bike helmets

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letsgobobby
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bike helmets

Post by letsgobobby » Sun Jul 01, 2018 3:03 pm

Hello cyclists,

I’ve read one should replace bike helmets after any significant impact, or after a certain number of years have passed (much like a car seat). My helmet has a 2002 sticker on it and was purchased in 2004. Would you agree I should replace?

I ride very casually and very rarely, so I don’t want to spend a fortune, but my head is the only one I get so I want it to do a good job.

What should I expect to spend for an effective helmet? Is the MIPS system worth the additional cost (it seems like it)? Other than comfort, looks, ventilation, etc., none of which would seem to make a huge difference for a casual rider, can I assume they all perform their safety function easily?

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Shackleton
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Re: bike helmets

Post by Shackleton » Sun Jul 01, 2018 3:15 pm

I think you should replace your helmet for the reason you listed (you only get one head in this life). I have the MIPS system because I ride hard and on technical trails (MTB), but for the casual rider that hasn't fallen in the last 14 years, you may not need MIPS. Any helmet that meets the current standards and FITS WELL will be an improvement over your old helmet.
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123
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Re: bike helmets

Post by 123 » Sun Jul 01, 2018 3:21 pm

The Bell "Muni", "Draft", and "Draft Mips" models were all scored highly by Consumers Reports.
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livesoft
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Re: bike helmets

Post by livesoft » Sun Jul 01, 2018 3:24 pm

Hmmm, my helmet is older. A MIPS helmet appears to be $60 list price. I think I am going to go try one on. Thanks for mentioning it.
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stlutz
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Re: bike helmets

Post by stlutz » Sun Jul 01, 2018 3:51 pm

Yes you should replace. And there really isn't any good reason *not* to get a MIPS helmet. It may not be necessary, but there aren't really trade-offs with it either.

Boston Barry
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Re: bike helmets

Post by Boston Barry » Sun Jul 01, 2018 3:57 pm

This is a great article about bike helmets written by a grad student. The title is “Why It Makes Sense to Bike Without a Helmet”

http://www.howiechong.com/journal/2014/2/bike-helmets
Last edited by Boston Barry on Sun Jul 01, 2018 3:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

hicabob
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Re: bike helmets

Post by hicabob » Sun Jul 01, 2018 3:58 pm

That MIPS "sliding layer" is interesting. Thanks for mentioning it.

https://www.bellhelmets.com/mips/

livesoft
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Re: bike helmets

Post by livesoft » Sun Jul 01, 2018 5:49 pm

Boston Barry wrote:
Sun Jul 01, 2018 3:57 pm
This is a great article about bike helmets written by a grad student. The title is “Why It Makes Sense to Bike Without a Helmet”
That was a nice article arguing from a different angle:
If one were to examine the medical and epidemiological literature on bike helmet effectiveness, you'll find the exact same condition over and over: Studies show that helmeted cyclists who are hospitalized are far less likely to have serious head trauma than bare-headed cyclists that have been hospitalized.
So here's an angle of my own: Dead cyclists who aren't wearing a helmet don't stop off at the hospital to get into a study. They go directly to the morgue.
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Boston Barry
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Re: bike helmets

Post by Boston Barry » Sun Jul 01, 2018 6:12 pm

Heh. Yeah the article itself points out that if you are going to be hit, then having a helmet is better than not aving one. However, he gives evidence that (a) wearing a helmet increases the chance of being hit (vs not wearing one); and (b), if one is so worried about using a helmet on a bike, one should be doubly worried about using a helmet as a pedestrian or driver.

I figured this community, which is interested in statistics and rational thinking, would find it interesting. I am doubly thrilled in getting a response from Livesoft!

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Re: bike helmets

Post by livesoft » Sun Jul 01, 2018 6:17 pm

Boston Barry wrote:
Sun Jul 01, 2018 6:12 pm
Heh. Yeah the article itself points out that if you are going to be hit, ....
You don't have to be hit to have your helmet save your life. I don't know, but from personal experience I think many bike accidents do not involve other people or their mistakes. They involve mostly the cyclist alone, a patch of sand or gravel, a tree, a parked car, a pothole, a railroad track, .....
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Sasquatch
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Re: bike helmets

Post by Sasquatch » Sun Jul 01, 2018 6:18 pm

I went over the bars off road and smashed my Giro helmet on a rock. I went to my local cycle shop to get another one. The shop said call Giro. Turns out they have a damaged helmet program. You mail back the damaged helmet with a note about the nature of the accident in as much detail as possible and they sell you a helmet at a price well below retail. This was many years ago but I think my cost was $50 shipped for a new helmet with all the latest safety features. Giro told me they analyze smashed “real world” damaged helmet as part of R&D.

They earned a customer for life on that one. I just bought a Giro union mips snow sports helmet last year.

Also, I replace my helmets every 5 years or so even if they have not taken a hit to get the new safety advances (ATV & snow) It’s worth $200- $300 to me.
Last edited by Sasquatch on Sun Jul 01, 2018 6:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

livesoft
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Re: bike helmets

Post by livesoft » Sun Jul 01, 2018 6:19 pm

^I'm surprised you found a Giro helmet in your size.
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Re: bike helmets

Post by Fallible » Sun Jul 01, 2018 6:26 pm

letsgobobby wrote:
Sun Jul 01, 2018 3:03 pm
Hello cyclists,

I’ve read one should replace bike helmets after any significant impact, or after a certain number of years have passed (much like a car seat). My helmet has a 2002 sticker on it and was purchased in 2004. Would you agree I should replace?

I ride very casually and very rarely, so I don’t want to spend a fortune, but my head is the only one I get so I want it to do a good job.

What should I expect to spend for an effective helmet? Is the MIPS system worth the additional cost (it seems like it)? Other than comfort, looks, ventilation, etc., none of which would seem to make a huge difference for a casual rider, can I assume they all perform their safety function easily?
I'm glad you brought this up. I've fallen on just about everything except my head in my many years of biking, so my helmet is unscathed. But after reading your post, I checked it more closely and it was made in 1999 by Trek and over the years, some of the padding has worn off. I realize now that the fit is not as snug as it should be, so it's off to the bike shop for a new one (after checking Consumer Reports, etc.) for ratings and to make sure I get one suited for my biking style, which is comfort bike and slower every year.

Btw, I also noticed one of the stickers inside the helmet warns that "No helmet can protect against all possible impacts and serious injury or death can occur."
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TimeRunner
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Re: bike helmets

Post by TimeRunner » Sun Jul 01, 2018 7:14 pm

A month ago, one of my cycling buddies T-boned a car that suddenly made a left turn in front of him into a parking lot. Driver saw him but didn't register the situation and did the turn. Friend rolled forward over the hood and landed on his back. Back of his helmet smacked the asphalt, cracking the shell and a couple inches of foam liner. He had to get ambulance transport to ER and was in a neck brace for a few days, but otherwise was just road-rashed and sore. Relatively new helmet likely did save his head from serious injury.
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Re: bike helmets

Post by Boston Barry » Sun Jul 01, 2018 8:27 pm

Livesoft, Sasquatch, Timerunner: I am guessing all three of you wear a helmet while in a car or as a pedestrian, as it is far more likely to have a head injury as a pedestrian or in a car than while riding a bike — and you all are rational expert assessors of risk, correct? :)
Last edited by Boston Barry on Sun Jul 01, 2018 8:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

WildBill
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Re: bike helmets

Post by WildBill » Sun Jul 01, 2018 8:47 pm

Boston Barry wrote:
Sun Jul 01, 2018 3:57 pm
This is a great article about bike helmets written by a grad student. The title is “Why It Makes Sense to Bike Without a Helmet”

http://www.howiechong.com/journal/2014/2/bike-helmets
Howdy

I read it. Gibberish to support the writer’s apparent dislike of helmets. Reasoning unworthy of a prospective doctoral candidate. Clearly not a hard science student.

Not wearing a helmet while bicycling is stupid.To expand the topic laterally, I have a number of friends here in Texas who motorcycle without helmets. I consider that a best practice, as long as they have signed organ donor cards. There is a tragic shortage of transplant organs, and these guys can help remedy that.

So I hope the bicyclists have also signed up as organ donors.

W B
"Through chances various, through all vicissitudes, we make our way." Virgil, The Aeneid

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Re: bike helmets

Post by Boston Barry » Sun Jul 01, 2018 8:50 pm

I thought the article was good in getting one to think about risk. Ultimately I don’t think the author was against bike helmets. But he does point out the risk of head injuries in general and the higher risk of crossing the street / walking on the sidewalk / being in a car vs bike riding. People who go crazy about bike helmets should also be equally adamant about wearing a helmet while walking / being in a car.

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Re: bike helmets

Post by WildBill » Sun Jul 01, 2018 8:56 pm

Howdy

Maybe I should also wear one in bed, as a contingency against falling out of bed, or my wife punting me up beside the head. She is a restless sleeper.

Setting up a false dilemma or false equivalence to justify stupidity is a trick as old as the hills. Give it a rest.

W B
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Re: bike helmets

Post by livesoft » Sun Jul 01, 2018 8:58 pm

Boston Barry wrote:
Sun Jul 01, 2018 8:27 pm
Livesoft, Sasquatch, Timerunner: I am guessing all three of you wear a helmet while in a car or as a pedestrian, as it is far more likely to have a head injury as a pedestrian or in a car than while riding a bike — and you all are rational expert assessors of risk, correct? :)
My car has airbags. My bike does not.

I had a discussion as a pedestrian today with a BMW driver who admitted to me that he was going 20 mph over the speed limit as he approached me in a crosswalk. He said he could have killed me. The driver initiated the discussion. I think if I had been wearing a helmet he would have tried even harder, as in "That guy is just asking for it, so I'll give it to him."

I have signed up as an organ donor.
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Re: bike helmets

Post by baconavocado » Sun Jul 01, 2018 9:19 pm

I'd carry an organ donor card except that I'm afraid they'd jump the gun and harvest them before I was finished with them, and/or they'd go into some diabetic with an addiction to pizza who was on his 3rd set of kidneys. Or some celebrity, or a billionaire. If I could pick the donee, I'd carry a card.

I've been saved twice from serious injury by bicycle helmets and my current helmet is more than 10 y old. Guess I should check out these new helmets.

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Sasquatch
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Re: bike helmets

Post by Sasquatch » Sun Jul 01, 2018 9:58 pm

Boston Barry wrote:
Sun Jul 01, 2018 8:27 pm
Livesoft, Sasquatch, Timerunner: I am guessing all three of you wear a helmet while in a car or as a pedestrian, as it is far more likely to have a head injury as a pedestrian or in a car than while riding a bike — and you all are rational expert assessors of risk, correct? :)
Hmmmm........ I guess I am an anomaly when it comes to walking or driving. All I can say is I have been driving for 36 years and never been in a incident. Never had a pedestrian incident in 50 years (at least as far as I know) Ya, I like to go fast. Every sport has inherent risks. You just have to decide weather you want to assume the risk or not.

Funny, I was just researching race karting a few minutes ago. Maybe I should wear a helmet when I am driving to the track instead of on the track :P

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Re: bike helmets

Post by Boston Barry » Sun Jul 01, 2018 10:02 pm

WildBill wrote:
Sun Jul 01, 2018 8:56 pm
Howdy

Maybe I should also wear one in bed, as a contingency against falling out of bed, or my wife punting me up beside the head. She is a restless sleeper.

Setting up a false dilemma or false equivalence to justify stupidity is a trick as old as the hills. Give it a rest.

W B
Not sure why comparing rates of head injury in various modes of transportation is a “false dilemma.” Sure, wearing a helmet around while walking / driving is not socially accepted, but woulf probably be just as justified. In fact, people with high enough risk (for instance, epilepsy patients with poorly controlled seizures) in fact do wear a helmet at all times. So Wild Bill, if you don’t like the discussion don’t read it. Please don’t tell me to “give it a rest.” Show why in fact risk as a pedestrian for head injury is not in fact higher.

Livesoft, the airbag factor is accounted for in the statistics.

Full disclosure: I wear my helmet while biking at all times, do not ride a motorcycle, am an organ donor, and do not walk or enter a car with a helmet. But I thought the paper discussing risk was interesting and raised a good point. I get scared when flying for no reason, when driving to the corner store is statistically much more dangerous.

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Re: bike helmets

Post by WildBill » Sun Jul 01, 2018 10:16 pm

Howdy

No worries. I stated my opinion on the article as in my view it was ill-reasoned gibberish.

It doesn’t seem that we disagree about much. Nothing I said or intimated was intended to be offensive, and if it was my apologies. It is my reaction to bad writing and slipshod reasoning in the article posted.

Wear your helmet when it is appropriate, on your own risk adjusted judgement. Organ donor cards are always appropriate.

W B
"Through chances various, through all vicissitudes, we make our way." Virgil, The Aeneid

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Re: bike helmets

Post by Boston Barry » Sun Jul 01, 2018 10:34 pm

Thanks WB. I guess I would love to hear your opinion or others‘ opinion about why the writing is slipshod / conclusion not valid, rather than that is “just garbage.” I am open to learning and respect opinions.

Racecar drivers wear helmets, presumably because the risk is high for head injury. Why not in an every day car, If the risk for head injury is higher when in a car then when riding a bicycle?
BB

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Re: bike helmets

Post by WildBill » Sun Jul 01, 2018 10:49 pm

Howdy

Sorry to be blunt, but you are asking me to defend a straw man statement that you have set up by citing the article.

“The risk for head injuries are more common in car accidents than in bicycle accidents.”

Says who?

On what basis, and under what circumstances? On a per mile basis? On a damage adjusted result of non-helmet wearing bicyclists as a control group? What are the frequency plots and databases? The writer has set up an argument that is unsupportable. Slipshod indeed.

A bicyclist is unprotected by seat belts, air bags, and several tons of engineered metal and composites. His risk is equivalent, or less, than a motorist who is?

Please.

W B
"Through chances various, through all vicissitudes, we make our way." Virgil, The Aeneid

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Re: bike helmets

Post by Boston Barry » Sun Jul 01, 2018 11:05 pm

Ok. If you don’t accept the statistics quoted, then I understand your perspective.

Mr. Chong does, though, attempt to tackle your perspective. And cites his epidemiological sources.

https://academic.oup.com/aje/article-ab ... 500/149287

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/a ... 7505001363#

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/a ... 7596000164

“...despite the clear threat of fatal head trauma from these other activities, virtually nobody insists that people wear helmets in these situations. In fact, doing so is openly mocked. Consider a sentence from this recent article from Forbes magazine that reports that vehicle accidents are the number one cause of fatal head injuries among teenagers : 
Short of suggesting all teen drivers and their passengers wear helmets, the survey determined that states which maintain the strictest graduated driver licensing laws (GDL) are the most effective in reducing both brain injuries and fatalities among young motorists.
Did you catch that? Despite the fact that car accidents are the number one cause of all fatal head trauma among teenagers, the suggestion that teens wear helmets when they drive is simply brushed off. The passage treats the idea of mandatory driving helmets as completely preposterous. Yet we insist that children wear bike helmets (in fact, in some places, it's the law) despite data that shows kids are more likely to die of head injuries riding in a car than riding on a bike. Children and toddlers on foot are far more likely to receive traumatic brain injuries than cyclists, yet parents who place protective headwear on their walking toddlers are openly ridiculed.”

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Re: bike helmets

Post by WildBill » Sun Jul 01, 2018 11:30 pm

Howdy

OK

Back to slipshod. Do the “studies” account for frequency or per metric risk. No.

I am only impressed by statistical evidence relevant to the argument. Occupational hazard of being a nerd petrophysicist.

Here is the WBCSRAP (Wild Bill Common Sense Risk Adjusted Profile :twisted: )

I have spent a long life screwing around as a driver, pedestrian, bicyclist, motorcyclist, rock climber and participant in activities on multitudinous oil rigs and in godforsaken drilling locations.

On a time adjusted basis maybe 50% of that was as a pedestrian. At no time have I ever had a situation where a helmet would have made a difference. This is due to the control, awareness and ability to avoid problems a pedestrian has.

Maybe 45% as a driver, ditto.

Maybe 4 % as a bicyclist and motorcyclist. Numerous spills, glitches, acts of carelessness, and especially acts by others where a helmet rescued me from serious injury.

Some small fraction as a rock climber where without a helmet I would be dead multiple times over.

Never came close to a problem the drilling rigs, surprisingly enough. Everyone was pretty careful.

So the fact that a person cites some statistics without a frequentist distribution and without regard to a per event basis is certainly not convincing.

W B
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Re: bike helmets

Post by PVW » Mon Jul 02, 2018 9:30 am

Boston Barry wrote:
Sun Jul 01, 2018 10:34 pm
Thanks WB. I guess I would love to hear your opinion or others‘ opinion about why the writing is slipshod / conclusion not valid, rather than that is “just garbage.” I am open to learning and respect opinions.
The blog post is an opinion piece with some cherry picked evidence to support the writer's opinion. I found it interesting and thought-provoking, but nothing like a research article that presents objective evidence and determines a conclusion.

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Bell Biker

Post by Bogle7 » Mon Jul 02, 2018 9:56 am

I have had mine for awhile. Not giving it up.
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http://www.cyclist.co.uk/in-depth/1050/ ... ker-helmet

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greg24
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Re: bike helmets

Post by greg24 » Mon Jul 02, 2018 10:19 am

Note: I'm ignoring motorcycle injuries in these comparisons, as those are off the charts. Motorcyclists should definitely wear helmets.

A lot of the main numbers in Chong's argument come from the 1996 Australian study at:
https://ac.els-cdn.com/0001457596000164 ... 5eeadf6b93

This is the key takeaway from the abstract (emphasis mine):

"The initiatives seem to have been remarkably effective in reducing road trauma for all road users, perhaps affecting the proportions of victims suffering head injuries as well as total injuries."

Table 8 contains the Fatalies Per Million Hours that Chong bases a lot of his argument on. He conveniently leaves out that bicycles have the highest percentages of death from head injuries (46% for bikes, compared to 43% for pedestrians, and 36% for cars), and that bicycles also had the highest rate of hospital admissions per million hours (2.2 to 2.0 and 1.8).

Remember, these rates are pre-helmet law rates. So, these rates were compiled with 31% of bicyclists wearing helmets, and presumably nearly 0% of pedestrians and automotive passengers wearing helmets. Even though 31% were wearing helmets, they still had worse head injury and head death rates than pedestrians and cars. Imagine those numbers if cyclists wore helmets at the same rates as pedestrians and automotive passengers.

Yes, the helmet laws do reduce biking. That is not a good thing. But you're mistaken if you think riding a bike without a helmet is safer than riding a bike with a helmet.

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Re: bike helmets

Post by randomguy » Mon Jul 02, 2018 10:31 am

PVW wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 9:30 am
Boston Barry wrote:
Sun Jul 01, 2018 10:34 pm
Thanks WB. I guess I would love to hear your opinion or others‘ opinion about why the writing is slipshod / conclusion not valid, rather than that is “just garbage.” I am open to learning and respect opinions.
The blog post is an opinion piece with some cherry picked evidence to support the writer's opinion. I found it interesting and thought-provoking, but nothing like a research article that presents objective evidence and determines a conclusion.
A couple things that struck me. These studies are old. Has the increase in seatbelts since 1978 (i.e. probably something like 25% back then) and airbags (i.e. in the US in 1996 they weren't required) changed the numbers in noticeable ways. After the whole point of them is to reduce head injuries and their severity:). Are we comparing similiar injuries (i.e. concussions are one thing. Skull fractures another) And who are the pedestrians getting head injuries walking? The studies I have seen show a drastic increase (want to say it was like 4x) as the age of the pedestrian increases. There is also some increase at the lower end (i.e. kids <6) It seems like to me that you are comparing 2 vastly different populations.

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Re: bike helmets

Post by Boston Barry » Mon Jul 02, 2018 10:42 am

Thanks to all responding with interesting perspectives regarding the data / analysis. I plan on continuing to wear my bicycle helmet and to drive and walk with caution (helmetless)!

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Re: bike helmets

Post by CyclingDuo » Mon Jul 02, 2018 11:09 am

letsgobobby wrote:
Sun Jul 01, 2018 3:03 pm
Hello cyclists,

I’ve read one should replace bike helmets after any significant impact, or after a certain number of years have passed (much like a car seat). My helmet has a 2002 sticker on it and was purchased in 2004. Would you agree I should replace?

I ride very casually and very rarely, so I don’t want to spend a fortune, but my head is the only one I get so I want it to do a good job.

What should I expect to spend for an effective helmet? Is the MIPS system worth the additional cost (it seems like it)? Other than comfort, looks, ventilation, etc., none of which would seem to make a huge difference for a casual rider, can I assume they all perform their safety function easily?
It doesn't matter if your helmet has a 2002 sticker and you purchased it in 2004. As long as you have not had an impact/crash with it hitting something, it is still good to go.

This study dispelled a lot of myths about how helmets need to be replaced every few years.

https://www.helmets.org/up1505a.htm

As you will conclude from the study, your helmet can last and be effective for decades. :beer
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Re: bike helmets

Post by AlohaJoe » Mon Jul 02, 2018 11:11 am

Sort of off-topic but I was a bit surprised when I learned how low the bar is for bicycle helmet certification. For instance, in the US all you need to do to get certified is survive a 2 meter drop, equivalent to about 10mph. That seems a bit low when everyone and their brother is cycling at 15-20mph and have to worry an head-on- collision increasing the relative speeds.

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Re: bike helmets

Post by Boston Barry » Mon Jul 02, 2018 11:14 am

Another article as food-for-thought, regarding ski helmets and head injuries:

https://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/01/01/s ... uries.html

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Re: bike helmets

Post by lazydavid » Mon Jul 02, 2018 11:21 am

greg24 wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 10:19 am
Note: I'm ignoring motorcycle injuries in these comparisons, as those are off the charts. Motorcyclists should definitely wear helmets.
I'd amend this to say Motorcyclists should definitely wear full protective gear, including helmets, gloves, boots, and skid resistant clothing or a riding suit/leathers.

If a motorcyclist chooses to wear shorts and a tank top while riding, I'm fully supportive of them not wearing a helmet. I wouldn't want to survive that wreck either. :twisted:

Back OT: I wear my helmet most (probably 90%) of the time, and make sure my son wears his 100% of the time. I have never been down as an adolescent or adult, even when I used to ride 100+ miles/week. Mine is a Bell that's probably 10 years old at this point, so I should probably look into replacing it. My son's is a newer Bern, so I think he's good.

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Re: bike helmets

Post by JupiterJones » Mon Jul 02, 2018 11:42 am

WildBill wrote:
Sun Jul 01, 2018 8:47 pm
Not wearing a helmet while bicycling is stupid.
Why? Most arguments are based on the following logic:
  • There is a non-zero chance that you could have a crash while on your bicycle.
  • If you have a crash, there is a non-zero chance that you could hit your head as a result of it.
  • If you hit your head, there's a non-zero chance that it will be hit with a force that lies within that specific range in which wearing a helmet would make a different (not so soft that you'd make it without a helmet, and not so hard that you're toast, helmet or not)
  • Having a helmet will protect you in that one specific situation.
  • Therefore not having a helmet is "stupid", regardless of how low the probability of the situation is, since the consequences of it are so dire.
I get that. Makes sense.

But, as has been mentioned here, there are all sorts of low-probability situations where having a helmet could mean the difference between injury/death and survival. The point being made is, why are certain activities (bicycling, rollerblading) singled out, and others (crossing the street, taking a shower, climbing a ladder) not? If your rule is "if a helmet can protect you, you should wear one", why apply it so arbitrarily?

Is it because of the perceived probability of a helmet-worthy incident? Leaving aside the issue of what the probabilities actually are... Is it that you do agree that, while you could crack your head open as a pedestrian, or bather, or car passenger, the probability isn't enough to warrant a helmet? If that's the case, that means that you're drawing a rather arbitrary line, aren't you? Why call someone who draws it in a slightly different place "stupid"?

Or is it because things like walking, showering, driving, etc. are considered "normal and everyday and an unavoidable part of being a human", whereas bicycling, etc. are considered "not ordinary" and/or a "choice" and/or "something weirdos do"? Therefore it hasn't been normalized and the risk perceptions are all out-of-whack?

Or is it that bicycling by adults has, in this country, come be seen as an almost exclusively "sports" activity, with the all the heightened relative risk that that involves? That the "racer-fication" of bicycling has made people forget that, sometimes, people like to just hop on a bike in their normal, non-spandex/non-lycra clothes and regular shoes, and bike at sub-10mph speeds down a quiet street to go to the park or pick up something at the corner store?

(For the record, I wear a helmet when I ride a bike, and most of the time it is for no good reason other than to protect me from people yelling at me for not wearing a helmet.)

Anyway, in a well-designed transportation infrastructure, in culture where bicycling has been normalized, a bike helmet actually should be about as necessary as a "pedestrian helmet". Go stand on a corner in Amsterdam or Copenhagen and count the helmets you see. You'd think the hospitals would have to stack the head injury victims up like cordwood! And yet these exceptionally safe places to ride a bike (nowadays).
Stay on target...

shawndoggy
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Re: bike helmets

Post by shawndoggy » Mon Jul 02, 2018 12:10 pm

JupiterJones wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 11:42 am
Or is it that bicycling by adults has, in this country, come be seen as an almost exclusively "sports" activity, with the all the heightened relative risk that that involves? That the "racer-fication" of bicycling has made people forget that, sometimes, people like to just hop on a bike in their normal, non-spandex/non-lycra clothes and regular shoes, and bike at sub-10mph speeds down a quiet street to go to the park or pick up something at the corner store?
Lots of great points here. Lycra is pretty much the worst thing a person could wear to protect from crash injuries too. I agree that a lot of this is about fashion. And.... that said.... I'm also a person whose life has probably been saved because I wore a helmet cycling (OTB at the crack of dawn on a solo training ride). It's sortof like buckling my seatbelt nowadays... I feel "naked" riding a bike without a helmet.

But you are right that there are many other equally dangerous activities where helmet wearing is not normalized. Shoot, I absolutely HATE wearing a helmet skateboarding, for instance.... and I'm sure the stats show that I should.

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CyclingDuo
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Re: bike helmets

Post by CyclingDuo » Mon Jul 02, 2018 12:14 pm

JupiterJones wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 11:42 am
Or is it that bicycling by adults has, in this country, come be seen as an almost exclusively "sports" activity, with the all the heightened relative risk that that involves? That the "racer-fication" of bicycling has made people forget that, sometimes, people like to just hop on a bike in their normal, non-spandex/non-lycra clothes and regular shoes, and bike at sub-10mph speeds down a quiet street to go to the park or pick up something at the corner store?

(For the record, I wear a helmet when I ride a bike, and most of the time it is for no good reason other than to protect me from people yelling at me for not wearing a helmet.)

Anyway, in a well-designed transportation infrastructure, in culture where bicycling has been normalized, a bike helmet actually should be about as necessary as a "pedestrian helmet". Go stand on a corner in Amsterdam or Copenhagen and count the helmets you see. You'd think the hospitals would have to stack the head injury victims up like cordwood! And yet these exceptionally safe places to ride a bike (nowadays).
Good points.

Consumer choice and each consumer's experience to date on a bicycle plays into it. I have fallen many times and whacked my head on the pavement and dirt. Mountain biking and bike racing - as you mention above - being the chief reasons. I've seen people unable to unclip from their pedals quick enough at a stoplight/stop sign and fall over sideways while going 0 mph and whack their head no matter how experienced they are with their pedal system. Again, not specific to scenarios you outline above, but a consideration for those who use clipless pedals. I was riding along at a rather slow speed in my youth without a helmet, and was attacked by a dog that bit my leg and dragged me off the bike where I hit my head and got a rather serious concussion. Again - stuff happens.

For the scenario you outline as slower speed cycling as transportation (whether it be in Europe, Asia, or the US), I don't use a helmet. I cannot recall ever falling off of a bicycle outside of the dog attack as a child, and racing bikes over the past 5 decades. That's not to say it couldn't happen, but compared to the higher risk cycling of mountain biking/mountain bike racing/gravel and road racing - the lid will be on (has to be on by rules, but even without the rules I'd wear the lid due to all the crashes I've had over the years).

All that being said, the OP's post really is about longevity of the product (helmet), and when a replacement is warranted. The thread has now derailed and this post is guilty as charged.
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letsgobobby
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Re: bike helmets

Post by letsgobobby » Mon Jul 02, 2018 12:25 pm

CyclingDuo wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 11:09 am
letsgobobby wrote:
Sun Jul 01, 2018 3:03 pm
Hello cyclists,

I’ve read one should replace bike helmets after any significant impact, or after a certain number of years have passed (much like a car seat). My helmet has a 2002 sticker on it and was purchased in 2004. Would you agree I should replace?

I ride very casually and very rarely, so I don’t want to spend a fortune, but my head is the only one I get so I want it to do a good job.

What should I expect to spend for an effective helmet? Is the MIPS system worth the additional cost (it seems like it)? Other than comfort, looks, ventilation, etc., none of which would seem to make a huge difference for a casual rider, can I assume they all perform their safety function easily?
It doesn't matter if your helmet has a 2002 sticker and you purchased it in 2004. As long as you have not had an impact/crash with it hitting something, it is still good to go.

This study dispelled a lot of myths about how helmets need to be replaced every few years.

https://www.helmets.org/up1505a.htm

As you will conclude from the study, your helmet can last and be effective for decades. :beer
Thank you much for the data lnk, and the on topic post.

I went ahead and replaced my helmet to get the MIPs, and my kids were outgrowing their helmets so I bought them MIPs helmets as well. In part I just took a spill on my bike and while I don’t remember hitting my head, I went over the handlebars and had a touch of dizziness and headache after the fact so i wonder if my head glanced off the handlebars. Anyway, given the age of the helmet I decided to replace.

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Re: bike helmets

Post by goblue100 » Mon Jul 02, 2018 12:33 pm

Boston Barry wrote:
Sun Jul 01, 2018 8:50 pm
I thought the article was good in getting one to think about risk. Ultimately I don’t think the author was against bike helmets. But he does point out the risk of head injuries in general and the higher risk of crossing the street / walking on the sidewalk / being in a car vs bike riding. People who go crazy about bike helmets should also be equally adamant about wearing a helmet while walking / being in a car.
His whole article is pretty ridiculous from a statistical point of view.
He points out that in 1978 in San Diego County half of the people with head injuries were in a car accident. 6% were riding a bike. So he concludes we would be better off using the helmet while in the car.
I wonder what the rate would be per participant mile? I suspect it would re-frame the discussion to a more meaningful assessment of risk. If we assume San Diego county has a million people driving a car and each one drives 12,000 miles a year, that is 12 billion(yes, billion. I checked the math!) miles. How many people do you think ride a bike? I'll be generous and say 10%, 100,000. How many miles would be an average? I'll be generous again, and say 2000. That is 200 million. So you have 60x more miles being driven than biked yet the injury rate is only 8x higher in the car. Which one sounds more dangerous? And that isn't even considering passenger miles in the car. I suspect the higher seat belt usage and air bags of the current autos would also lower the automobile rate of head injury from the rate in 1978.
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shawndoggy
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Re: bike helmets

Post by shawndoggy » Mon Jul 02, 2018 12:38 pm

CyclingDuo wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 12:14 pm
I've seen people unable to unclip from their pedals quick enough at a stoplight/stop sign and fall over sideways while going 0 mph and whack their head no matter how experienced they are with their pedal system.
Dang, that must be a janky system! Even after becoming extremely familiar, you know people who randomly can't get out of their pedals? YIKES! SPDs and SPD-SLs for me, thank you!

JBTX
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Re: bike helmets

Post by JBTX » Mon Jul 02, 2018 12:43 pm

Boston Barry wrote:
Sun Jul 01, 2018 11:05 pm
Ok. If you don’t accept the statistics quoted, then I understand your perspective.

Mr. Chong does, though, attempt to tackle your perspective. And cites his epidemiological sources.

https://academic.oup.com/aje/article-ab ... 500/149287

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/a ... 7505001363#

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/a ... 7596000164

“...despite the clear threat of fatal head trauma from these other activities, virtually nobody insists that people wear helmets in these situations. In fact, doing so is openly mocked. Consider a sentence from this recent article from Forbes magazine that reports that vehicle accidents are the number one cause of fatal head injuries among teenagers : 
Short of suggesting all teen drivers and their passengers wear helmets, the survey determined that states which maintain the strictest graduated driver licensing laws (GDL) are the most effective in reducing both brain injuries and fatalities among young motorists.
Did you catch that? Despite the fact that car accidents are the number one cause of all fatal head trauma among teenagers, the suggestion that teens wear helmets when they drive is simply brushed off. The passage treats the idea of mandatory driving helmets as completely preposterous. Yet we insist that children wear bike helmets (in fact, in some places, it's the law) despite data that shows kids are more likely to die of head injuries riding in a car than riding on a bike. Children and toddlers on foot are far more likely to receive traumatic brain injuries than cyclists, yet parents who place protective headwear on their walking toddlers are openly ridiculed.”
It is an interesting and thought provoking piece. However the following questions come to mind.

1. As to walking head injuries vs biking, is the seriousness of head injury comparable? That isn't explicitly stated.

2. As to walking, I'd like to see what exactly they are including in that data. I'm having a hard time believing the risk of serious head injury is twice is high walking vs biking.

3. As to driving, the stats were in 1996. Overall fatalities per mile driven have gone down significantly since then, and airbags are much more common now vs 20 years ago. I imagine driving head injuries are a lot less.

4. The fact that motorcyclists are more at risk than bikes is not compelling at all.

5. Even taking the statistics at face value, the fact that other forms of transportation may have a higher rate is not in itself an argument against bike helmets.

PVW
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Re: bike helmets

Post by PVW » Mon Jul 02, 2018 1:44 pm

JupiterJones wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 11:42 am
WildBill wrote:
Sun Jul 01, 2018 8:47 pm
Not wearing a helmet while bicycling is stupid.
Why?
Social convention, nothing more. Bike riding is perceived as a higher risk activity and wearing a helmet is a normal precaution. Conversely, if you were to wear a helmet when walking, driving, bathing, etc., then that's an extraordinary precaution and social pressure would be applied.

When going against social convention, the burden of proof is on the rebel.

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Re: bike helmets

Post by inbox788 » Mon Jul 02, 2018 2:14 pm

PVW wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 1:44 pm
Social convention, nothing more. Bike riding is perceived as a higher risk activity and wearing a helmet is a normal precaution. Conversely, if you were to wear a helmet when walking, driving, bathing, etc., then that's an extraordinary precaution and social pressure would be applied.

When going against social convention, the burden of proof is on the rebel.
It's a little like those afraid of flying have little regard for the risk the drive to and from the airport presents or choose to drive instead and take a higher statistical risk. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/keith-th ... 67106.html

I question their methods of measuring mileage of bicyclist and pedestrians, and whether they're properly accounting for difference between kids walking home from school vs. bicyclist on a highway. I'm not even sure how they'd go about comparing school kids that walk home vs. ride a bike home and whether the risk to this subgroup were any different.

Anyway, risk is sometimes irrational, but for any given activity, the question that might be asked is what is the the one thing that has biggest bang for the buck as far as improving safety, and for bicycling, it might just be the helmet, whereas for driving and walking, there maybe other more effective interventions. I'm guilty of walking and texting :shock: but I don't ride and text. Will a helmet help me more than stopping the inattentive behavior?

cjcerny
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Re: bike helmets

Post by cjcerny » Mon Jul 02, 2018 2:23 pm

Bike helmet needs to be replaced after any impact. You can get a decent new helmet for as little as $40.

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CyclingDuo
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Re: bike helmets

Post by CyclingDuo » Mon Jul 02, 2018 2:25 pm

shawndoggy wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 12:38 pm
CyclingDuo wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 12:14 pm
I've seen people unable to unclip from their pedals quick enough at a stoplight/stop sign and fall over sideways while going 0 mph and whack their head no matter how experienced they are with their pedal system.
Dang, that must be a janky system! Even after becoming extremely familiar, you know people who randomly can't get out of their pedals? YIKES! SPDs and SPD-SLs for me, thank you!
I have lost count how many times over the years I have seen things like this happen:

https://youtu.be/EHHz1Z6B7wo

https://youtu.be/a69kKucDnx8

https://youtu.be/FJnU1ym7AJk

https://youtu.be/9ZctPxCBaFY
"Everywhere is within walking distance if you have the time." ~ Steven Wright

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Re: bike helmets

Post by Fallible » Mon Jul 02, 2018 3:28 pm

letsgobobby wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 12:25 pm
...
In part I just took a spill on my bike and while I don’t remember hitting my head, I went over the handlebars and had a touch of dizziness and headache after the fact so i wonder if my head glanced off the handlebars. ...
I'm sure you know all this already, but I'll just mention it anyway. The dizziness and headache and not remembering hitting your head would seem to indicate that you did hit your head in some way and hard enough to cause these symptoms, which are those of a concussion. I should add that this isn't saying you had a concussion, just that what you describe are among known symptoms of one.
Last edited by Fallible on Mon Jul 02, 2018 4:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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TLC1957
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Re: bike helmets

Post by TLC1957 » Mon Jul 02, 2018 4:19 pm

Not only do I wear my helmet when biking I added this product to provide protection from the sun, works well. It fits on most helmets, very popular in Phoenix.

http://www.dabrim.com/html/products/cycling/classic.htm

letsgobobby
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Re: bike helmets

Post by letsgobobby » Tue Jul 03, 2018 12:35 am

Fallible wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 3:28 pm
letsgobobby wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 12:25 pm
...
In part I just took a spill on my bike and while I don’t remember hitting my head, I went over the handlebars and had a touch of dizziness and headache after the fact so i wonder if my head glanced off the handlebars. ...
I'm sure you know all this already, but I'll just mention it anyway. The dizziness and headache and not remembering hitting your head would seem to indicate that you did hit your head in some way and hard enough to cause these symptoms, which are those of a concussion. I should add that this isn't saying you had a concussion, just that what you describe are among known symptoms of one.
Aware, hence the new helmet!

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