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View Full Version : Oh no, not another "wear your helmet" thread...


Wayne77
09-16-2005, 11:59 AM
I know these helmet threads usually turn nasty. -I sincerely don't intend to put non-helmet wearers on the defensive. So no flames here please. Anyway, I used to be a non-wearer myself. At least I used to take it off sometimes on solo rides when it gets really hot.

Not anymore.

Last night I was on a recovery ride, just taking my time, enjoying the scenery out in the countryside. I am heading east and another biker is coming west, directly into the blinding evening sun. I notice it is someone I had chatted with earlier in the ride and he waves at me. I then raise my hand to wave and veer slightly to the right a little to steer around a manhole. Just as I lift my left hand from the bars to wave and veer over, my front wheel hits an arc-shaped pothole which instantly steers my front wheel under, and over the bars I go. My head hits the pavement first, my bike bounces on both sides (I know this only because the sides of both shifters and both sides of my leather saddle are heavily chewed up), and then my hip hits.

In the post wreck adrenaline rush I jump up to quickly check my bike over. The frame looks ok. The rear wheel is taco'ed slightly. Hmmm..I wonder how that happened in a frontal impact type of wreck like this one..The shifters don't look good, but otherwise everything else looks ok.

As I am staring down at the top tube catching my breath, I see a few drops of red stuff appear on the frame. Then some more. Just then the other rider walks up and says "Dude, you don't look so good". My face had taken the brunt of the impact with heavy bleeding from my chin, lips, and forehead, and pieces of teeth missing. After some sincere apologoies from the other guy (as if he needed to apologize, I still can't figure this out), he offers to get his wife to pick me up. I then tell him I'll call my wife on my cell for a trip to the emergency room and he reluctantly rides away.

After returning from the emergency room with 15 internal and external stitches to put the flesh on my chin back together, 5 on my upper lip, and 7 on my forehead, the dentist caps both front teeth and I am relieved to have my toothy grin back. The doctor who patched me up was also a cyclist and we talked shop while he was pulling thread. He made sure I was well numbed up so it really wasn't too bad.

You know, none of this really seemed to be that big of a deal until I checked out my helmet back home. The piece of my Bell Ghisallo that covers my forehead where it smacked the pavement is cracked clear through. The only thing holding it in place is the outer plastic shell. I can hold it up to the sun and see daylight.

I have no idea what kind of injury the front of my skull would have sustained without the helmet (other than my stitched up lacerations), but I really don't think my skull would have fared much better than my helmet.

To the folks at Bell Helmets, and whatever engineer designed this particular model: Thankyou Thankyou Thankyou!!! It did exaclty what it was supposed to do.

I had previously thought my chin and face had taken the brunt of the impact. I was wrong.

Please wear a helmet. It takes one time.

A few pics of the helmet:
This is a cross post from rbr since I can't post pics here yet (ignore the wording, its identical):
http://forums.roadbikereview.com/showthread.php?t=41240

Len J
09-16-2005, 12:17 PM
I did a double somersalt over the trunk of a car after hitting the rear Quarter panel at 20+MPH and the first thing to hit the street was my helmet. I walked away with a deep thigh bruise from hitting the bars.......without the helmet I suspect I'd either be still dribbling sown my chin or I'd be fertilizer. I never ride without a helmet.

Glad you're OK. The bike can be replaced, you can't.

Len

xlbs
09-16-2005, 12:23 PM
four times over a period of about 30 years. EVERY crash resulted in a well mangled helmet: no concussions, no head injuries, just wrecked helmets...I don't argue with anyone about the value of wearing helmets, or helmet laws, or the freedom of choice involved, or...I simply encourage my sons to wear them, and remain deeply grateful to Bell and Giro.

Argos
09-16-2005, 12:24 PM
Great post.

I used to HATE wearing a helmet in the late 80's as a young teen on a Road bike. My mom used to yell at me. Plenty of times I'd stashed it in the bushes at the library to go riding with friends (odd, I didn;t mind the funny shorts, hmmm...).

I think if people do not want to wear a helmet, that is their right. It's foolish, but it is their right.

They can state that it would have never saved Casartelli, but it would have saved Kivilev....

UCI to Require Helmets
Posted on May 1st, updates May 31 and July 17
The Union Cycliste Internationale, Europe's pro cycling organization, has announced that it intends to require helmets for all riders in all races it sanctions. The ruling follows the death of Kazakh rider Andrei Kivilev. Kivilev died of a head injury without a helmet crashing near the French town of St-Etienne during the Paris-Nice road race. His team doctor, Jean-Jacques Menuet, was quoted in the press as believing that a helmet would have saved his life. The impetus for the ruling had grown due to other head injuries and deaths in races. In addition, a helmeted rider fell on a turn at an intersection in a rainy Dutch stage of the Tour de France and hit his head on a concrete bollard in the center of the road, but to the astonishment of the crowd got up and raced away. Press reports indicated that the team doctors supported the ruling. A attempt to impose a similar ruling in 1991 failed when the riders protested, ironically in the same race where Kivilev was killed 11 years later.

Update posted May 31st: The peloton has been wearing helmets in UCI-sanctioned races all over Europe. Riders can be fined, lose UCI points or even be expelled for failure to do so. Helmets were the rule for most of the Giro d'Italia that ended today, but riders were permitted to jettison them for the final race to the summit on five particularly hard climbs. Signs marked where helmets could be tossed. A few riders kept their helmets on anyway, but the leaders did not, and Marco Pantani's bald pate was gloriously on display. The final stage had no hard climbs, so the final finish photos all included helmeted riders.

Update posted July 17th: The UCI ruling is being observed by the Tour de France. With some major crashes in the first stages as well as on early downhills, those helmets are probably seeing some impacts.

More importantly then these Professionals are the countless numbers of head injuries across the nation that do not get media attention because the helmets worked. ER's see them constantly.

I think that as ambassador's of cycling we set an example. Not just for other riders on the road, but for kids. You have the ability to choose as an adult whether or not to wear a helmet, but a child does not have the same reasoning ability as an adult. If you do not want to wear a helmet, that is fine, but think of the example you are setting.

http://www.helmets.org/index.htm

Serotta PETE
09-16-2005, 12:30 PM
Definitely good reasons to wear a helmet. Glad both of you are ok!


Besides riding bicycles, I also ride motorcycles - Yes I am faster on the motorcycle BUT than a turtle is faster than me when I am on my bicycle.

I have to admit that at times it would feel good to ride without the confines of a hemet BUT when doing a "risk-reward" view it just doesn't work for me.

Recently I was traveling thru South Carolina and it was HOT HOT HOT - especially with the helmet and protective clothing that I wear for motorcycling. I looked out of place some areas for other riders had no helmet, short sleeve shirt and a few even shorts. I view this as a personal choice that they made as adults and do not question what is right for them.

In being in past accidents both motorcycle and bicycle over the past 30 years, I would feel undressed without a helmet.

But I have a firm opinion that each and every person must be responsible for themselves. (Sandy might be an exception for Bailey is watching out for him and the bagel)

Wayne77
09-16-2005, 12:35 PM
You have the ability to choose as an adult whether or not to wear a helmet, but a child does not have the same reasoning ability as an adult. If you do not want to wear a helmet, that is fine, but think of the example you are setting.

Very well said. Thanks for the reference to the UCI/Kivilev story.

Ken Robb
09-16-2005, 12:35 PM
I keep the helmet I shattered last year by my bikes in the garage as a reminder and encouragement to wear one.

Tailwinds
09-16-2005, 12:49 PM
Oh, the stories I could tell to back this up. The shock factor is too great for most people to digest, so I won't churn everyone's stomach w/too many details. Suffice it to say that if my high-speed crash would have resulted in any worse injuries, I would be dead or still under someone else's care. I believe my injuries would have been worse without my Giro.

William
09-16-2005, 01:01 PM
I'm sorry to hear of your injuries, but very glad that your helmet prevented anything worse.
I had the back of my helmet crushed in a criterium crash. Before that I would occasionally ride sans. Ever since then, I never leave home with out one covering my k-noggin.


William

Wayne77
09-16-2005, 01:06 PM
Oh, the stories I could tell to back this up. The shock factor is too great for most people to digest, so I won't churn everyone's stomach w/too many details. Suffice it to say that if my high-speed crash would have resulted in any worse injuries, I would be dead or still under someone else's care. I believe my injuries would have been worse without my Giro.

And then none of us would have the priveledge of oggling your new Terraplane!

Yes I know, I can't stop going on about those Terraplanes..Do I sound infatuated? Its because I am! hahahaha! I WILL have one someday..<evil laugh>

I am trying to win the contest for most irritating Terraplane fan, so Mr. Kirk will finally send me one just to get rid of me.. :D

Tailwinds
09-16-2005, 01:11 PM
You will be an even bigger fan once you ride one! Kinda related to this thread... the stability and predictability of my new Kirk has enabled me to actually ENJOY descending again. That is saying a lot!!!

I might be tied w/you for the winner of "Dave's most irritating fan." I'm just so thrilled w/my new bike, I can't help gushing about it.

JasonF
09-16-2005, 01:33 PM
Wayne, I'm happy to hear you survived the crash without brain trauma.

I've written about the time my wife and I were hit head-on by an out of control cement truck. The impact was severe enough to fracture a vertebrae, break both my arms, a bunch of fingers, lacerations deep enough so I lost over a pint of blood, and have multiple facial fractures.

If the impact was hard enough to literally smash my face in, I shudder when I think about what would have happened if I was not wearing a helmet.

I worked as a bike messenger in D.C. through during my undergrad years, and never had a serious accident, and never wore a helmet. But as you so succinctly put it, it takes just one time.

Don't throw out your helmet, I keep mine as a reminder of how valuable that piece of plastic is.

Wayne77
09-16-2005, 01:56 PM
Wayne, I'm happy to hear you survived the crash without brain trauma.

I've written about the time my wife and I were hit head-on by an out of control cement truck. The impact was severe enough to fracture a vertebrae, break both my arms, a bunch of fingers, lacerations deep enough so I lost over a pint of blood, and have multiple facial fractures.

If the impact was hard enough to literally smash my face in, I shudder when I think about what would have happened if I was not wearing a helmet.

I worked as a bike messenger in D.C. through during my undergrad years, and never had a serious accident, and never wore a helmet. But as you so succinctly put it, it takes just one time.

Don't throw out your helmet, I keep mine as a reminder of how valuable that piece of plastic is.

That's a scary story..by the sound of stories from you, Tailwinds, and others here, I obviously came out very lucky!

andy mac
09-16-2005, 02:23 PM
Echo the others saying glad you're OK, all things considered!

You should see if Bell still has their helmet replacement program. I endo'd on a mountain bike a few years back and split my helmet down the middle. For $20 and a note describing the accident for their research Bell replaced it. Much appreciated!

Cheers,

Andy.

Wayne77
09-16-2005, 02:34 PM
Echo the others saying glad you're OK, all things considered!

You should see if Bell still has their helmet replacement program. I endo'd on a mountain bike a few years back and split my helmet down the middle. For $20 and a note describing the accident for their research Bell replaced it. Much appreciated!

Cheers,

Andy.

I actually called Bell this morning about it. It sounds like they have had to scale back somewhat, possibly due to an expanding customer base. Now they offer 30% off retail with a letter explaining the accident. Still a good deal though - I'll probably go with the new Sweep R for $80.

Thanks for the kind sentiments.

OldDog
09-16-2005, 03:52 PM
I keep the helmet I shattered last year by my bikes in the garage as a reminder and encouragement to wear one.



Me too. In 1989 I crashed my mtn bike, jamming my spine and cracking my c5 vertabre.

My Specialized helmet I was wearing was toast as I landed straight down on my head like a missile. It now resides in my garage/shop, firmly strapped to a carved coconut "head" my grandpa brought me back from Hawai (sp?) when I was a kid. A reminder not to be a "coconut head".

Since the accident I can't spell! :D

JohnS
09-16-2005, 10:01 PM
I'm glad you're okay and I hoped you learned something...NEVER wave at another cyclist! :)

Sandy
09-16-2005, 11:13 PM
"It only takes one time."


Safe Sandy

Doc Austin
09-17-2005, 12:07 AM
Thankfully, the best helmet story I have isn't my own.

There is a guy who works at the local bike shop part time. He's a retired gentleman who works in the shop just so he can have spare change to buy cool cycle stuff, and the rest of the time he rides.

Nice guy, really funny and friendly, which is why he is golden to pick on. He's bald, which won't seem significant until you hear the rest of the story.

Well, awhile back he had a nasty accident that he doesn't even remember. Hit his head and split the helmet wide open. Eventually Giro confiscated it because they replaced it for him, but it hung in the shop and you would swear by looking at it that whomever was in it must have been killed. His riding buddy said he went in head first and it was like a melon hitting a log.

Whap!

The poor guy had bruises on his bald head that were the shape of the helmet's air ducts. The guy looked like he had black and blue vents in his head! Obviously we had to bust his chops about it, but we were all really glad he wasn't hurt really seriously.

He's currently riding a scraped up Ottrot and wearing a shiney new Giro....thank God.

I grew up in motorsports. I raced karts, cars, boats and motorcycles, though I never had the motor to compete in bicycle racing. I wrecked in everything I competed in, and bikes too.

For awhile in my karting career, the Bell helmet people referred to me as their "crash test dummy," because the helmets were very good and as a result I was quite fearless. I tore up alot of helmets and I bounced my brain off my cranium more than one. Alot more than once.

So, I've always wore a helmet just because of the nature of what I was doing, and when I began cycling, I never really minded wearing one. I was just used to it. I'de also seen many times how much they had protected me, and my friends too.

My Bell bicycle helmet saved me and so did the Gyro that sacrificed itself. thakfully that's been the extrent of my cycle helmet damage, because nothing, and I mean nothing hurts as intensely, as instantaneously and for as long as a bike wreck.

Give me a good, old fashioned car wreck any day.

Currently I'm wearing a Gyro something or another. I don't remember the model name, but a couple of years ago it was the most expensive one they made. The Gyro is so good that I put it on and forget about it. It is light, cools well, and stays in place.

Really, if people don't want to wear a helmet, it's their business, but since the helmets are so good and so comfortable, any excuse other than just plain not wanting to wear a helmet is just an excuse. It's still your choice though.



Oh, speaking of Helmet: http://forums.thepaceline.net/showthread.php?p=125095#post125095