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  1. #1
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    Actual Helmet Discussion

    After reading the helmet threads that appear again and again I can't help thinking that the knuckle draggers feel a need to post even though they keep getting their knuckles caught in the spokes.

    There are a number of studies done that show that helmets do not appear to make any difference in bicycle injuries and deaths. These studies all appear to have one thing in common. All of them I've seen were completed in Europe and they were all of commuter traffic. Or the overwhelming majority of statistics were from the commuters.

    There are a number of pertinent pieces of information that never appear to be addressed either in the studies or the discussions here or there.

    Firstly - European commuters ride much slower averaging, if memory serves, some 5 mph. This means that most accidents are not car strike accidents but fall-overs.

    European commuters wear street shoes and ride bicycles with flat pedals. This allows them to put a foot down much faster and, in fact, instinctively when falling. Anyone that has fallen on a bicycle in the US or in Europe using clipless pedals or cleated pedals with toe-clips and straps knows that it takes much longer to get your feet out of these pedals. This delay is absolutely crucial and explains the fact that there are less injuries in European studies than in American statistics.

    American riders and European racers all use clipless pedals and also ride average speeds more than double the commuter speeds in Europe and their studies.

    Let's also address the effectiveness of helmets. These things are 15 cents of material that sells for $200. Is there any wonder that many people are loath to purchase such a hosing?

    And these helmets in fact cannot protect you from a normal fall over accident with much safety margin.

    Now I would like to describe my own crash experience.

    I was riding down a bicycle path with some friends. It was in Fremont, CA, and a group of us would ride down to the paved bike path, ride out to the bay and then return. This was our easy ride so we only did this ride occasionally. The bay area is renown for it's hills and climbs of 12% or more for several miles. The downhills often exceed 40 mph. Seeing people speaking of 50 mph descents makes me wonder what sort of roads they ride. Roads that steep with length but without turns of significant degree are pretty rare.

    We were returning along the path and we slowed down to perhaps 5 mph where we went through the car barrier from the path onto the park road.

    My new very modern carbon fiber fork (first generation) was improperly assembled and one leg simply fell off. The other could not support the load and broke. This caused the bike to flip. It happened almost instantly and dropped me slightly off-center on my forehead smashing in my helmet. The rider behind me also rode over me. I think he must have come back and jumped up and down on me for disturbing his peaceful ride.

    I was unconscious for over 5 minutes I'm told. The ambulance arrived and carried me to a local hospital. When I arrived I was walking and talking and so they put some bandages on my head and pushed me out the door.

    Unfortunately that was insufficient treatment. The damage had caused me to have several difference types of seizures that are only apparently upon close observation. Since I was only there a matter of a couple of hours I didn't have a visible seizure in sight of a doctor or knowledgeable nurse. Nevertheless I was having mini-seizures almost constantly. This gave me almost no short term memory. The more major seizures would effect the lower half of my body causing my legs to go rigid and then completely wipe out any memory of the event as well as increasingly large segments of my long term memory.

    Since I lived alone I wasn't having the more visible seizures within sight of anyone important. The result of this was that over a two year time span I got into four accidents as a major seizure locked my foot to the floorboard on the gas pedal. I am very fortunate that no one was seriously injured. But as a side effect to those major seizures my more important long term memory was being destroyed. I cannot remember the deaths of either my mother or father. I cannot remember my work as an electronics engineer and hence can no longer work.

    Apparently when I did have one of these seizures in front of others they thought I was growing so angry that I was shaking all over and simply avoided me. My older brother simply thought that I'd gone crazy.

    Without short term memory I wasn't remembering to eat and my weight went from 210 lbs to 142. At 6'4" I looked like a refugee from a concentration camp.

    Finally I had a seizure in front of my best friend and his wife. She's a nurse and recognized it for what it was. She told my friend and he got my brother and they got me to a proper neurologist that wasn't shedding feathers all over the place.

    It took him about six months to get the medication and dosage proper and he's one of the best there is. So it's very important to find someone that can actually treat this sort of injury.

    Now after a year I'm pretty much back to normal. While I was out of it I essentially gave away for a song all of my bicycle collection. Also all of my bicycling clothing,my bicycle tools and anything connected to cycling. My Basso, Colnagos, touring bike etc. are all gone. A friend bought my Look 247 Tour Replica and saved it in case I became human again. So I had a good bike to buy again. Apparently I installed a Strong steel fork in place of the broken ITM fork on that bike before selling it.

    All of my riding muscles were gone completely But in the last year I've managed to put some of them back in place and don't embarrass myself completely on a ride anymore. In the last 9 months I've put on about 5,000 miles. Not up to my 10,000 miles annual but getting there. Not bad from ground zero I'd say.

    Here's the kicker - my helmet may not have accomplished much but it was bashed in completely. It did something no matter how small.

    Would you want such injuries to be worse than they were?

    I now have two good helmets and wear them on all real rides.

    If you like to feel the wind through your hair that's fine. But just remember that you are accepting a real threat as a result.

  2. #2
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    Just wear a p_huckin' helmet. Or don't. No more needs to be said. Everyone knows the risks, or feels there is none and makes their own decision. Why is this even a topic?

  3. #3
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    Dave - if you bother reading the other thread you can plainly see that most of those posting there haven't a clue what the threats are.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Kunich View Post
    Dave - if you bother reading the other thread you can plainly see that most of those posting there haven't a clue what the threats are.
    sounds like cycling is just too dangerous. maybe we should all quit and pick up bowling.
    Blows your hair back.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Kunich View Post
    Dave - if you bother reading the other thread you can plainly see that most of those posting there haven't a clue what the threats are.
    I assume that we're all adults and are capable of making these decisions for ourselves. If someone is unaware of the risks, or feels that they're negligible, why would you care? If they read the other thread they've already disregarded warnings like you posed. I wear a helmet, many don't. I'm ok with that.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Kunich View Post
    After reading the helmet threads that appear again and again I can't help thinking that the knuckle draggers feel a need to post even though they keep getting their knuckles caught in the spokes.
    So how does an "Actual Helmet Discussion" start when the 1st post of the thread starts out with a predetermined position that everyone that disagrees with the OP is some sort of unintelligent "knuckle dragger"?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Kunich View Post
    My new very modern carbon fiber fork (first generation) was improperly assembled and one leg simply fell off. The other could not support the load and broke.
    Who assembled the fork? Was it a shop or a friend or you? If it was a shop I hope you take those bastards to the cleaners and shut them down.

    This happened when you were only doing 5 mph which surprises me but I believe it.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sisophous View Post
    Who assembled the fork? Was it a shop or a friend or you? If it was a shop I hope you take those bastards to the cleaners and shut them down.

    This happened when you were only doing 5 mph which surprises me but I believe it.
    Attachment 277756
    Blows your hair back.

  9. #9
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    How many people carry a spare tube? They're FEAR MONGERS!!!!!

  10. #10
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    I'm surprised that so many ppl here are apparently jumping all over the OP.

    He lays out what can happen to you, and sure, it ain't pretty. But that's real.
    Monkhouse: I want to die like my Dad did, peacefully, in his sleep... not screaming in terror like his passengers.

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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by SystemShock View Post
    I'm surprised that so many ppl here are apparently jumping all over the OP.

    He lays out what can happen to you, and it ain't pretty. But that's real.
    Maybe the 4th thread on this subject will be the charm.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by spade2you View Post
    How many people carry a spare tube? They're FEAR MONGERS!!!!!
    And those CO2 canisters are a time bomb waiting to explode in your jersey pocket.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by SystemShock View Post
    I'm surprised that so many ppl here are apparently jumping all over the OP.

    He lays out what can happen to you, and sure, it ain't pretty. But that's real.
    has anyone disputed that?
    by the way, how many are going to shift to flat pedals as mentioned? apparently it's deemed safer.
    Blows your hair back.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveWC View Post
    Maybe the 4th thread on this subject will be the charm.
    No charm. Closed one thread, then left open a new identical one.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill2 View Post
    No charm. Closed one thread, then left open a new identical one.
    Which one went all ad hominem then KAPOOYA?

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by velodog View Post
    So how does an "Actual Helmet Discussion" start when the 1st post of the thread starts out with a predetermined position that everyone that disagrees with the OP is some sort of unintelligent "knuckle dragger"?
    The knuckle draggers are those that enter a discussion on helmets and talk about their rat terrier. Sort of like you just did. I couldn't care less whether you wear a helmet or not but AT LEAST be aware of the dangers one way or the other and be prepared.

    Or maybe you didn't notice my initial claim that more head injuries are prevented by riding slowly and without clip-in pedals? Was that too complicated for you?

  17. #17
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    The fork manufacturers are bulletproof. It turns out that the law says that unless a company purposely advertises in a state they do not mean to sell products there and hence are not liable even for workmanship that bad.

    By the way it was ITM and I had no reason to take them to the cleaners. Only to recover my medical and financial losses which weren't all that much.

    But you can bet that I will never touch any sort of product made by ITM ever again.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Kunich View Post
    The knuckle draggers are those that enter a discussion on helmets and talk about their rat terrier. Sort of like you just did. I couldn't care less whether you wear a helmet or not but AT LEAST be aware of the dangers one way or the other and be prepared.

    Or maybe you didn't notice my initial claim that more head injuries are prevented by riding slowly and without clip-in pedals? Was that too complicated for you?
    To tell the truth I quit reading after the 1st paragraph, you know, me being a knuckle dragger and all.

  19. #19
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    I think that i'm going to stop racing and start riding around at 4 mph with flat pedals. I should be safe that way.

    After riding and racing for 30 years, I've had so many crashes that I've lost track of them. BUT.......I've only crashed on my noggin, just once. I was sprinting into an uphill turn when I pulled my left foot out of my pedal. My foot went down , and I followed it. I landed right above my temple, right on the bottom of my helmet. Split the damn thing in half. There were no other injuries because I kept my hands on the bars, as I went down.
    Without that helmet, I believe that I could have been in pretty bad shape. As it was, i got back on my bike, and finished the training ride, with the group.
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  20. #20
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    Re: Actual Helmet Discussion

    tl:dr

    signed,
    Knuckledragger
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  21. #21
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    A couple of months before my serious crash I had almost the same thing - I was going down a good hill at about 40 chasing someone and got out of the saddle to accelerate and my foot came out of a Brand X pedal. It flipped forward and into the spokes locking the front wheel. Man that smarted. I mashed my helmet in that one and was just laying there trying to pull everything together again and the guys that I was with swore I was unconscious but I wasn't. Maybe I should have jumped up and tap danced?

  22. #22
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    Maybe the real moral of the story is don't use carbon forks? Yes, I have them on a couple bikes myself. Makes as much sense as anything else in the OP's post. Sorry to be a knuckle dragger. I even wear a helmet despite being a knuckle dragger.

    Sounds like, and pictures often show, helmets get smashed. As in broken usually. If they work as designed they would compress the foam, and reduce the G-force of your brain in the skull. Preventing problems like the OP. If rather than just assuming the helmets are good, we asked for better design a crash like the OP wouldn't be so damaging. Of course that won't happen if statistics of helmet effectiveness are ignored when they appear to show helmets don't do all that much good.

    I do wish someone would build instrumented crash test dummies like those used in cars. Then get some real data on what works. Some students did that somewhat last year at a university in Ottawa. Seems some safety industries or helmet makers or bike enthusiasts should get serious about it. Until then we will only see anecdotal arguments without much useful data to go on.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by esldude View Post
    Sounds like, and pictures often show, helmets get smashed. As in broken usually. If they work as designed they would compress the foam, and reduce the G-force of your brain in the skull. Preventing problems like the OP.
    Well be aware that the section of the helmet that was contacted by the head did crush while the adjacent areas simply fell apart without the support structure of an entire helmet.

    Next time someone falls and hits their head they should cross-section the helmet and take a picture of it to show.

    The helmet manufacturers aren't stupid and they do their homework a lot better than kibitzers.

  24. #24
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    Hmmm. I'm just not convinced. And from all the passionate and incessant preaching, I have to assume the preachers are responsible for convincing me. So until they can effectively convince me, I'm holding them responsible for any harm that comes my way.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by deabhguf View Post
    I'm surprised that so many ppl here are apparently jumping all over the OP.
    Maybe you mean you are surprised so many knuckle draggers frequent this forum.

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