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    • CommentAuthorslobiker
    • CommentTimeMay 23rd 2011 edited
     
    Just got out of the hospital today. Left on Thursday for a 3 day camping trip. Everything went swimmingly until Saturday.

    I made 2 really bad decisions for that Saturday. (1) I elected to ride 62 miles - while lugging 50 lbs of camping gear - from Julian to Potrero near Tecate. (2) I decided to include a sight-seeing ride in the course of those 62 miles over the Sunrise Highway.

    When I finally passed Pine Valley I was exhausted (the Sunrise Highway involves a lot of climbing... although unloaded it's a beautiful ride). Still, I was determined to travel the remaining 25 miles or so to Potrero. I got as far as Campo. Then somehow I crashed and knocked myself unconscious. When I came to, 2 gentlemen were directing traffic around me.

    I got airlifted to Sharps Kearny Mesa and until about 3 hours ago that's where I stayed. Cat scans showed bleeding from the brain... never good.

    People, all this in spite of wearing a helmet. If I hadn't been wearing a helmet I probably would have killed myself. I can't emphasize enough: WEAR the damn helmet!!
    •  
      CommentAuthorPaul
    • CommentTimeMay 23rd 2011
     
    Wow. Holy shit and message received! Sympathies and best wishes.
    •  
      CommentAuthorVelo Cult
    • CommentTimeMay 23rd 2011
     
    I'm here typing today because I wear my helmet.

    I hope you fully heal and quickly.
    •  
      CommentAuthorbatmick
    • CommentTimeMay 23rd 2011
     
    What VC said!

    Glad you made it through and I hope you'll be back in the saddle again soon.
    • CommentAuthorslobiker
    • CommentTimeMay 23rd 2011
     
    batmick:What VC said!

    Glad you made it through and I hope you'll be back in the saddle again soon.


    The docs say: no bicycle-ANYTHING for 6 weeks. That is the true cost of my stupid decisions... although I bet I'm not going to be too happy with the insurance deductible.

    But no complaints:face-angel: Without the helmet things would have been much worse.
    •  
      CommentAuthorVelo Cult
    • CommentTimeMay 23rd 2011
     
    I have a life long head injury that will plague me every single waking minute of my life but at least I'm alive. That was WITH a helmet. I would have died three different times now. The first time I was only 15 years old, that's the one that gave me the lifelong injury. Sure would have sucked to have missed these last 20 years of my life I'll tell you that. My Wife, my kid, my friends, etc.....
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      CommentAuthorPacMUle
    • CommentTimeMay 23rd 2011
     
    best wishes! i hope you heal fast & well... helmets have kept my dome together more than once. last time i crashed, if not for the helmet, i would have literally smashed my face in... the helmet had a hard brim, a Bern, if not for that i would have more than likely had to have reconstructive surgery... really glad to hear you came out alive & kicking though! im sure you will be back in the saddle in no time...
  1.  
    Rest and heal quickly. You'll be back on the saddle in no time....Now I can show this thread to my son and have him read what happened to you...
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      CommentAuthorKathy
    • CommentTimeMay 23rd 2011
     
    I ditto what Mark says - rest and get well quick! Hope to see you out soon!
    • CommentAuthorslobiker
    • CommentTimeMay 24th 2011
     
    Thank you, everyone. As markphillips suggests, use my experience as an example for loved ones who - for whatever reason - don't think it's "cool" to wear a helmet.

    I agree they're silly-looking things, but they kept my noggin in one piece. And one day they might save yours:face-angel: (or already have!)
    •  
      CommentAuthorbilld
    • CommentTimeMay 24th 2011
     
    Here's an interesting response to Mikael Colville Andersen's TEDx talk:

    http://www.bhsi.org/danish.htm
    • CommentAuthorMcLovin
    • CommentTimeMay 24th 2011
     
    Wow, glad you're relatively OK, slo!

    I completely agree with all that's been said about helmet use. Just wear the damn thing!
    •  
      CommentAuthorbikingbill
    • CommentTimeMay 24th 2011
     
    Ride with a helmet ... but ride like you don't have one on.

    Does that make sense?

    I agree with Andersen's conclusions, but I don't see a negative in using a helmet as long as I don't take chances because I have one on.
  2.  
    slobiker,

    Best wishes for a full and fast recovery. I enjoy reading your blog (http://bicyclecampingsandiegocounty.blogspot.com/) and hope you're back out riding soon.

    Your advocating to wear a helmet when riding is a good idea. I've got a buddy who refuses to wear one and it sets a bad example for his ten year old son. (Drives his wife nuts and makes getting the kid to wear one that much harder.)

    Since I've been getting reacquainted with riding, both short and intermediate distances, I'm always wearing my new helmet. (As well as gloves, eye protection, and good shoes. I'll be getting a high visibility vest soon.)

    I hope all goes well for you!

    OKB
    • CommentAuthort.e.d
    • CommentTimeMay 24th 2011
     
    Sorry to hear that Slo. Glad you're okay. Hope to see you back in the saddle soon.
  3.  
    Slo, count me as another fan of your blog who wishes you a speedy recovery!
  4.  
    Since the helmet question is one of the most fiercely debated and polarized issues in transportation bicycling, the question is, which is more important: personal freedom or a precautionary approach that mandates defensive cycling? Should the government step in to enforce head protection or should the onus be on the individual? Read more

    • CommentAuthorPraxis
    • CommentTimeMay 25th 2011
     
    OK, I've got a question for y'all: what's the coolest helmet? No, not the "coolest", but--literally--the coolest? My helmet's coming up on its 10 year anniversary, and when I get hot (which is usual), the sweat drips down and just burns my eyes. A headband helps, but it seems to just delay the inevitable.

    I've heard that better helmets can actually keep your head cooler than no helmet would. Any good ones, and/or ones with built in sweat remediation?
    •  
      CommentAuthorbatmick
    • CommentTimeMay 25th 2011
     
    Yes, the better helmets are generally the better ventilated ones. Thing is, the more holes you put in, the better (= more expensive) the rest of the structure has to be to still serve its purpose. Personally I swear by the Giro Atmos.
    But you need to find the one that best fits your head. Within a certain price/quality range the different makers have very similar models but the respective fit differs and you need to decide.
    Total sweat avoidance will not work, I have the same problem. There are some bands and similar gadgets but I have not tested any. When it gets really bad I pull over and wipe the forehead down. Maybe my head shape is good in that respect, most of it by passes my eyes.
    •  
      CommentAuthorVelo Cult
    • CommentTimeMay 25th 2011
     
    I tend to spend around $90-100 for my helmets which puts me in a good range of comfortable and ventilated. For some reason they make the cheaper helmets less comfortable which I find odd. I also shoot for helmets that gave a good amount of padding up across the forehead to absorb sweat. Every so ofter I push on the front of my helmet against my head while my head is bowed down to release the sweat from this big pad and then quick wipe the leftovers with my glove and keep on going. Some helmets I've had this doesn't work and I find it incredibly annoying to have sweat slowing dripping into my eyes throughout the ride. With the right kind of helmet I'm far more comfortable wearing it than riding without out it. Not wearing a helmet means the sweat drops into my eyes too. Oh, and I don't wear glasses when I ride. I don't know how anybody does, I sweat far too much and need to wipe my face with the terrycloth of my glove.
  5.  
    Since you guys are on the helmet subject any news on the YAKKAY helmets???
    •  
      CommentAuthorVelo Cult
    • CommentTimeMay 25th 2011
     
    I carried them but no longer do. They were WAY too expensive for their deplorable quality. The fabric covers were OK quality but the helmet itself was horrible. Well, horrible for the $175 price tag I should say. They were more like $25 quality.

    Now we carry Lazer helmets which are much higher quality and only $60. They are doing it right. The covers are not interchangeable but you can nearly buy 3 of them for the price of only one Yakkay/cover.


    •  
      CommentAuthorbikingbill
    • CommentTimeMay 25th 2011
     
    Praxis:OK, I've got a question for y'all: what's the coolest helmet? No, not the "coolest", but--literally--the coolest? My helmet's coming up on its 10 year anniversary, and when I get hot (which is usual), the sweat drips down and just burns my eyes. A headband helps, but it seems to just delay the inevitable.

    I've heard that better helmets can actually keep your head cooler than no helmet would. Any good ones, and/or ones with built in sweat remediation?


    I snagged a Bell Road helmet at REI that was much cooler than the MTB helmet I had before. So cool that often I have to tap my head to make sure I even have it on.
    • CommentAuthort.e.d
    • CommentTimeMay 25th 2011
     
    Just my .02, I have been wearing a skate-style helmet for a while now for two reasons. One, no "ridges" in my hair when I get to work. Two, They are designed to protect your head from impacts to the side and rear of your head, whereas bike helmets are only tested for impacts to the top/front, which is RARELY where you will receive the impact.
  6.  
    Reasons to not wear a helmet:
    A.) Motorists do not treat cyclists with helmets the same way they treat cyclists without helmets
      -there has been at least one study (forgive my lack of citations, just wanted to chip in here) that shows cars give cyclists extra distance when they see a lack of helmet. The idea here is that a driver sees a cyclist wearing a helmet, assumes they are intrinsically safer, and feels comfortable enough to drive closer to the helmeted cyclist.

    B.) The helmet actually increases risk of neck/spinal injury, while not preventing damage from common impacts (ie. That side impact thing ted just mentioned, which is much more common in the case of car/bicycle crashes).
      -What's being said here refers to the angular momentum of your head perched on top of your spine. A helmet effectively makes the diameter of your impactable head slightly wider. Therefore, if you have an impact to your head that will cause your neck to twist (as is likely in a car/bicycle collision), because your head will be hit further out, it will twist atop your neck at greater speed/force. In addition to this is the simple lack of side crush impact protection that is present in BMX and skate-style helmets.

    C.) Comfort/safety. Honestly, I feel that helmets affect my hearing- behind me specifically. Also, if your helmet is uncofortable, or you are just uncomfortable wearing one, it will serve as a distraction that can seriously increase your risk of accident out there on the road.

    "But wait, Hippy!" You say, recalling that I always wear a helmet. "If there're so many strong reasons to be helmet free, what're you doing?!"


    I crashed my electric bike at Tourmaline beach a while back, helmet free. No head injuries, thank goodness, but I did make some hamburger meat out of my left arm. I started wearing a helmet more and more after that, and here are my new thoughts.

    A.) So I didn't have a citation for that 'study' mentioned up there... Well, I can tell you, as far as I can perceive, its true! Cars do seem to give me more space on the road when I'm not wearing my headgear. BUT, they also treat me like more of an idiot. We've all been treated like idiots by cars (eg. When a car waits at a green light, having seen you roll up to a red, and trys to wave you through the intersection like they're doing you a favor. Grrr...). I find this sort of thing happens much more frequently when I'm helmet-less.

    B.) I had a fall like slo's... and all my best wishes are with him for so many reasons. I regained conciousness with two gentlemen assisting me and the helmet had saved my life. I swerved around the pothole with my front wheel, hit it with my rear, wobbled for a bit before I hooked it and flew over the handlebars. I landed headfirst.
    I would be dead, and the helmet saved me. Can't say it enough. I would be dead and the helmet saved me. If I were hit by a car, it probably wouldn't have. But we should all know to view all moving vehicles on the road with caution, and when that fails, a fullface motorcycle helmet usually won't save you.
    The angular momentum argument is really only applicable in car/bicycle collisions. Most of those collisions will mess you up regardless. Other crashes are just as likely, and that's what cycling helmets protect against. The height you sit at on your bike is far enough from the ground to kill you from falling at a standstill. Protect yourself.

    C.) Pick the right helmet for you. Get used to it. Embrace it. And remember that the helmet is for the times when all else fails. We all need to be cautious out there. Ride safe, have fun, and when those fail, you're gonna want a helmet!
    • CommentAuthorslobiker
    • CommentTimeMay 26th 2011 edited
     
    Hippy, I couldn't have said it better myself. Thank you. And thanks, everyone, for your words of encouragement.

    Incidentally, in spite of my mishap I still managed to have a lot of fun this last camping trip. Please check out the blog: www.bicyclecampingsandiegocounty.blogspot.com. Here's something interesting I happended to run across:

    Preparing to hang-glide from Kumeyaay Viewpoint
    • CommentAuthorHMeins
    • CommentTimeMay 27th 2011
     
    The best ventilated helmet I own is the LAS Haxial. It also has bug screen in the vents. I hate it when a bee flies into a vent and I have to make an emergency stop and take the helmet off before I get stung.

    Another favorite is the Limar F-111.

    Finally, the Briko Twinner I'm wearing today has great ventilation as well.

    I've heard the Catlike Kompact is a well ventilated lid, but it's not the right shape for my bean.

    As of yet I haven't experienced a serious header crash, but helmets have saved Jolie's brain twice, according to the ER docs who treated her.
    •  
      CommentAuthorPacMUle
    • CommentTimeJun 7th 2011
     
    http://www.bikerumor.com/2011/06/07/is-cardboard-the-future-of-bicycle-helmets/
    this seems like a really good idea... expecially if it is stronger like they say. though the shell they show in the pic looks like an easy bake oven for your head.
    •  
      CommentAuthorbikingbill
    • CommentTimeJun 7th 2011
     
    Could use corrugated plastic as well. Very light.

    But yeah, the ventilation looks like a real issue.
    •  
      CommentAuthorVelo Cult
    • CommentTimeJun 7th 2011
     
    That test ignores the fact that helmets are designed to absorb impact not look good after the crash.
    •  
      CommentAuthorbikingbill
    • CommentTimeJun 7th 2011
     
    Velo Cult:That test ignores the fact that helmets are designed to absorb impact not look good after the crash.


    The G-Forces imparted to the 'test' head with the cardboard helmet were about 35% of the conventional one. That's a significant improvement.
    •  
      CommentAuthorthreeflys
    • CommentTimeJun 8th 2011
     
    I'm not sure which version of Lazer Helmet Sky carries, but I really love my O2 model that has the RollSys retention system... the RollSys tightens a band around your head instead of smashing your forehead against the front of the helmet like a Bell/Giro/etc... not saying it's right for everyone, but man, I don't know if I'll ever go back to anything else...

    BTW- I had an over the bars moment on the 56 trail because of one of the many ridges sticking up... I cracked my previous Lazer O2 and had a concussion for a bit, I don't want to think about what would have happened without the helmet on... I have a wife and two girls at home... Lazer does have a crash-replacement program BTW...
    • CommentAuthort.e.d
    • CommentTimeJun 8th 2011
     
    Why do road helmets insist on having those ridiculous pointy backs? They make you look like some kind of anime character. Biggest pet peeve with helmets.
    • CommentAuthorHMeins
    • CommentTimeJun 8th 2011
     
    Aerodynamics.
    •  
      CommentAuthorthreeflys
    • CommentTimeJun 8th 2011
     
    I'd say looks... if something looks fast (swept back), it will sell to those who want to think they race...

    I actually like it compared to a boring flat back... but, that's just me...
    • CommentAuthorsachi
    • CommentTimeJun 8th 2011
     
    I just bought a new one. The back is rather less pointed than the old one (which was about 2-1/2 years old.) Both are Bells.
    •  
      CommentAuthorbatmick
    • CommentTimeJun 8th 2011
     
    It probably also has to do with the channeling of air.

    Forced ventilation is why with some modern helmets you actually get better cooling with helmet than without one.
    •  
      CommentAuthorbikingbill
    • CommentTimeJun 8th 2011
     
    Yeah, I have to check to see if I'm even wearing the helmet. The ventilation is that good.
    • CommentAuthort.e.d
    • CommentTimeJun 8th 2011
     
    wpstoll:Aerodynamics.


    ... obviously. Problem is, to realize the aerodynamic properties of the design, one would have to travel much faster than one can on a bike. I equate it to factory spoilers on sports cars. More for looks than function. If it were really about aero, we'd all be wearing TT buckets.
    •  
      CommentAuthorbilld
    • CommentTimeJun 8th 2011
     
    I wonder if it's to give better protection when hitting the back of your head? It is the thinnest part of the skull.
    •  
      CommentAuthorPacMUle
    • CommentTimeJun 8th 2011
     
    billd:I wonder if it's to give better protection when hitting the back of your head? It is the thinnest part of the skull.


    i always though it was a bad idea... seems to me like if you did land on the back of your head that it would twist your neck real bad... i hate the bell that i have! someone gave it to me after i busted my bern. glad to have a helmet that is relatively cool on the noggin, but i dont really feel safe with it...
    •  
      CommentAuthorSigurd
    • CommentTimeJun 8th 2011
     
    t.e.d:Why do road helmets insist on having those ridiculous pointy backs? They make you look like some kind of anime character. Biggest pet peeve with helmets.
    The bicycle products offered to the mass market - bikes, accessories and apparel - are of course just mindlessly mimicking that of the professional riders, whether it makes sense for the average rider or not (or even if it is merely mandated by the UCI), in both form and function: It is up to each individual cyclist to decide if he wishes to buy into that trickle-down commercialism or not.
  7.  
    My new superman hat!


    I realized a few years ago, that it doesn't matter if it actually looks cool, you just gotta rock it out and be cool. The style accessory becomes cool by extension.

    This helmet is waaaaay coooooool!
    •  
      CommentAuthorVelo Cult
    • CommentTimeJun 10th 2011
     
    People always ask us if we have a mirror so they can see how they look in a helmet. I give them the bathroom keys but I always say "No helmet is going make you look better". That kind of snaps them out of the idea the helmet is a fashion accessory and it's somehow going to get them laid.
    • CommentAuthorMcLovin
    • CommentTimeJun 22nd 2011
     
    Here's an interesting article written by a guy living with a brain injury after just riding down his street with no helmet on. :face-plain:

    http://www.dirtragmag.com/webrag/life-traumatic-brain-injury
    •  
      CommentAuthorSigurd
    • CommentTimeNov 2nd 2011
     
    Bicycle deaths (per bn. km) and helmet use in select countries:



    Source: @fietsersbond
    •  
      CommentAuthorbikingbill
    • CommentTimeNov 2nd 2011
     
    Sigurd:Bicycle deaths (per bn. km) and helmet use in select countries:



    Source: @fietsersbond


    Picture not working.
    •  
      CommentAuthorbilld
    • CommentTimeNov 2nd 2011 edited
     
    ...
    •  
      CommentAuthorSigurd
    • CommentTimeNov 3rd 2011
     
    @copenhagenize poll:

    "Take the poll: More people in helmets or more people on bicycles":

    http://polldaddy.com/poll/849685/
  8.  
    I think head injuries suck, so I wear a helmet, almost always. Since I wear a helmet as a rule, I have never had trouble getting my kids to wear theirs. I have a regular dorky MTB helmet for "sweaty" rides, and I always wear a bandana over my head under the helmet. It soaks up sweat for 45-60 minutes. For longer rides, I carry another bandana or two and change it out. You can use the spare bandana like a handkerchief to wipe sweat from your face before it gets used under the helmet. I also use a classic Michael Jordan-esque sweat band on my wrist to wipe sweat away---more effective than terry gloves. The bandana under the helmet provides some sun cover for those parts of your head with thinning hair that are exposed through the vents. When dry, the bandana has a heating effect, but once wet it doesn't seem to contribute to heat retention. For leisurely "non sweaty" rides, I like a BMX/skate helmet. It doesn't really look any less dorky (on a middle aged man), but I like to think it gives me a dangerous aura, and, as mentioned above, there is less of a "helmet head" effect on the hair with this type of helmet. The downside with this type of helmet is there is no built-in visor. I don't think it should be an absolute rule for people to wear helmets to ride a bike. But I think if you're doing anything remotely aggressive (riding hard, doing stunts, riding with traffic, riding fast without traffic), the odds are you will eventually fall and hit your head. Oh, and I tend to buy last year's close-out mid-range helmets for $20-25, then retire them after a couple of years. I don't believe that the more expensive helmets are better engineered than the midrange ones. The midrange ones seem to have the same vent pattern as the more expensive ones, but with some of the vent areas filled in by foam. I'm guessing that this design philosophy allows the same molds to be used to make helmets at multiple price points, just by controlling the number of open vents. In fact, I suspect that the more expensive helmets are made (at least in some cases) by machining out the filled-in "vents" of the lesser helmets, prior to attaching the hard shell.