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poll: did your helmet ever cushion a head blow?(41 posts)

poll: did your helmet ever cushion a head blow?ET
Jun 27, 2002 12:38 PM
Stats can be deceptive, laws controversial. How 'bout some anecdotal evidence (which, of course, is not deceptive :-)) from cyclists on this forum.

Please state if your helmet ever cushioned a head blow (regardless of how severe) in a cycling crash or collision. It would help to post even if your answer is No.

I'll go first. Yes. In my one real crash, last year, my bike fishtailed after I slammed on the brakes too fast while descending at around 30 mph right towards a stationary truck waiting to make a left turn. Down I went. Road rash on right knee and elbow, periodic numbness in right arm for two months, felt banged up and sore for a month, had trouble remembering exactly what happened in the crash, lucky I didn't get hurt worse. When I got home (got a ride), I looked at my helmet, and it had obvious damage (that wasn't there before) in the back of it even though I don't recall banging my head. I must've fell backwards after impact and then bounced forward.
You betcha!Mel Erickson
Jun 27, 2002 12:46 PM
Was struck by a fishtailing Mustang from the rear. Launced over the bars landing first on my noggin, then shoulder and rolling/sliding on my back on a gravel shoulder. Back was hamburger. No head injury. This was back in '82 with an old Bell hardshell. They just don't make 'em like that anymore (thank god!).
Bell Hardshell..Brooks
Jun 28, 2002 10:05 AM
saved my sister's life in '78 when a logging truck passed within inches (straight road, no oncoming traffic, the prick!) and the draft pushed her off into the gravel shoulder. Front wheel turned sideways flipping her onto the road. Bruised hip, elbow, shoulder and a cracked helmet. Spent the rest of the day in the local hospital with xrays and painkillers.

I've never hit my head with force (glancing blows while falling/rolling on mtb). Have always worn a helmet since Bell came out with the Biker (Still have it, but unused for many years).

Ride safely,
may have saved my life twiceDougSloan
Jun 27, 2002 12:47 PM
One mountain bike endo, one road endo. The road one was much worse. I was knocked out cold in the middle of a road. I was a little dazed, but ok. Helmet shattered. What I really needed was shoulder pads both times.

are you saying...ET
Jun 27, 2002 12:50 PM
there should be a mandatory shoulder pad law? :-)
are you saying...DougSloan
Jun 27, 2002 12:55 PM
Actually, a mandatory "pull you head out of your ass" law would be better.

Both accidents happened when I just wasn't paying attention. Solo, all by myself. Idiocy. Luckily, I've learned a little since then. Pain bad.

x3!!! i seem to go through a helmet per year....._rt_
Jun 27, 2002 12:49 PM
i would say that i have had 2 crashes where my helmet saved my life. the most recent, 13 months ago when i took a header off a log stunt while mountain biking in BC. i hit the ground in a headstand off a 4' log. my helmet cracked in a perfect rectangle at the top of my head & i walked away from the crash with crushed vertebra. if it weren't for the helmet, i'm sure i'd be dead.

the other crash was almost 4 years ago when i first started mountain biking. i endoed & i remember watching the ground rush up to meet my face. i also remember thinking, 'oh no! i'm going to break my nose'. my helmet took the impact and i didn't even have a scratch on my face (on the other hand, i shattered the iliac crest. doh!)

i have never (knock wood) crashed on the road (and these days, i spend a lot more time on my road bike than my mtb) but you couldn't pay me to ride without a helmet.

rt - i like my head just the way it is, thank you very much!
re: poll: did your helmet ever cushion a head blow?Dave Hickey
Jun 27, 2002 12:53 PM
One real crash. 25mph run in with a large dog. The dog won. I went down sideways and hit my shoulder and then head. Cracked my Giro Boreas. Without a doubt, it saved my life.

Also, I was at my LBS this week and on display was the LBS owners Specialzed helmet. He was leading a group ride and hit a pot hole. He went over the handlebars and all the plastic on top of the helmet was gone. If he wasn't wearing a helmet, it wouldn't have been pretty.
Yes, within weeks of getting my first helmet...PdxMark
Jun 27, 2002 12:53 PM
Did a header at 20-25 mph 22 years ago... front wheel dropped through fresh grout in the center seam of a bridge. Landed just above my right temple. It was an old style Bell helmet with a hard Lexan shell. Helmet didn't break, so I (stupidly) used it for several years afterwards (college poverty).
Jun 27, 2002 12:56 PM
Pavement, back of the head, Giro Helios.

Jun 27, 2002 12:59 PM
1) my front wheel overlapped the rider in front of me, I went down on a gravel trail doing 18mph. Cracked my helmet; had deep thigh bruises and was sore for quite a while. It was a cold day and I was wearing lots of clothes so I didn't get any skin scrapes or road rashes. The bike was fine.

2) cyclist in front of me went down. I hit my front brake and did an endo. I remember somersaulting and hitting the pavement with my helmet. Didn't crack it this time; didn't have a scratch either. My bike was messed up, however: bent seat, bent derailleur, bent brake lever. Got up, adjusted what I could and we all continued on. I still remember the feeling of going over the bars and rolling.
No and Yes...biknben
Jun 27, 2002 1:06 PM
While road riding, my helmet has never done anything other than sit on my head.

I can only think of two occasions where I hit my head while Mt. biking. In both cases it only brushed the ground.

I rode on the road for about 5 years before getting a helmet. I got the helmet when I started mountain biking then began using it all the time.

Now I feel naked without it.
No, never...but this is one of those "it only takes one" thingsScot_Gore
Jun 27, 2002 1:21 PM
Did you ever leave your small child at home while you poped out to the store.....No, never, there might be a fire.

Did you ever have cheat on your wife....No, never, that could end a great marriage.

Did you ever drive on a frozen Minnesota Lake in the Spring time....No, Never, that could kill me quickly.

And just to show I'm still a canidate for a Darwin award.

Did you ever drive into flood waters....You Bet, cost me a whole car and got Encephalitis. There ought to be a law!!!! ;-)

re: poll: did your helmet ever cushion a head blow?Rode Warrior
Jun 27, 2002 1:22 PM
Once on a motorcycle, I fractured my back, and scratched the hell out of my helmet. Without the helmet I would have rubbed of most of my left ear.

Twice on a bicycle.
Off road, I had my front tire drop into a hole, and got launched OTB. I got moderate whiplash, but no other injuries, again the left side of the helmet was scratched up pretty good.

Recently I rode into the back of a van. My helmet had 3/4" holes in the top. It scares me to think what that would have done to my head.

I always wear a helmet, but don't think a law is necessary.
Saved from at least one concussion by an $8 helmet ...Humma Hah
Jun 27, 2002 1:28 PM
My old helmet, a well-built Snell-approved, but unfashionable relic, took quite a dent one day when my chain snapped as I was starting out at a traffic light.

I retired it the next day, splurged on a new $25 helmet.
Twicethe dad
Jun 27, 2002 1:29 PM
The first was on a road ride. I endo'd at the bottom of a hill and landed on my head and shoulder. Knocked me out for a little while. Broke my helmet and messed up my collar bone real bad.

The second was mountain biking. I slipped on a wet root and hit my head on either a rock or a root. It wasn't a big deal, but I'm glad I had my helmet on.
YES, destroyed the helmet. (nm)Chen2
Jun 27, 2002 1:31 PM
just oncewulf
Jun 27, 2002 1:47 PM
Mtbing, tried to bunny-hop a 6 inch tree down across the trail without the requisite skill. Came down WAY early, caught the back of the big ring and the rear tire, got launched. Landed on top left of head and left shoulder, bike went over me, apparently, as I was out for about 30 seconds and my riding buddy came up on me.

Helmet had a huge chunk out of it, from what I could determine, was a rock protruding up about 1/2 ". Don't know what could have been, but I wear the lid always.
re: poll: did your helmet ever cushion a head blow?gerwerken
Jun 27, 2002 1:47 PM
About 6 months ago I got launched from my bike on a gravel laden downhill while mountain biking. The bike hit hard enough to bend the handle bars several inches. I was thrown 10 to 15 feet by most estimates, had gravel inbeded in a large portion of my body, I blacked out several times due to lack of blood, and I could barely walk for a week. My helmet cracked, but my head didn't have a scratch on it. I never ride without a helmet now.
re: poll: did your helmet ever cushion a head blow?jtlmd
Jun 27, 2002 2:06 PM
At least twice I have received concussions after crashing on my mountain bike. Cracked the helmet once and retired another helmet after the second. I have no doubt injuries would have been more severe without the helmets. I also have no doubt that if I ever fall on my road bike or get hit by a car that the helmet will be necessary. Even though I fall less on the road bike I would expect the force to be greater because of higher speeds and momentum (related to the mass of the car).
Too many times to countCuervo930
Jun 27, 2002 2:18 PM
Referring to motorcycle helmets, worst was crash that put a deep gouge in the back of the helmet, but that was better than putting a deep gouge into my skull. That crash put me in the hospital for a week with internal injuries.

Bicycle helmets have not been put to such a test (fortunately), but on the MTB the helmet as protected the top of my head from low branches.

The down side of bike helmets is they allow flying, biting, stinging insects to be trapped inside, which in turn pisses off the stinging, biting bugenough to sting and bite you on the head. This happened for the second time just last week while descending a hill at 35 mph. OUCH!
a few observations so farET
Jun 27, 2002 2:31 PM
1. There must be several million readers on RBR given we're observing so many having had so rare an event as a helmet saving their lives.

2. Mountain biking is dangerous! Dang!
Nope, neither road riding nor mtb.Lon Norder
Jun 27, 2002 2:33 PM
Knock on head...I mean, wood.
Jun 27, 2002 2:36 PM
And you guys are scaring me. Perhaps I will take up golf instead.
I could have used a helmet playing golf!JL
Jun 27, 2002 7:12 PM
I was hit 2X by "friends" playing golf. Both in the head (back and side). I was able to continue both times. The worst one could have been the side shot, but it luckily glanced my shoulder before it hit my head.

Moral if you play golf and walk/ride ahead to help speed up play: Pay attention to your playing partners, you never know when that next "mishit" will occur. Even if your "out of bounds".

On the bike, knock on wood, the helmet has just sat on my head. Though the plastic shell did crack when it fell on the ground the other night. Now I need a new helmet.

Happy riding.

that's what my doctor says rider
Jun 28, 2002 4:47 AM
everytime I visit him from a mtb crash or accident with cars.
Gave its life for minedsc
Jun 27, 2002 2:40 PM
This was on a mountain bike...

approaching a jump really, really fast - one of those camel back-shaped ones that you have to simultaneously pull up on the front wheel and plant the rear wheel to keep your momentum from pitching you forward over the handelbars.

Well, I didn't do something right, and over I went. Thank god I didn't land square on the top of my head, because I would have broken my neck for sure. As it was, I was actually tumbling enough so that I landed slightly off the back of my helmet. I remember when I hit, it was the first time that I ever thought "my head really HURTS!"

Of course there was plenty of blood from gouged elbows and knees, but when I finally collected my wits enough to pull off my helmet, I saw that it was spilt, starting from the rear to about 1/3 of the way to the front.

If it wasn't for that Giro that day, I would have been dead, or worse, a "drooler" for life.

Not counting hitting my hemeted head on the trunk lid?Straightblock
Jun 27, 2002 3:54 PM
Back in the last years of the leather hairnet, the rider directly in front of me suddenly lost control on a straight 40+ mph downhill during a road race. I don't know what happened next, but I was knocked unconsious for a few moments/minutes in that one. I figure the hairnet must have helped at least a little.

Later that same season, I was caught in a pileup during a crit but was sporting a brand-new first generation Bell Biker hardshell from a promo giveaway at another crit a few weeks earlier. I tumbled up the curb & felt my helmet go "thunk" against the sidewalk, but got up, yanked my bar & stem straight & got back into the race after the free lap. The helmet had a small crack in the foam but no significant compression, so I was dumb & cheap enough to use it for several more years.

Two years ago I was hit head-on on a M.U.T. by a kid who rode around a blind turn on the wrong side. The headtube of my frame snapped off & I went face & forehead onto the path. The "Trek" helmet shattered inside the shell & the foam at my forehead was nearly fully compressed. I took more than 60 stitches in my face during about 4 hours of plastic surgery, but that helmet was the best $60 I ever spent.
Wow! nmLeisure
Jun 28, 2002 9:48 AM
Yep-3 X.look271
Jun 27, 2002 4:03 PM
1) Hit RR tracks @ 25mph, front wheel went out, I went down on my head, shoulder and hip.
2) Hit by car(oncoming, turned left into me). Head and elbow hit windshield. Probably saved my life.
3) Stupid-a#$ me turned around to check paceline, caught wheel of guy in front of me, down I went.Hit my head primarily.
I think that Specialized must know me by name-good crash-replacement policy!
yes, though wimpy in comparison to most here...nova
Jun 27, 2002 4:15 PM
I was getting accustomed to using clipless pedals for the first time. Commuting to work, I came to a complete stop at an intersection.

In what felt like slow motion (I'm sure some of you can relate), I fell over on my right side. I landed primarily on my right shoulder. However, as soon as my body hit the pavement and stopped falling, my head just kept on falling, and.... WHAP!, my helmet took a good hit.
Yahh...uh, I dinkitdid (nm)Crankist
Jun 27, 2002 5:20 PM
Jun 27, 2002 5:49 PM
one moderate impact on grass, one glancing blow on pavement. in the first case, I was likely saved a concussion. my teammate, who was in the same crash, broke his helmet.
Jun 27, 2002 6:29 PM
Both times on the mountain bike. Never on the road.
Helmets hell yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!jim hubbard
Jun 27, 2002 7:00 PM
I have had more crashes than I care to remember. The two worst though was 70kph headfirst into a New Jersy barrier, after being undercut and forced wide on a decent. The other was just 6 weeks ago. Body checked of a wheel at 60kph going to a intermediate sprint. Road was so coarse the it punctured the shell and gouged out 6 or seven 3cm round holes. Helmets hell yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Broke 4-5 helmets.......airbrushbikes
Jun 28, 2002 12:52 AM
within a time frame of 3 years. Most recent one was just 3 weeks ago. In most cases, yes, I must admit that it did protect my head.
Yespa rider
Jun 28, 2002 4:53 AM
Six times it save my head and brain.

2 in car accidents and 4 mtb riding. Broke two this year in 1 month period. I seem to break them in pairs when mtb riding.

Found Giro crush and sound like egg carton breaking. Specialize seem be best support for me when I hit/land on the helmet. I get more neck injuries from the giro helmets, must be the neck harness.

I'm trying a Limar helmat now because the specialize model didn't fit me right for winter riding.

Jun 28, 2002 6:37 AM
Riding past a public golf course - heard distinct "smack" on pavement - ball hit the street in front of me at my 2o;clock, then ball caromed upwards, striking me on right temple.

Saved by the Bell helmet for sure!!

Is there a rule in golf on how to play that?!?!?
Jun 28, 2002 6:49 AM
Story here


re: oh my, yes!dzrider
Jun 28, 2002 6:59 AM
It had just started to rain and I went down on wet rr tracks. My helmet hit the pavement before I knew I was falling. It sounded like a large caliber pistol fired next to my ear. My Bell V1-Pro was cracked on the inside. It made a big enough impression on me that I bought the replacement helmet because it was the only one that adverised its safety. All the others' ads talked only about lightness and vents.
I never wear a helmet and now I have dain bramage.Turtleherder
Jun 28, 2002 7:55 AM
No, not really. I ALWAYS wear a helmet, kind of feel naked until I put it on. The only time I ever hit my head, and this is embarrassing, was a few years ago when I was riding back to my car after a rather grueling and hot ride. I was pretty near bonked when I pulled up to the side of the car and unclipped. I promptly fell the other way and hit my head on the side of my own car on the way down. I was glad I had the helmet and really glad no one saw it.