyes
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