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Why would you not wear a helmet? POSER THREAD.(35 posts)

Why would you not wear a helmet? POSER THREAD.Sprint-Nick
Mar 4, 2003 12:23 AM
In reply to the post below:

Seriously why would you not wear a helmet? If you ever crash it *reduces the risk* of brain injury by quite a bit and helps prevent you from cracking your skull open on the ground at any speed. I know my head-first impact at 60 km/h would have killed me if it weren't for my Bell Ghisallo.

Live your own lives but I don't think putting fashion over the importance of keeping your brain off the pavement is a good idea... its the worst way to be a poser. Wearing no helmet is cool when your getting paid to climb up Mont Ventoux but notice Lance wears it on the way to the climb and on any descents? Its not because it makes him go faster.

do not read this!Woof the dog
Mar 4, 2003 12:49 AM
When riding alone where there are almost no cars I don't think I need a helmet. I know the weather, I know how to control the bike, I have eyes to see whats up the road, I don't take risks, I ride more conservatively. I'm used to riding without a helmet, so its no biggie. Its a child thing I guess, cause when I was little, I don't think I knew what a cycling helmet was. Never seen a helmet till about 14 years old. Never even heard of cycling as a sport until about 17 y.o. I always remembered grabbing my bike and going for a ride in an instant. I will always remember the good ol' days. These days its a whole procedure to set up for a ride, stupid bike shoes, jerseys, helmets, flat tires, bike maintanance. Still, I live out my memories when I bike, I become a kid again, and nothing, I repeat NOTHING will come between me and my traditional way of enjoying my bike and a nice weather, YOU F*CKERS. WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO DO, MAKE ME GO INSANE ON YOUR ASS? YOU WANT VIOLENCE? You should be happy I ride a bike at all, or it would be blood bath. I don't owe you a motherf**king thing. My life - my choice, so leave me alone you f*ckers.
Irresponsible, immature? Yes, this is what I am when I ride my bike, and that is why I like it.

Thank you

Woof the dog.
I had a run in with a car on a quiet residential streetSprint-Nick
Mar 4, 2003 1:52 AM
Its not you thats the problem. Its people making bad choices around you... I had a run in with a car last year before nationals. Result; amnesia for about half an hour... way I figure it a hit and run... very lucky insurance paid for my bike to get replaced.

Ride safe; with or without a helmet,
Try some decaf (nm)PEDDLEFOOT
Mar 4, 2003 5:26 AM
Woof's right.mickey-mac
Mar 4, 2003 5:46 AM
Next time he tells me not to read one of his posts, I'll follow his advice.
Woof, You don't have any Weapons of Mass Destruction, do you?serbski
Mar 4, 2003 8:55 AM
I ask because you seem like a rather angry fellow. You state that we "should be happy [you] ride a bike at all, or it would be a blood bath". What an odd threat. I actually think that you should become a runner as it does not require such bothersome tasks as "[wearing] stupid bike shoes, jerseys, helmets" nor does it involve "flat tires and bike maintenance". Mind you, it does require some type of shorts/loincloth/tube sock as one can always run barefoot but public nudity is generally frowned upon (which probably is another infringement upon your "rights" as you see them). From your post it sounds like one would be wise to wear a helmet, riding or not, in any proximity to you should you possibly "GO INSANE ON [our collective] ASS". As someone who is fairly new to this board I find your post by far the most inane/asinine/(fill in the blank) bunch of macho posturing (more suited to a WWF pre-match "interview") I have ever seen. Lighten up for chrissakes....
Mar 4, 2003 7:43 PM
Forgot to take your meds again?
re: Why would you not wear a helmet? POSER THREAD.xcandrew
Mar 4, 2003 4:12 AM
The perception of the risk of riding without a helmet has risen dramatically in recent years. When I was a kid in the '70s and '80s, I would often ride my bike around all afternoon and I didn't use a helmet and neither did any other kids - they just weren't in common use. I don't think the risk has increase since then, just the perception of danger.

There were 690 bicycling deaths in the U.S. in 2000. This was just 2% of all traffic fatalities that year. ( ) How many auto fatalities could have been prevented by requiring helmets in cars? Over half of all auto fatalities involve head injuries too. Even taking in account the amount of time spent in each activity, I think that it can be shown that the typical cyclist is much more likely by an order of magnitude to die of head injuries in an automobile than on a bicycle. But absolutely no one wears helmets in cars except for race car drivers. There were also 4739 pedestrian deaths in 2000. I don't see any pedestrians wearing helmets. Do you wear your helmet in the bathroom? There are about 23,000 deaths per year by falls in the home, mostly in the bathroom. Did I make you want to wear a helmet in your car, bathroom, and while walking? Why not? You can easily confirm those statistics yourself by doing a search. A helmet will definitely *reduce the risk* of brain injury in any of these activities, and affect more lives. But at some point, you just have to let people make their own decisions.

Most people have a distorted judgment of where they expose themselves to the greatest risk of death and injury. Don't make bicycling out to be a more dangerous activity than it actually is... That can possibily lead to all kind of limitations being put on us regarding when and where we can ride and with what equipment, etc. Thankfully the actuaries collect the statistics.

I personally wear a helmet on some rides, and not on others. There are some rides where I have absolutely no risk of dying by head injury - cruising around the neighborhood trails and parks for an after dinner "walk" while fully alert. I am certainly not being a poser when I don't wear a helmet... I ride a 16 yr old road bike and 10 year old mountain bike (both mid range models), no jerseys, just my old T-shirts. I'm going to die someday, but it is almost certainly not going to be from riding a bike. I've got much more serious risks like driving, x-c skiing on icy trails with light poles and trees on downhill corners (every see a xc skier wearing a helmet? I haven't), running on ice (fell 3 times last two weeks, bruising quad, hip, elbow, straining upper back... an unbroken fall on the head can kill you just as easily as on a bike), bouldering, growing old, cancer, being human, off trail running in the mountains, etc.
re: Why would you not wear a helmet? POSER THREAD.hinaults dog
Mar 4, 2003 4:33 AM
I have read that seatbelts in cars make people feel
safer and thus drive in a more reckless manner
I've often wondered if helmets have the same effect
I don't wear a helmet -i'm a cyclist of the 80's and
have never felt comfortable wearing one, however
when out with my 14 yo son i insist that he wears one.
re: Why would you not wear a helmet? POSER THREAD.xcandrew
Mar 4, 2003 1:32 PM
I would argue that there is a small effect. There have been many studies that show this effect in common safety devices like seat belts, helmets, air bags, etc. It is a well documented effect called "risk compensation". I know that many will call that BS right off the bat, thinking that, "I don't take any bone-headed risks just because I'm wearing a helmet... (or have air bags, etc.)" However, the effect is subtle. In any given situation, there is a range of what you might do, all within your comfort level. Say are you going down a twisty hill. I know many cyclists, including me, will sometimes try to test their decending skills, while not being "stupid". Sometimes I might do it at say 80% of what I might do in a race. Other times, maybe 50%,81%, or 100%. If I were wearing a helmet, would I be more likely to go 81% than 80%? I can't say no to that. And that is what "risk compension" is, a subtle change in your behavior while riding when you have a helmet on vs. no helmet. Another way to look at it is that many of you are scared to ride without a helmet. If forced to go without one, will you do more than usual to ride safely - e.g. take safer routes, ride by yourself instead of in a group, be on a higher "alert", by even 1%? Is this effect greater than the ability of the helmet to protect you? Some statistics may imply that to be the case, but you can't separate out your individual risk from "all cyclists", which include little kids, people who ride 2 miles once a year, etc. I think that wearing a helmet is safer for me, though I don't always do it because the risk in some cases is impossibly low, but it definitely depends on the individual. When I raced in college, I had a teammate who crashed in literally every single race. I don't know how he managed that - well, I can picture him again (klutz) and see it happening. Others, like me never went down because of where we rode in the group and how we rode. Now I don't race and don't do group rides (just ride with my gfriend if not by myself) because I don't race and I am mostly a runner, so my risks are pretty low.
Re: Do you wear your helmet in the bathroom?Spunout
Mar 4, 2003 4:34 AM
You've never tried my Chili.
Thanks xcandrew.......cdale02
Mar 4, 2003 5:50 AM
Well said.

I'm like you... I don't always wear a helmet. For me it depends on the circumstances (who I am riding with, traffic, weather conditions, etc...) My biggest beef is when passing other cyclists and I give a nod, or a wave and I get a response such as "You should be wearing a helmet..." I hate that.

Have a good ride!
xcandrew....not true; risk of death on bike larger than stats...curtybirdychopper
Mar 4, 2003 4:56 PM
I'm not sure I agree andrew. You have to normalize the 700 bike deaths by bike riders or number of bike rides in that given time period and compare that to the number of auto drivers or number of auto trips to compare true risk of death.

I imagine the small number or bike deaths makes cycling seem safer than it is. When you consider the small number of riders compared to the number of people in cars, I would venture that it is not a small number of bike deaths at all.

Just a quick thought...
xcandrew....not true; risk of death on bike larger than stats...xcandrew
Mar 4, 2003 6:15 PM
I am well aware that there are fewer bike riders than people in cars. But many of us bikers spend as much or more time in cars than riding. Of course some one who rides 10 hrs/week is at a higher risk all else equal than someone who rides once a year (even though all else isn't equal). So, yes, the risk of death on a bike is bigger for someone who rides a lot. But the risk of death for MOST of us in this forum is probably still higher in a car. Look at the 725 deaths in 2001. ( ) 24% of the bicyclists who died had a blood alcohol level of greater than 0.08 - they were drunk. I don't ride while drunk (I don't drink at all), so actually only 551 of those deaths can be applied towards MY risk. 82% of those killed were not wearing helmets, so 18% of the dead died despite wearing helmets. Assuming similar proportions of the drunk were wearing helmets (a conservative estimate - they were probably less likely to be wearing them), that cuts the profile of those deaths who "look like" me to 452 helmetless possibly preventable deaths. Multiply by .78 because 78% were older than 16 (an all time high) -> 352 possibly preventable deaths that share my "profile". Now, how many of those 352 helmetless deaths could have been prevented by helmet use? Many of those people were probably run over or hit hard enough that they would have died even with a helmet. If you say that maybe half of those that died helmetless would still be alive with helmets, thats only 175 or so deaths preventable by helmet use that fit my non drinking while biking, over sixteen profile. Now you would have to find out how many people participate in cycling and get a distribution of how often they do it. (A quick search shows 36% of Canadian males biked at least once in the past 6 months.) My point is that the absolute numbers are really really low, compared to 43,000 deaths in cars, that no matter how you normalize it (by time spent in activity would be good, better than miles ridden), most (not all) cyclists are still much more likely to die of head injuries in a car where they don't even consider wearing a helmet. Also not taken into consideration is how those people who died ride. I'm sure a much higher percentage of those who died were riding recklessly than the general cycling public. How you ride obviously greatly affects your overall risk... You can tip the ~175 helmet preventable deaths that fit your profile down even further by how you ride. By the way, I was pretty surprise to find that 24% of those who died where drunk, don't drink and ride!
Do you want to learn the alphabet again?Mariowannabe
Mar 4, 2003 5:39 AM
I have a friend who was in a bicycle/car accident several years ago. No broken bones but unfortunately it took him a year to relearn to talk. I guess a concussion can do that.

I wear a helmet.
Do you want to learn the alphabet again?russw19
Mar 4, 2003 3:52 PM
Just a quick note of physiology, not particularly related to this thread, but this message..
Did you know that many concussions are caused by your Jaw slamming shut and the result of that impact travels to your brian and jars it against your skull? As doctors study concussions more and more (and the truth is that they know little about them) they are learing this is the primary cause of a concussion. Not the brain twisting in the skull, or it smashing against the skull, but the jaw slamming shut and the shock it transmits to your brain stem. This research first became known as doctors studied the head injuries of boxers. Most who had recieved a concussion in the ring did so as the result of a blow to the jaw or chin, not to the temple or forehead. Doctors first thought this was because the brain would twist violently in the head, but new research shows otherwise.

The best thing you can do to prevent a concussion is to wear a professionally molded mouthpiece designed to dampen the impact of your teeth against themselves in a head collision.

Now, that said, are all you out there who are really that paranoid over the masses wearing helmets going to go out and start wearing mouthguards when you ride? Are you going to push the USCF to mandate mouthguards? Probably not. Why? Because helmets is a fashionable cause to talk up against, but mouthguards are just silly.

Stirring the pot,
Mar 4, 2003 5:57 AM
If you want to ride without a helmet, that's fine by me. Just don't expect me to stop and wait until they cart you away on a back board. It's extremly rare that somebody shows up for a group ride without one, but it sometimes happens.
Helmets and club ridescyclopathic
Mar 4, 2003 7:31 AM
BTW you can get fined for riding w/o helmet in most states. Check your state law you might be breaking it. Second, club insurances specifically stay that all riders must wear helmets. This is also requirement for any organized event century, race, crit etc.

In hot weather I used to take helmet on long climbs and hang it on aerobars but after SUV near miss on narrow twitchy climb (guy was all over the road) I don't do it any more. I just shave head for summer.
No law against it...TJeanloz
Mar 4, 2003 1:35 PM
No state has a helmet law for adults riding bicycles, though many have them for the pre-teen crowd. There are laws prohibiting other common behavior (like riding no-hands); but nothing requiring helmet use.

re: wellcyclopathic
Mar 5, 2003 6:34 AM
it's illegal in MD and I believe in VA and PA. MD law was particular funny a few years back it was illegal to ride w/o helmet on bicycle but legal on motocycle. Now, they never got around to define what helmet is so you could argue headband is your helmet
I was lucky to lose only a day of memory and get only 24 stitchesTig
Mar 4, 2003 8:15 AM
Getting T-boned by a car without a helmet in '87 was the very last time I rode without one. I knew better at the time, but wasn't wise enough. After getting what I call a second chance, I won't blow it by being so stupid again. I can't think of a single reason to not wear a helmet that overpowers the obvious reason to wear one.
No helmet = foolStevieP
Mar 4, 2003 9:18 AM
I would never ride my bike without a helmet. What is the point of taking the risk? Why wait until you have an accident to realise that it would have been better to have worn a helmet? The age old saying of 'prevention is better than cure' is so true on this issue.

If you don't want to wear a helmet then fine but if you smash your head in, don't expect any sympathy from us helmet wearers.

FWIW, I think that anyone who does not wear a helmet is very foolish and inconsiderate. A helmet could save your life. Can you imagine the pain and grief you would cause your family if you died of head injuries after a fall but you would have lived if you had worn a helmet? Imagine the guilt that would be laid on the person you have an accident with if you died?.

If you wont wear a helmet for your own benefit then do so for your family's benefit.

Fair play Nick for posting a good thread - I know you have been getting roasted lately.
Mar 4, 2003 12:05 PM
I'll be the first to admit what I did 16 years ago was foolish. Helmet usage wasn't stressed all that much in those days. You either wore a heavy hard helmet with pathetically small vents, a near useless leather hairnet, or nothing at all. Being a rookie road rider without anything more than a few magazines for learning made for many hard lessons. None was harder than a week in the hospital!

These day with the facts all in, not riding with a helmet is about as stupid as taking up smoking.
I think Woof proved that... I wonder if he uses a seatbeltSprint-Nick
Mar 4, 2003 1:28 PM
No offence to you woof but the idea you have that nothing bad will ever happen to you is a little too optimistic for even me. Sure the chances of anything happening to you are very little (and I honestly hope they are none) but you have to protect against the unexpected... do you wear a seatbelt in a car?

I think Woof proved that... I wonder if he uses a seatbeltWoof the dog
Mar 4, 2003 3:10 PM
Seatbelts save lives cause you go like 60 and fly through the windshield. I sometimes think that a helmet is a good idea when I go anywhere past 25 mph, especially downhill. Helmets are also good for group rides and races, but just proddin' along by myself at 20 miles an hour with farmlands and no curbs around me is not that big of a deal. You and I crashed at those speeds I am sure... your body stops pretty quickly.

Do you believe in destiny? I don't know if I do.


Woof the dog.
I think Woof proved that... I wonder if he uses a seatbeltWoof the dog
Mar 4, 2003 3:12 PM
Seatbelts save lives cause you go like 60 and fly through the windshield. I sometimes think that a helmet is a good idea when I go anywhere past 25 mph, especially downhill. Helmets are also good for group rides and races, but just proddin' along by myself at 20 miles an hour with farmlands and no curbs around me is not that big of a deal. You and I crashed at those speeds I am sure... your body stops pretty quickly.

Do you believe in destiny? I don't know if I do.


Woof the dog.
Bike helmets save lives... but not all the time <-look Bill!Sprint-Nick
Mar 4, 2003 3:45 PM
Sorry if my post was a bit of a flame Woof. You did react strongly to the helmet post though.

I believe in things happening for a reason to an extent (destiny). But I think wearing a bike helmet helps nudge destiny in the right direction at times. Then with the people who have had silly crashes on this board and my history of concussions I don't give myself the choice but to wear a helmet. (look an obvious self promotional comment)

Take care,

PS Sorry Bill... had to get that self promotion comment. I think its good that all of you know I crashed. Or not... frick.
The majority of cycling accidents are solo...DINOSAUR
Mar 4, 2003 10:29 AM
I've ridden off and on since 1974. When I first started cycling helmets had not been invented. When they came out I started using one. I only had two minor accidents while riding, one involved a car in a right-of-way situation and the other is when I took a small tumble while descending. Neither one caused any injuires, just a few abrasions when I took the tumble.

Trek ahead to 2000 when I was .4 miles from home and my front tire blew while descending. I have no recollection of going down as I was knocked unconscious. My helmet was toast and with no doubt same my life or at least from having a serious head injury. I spent 7 days in a hospital hooked up to morphine because of other injuries. I remember laying in the emergency room and the doctor examining my helmet. He said it saved my life. Helmets are like seatbelts, you never know when you are going to need one as accidents are not planned events.

The only thing I can say is that if anyone has ever been involved in a cycling accident you are amazed how fast everything happens. If you are not riding with anyone sometimes it's hard to figure out exactly what happened. Things happen fast (just like a car accident). I learned that I was not invincible.

To ride with or without a helmet should be up to the individual. I just sort of cringe everytime I see someone riding without one. Usually a Cat 1 or Cat 2 rider out on a training ride with his team. I saw 8 or 9 riders the other day, two or three of them without helmets. I feel like saying something, but it's not my place (or life)...

You could probably start a thread about helmet survivors and you would get a lot of contributors....

Remember also that the majority of cycling accidents are solo and most of them go unreported, so the stats don't paint a true picture. On a bike, we are our worse enemies..
I saw a friend die ...sweathog
Mar 4, 2003 11:08 AM
.. well, he didn't officially die until 4 days later when they unplugged him. I just saw him go over the bars, land on his head, and lie there with a growing pool of dark red blood with his two eyes staring off in opposite directions. This was 20 years ago before helmets caught on, but I had a Bell Biker which this guy razzed me for wearing, insisting that a skillful rider could roll with the fall and avoid injury
The only time I cracked a helmet was less than a mile from home.czardonic
Mar 4, 2003 11:26 AM
Cruising down a wide, quiet, residential street that I ride every day of the week. This is exactly the kind of situation where most part time helmet users claim that they don't need helmet.
Because it can't possibly kill me.Spoiler
Mar 4, 2003 2:43 PM
When I was six, the great prophet Tytum Turd visited me in a dream. He revealed that my life will end in the year 2023. I will die of toe-jam. Therefore, I have no fear of death, and am constantly protected by an invisible shield of Zedaki particles.
Because it can't possibly kill me.Woof the dog
Mar 4, 2003 3:11 PM
There is something significant about 11/11/2011 for me. It sounds scary, and I am not sure what will happen.


Woof the dog.
Maybe you'll finally get a brain(nm)TREKY
Mar 4, 2003 6:21 PM
re: Why would you not wear a helmet? POSER THREAD.El Guapo
Mar 4, 2003 4:09 PM
Back when I was a young lad, my parents somewhat stressed the use of a helmet when riding a bike. I remember riding out of my parents' driveway, orange safety flag clapping in the wind, and me wearing my Tony Dorsett jersey and Roger Staubach replica helmet (no Cowboys jokes please!). Something tells me that that helmet wouldn't have done me any good. But seriously, I spent the early part of my road cycling life not wearing a helmet. My first crash was in 1986. My front wheel dropped into a street grate (placed with the openings inline with the road in the shadow of an overpass) at about 35 mph (a** over tea-kettle I went). I struck the pavement and slid for quite a ways. No concussion, but was very lucky. My second crash occurred less than one year later. I was sprinting against a friend of mine. We topped 35 when I noticed out of the corner of my eye a moving van about to blast through his stop sign. There was no way for me to stop in time. He T-boned the rear of my bike. Broke the rear triangle clean off my bike. Fractured tibia and ankle, scars that still exist today from the roadrash and a concussion from sliding into the curb. My friend literally ran over my sliding body and went over his bars. He had no helmet and suffered a broken jaw and a concussion as well. Needless to say, I have never ridden since without a helmet. I figure I'm an accident waiting to happen. I don't how I got lucky enough to survive two accidents that should have very likely killed me. I chalk it up to "someone was watching over me." But, that topic should be on another discussion board. I was 16 and thought I was immortal. I'm now in my 30's with kids of my own. I figure I ought to limit dangers where reasonable. The "limiting dangers" topic opens up a Pandora's box of knee jerk overreactions. I still need to drive, I still like to ride bikes, etc. Heck, I sometimes have been known to go out and do a few skateboard tricks with my son (to the chagrin of my wife). I'll never question whether someone should or should not wear a helmet. It's their decision. The only time I would make a stand is if the rules of a club ride or race specified the requirement of a helmet.
Non-enforcement is almost the best way to enforce itSprint-Nick
Mar 4, 2003 11:08 PM
Reverse psychology works well with kids... so not telling them to do something is almost better than telling them to do something at times. Doesn't mean I wouldn't silently push my kids to wear helmets but I wouldn't get into long heated arguements about it. They'll just not want to wear them more.