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Are bike helmets safer... or even safe?


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#1 crunchewy

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 01:39 PM

This is a pretty interesting article that leaves me unsure what to do, especially for my kids:

http://www.risksense...bicycle-helmet/
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#2 irideabike

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 01:53 PM

I never ride with a helmet on. The article makes sense, I love how it points out that car > helmet if you were to get hit. Helmets aren't much, I've never understood how a piece of plastic will protect me after I get hit by some moron in a car. You can do whatever you want as an adult (I'll never wear a helmet) but for my kids I will have them ride with helmets until 12-13 years old. A helmet will help when you are falling off at a slow speed, but they are pointless at higher speeds (which I do when I commute).
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#3 MushaOne

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 02:08 PM

Bike helmets are safe. Yea they wont stop a bullet either but they will help a lot in most accidents you will get into. And in the author of that articles case, it will hide his disgusting balding head. That article is just some guy trying to get attention by being shocking.

#4 crunchewy

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 02:10 PM

The article seems to show, however, that helmets may actually be more dangerous than not wearing one, due to the risk of a serious injury due to twisting the head. There's also the issue of whether or not making your kids wear helmets will prevent them from riding at all, and the negative health effects that has. But I don't know. I guess I've always been accustomed to the idea that helmets are safe and it's hard to make a decision to have them NOT wear a helmet.

@musha - but the stats seem to show that countries where helmet use is much lower than in the US have much lower rates of injury AND higher numbers riding bikes.
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#5 nasum

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 02:11 PM

Bicycle:
I never understood the point to be honest. I never wore one as a kid and don't plan to as an adult. I think this is part of the coddling of children that is leaving the next generation weak. "It's ok to fall down because the helmet will save you" is not a good life lesson. Failure hurts, avoid it.
Besides, I always thought bike helmets were for low branches and such...

Motorcycle:
Never wore one after I got my full license. Might be changing my mind though after getting thrown off my bike because someone decided to rear end me at a stop light.
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#6 irideabike

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 02:27 PM

@nasum

Bike helmets are just there to be one more accessory for the adult bike rider to buy. "Look at my new helmet and how shiny it is doesn't it match my new bike so nicely".

I never wear one on my motorcycle. I figure if I get hit or do something stupid and flip my bike I'm dead either way. I don't want to be a quad, I just want everything to be done at that point.
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#7 nasum

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 02:42 PM

While certainly an anecdotal story, a pal had to do a quick stop, his right foot hit a pothole and his head hit the curb with a helmet. The angle that his helmet hit ended up breaking his neck and he's more or less a vegetable now. Without a helmet he would have had a concussion...
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#8 crunchewy

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 02:47 PM

Motorcyles are crazy dangerous regardless. I'm sure they are fun, but especially having kids and not wanting to leave them father-less, I can't see ever owning one... at least not until they are grown and on their own. If you do ride, just realize how dangerous they are and don't do anything stupid. A few weeks ago a friend of mine witnessed a motorocyclist (previously weaving in and out of traffic) wave to his friends who were exiting the road, and not notice that traffic in front of him was stopped. He layed the bike down, slid some 50 feet in shorts and a t-shirt and slammed into the back of a car, lifting the rear of the car up into the air and getting pinned under it. Dead before the paramedics arrived.
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#9 Confucius

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 02:56 PM

what a dumb article.

a flotation device won't stop a shark from eating me but i'd rather wear one than not on a deep sea fishing expedition. Is it theoretically possible it actually causes my death because I get it caught in the rotors or some line or some shit? Yes. But I'm still gonna wear one because the gains outweigh the risks.

Helmet aren't designed to keep you safe from getting hit by a car. It's to keep you from hitting your head and suffering brain trauma.

This sounds like one of those "well, if I plunge off a bridge and my car erupts into flame, the seatbelt might prevent me from escaping the car. That's why I don't wear one!"

Actually no, you dumb Fuck. You don't wear one because you're stupid and lazy. Hopefully your organs will be intact and you're an organ donor.

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#10 Clak

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 03:04 PM

I have to laugh at human behavior sometimes. Some people refuse to do things simply because somebody tells them to do it. They may even do it already, and then stop once they're made to. Often accompanied by some rant against the government. Then they usually have some anecdotal evidence about why they don't do it, something that happened to a friend or that they read/heard about.

I have an uncle who won't wear seat belts because, he claims, a friend of his burned to death in a car accident after he couldn't get his seat belt off. Never mind the number of people who are saved wearing them, he knew a guy.
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#11 kodave

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 03:06 PM

Enough people have documented getting hit, on both motorcycle and bicycles, slamming their head on the ground, and having the helmet shatter or break, but their skulls end up fine. That's reason enough to wear one for me because knowing my luck, if I ended up in the same situation without a helmet, it would be my brains on the asphalt. Of course someone else would be lucky enough to not wear a helmet, get up, dust themselves off, and walk away. But I'll err on the side of caution that I'm going to be more like "Bad Luck Brian." Not everyone can be cool guys like the usual cast of characters here on CAG.

Helmets are not invisible force fields that are going to protect the rest of you or guarantee you won't get hurt, even in their head. If I get hit by a car, I don't expect the helmet to protect my body or prevent my neck from snapping. But if my head slams the road, at least the helmet will cushion that blow and prevent my brains from getting to know asphalt. For all of the insults like "Look at my new helmet and how shiny it is doesn't it match my new bike so nicely," you can flip the same douchebag mentality onto people who don't wear helmets: "Look how I'm not riding with a helmet. I'm so carefree in control of me and my shiny new bike. Fuck everything else, I'm invincible." And with perdition(troy's attitude toward helmet wearer and his following thoughts, he admits it could save his life but he'd rather just lose it all in case he were to become a quadriplegic. I'd rather wear the helmet, see if it helps/assists in keeps me alive, see what my injuries are, and if I don't want to live I'll take care of the rest later. If you don't want to wear a helmet, great, that's your call. I don't mock anyone for it. Your life, your risk, your decision. I don't know why non-helmet riders have such a hard on for going after helmet riders. It probably does have to do with the mentality of "no one can tell me to wear a helmet anymore. Fuck you for choosing to wear one."

And as for comparing the US to European countries, that doesn't even make sense. The US is so much bigger and more diverse than many European countries in terms of city structures, the number of autos on the roads, the availability of bike lanes, urban vs. suburban vs. rural, etc. when you're just talking about commuter biking. It would make more sense if people compared similar situations, like say, New York City vs. London (probably just central London and not the suburbs) instead of USA vs. UK. I wouldn't even consider NYC vs. LA a good comparison just because the cities couldn't be more different aside from being populous cities.

I'm actually shocked to hear you motorcyclists say you won't wear a helmet. I'm actually shocked that is even an option for you. In my state, you have to wear a helmet while riding. The only times I've seen people not wear a helmet is when they were just test riding a buddy's motorcycle in a residential neighborhood.


#12 Clak

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 03:08 PM

I'm actually shocked to hear you motorcyclists say you won't wear a helmet. I'm actually shocked that is even an option for you. In my state, you have to wear a helmet while riding. The only times I've seen people not wear a helmet is when they were just test riding a buddy's motorcycle in a residential neighborhood.

See my post above. Part of it is giving the finger to big gubment, part of it is them just being dumbasses. You think people like that really give a damn about the law?
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#13 irideabike

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 03:28 PM

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For sure on the to each their own. I don't mind if someone decides to wear a helmet, who am I to tell them what to do. Personally I don't think my quality of life is going to be worth living if I'm a quad. No one is going after helmet riders :-s

Also, wtf does "big gubment" have to do with wearing a helmet. I doubt anyone has ever decided to not wear a helmet to stick it to the man.
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#14 dohdough

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 03:44 PM

As someone that used to do some X-games-like stuff, I will never hit a skate park without a helmet. I've seen friends and people around me take enough serious spills to know that a helmet can save your life. It saved one kid from having his brains splattered all over the steps of my high school a couple years ago during a local skate competition I was at.

Given my propensity to want to do jumps when I'm on a bicycle, a helmet and elbow pads are a must. I couldn't give a shit how goofy people think I look.

edit: I think Clak's making the correlation that the people that complain about helmets also are the ones that complain about seatbeats, the overall pussification of AMURICA! and other nanny-state nonsense.

#15 irideabike

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 03:47 PM

As someone that used to do some X-games-like stuff, I will never hit a skate park without a helmet. I've seen friends and people around me take enough serious spills to know that a helmet can save your life. It saved one kid from having his brains splattered all over the steps of my high school a couple years ago during a local skate competition I was at.

Given my propensity to want to do jumps when I'm on a bicycle, a helmet and elbow pads are a must. I couldn't give a shit how goofy people think I look.


I can definitely understand wearing a helmet if that is how you plan to ride.
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#16 dohdough

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 03:54 PM

I can definitely understand wearing a helmet if that is how you plan to ride.

The biggest road hazard to me is myself.:lol:

#17 Confucius

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 04:27 PM

I used to ride. You could be the most careful, safest person on the road. But one dumb ass comes along, and they may not run you over completely and kill you, but they may just do something stupid enough to make you fall. In that case, your helmet could save your life.

It's not an all or nothing proposition.

I understand it's a personal preference and if people don't want to wear their helmets, that's cool. There's a long waiting list for organs.

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#18 Thekrakrabbit

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 05:16 AM

Helmets are always going to do more good then harm, it is foolish to think otherwise. There is little chance if you smash your head on the concrete that you are going to survive, but there is an even smaller, if statistically impossible chance of survival without a helmet.

That said, people who ride motorcycles are fools most of the time. Kids on bikes won't survive no matter what they're wearing if they get hit. But as far as motorcycles go, I see fools who weave in and out of traffic like it is GTA in a t-shirt and shorts all the time. I haven't witnessed an accident personally but I hear about somebody getting hit on a motorcycle a couple times a week, most of the time in the day...if you're going to ride you are already running a risk I don't understand why they try to speed through traffic like they are racing to stop a bomb from blowing up a building.

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#19 eldergamer

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 06:05 AM

Let's do an experiment.
I get to slam your head into the pavement 10 times with you wearing a helmet.
10 times without you wearing a helmet.

Afterwards, you tell me which was safer.

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#20 kodave

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 06:16 AM

Let's do an experiment.
I get to slam your head into the pavement 10 times with you wearing a helmet.
10 times without you wearing a helmet.

Afterwards, you tell me which was safer.


Joke's on you brah. I'm so hard headed I won't feel SHIT even without a helmet.

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#21 speedracer

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 12:16 PM

I know two people that would be dead without bike helmets. You're crazy not to wear one.
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#22 smallsharkbigbite

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 12:51 PM

Most accidents are at a slow speed, as such helmets are useful. Yeah, if you are going 150 mph and hit a semi head on it might not do much, but Big Ben would probably still have his front teeth if he would have been wearing a helmet.

There are risks in everything and a helmet may cause more harm than good in 1% of accidents. If you are above 18 and don't want to wear a helmet because of the 1% than do what you want. But if you have kids you should be required to make them wear a helmet.

This reminds me of the smoking argument. I know a 95 year old who smoked 4 packs a day so smoking can't possibly be bad for me. It's fun to make life decisions based on anomalies. Somebody just won 300+ million in the lottery, so it's definately a good decision to spend all your available money on the lottery.

#23 crunchewy

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 01:49 PM

Yeah, I now think this article is pretty bogus. The author is just finding the "facts" he wants. He's completely ignoring other factors such as the *much* higher ridership in Europe meaning that drivers are much more use to bikes being there and therefore probably hit them less, as well as cultural differences such as the attitude toward bicyclists in the US. Which is ironic given the quote that the article starts out with.

Plus when I was a kid, my dentist fell on his bike, hit his head on the curb (without helmet) and soon after died due to the head injury. A helmet definitely would have saved him. It's that type of accident where a bike helmet matters.
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#24 Clak

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 02:46 PM

As someone that used to do some X-games-like stuff, I will never hit a skate park without a helmet. I've seen friends and people around me take enough serious spills to know that a helmet can save your life. It saved one kid from having his brains splattered all over the steps of my high school a couple years ago during a local skate competition I was at.

Given my propensity to want to do jumps when I'm on a bicycle, a helmet and elbow pads are a must. I couldn't give a shit how goofy people think I look.

edit: I think Clak's making the correlation that the people that complain about helmets also are the ones that complain about seatbeats, the overall pussification of AMURICA! and other nanny-state nonsense.

You hammered the nail into the unhelmted head.;)
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#25 Guest_Pliskin101_*

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 04:22 PM

I never ride with a helmet on. The article makes sense, I love how it points out that car > helmet if you were to get hit. Helmets aren't much, I've never understood how a piece of plastic will protect me after I get hit by some moron in a car. You can do whatever you want as an adult (I'll never wear a helmet) but for my kids I will have them ride with helmets until 12-13 years old. A helmet will help when you are falling off at a slow speed, but they are pointless at higher speeds (which I do when I commute).


@nasum

Bike helmets are just there to be one more accessory for the adult bike rider to buy. "Look at my new helmet and how shiny it is doesn't it match my new bike so nicely".

I never wear one on my motorcycle. I figure if I get hit or do something stupid and flip my bike I'm dead either way. I don't want to be a quad, I just want everything to be done at that point.




You know if you don't have kids I wouldn't really care as much but if you do....It is no longer your choice so to speak. Take a timeout from your "logic" and do the right thing. Set an example and try to live a little longer so those kids will have a dad/mom for a long long time.

Specifically speaking to the motorcycle post. I would suggest STOP riding one but if you won't then again wear a damn helmet...for your kids. Again set an example and because they deserve to have a dad/mom in their lives.

edit: changed it to IF as your post is unclear if you do or are talking about in the future if you have kids.

Edited by Pliskin101, 22 June 2012 - 04:38 PM.


#26 irideabike

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 04:50 PM

No kids yet. Upon having kids, the motorcycle will be retired (the law of the land, according to my wife).
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#27 Ced

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 05:27 PM

Of everything that could piss me off about the article, the thing that irks me is that he has a works cited (with a whopping 2 citations) yet doesn't properly cite the articles in text. Written way too many research papers to not notice that.

#28 KingDox

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Posted 23 June 2012 - 12:15 AM

Go watch an episode of Tosh.0 and see how many people who wipe out on bikes, boards and skates don't have helmets on. And see how F'd up they get.

I know there was a video of a guy losing it on a bike wearing no shrit speeding on the road and then wipe out. I bet he thought full leathers were a waist of money and hid his awesome bod. Well I'm sure he loves not wearing a shirt and showing off his skin grafts now.

#29 NinjaPenguin777

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Posted 23 June 2012 - 12:37 AM

Anyone that rides a motorcycle with no helmet should talk to an ER doctor. That'll change your mind. Those idiots that wear shorts and short sleeves shirts should especially. If people chose not to wear helmets that's fine by me. Fewer idiots to spread their DNA to the world

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#30 Blade

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Posted 23 June 2012 - 04:56 AM

Why is this even a topic? Even dullahans wear helmets to protect their smoke.

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