Home

Hi all,

Well, after a few years of messing around on a mountain bike, i've taken the plunge and shelled out a nice £800 on my first serious bike, the Genesys Croix De Fer 20, which i'll commute and play on each day.
I get this on Monday, so i've been doing a lot of research on staying safe on the road. The articles i've found are fantastic, and there's a wealth of information which I feel will help me stay safe and keep others safe out on the road.

HAANNGG OONN...

http://bicyclesafe.com/helmets.html

Then I found this article, which has thrown me. Don't wear a helmet? Really?
As a previous motorcyclist, this is sacrilege to me.
The writer makes excellent points... I'm just, not sure...

What do you more seasoned riders think of this?

63 comments

Avatar
MartyMcCann [269 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Just to save everyone else the time and effort as well as repetitive strain injury I am going to summarise the entire crux of how these responses will go:

Someone will kick off with an anecdote about how they or a friend's life was supposedly saved by wearing a helmet.

This will be followed by a post saying it isn't much use wearing one when getting driven over by a HGV.

Someone else will then link to the University of Bath research.

Following again with another anecdote where a helmet was ineffective or lead to more injury.

Now someone is going to come and call everyone else morons and telling the other posters to stop pressing for mandatory helmet wearing- despite the fact no one has done so.

Someone else will now make an observation about why car drivers or pedestrians don't have to wear them.

Mr "Stop-making -me-wear-a-helmet-despite-no one -actually-calling-for-it-to-be-law" will then quote the Australian experience before again insulting those imaginary posters no one else can see who want to make it illegal to ride without a helmet.

Someone who hasn't read the previous comments will again post a link to the University of Bath research.

A sensible post will then mention Chris Boardman but this will be ignored as the pro and anti-helmet debate hots up.

Someone makes a reference to "noddy hats".

Someone makes another sensible statement about not forcing anyone to wear one, that it should be personal choice and they choose to wear one. That will then be ignored as the rest of the posters get nasty and call into question each others moral and intellectual standing, again despite NO ONE ARGUING IT SHOULD BE COMPULSORY.

Another person again posts about making pedestrians wear helmets.

These same comments will then be repeated ad nasueum until suddenly there are hundred of posts all saying the same thing and mirroring the exact same helmet threads that seemingly appear every few days which no one then reads because once you have read one, you have read them all.

Apologies if this is flippant (and welcome to Road.cc by the way!) but do a wee search on the site and you will see what I mean.

Avatar
PizzImperfect [4 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Fair play! Obviously it's something heavily discussed before. Apologies all, didn't realize. At the moment i'm just trying to figure out whats safer for me, and I guess from your response theirs no straight or real answer to that.

Thanks mate

Avatar
MartyMcCann [269 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
PizzImperfect wrote:

Fair play! Obviously it's something heavily discussed before. Apologies all, didn't realize. At the moment i'm just trying to figure out whats safer for me, and I guess from your response theirs no straight or real answer to that.

Thanks mate

Sorry-just re-read my post- I didn't mean to come across as flippant as I did.

I don't want to put you off asking questions since that is what the forum is great for. To seriously address your point- my feeling is that helmets work in some situations you will find yourself in, have no effect in others and according to some trains of thought encourage drivers to pass closer to those who are wearing them. Personally I wear my helmet when on the road but I can see other people's reasoning as to why they don't.
It is just an old perennial question and I do appreciate both sides of it- but I also know that it makes my wife happier to know I am wearing one when out on the roads despite the fact I am all too aware that they do not have magic protective properties.

Good luck and enjoy your new ride!

Avatar
tourdelound [169 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

If you'll feel safer wearing a helmet, and you sound as if you would, then wear a helmet. If not don't, there is no law requiring you to, the choice is yours.

Avatar
sergius [438 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Made me laugh  1

Avatar
atgni [429 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Both comments by Otis - excellent  1

Have fun with your new bike.

Avatar
Speet0 [14 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Good work Otis....excellent summary

Avatar
Poptart242 [185 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

OH GOD NOT THIS AGAIN  20

FWIW I wear a helmet so I've got somewhere to keep my sunglasses, and look pro. And it keeps the Mrs off my back (she's a worrier). And my club says it's compulsory on the chain gang/TTs.

Everyone else can do what they like.

Welcome to road.cc btw! Nice bike too. And MTB'ers make the best roadies, what with our lack of fear  4

Avatar
PizzImperfect [4 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Thanks all - I reckon my Mrs will probably raise an eyebrow too if I tell her i'm not wearing one. Happy wife... Happy life...

Fell in love with the bike when I first saw it. Rode it once and bought one straight away. Monday is an exciting day.

Avatar
philtregear [121 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

i find the linked article a load of ill argued nonsense. there is 1 objective argument that may suggest wearing a helmet is less safe than not doing so. that cars drive closer to you. frankly, it is impossible to prove that this is the case and, if so, that it causes more injuries to cyclists.
such arguments play into the hands of those who would legislate for helmets, as they discourage their voluntary wearing.

whether you are a sensible safe rider , a child learning to ride or anything inbetween, a helmet reduces the chance of head injury if you have an accident. such accidents can happen at anytime, under any conditions. statistics hide this fact by aggegating large numbers of events into probabilities. and i am yet to meet a cyclist who hasnt had some form of accident/incident.

Avatar
mjvande [2 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

What's most impressive about this discussion is the lack of science. Science is really the only way we reliably know anything. This discussion is full of ridiculous, unverified assertions, such as that drivers pass closer to helmeted riders, or that a helmet makes it harder to hear cars approaching.

It's obvious to me that helmet will reduce, but not eliminate, injuries. Mates & spouses, who aren't influenced by the propaganda, are right. It's unfair to them not to wear a helmet, since they will have to push your wheelchair. Sheesh.

Avatar
mike the bike [917 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

The OP asked, "What's wrong with bicycle helmets?" and I will tell you .......

They are hot in summer and bloody freezing in winter, a bit like a beach hut.

They store sweat from the summer in secret compartments and squirt it in your eyes when it rains.

You can drop them from 1.5 metres and they are unharmed. But if you drop them from 1.500000001 metres they crack wide open.

They will protect your bonce in a collision at 12mph, which as we all know is the most common collision speed.

Some helmets cost more than the annual brain surgery budget for Botswana.

The straps, yes, even the black ones, become coated with a greasy, solvent-resistant substance unknown to science within one week of purchase. Or you can have your money back.

The little round light at the back is guaranteed visible from several feet away.

If an alien saw you in your helmet he would think you got here just before him.

No helmet will make you look like a pro'. In your dreams baby!

Only a pro's helmet will hold sunnies securely, which is a shame as they get theirs for free and you have to buy yours.

They occupy far too much space in magazines, including this one.

Avatar
ianking [10 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

I wear a helmet because among other benefits, it holds the rear view mirror I use to avoid craning my neck and wobbling into traffic when looking behind me

Avatar
Stumps [3479 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

I like mine cos its snot green........not real bothered about anything else to be honest  4

Avatar
rjfrussell [390 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
Otis Bragg wrote:

Just to save everyone else the time and effort as well as repetitive strain injury I am going to summarise the entire crux of how these responses will go ...:
.

Genius post, but you missed the inevitable reference to, or exemplification of, Godwin's law.

Avatar
levermonkey [681 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Greetings Pizzimperfect and welcome to the very broad church that is Road.cc.

The 'Dreaded Helmet Debate' can best be boiled down to - Whatever's comfortable!

The choice of whether to wear a helmet is entirely personal. If you feel more comfortable wearing a helmet then wear a helmet. The only thing that really matters is that you are out there.

You can find more information here
www.cyclehelmets.org

Best of luck

Avatar
barbarus [450 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Pizzimperfect you may also wish to consider a camera for your complete safety...

Avatar
giff77 [1266 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Welcome Pizzimperfect. Do what you think is right for you and you'll be grand. You'll actually find that those of us who are labelled 'anti helmet' are not actually against the things. We are only opposed to the wearing being legislated or organisations heavily impressing on cyclists having to wear them to participate in certain events. Any ways. Enjoy your new bike. That is the most important thing and may you enjoy many happy miles on it. I'm enjoying my current bike 5 years on as much as I did the day I bought her.

If you hang around you will find that helmets aren't the only contentious subject. Wheelsets, disc vs rim brakes, saddles, electric mechs also rank amongst heated debates.

Avatar
PizzImperfect [4 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Excellent points from everyone - Thanks all! I'll make the decision on Monday when I collect my new pride and joy.

I'd let a helmet cam, not just for safety, but for some cool footage from the bike rides!

Avatar
Kapelmuur [382 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

I've had a Croix de Fer 20 for about a month, it's great. I intended it to be a winter bike but find I want to ride it every time.

Two small issues, the tyres are made of tissue paper and I found the saddle very uncomfortable.

Finally, I've learned never to mention helmets on this forum.

Avatar
PizzImperfect [4 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Did you replace the tyres and saddle? Hoping I won't have to change much for a while, the cost of the bike has emptied my wallet!

Avatar
2 Wheeled Idiot [432 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Wow thisnsi gonna be a good thread...I'm gonna go and make some popcorn.  24 24

Avatar
Batchy [379 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

There has never been anything wrong with any of the cycling helmets that I have owned.
During the last quarter of a century I have replaced four due to various spills and accidents. My newest helmet is probably my favourite as it is smart, very comfortable and only cost £35 ( rrp £119 ) from Planet X.
Incidentally I have never had to replace my head yet, but that maybe down to pure luck rather than the fact that I was wearing a helmet ! My choice !

Avatar
FluffyKittenofT... [1641 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Given that half of all threads turn into helmet-debates regardless of the topic, I was expecting this thread to involve discussing every possible cycling-related subject except helmets

Avatar
racyrich [291 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

A few weeks back I ended up riding alongside some bloke.

He was such a typical mamil - about my age (50), nice bike, albeit creaky chain, that typical non-real cyclist's riding position, way too upright, leaning on a big gear. Horrible ill-fitting top. But very strong. I was determinedly riding slow after a hard session the previous day, he came alongside and I ended up on 52x16 on the flat ffs!
But this was virtually his opening line, a classic!
'Tell me, why don't you wear a helmet? I'm forever having spills.'

'Ermm, because I don't! Perhaps if you didn't wear one you'd ride more carefully.'

He did actually ponder on this.

Avatar
Paul J [936 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

It's hilarious to read some comments claiming there is no science to the claim that drivers pass closer to helmeted riders, and that it would even be impossible to measure. Especially when the first comment mentions "University of Bath" a few times.

Given that first comment, I won't link directly to that study by Dr. Ian Walker and the study he contacted at said university - googling will find it quite easily. Instead I will link to another (lesser known) study, conducted by Thobias Sando and Ren Moses with the University of North Florida and the Florida Dept. of Transportation, which found similar results using a completely different methodology to Dr. Walker: http://trid.trb.org/view.aspx?id=1122764

As for the rest, helmets clearly are wonderful devices. This is why cycling is so safe in countries where helmets are often used (UK and USA) or even mandatory (AU, NZ, parts of CA?), - and where cycling is especially popular amongst those who just want to pootle around or get to places, rather than get sweaty climbing hills on epic rides for fun. This, of coure, is in stark contrast to places like the Netherlands, where very few people wear helmets and hence cyclists are being slaughtered at incredible rates (except for the few helmet wearing sports cyclists, who end up in hospital at much lower rates than the other roadkill).

Clearly, we need to do more "tut-tutting" at all those crazy unhelmeted riders. Maybe the oh-so-safe-for-cycling Anglo-phile countries should put pressure on the Netherlands to do something about its dreadful cycling safety record. Clearly the low helmet use rates must be a factor, and the Netherlands should consider following the shining safety example set by the Anglo-philes..

Avatar
fukawitribe [1926 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
Paul J wrote:

It's hilarious to read some comments claiming there is no science to the claim that drivers pass closer to helmeted riders, and that it would even be impossible to measure. Especially when the first comment mentions "University of Bath" a few times.

Given that first comment, I won't link directly to that study by Dr. Ian Walker and the study he contacted at said university - googling will find it quite easily. Instead I will link to another (lesser known) study, conducted by Thobias Sando and Ren Moses with the University of North Florida and the Florida Dept. of Transportation, which found similar results using a completely different methodology to Dr. Walker: http://trid.trb.org/view.aspx?id=1122764

In the spirit of scientific debate it would be good to mention it's worth searching for some of the reviews of the University of Bath paper, in particular the influence of road position and relative and absolute distances involved with helmet/no helmet. It would also be good to actually read the paper, if people haven't, before over stretching the quite reasonable conclusions.

Avatar
Paul J [936 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

fukawitribe,

I have read the paper. You'll have to be more specific about what you mean.

Ian's passing distance paper is but one prong of a growing mass of data and set of results that suggests helmet wearers can actually face increased risks of injury overall - negating at least some of the benefits of wearing them. E.g. this very recent paper notes such an effect is seen in the Netherlands too, and can not be fully explained by helmet wearers in the NL tending to be involved in riskier sports cycling (helmet wearers are over-represent by a factor of 6 to 10 in hospital admissions in NL IIRC): http://www.fietsberaad.nl/?lang=nl&repository=Overestimation+of+the+effe... .

(As a consequence of which, the main result of that paper is that helmet efficacy in preventing head injuries is likely overestimated, potentially greatly, by hospital admissions based studies which do not account for that effect. Interestingly, there was a paper published on the Australian helmet law, whose author draws pro-helmet-effectiveness conclusions from it, but which seems to suggest that the nature of accidents changed due to the law - and the rate of head injuries increased too after, despite a mostly stable overall injury rate, see my comment on it for more).

So there is something about helmets that we don't completely understand yet that causes the wearer and/or others to take more risks with the wearer's safety (there are other papers again that have shown probably risk-compensation effects in regular helmet-wearers, by noting they tend to cycle more slowly when not wearing them, so perhaps that is it - more thorough study would be good).

Anecdotally, I have observed this descending behind helmet wearers. I've seen them take big risks going into corners (bad technique anyway - often makes you slower, not faster!), and then crash when they couldn't make the corner and ran out of road on the exit. Helping them pick themselves up, and surveying their wounds (gashes on their legs, back, and arms), I was flabbergasted to hear them complement themselves on wearing a helmet and how it had saved them. I didn't have the heart to point out I was in better shape than them without a helmet, by taking the corner more slowly...

Avatar
Kapelmuur [382 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
PizzImperfect wrote:

Did you replace the tyres and saddle? Hoping I won't have to change much for a while, the cost of the bike has emptied my wallet!

I have replaced them, but I'd sold 2 bikes and was in funds.

The saddle may suit you, we're all different in that regard.

I'd advise carrying spares tubes and a puncture repair kit though.

Avatar
rjfrussell [390 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
racyrich wrote:

...that typical non-real cyclist's riding position, way too upright...

Fascinating to learn that one is not a "real" cyclist because one adopts a position that is comfortable when cycling hundreds of miles.

Tosser.

Pages