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Well, apart from it being a good place to mount the camera which had a flat battery by this point, I have a feeling it saved me a trip to a hospital at the very least.

Quick sum up - I got hit across the back of the head by a high mounted van wing mirror at a speed differential of around 40mph.

Longer - I crested a hump back bridge towards the end of a long ride (for me) of 25 miles. The bridge is pretty narrow and double white lines adorn the roadway. I take primary when crossing it to avoid stupid passes. After the crest I'll move over if I see nothing coming the other way.

Today I was a bit slower than usual due to muscles claiming that 100 miles in 3 days is too much (I'm trying to work up for a 70 mile day towing a trailer in the summer). I moved over as I sped up and before I saw the Yaris coming the other way.

A good thing I did. A van came over the bridge behind me at full revs and apparently trying to catch air. If any brain cells in the driver's brain did engage, I can only assume they went "Oh S***" as he realised he was landing with no control head on into a Yaris or rear ending a bike.

So he did the only *sensible* thing *cough*. He accelerated through the erm... gap.

I got a very hard smack on the head from his wing mirror and the Yaris ended up taking emergency avoiding action onto the pavement.

The lady driving the Yaris blew out a tyre and may have knackered some suspension.

The van shattered his wing mirror and passenger window (the mounting sprang round on impact and caved it in.).

I have the attached image of my helmet.

I *think* that's an imprint of the interior workings of the mirror where it hasn't just gone to pieces vertically.

I'm not an advocate of compulsory helmets. The chances of this incident are stupidly slim that this isn't an argument in favour of wearing them all the time either (even when riding a bike!)

I get the feeling that something taking lots of the impact, distributing the energy and breaking apart that wasn't my skull was probably a good thing. It's also occurred to me that the 12mph rating is into the ground. That's a sudden stop. An estimated 40mph energy differential is a lot less energy given that the impacting item was sprung and only a few Kg in spite of what it was attached to.

Tomorrow... I may not be out on my bike. I have a bit of a headache. The day after. I'll be out. I won't be wearing a helmet. I haven't got a spare.

82 comments

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bashthebox [752 posts] 2 years ago
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Christ, sounds like you got very lucky - all three of you did, by the sounds of it. What a tool that van driver is.

Look, I'm not one for arguing for compulsory helmet use, but clearly your life was just saved by a helmet, and you're still saying they're a daft idea? I'm not quite sure I understand you...

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a.jumper [846 posts] 2 years ago
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Looks like the damage is mostly above the ear? If so, it might have missed a smaller unhelmeted head. Did the police attend and arrest the reckless driver?

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pakennedy [166 posts] 2 years ago
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I'm not saying they're a daft idea. Wearing one should be a risk assessment that you take for yourself. I'll be riding around for quite some time without one. There's no point in putting mine on is there? I may be a pavement cyclist in some spots where I'd just have taken primary for a while.

I clearly just avoided a potentially life threatening injury. I would like the roads to be safe for my 10 year old daughter to cycle over the 3 miles on her own to my place. They aren't. I just don't understand how to make things feel as safe as they did in the early 80's when I got the start on my road craft

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pakennedy [166 posts] 2 years ago
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*wavy lines* Damn. Caught.

My Grandad was in the royal engineers and had a shed full of tools.He made me all sorts of presents and toys.

He also made me my first bike. It was a Dutch style frame. Much too big for me until that sudden "OH!" moment and the world was mine.

He maintained it and taught me for years. After he died, the chain snapped. I could have fixed it but my grandma had sold his tools and it was a hand made chain! The cog teeth were a custom distance too.

I miss that bike that was built entirely in a garage.

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Quiddle [9 posts] 2 years ago
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"The chances of this incident are stupidly slim..."

Not that slim.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-25816281

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andycoventry [110 posts] 2 years ago
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pakennedy wrote:

I clearly just avoided a potentially life threatening injury.

Gets hit on head and accepts helmet "saved me a trip to a hospital at the very least". Decision is not to wear a helmet in the future.

That makes not one shred of sense to me sorry.......

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glynr36 [637 posts] 2 years ago
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bashthebox wrote:

, but clearly your life was just saved by a helmet.

pakennedy wrote:

I clearly just avoided a potentially life threatening injury.

Why does this illogical argument always come out?
You don't know the helmet saved your life, unless you want to go test the hypothesis...

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andyp [1473 posts] 2 years ago
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glynr36 wrote:
bashthebox wrote:

, but clearly your life was just saved by a helmet.

pakennedy wrote:

I clearly just avoided a potentially life threatening injury.

Why does this illogical argument always come out?
You don't know the helmet saved your life, unless you want to go test the hypothesis...

The first one is farcical. The second is correct, as the word 'potentially' is included.

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Simon E [2898 posts] 2 years ago
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andycoventry wrote:

Gets hit on head and accepts helmet "saved me a trip to a hospital at the very least". Decision is not to wear a helmet in the future.

That makes not one shred of sense to me sorry.......

Read it properly. He didn't say he decided not to wear one.

Quiddle, the odds of this happening are incredibly slim, despite what all the fear-mongers say. Using news websites that report RTCs and individual anecdotes is not the way to come to a logical conclusion. For every "I got knocked off" story there are millions of miles cycled without incident (though that's not to say we should be complacent!).

The benefit of a piece of polystyrene saving you from serious injury in the event of an impact is not great.... and yet I still ponder whether it's better than nothing. Would you prefer the wing mirror to hit your head or the helmet? I don't know. But I'm in favour of choice and vehemently against compulsion.

To the OP: have you had a check-up at the GP? Also sometimes injuries - whiplash or something worse - don't surface until after the incident.

And as for making things feel safe, then join CTC and/or be vocal in calling for better road safety, better infrastructure and better driving. The more people stop tolerating the current attitude (that cars rule and everyone else gets screwed) the sooner things will change. Arguing about helmets will not stop this sort of thing happening.

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mooleur [537 posts] 2 years ago
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I'm a bit confused at everyone's [probably unnecessary] arguments but to the OP - I hope you're OK  2 what a horrendous thing to happen, I hope it hasn't shaken you up too much  2

On the subject of helmets, it's completely each to their own surely. Unless you're racing you have that option. I really don't see why it's always up for so much debate. We have a choice, we make our decisions, that's that.

It's the same reason I wear shoes every day, because I want to.

Personally I wear one with gusto after having my first split in two by the impact of being run over. Knowing that that could have been my skull scares me into the conclusion that it is better for me to wear one. If I ever have kids I'll teach them the same.

It might not help me if a motorbike in TT week comes at me round a blind bend at 90mph, but it might help me if an 80yo in his Honda Jazz pulls out of his driveway without seeing me, in this case, every little helps.

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mooleur [537 posts] 2 years ago
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Simon E wrote:

And as for making things feel safe, then join CTC and/or be vocal in calling for better road safety, better infrastructure and better driving. The more people stop tolerating the current attitude (that cars rule and everyone else gets screwed) the sooner things will change. Arguing about helmets will not stop this sort of thing happening.

Well said Simon E!

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therevokid [982 posts] 2 years ago
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wasn't that how Cracknell got "clobbered" too in the States ??

Glad you're ok ...

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themartincox [533 posts] 2 years ago
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I took a guys wing-mirror off as he overtook me coming off a dual carriageway - it shattered into pieces with an almighty bang as it hit my handlebars (thankfully not me)

my guy didn't stop (!!!!)

did yours?

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giff77 [1258 posts] 2 years ago
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Really glad you're ok pakennedy. Also hope you've had yourself checked out.

This instance simply reinforces how many poor drivers are out there. To hit a narrow hump back bridge at speed is idiocy at its highest. What happened to exercising caution? Not only has he injured another road user, but he has also caused another to take evasive action and damage their own vehicle. One hates to think of what could have happened.

Hopefully the police were involved as well and van man will now be awaiting a summons if the CPS get their act together. Regardless of the simmering helmet debate we need to see changes in how authorities make our roads safer through infrastructure and legislation.

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pakennedy [166 posts] 2 years ago
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After throwing up dinner I ended up in an ambulance anyway. Concussion.

Some swelling to the brain shown in an MRI. Paracetamol advised as it is an anti-inflammatory.

My blood pressure was also really low which is odd for me since I can usually be used as a demonstration of text book normal.

The top of my right shoulder is a lovely shade of purple and my neck hurts like hell.

The Yaris driver who was run off the road has rung me. There's about £2000 damage to her car with a snapped drive shaft, bent wishbone etc. It'll have to go on a jig to re-align the everything... I've made an over the phone statement to her insurer and will be signing a summary statement when it comes in the post. They assured me that her no-claims should be OK courtesy of that as there's some kind of system for hit and run claims.

CSI (Sorry, Scientific services) have the remains of my helmet cam and are trying to pull out anything from it.

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movingtarget [144 posts] 2 years ago
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Um, looking at your helmet, it I've got the picture right, looks like the back/right of the helmet sustained the impact from the mirror? That translates to the occipital and temporal bones of your skull. The temporal bone is the thinnest part of your skull although fortunately the thinnest part of the temporal bone extends toward your forehead as it wings forward. There's also a very big artery that runs underneath that thin part of the skull so if he had hit you a few inches closer to the forehead on the side of your head, without a helmet you'd almost certainly have broken the temporal bone there and ruptured the middle cerebral artery which can easily be fatal (no where for released blood from the artery to go because of the closed space of the skull and so the softest thing inside, the brain, gets squished). This type of injury can happen with being hit on the side of the head by a trained hand-to-hand fighter, beer bottle, fly ball ... so it really doesn't have to take that much force. Sounds like you were very lucky (in an unlucky way) and if it were me I'd be shopping for a replacement lid. Concussion effects can linger (headaches, dizziness, probs concentrating) and I'm assuming A&E gave you a list of warning signs to come back in for but hopefully you'll be back in the bike soon.

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fukawitribe [1957 posts] 2 years ago
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a.jumper wrote:

Looks like the damage is mostly above the ear? If so, it might have missed a smaller unhelmeted head.

In the picture i'm looking at there is a large amount of damage at the rear of the helmet as well as by the the right ear. Assuming that rear damage was caused by the impact ("I got hit across the back of the head") I am at a loss to imagine a head small enough to avoid being hit whilst still large enough to control a bike.

Regardless, best wishes to the OP.

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Simon E [2898 posts] 2 years ago
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movingtarget wrote:

Concussion effects can linger (headaches, dizziness, probs concentrating) and I'm assuming A&E gave you a list of warning signs to come back in for but hopefully you'll be back in the bike soon.

Absolutely.

Don't underestimate how long those effects can hang around, or even reappear.

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southseabythesea [150 posts] 2 years ago
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pakennedy wrote:

My blood pressure was also really low which is odd for me since I can usually be used as a demonstration of text book normal.

That would be shock, your body does that.

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pakennedy [166 posts] 2 years ago
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southseabythesea wrote:
pakennedy wrote:

My blood pressure was also really low which is odd for me since I can usually be used as a demonstration of text book normal.

That would be shock, your body does that.

Yep. I'm still suffering a bit. My shoulder is now a lovely rainbow of colours. I'm still a bit dizzy at times but the headache is gone.

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pakennedy [166 posts] 2 years ago
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Simon E wrote:
movingtarget wrote:

Concussion effects can linger (headaches, dizziness, probs concentrating) and I'm assuming A&E gave you a list of warning signs to come back in for but hopefully you'll be back in the bike soon.

Absolutely.

Don't underestimate how long those effects can hang around, or even reappear.

I'm looking at my bike longingly. I *want* to go out but my balance is a bit dubious. I'd be more of a danger than I'd like so.. on foot it is.

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mooleur [537 posts] 2 years ago
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Ah you poor thing  2

Get lots of ice cream, cake and tea in you....just because. Really hope what evidence there is helps the police to give this crazy van fool his dues. >.<

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pakennedy [166 posts] 2 years ago
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Just had a phone call from the police. They stopped a drunk driver a few miles away. Damage is consistent with my incident. They've called in the lady who was driving in the opposite direction for an identity parade she didn't get a good look at the driver either.

They are coming to pick up my bike and what I was wearing for scientific services to look at too. The white paint on my pedal and possible bits of mirror in my clothing could be useful.

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balmybaldwin [176 posts] 2 years ago
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Good news they are looking into it properly

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darrenleroy [216 posts] 2 years ago
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andycoventry wrote:
pakennedy wrote:

I clearly just avoided a potentially life threatening injury.

Gets hit on head and accepts helmet "saved me a trip to a hospital at the very least". Decision is not to wear a helmet in the future.

That makes not one shred of sense to me sorry.......

He didn't decide not to wear a helmet for ever, just until he gets around to buying a new one I expect. It was a freak occurrence that will probably happen just once in his cycling history. If we take the argument to its logical conclusion the way to really stay safe and reduce the chance of head injury is to sell his bike and stay indoors. Forever.

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bfslxo [144 posts] 2 years ago
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pakennedy wrote:

Just had a phone call from the police. They stopped a drunk driver a few miles away. Damage is consistent with my incident. They've called in the lady who was driving in the opposite direction for an identity parade she didn't get a good look at the driver either.

They are coming to pick up my bike and what I was wearing for scientific services to look at too. The white paint on my pedal and possible bits of mirror in my clothing could be useful.

If it is your guy then it looks like his day has just gone from bad to worse for been drunk as well, which probably will cause him more difficulty even he had taken u out completely (again assuming it is the same person) at least the old bill took it seriously (probably the fact another car was damaged really!!) but either way glad it worked out ok for u (well technically!) I believe the helmet certainly made a serious difference in how you are now.
Good health to getting back on the bike

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pakennedy [166 posts] 2 years ago
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Helmet replaced. I'm still a bit wobbly so not out on the bike yet.

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PhilRuss [391 posts] 2 years ago
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[[[[[ I've just thrown me right leg over the saddle, ready to move off from kerbside, and I'm clonked on back of head by wing-mirror of lorry passing at about 8mph. Lorry then stops 20 feet past me (traffic gridlock). No helmet, no injury, but I'm far king annoyed....I ride up alongside the driver, his window's open, and I ask him if he noticed that he just hit hit my head. His eyes are unfocussed, his speech slurred. He thinks for a moment, and then says," thash yer own fault, for riding backwards", and drives away.
I have several other true stories that are every bit as thrilling to read about.
P.R.

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Paul J [908 posts] 2 years ago
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A friend of mine had something similar happen. They were hit by the wing mirror of a Dublin bus. Though the mirror can move a bit, it was fairly rigidly mounted. He had to go hospital and suffered from a concussion for a couple of days.

Thing is, this happened to him as he was waiting at a bus stop, as a pedestrian. The bus had pulled in toward the kerb to stop at the next stop, perhaps 20 metres further down. He was looking away, and he got clattered on the back of the head.

All those commentators here who are so eager to draw the conclusion from the cyclist's story here that helmets should be worn, will they also conclude that pedestrians should wear helmets? I'm pretty sure that whatever efficacy helmets have for cyclists, they must equally apply to pedestrians who get knocked on the head. So, by the logic of many commenting here, they surely ought to also be calling for pedestrian helmets?

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PhilRuss [391 posts] 2 years ago
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Paul J wrote:

A friend of mine had something similar happen. They were hit by the wing mirror of a Dublin bus. Though the mirror can move a bit, it was fairly rigidly mounted. He had to go hospital and suffered from a concussion for a couple of days.

Thing is, this happened to him as he was waiting at a bus stop, as a pedestrian. The bus had pulled in toward the kerb to stop at the next stop, perhaps 20 metres further down. He was looking away, and he got clattered on the back of the head.

All those commentators here who are so eager to draw the conclusion from the cyclist's story here that helmets should be worn, will they also conclude that pedestrians should wear helmets? I'm pretty sure that whatever efficacy helmets have for cyclists, they must equally apply to pedestrians who get knocked on the head. So, by the logic of many commenting here, they surely ought to also be calling for pedestrian helmets?

[[[[[ Spot on, squire!
P.R.

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