Scientists form group to pool research on bicycle helmets

by joemmo   June 19, 2011  

From bike biz

Will be interested to see the conclusions from this exercise.

8 user comments

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I dont like the sounds of it, we're gonna end up getting told unless we were something akin to a motorcycle helmet then we aint safe Devil

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [9356 posts]
19th June 2011 - 19:41


yes very interesting indeed. I think the more that is published and scientifically guided the better. I still see people even around richmond park on expensive bikes (going fast and should know better) without helmets. You also see commuters in london doing stupid things that a helmet will not help with, so the more we know and is publicised the better.

What I would like to see is:

even a small sample / single hospital even: the publishing of head injuries as a percentage of serious cyling injuries and deaths and whether or not a helmet was involved, and in any case where the injury was sustained. also what kind of accidents a helmet is giving a false sense of security to.

moreover, from there some more real case tests, i get the impression that cycle helmet tests are way too theoretical, furthermore i do not see even a hint of crash dummies indicating the state of the head inside (yes the helmet is intact and survived the test, but which scrambled the brains and which (if any) deformed and took the loads... this should be done from a frontal (head butt bus, branch, ground), side (land on ground?) and back (knocked off, over bars and back??) at least - not just what appears to be a crush test with no data of what forces the head inside was subjected to

fortunately for me my uncle was involved in cycle road racing when I was young and I saw two young potential racing talents end up as vegetables, so i had the "too cool for school" not wearing a helmet beaten out of me very quickly and from an early age. Very unfortunate for them and their families as their parents are still wiping their arses 20 years on....

IMO any protection for what is essentially akin to an egg/melon travelling at 30+km/h is better than non, if nothing else out of courtesy for the emergency services keeping it all together, but I get the feeling they could be so much better and no thought has been put into minimising injuries, so welcome this, especially if it looks into real case data of two points above!

roadie come mountain biker come single speeder and back again

posted by cborrman [84 posts]
20th June 2011 - 8:50


Gkam84 wrote:
I dont like the sounds of it, we're gonna end up getting told unless we were something akin to a motorcycle helmet then we aint safe Devil

... true, but then I am struggling to get my sprints over 60km/h and a bike gets there in seconds you can count with very few fingers. having been high sided from a 300kg motorbike i think the forces involved are also very different, no???

roadie come mountain biker come single speeder and back again

posted by cborrman [84 posts]
20th June 2011 - 8:54


Nature's spent millions of years making sure our heads *aren't* eggshells, so your basic premise is a bit flawed. Your skull's been nicely custom designed to look after your brain as much as possible, so to suggest the head is like an egg is misleading, to say the least.

timlennon's picture

posted by timlennon [229 posts]
22nd June 2011 - 14:21


It's also disingenuous to suggest that evolution has completely prepared the skull for impacting hard things at speeds in excess of walking, running and average falling over speeds - and I think you know the egg / melon thing was an analogy.

Anyway, for sanity's sake let's not have another helmet debate and hope this project sheds more light than heat on the subject

joemmo's picture

posted by joemmo [1106 posts]
22nd June 2011 - 15:06


Don't get people's love affair with mandatory helmets for all. Isn't using a single standard for all cyclists problemetic?

Drivers in Formula 1 wear helmets and those helmets are proven to save their lives a lot of times. Does this mean people driving normal cars in inner cities should wear them too?

Of course, people cycling competitively should wear helmets ... for their own sakes. Sure, if you train to attempt to break the Richmond park record or the downhill record on Ben Nevis or even the club race, a helmet is almost a necessity.

But does someone commuting from City to Notting Hill at slow and steady 10-15mph need that helmet? A fall on to the street at those speeds is unlikely to cause damage to brain. The other hazard - of a motor vehicle hitting/nicking the rider ... well if it's a proper hit, a cycling helmet won't be much help anyway. So, what do the slow commuter cyclists need a helmet for? (Except to provide revenues for helmet makers and keep the oil & car industries happy)

IMO, looking at the threats faced by the regular pedal powered people, properly integrated & enforced bike lanes and bike tracks would be a more appropriate solution than a helmet.

As for those with a need for speed and a disrespect for helmets: I do wish they share any inside info they may have to enlighten the rest of us why the lids are a waste.


rbx's picture

posted by rbx [243 posts]
23rd June 2011 - 3:20

1 Like

Pro-helmet people are always full of stories about themselves and their friends and relations who 'would not be here today if it weren't for their helmet'.

Yet people who have cycled for decades without helmets or injury - considerably more of them - are not accepted as proof to the contrary - they're just lucky.

And people who have crashes with helmets and are injured are also ruled out of the equation.

If Wouter Weylandt and Juan Mauricio Soler had NOT been wearing helmets we'd have never heard the end of it. But they were, so it isn't discussed.

If this research group helps to actually bring some objective facts, instead of the sort of nonsense typically displayed, then good luck. It'll need it.

abudhabiChris's picture

posted by abudhabiChris [694 posts]
23rd June 2011 - 9:12


Surely there are better things to work on!

I would prefer to see time and energy be spent on things that we know will make a real difference - driver behaviour, vehicle design, road design and street furniture, the things that cause most deaths and injuries in the first place.

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [2405 posts]
23rd June 2011 - 9:53