Do Cycle Helmets Pose Any Safety Risks?

Discussion in 'Commuting' started by NigC, 22 Apr 2010.

  1. NigC

    NigC New Member

    Firstly, let me say I always wear a cycle helmet and unless something drastic happens, I always will :smile:

    My question relates to something in the back of my mind that I just can't remember ;) It's something to do with cycle helmets and somebody questioning their safety but that's all I can remember.

    So does anybody know anything about what I'm talking about or did I just dream it up?

    Please help this old fool with an extremely bad memory :smile:


    In Conclusion (for me anyway).

    The safety aspect of wearing a helmet is self evident - smacking your head against tarmac, kerbs etc. etc. is never a good thing, but if you're going to do it, you're going to have a lot easier time of it with a helmet on your head.

    I'll try to summarise the cons of helmet wearing:
    • In an accident it might be possible to suffer some kind of "rotational" injury.
    • Research suggests (Link: drivers allow more room for non-helmetted cyclists than those with helmets.
    • Helmets can restrict your abilities to look over your shoulder.
    • They're no use when faced with a 40ft artic/bus/other big vehicle.
    • Not wearing a helmet makes you ride more cautiously and therefore more safely.
    My Opinion
    Yes, I'm allowed as it's my post :ohmy: This is what I'm going to do:

    Carry on wearing a helmet as I always have!

    • Because I feel more comfortable with it on.
    • Because it reduces the number of ways I can be killed while cycling.
    • Because I tell my 7-year old daughter she must wear one.
    • Because I don't care if I look like a prat wearing it.
    • Bacause I already ride cautiously (I believe).
  2. Mark_Robson

    Mark_Robson Senior Member

    Do a forum search or check room 101.
    Admin or mods, pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeese lock this now!!!!!!! ;)
  3. OP

    NigC New Member

    Hmmmm, I just did a quick search for "cycle helmets" and found it was a bit of a "touchy" subject. Wasn't expecting that ;) But I'm at work and don't have time to scour a million posts for the one piece of information I'm interested in:

    Why is there such a debate? What potential risk to they pose?

    Rather than starting a loooooooooooong debate, perhaps somebody can just fill in the blanks and then lock the thread :ohmy: All I want to know is enough information to form my own opinion and make my choice :smile:
  4. OP

    NigC New Member

    Aha - that's sounds like exactly the detail I was looking for, thanks ;)

    OK, you can lock it now :ohmy:
  5. ...for either side of the argument.

    lock it - NOW! ;)
  6. OP

    NigC New Member

    Damn - I've used other forum software before that allows the original poster to lock their own threads - shame this one doesn't!

    MODS where are you????
  7. Mark_Robson

    Mark_Robson Senior Member

    Please lock it!!! ;)
  8. snorri

    snorri Legendary Member

    snorri runs to check rations in basement nuclear shelter closed since ending of Cold War.
  9. dondare

    dondare Über Member

    Don't get me started on bicycle helmets....
  10. BentMikey

    BentMikey Rider of Seolferwulf

    South London
    Whatever the case on individual benefits, when there's a mandatory helmet law there's a net cost to society in health terms.
  11. Bollo

    Bollo Failed Tech Bro

    ...and the Doomsday clock clicks another minute towards midnight.....
  12. yello

    yello Legendary Member

    It a very reasonable question and one that can perhaps be answered in greater depth. So I personally see no need to lock the thread unless it descends into an entrenched slanging match.

    I also see no problem in 'the same question' being debated again. After all, there are (understandably) many 'WVM cut me up' type posts on the forum ;)
  13. dondare

    dondare Über Member

    There has been a study, by the inappropriately named Dr. Walker, on whether cyclists who wear helmets are treated differently by motorists than those without.
    He concluded that motorists give less room to helmeted cyclists and therefore are more likely to hit them.
    So helmets increase the probability of such an accident happening.

    There is also the argument that cyclists with helmets might feel invulnerable and therefore take more risks themselves, thereby increasing the probability of an accident.

    Many cyclists do not wear their helmet correctly anyway, reducing their effectiveness. Some attach lights and cameras to them which might negate their primary function.

    The greatest risk is that if they become accepted as being necessary, then they will be made a legal requirement for all types of cycling.

    They also emphasize the dangers of cycling, which in fact are no greater than those of walking; an activity which no-one wears a helmet for. (If anyone wants to dispute this last point, then the gloves are off.)
  14. SavageHoutkop

    SavageHoutkop Über Member

    Aside from the
    'discouraging people to cycle';
    'don't work above xx mph';
    'encourages cyclist / other road users to take more risks'
    and the
    'would you wear a helmet walking down the pavement / as a passenger in a car / insert activity of your choice'

    the thing you are looking for is that:

    'wearing a cycle helmet can cause rotational injury';
    'as your head is bigger / heavier you may hit your head where you wouldn't have if you weren't wearing the helmet / the force at which you hit your head will be greater'.

    (note, I wear a helmet and don't necessarily agree with any/all of the above)
    (also with what I know of Statistics, which is more than some, I don't think any of the studies that I've looked at are rigourous...)
  15. Theseus

    Theseus .

    Indeed, I think the most reasonable summary to the whole debate is "We don't know"

    Which is not a sound basis for compulsion.
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