Talk

Advanced search

To tell everyone who goes cycling (and their kids) to wear a fucking helmet ?

(156 Posts)

Had a phonecall off my sis last night about eldest brother who's a keen, confident cyclist.

She'd phoned him to nag for something or other and found out he'd been laid up for the past ten days after flipping over the bonnet of a car, doing a here's Johnny moment through the windscreen (his head smashed the window) and flipping over the roof.

Luckily he's a bit of a cycling nerd, he wears a high vis vest, refelective strips on trousers etc and most crucially A DECENT FUCKING HELMET

The helmet he was wearing was smashed into little pieces, it protected him from major injury and ultimately saved his life. Leaving him with a few cracked ribs and a dodgy coller bone, without it he would have been killed, a 42 year old guy who has everything to live for. He would have left behind a family who love him, and a 12 year year old daughter who he lives for.

So please, do a shocked cheese a big favour and if you don't already have one, go out today, buy a fucking helmet for everyone, including the soddin dog if needs be.

I thank you.

Scholes34 Wed 20-Jul-11 09:47:03

Important message. Don't like the language, though.

Fennel Wed 20-Jul-11 09:47:42

I'm sorry about your brother. as a regular cyclist of course I'm bothered about cycle accidents.

But the evidence on cycle helmets and accident reduction IS mixed, there is quite a lot of debate on it. There is a reason not all keen cyclists wear helmets and it's not just perversity. Wearing more cycling gear means the cars treat you differently, come closer, are less cautious around you. And it puts lots of people off, turns cycling into a "dangerous minority sport", and fewer cyclists on the road does lead to it being more dangerous for them, it's a vicious circle.

I do wear a helmet but really only to encourage my dds to wear them, I think it's different for kids, they fall off more and their skulls are softer.

GeekCool Wed 20-Jul-11 09:48:13

100% agree.

It's exactly a year since James Cracknell was in a bike accident and his helmet saved his life. He has made this poweful video - www.youtube.com/watch?v=nu4QzAIayTU

which I have been sharing all round this morning.
Glad your brother is recovering.

Flisspaps Wed 20-Jul-11 09:49:19

YANBU (and I don't mind your language)

When I was in Y7 one of the boys in my year was hit by a car when he was on his bike and died - no cycle helmet sad

Hope he recovers soon Apocalypse

ShowOfHands Wed 20-Jul-11 09:49:25

Do you know what, the other Mums at the preschool laugh at me because I wear a helmet. DD too and I'm rather over-zealous about making sure they're in situ before anybody even touches a bike. But then they also refer to me as 'that one with the bloody suncream'.

I'm glad he's going to be okay. A bike versus a car is never, ever going to be a fair fight but there are things you can do to drastically improve your odds.

Did you really only find out after 10 days? What a horrid shock for you all.

GooseyLoosey Wed 20-Jul-11 09:51:51

Completely agree. 2 years ago ds (a competent cyclist) came off his bike on a wide gravel track. His head hit a randomly placed stone. When he was air lifted to a specialist head trauma unit an hour later his pupils were still not reactive and he was incoherent. He spent days in a drug induced coma with us not knowing if he would be OK when he came around.

The side of his helmet where it had hit the stone was completely caved in and the neuro surgeon was quite clear that had his skull sustained that damage, he would be dead. As it is, he is completely fine and evangelical about telling other children not to ride bikes wihtout helmets!

Yes, bloody men.

We aren't very close tbh as he lives a fair few miles away and to an extent he's built up a family of friends down where he is.

Last time he injured himself he cracked a few ribs showing his dd how to skip (complete with a pink, flashing skipping rope)

Thank god he was wearing that helmet tho, i'm off out today to replace our cheapo fairly knackered ones.

ghosteditor Wed 20-Jul-11 09:55:28

YANBU for the most part. DH and I are keen cyclists and we're both insistent on helmets, but it's our informed choice.

There is also evidence that helmets increase the chance of rotational injury for the head and neck if you land the wrong way which can cause major damage. For me, the risk is worth it as the helmet also protects from low branches and impact injury as well as the rest of it. And Fennel is not wrong that there is compelling evidence that drivers are willing to drive much closer to cyclists wearing helmets and cycling gear when compared to, say, someone with no helmet, long hair, and a skirt (no really - that was the experiment) which also increases risk.

Also, I'd just add that it's important to replace helmets after a hard knock in case of just the type of accident you describe!

Glad to hear that your brother has pulled through ok and is on the mend. Hope he recovers his cycling mojo once he's feeling better.

OldRedEyes Wed 20-Jul-11 09:55:51

cant see that they will be bothered about helmets to be honest when the majority of them cant be arsed to stop at red lights or even wear something bright (let alone lights) on a dark night

create Wed 20-Jul-11 09:58:51

I agree with the sentiment and I make my DC wear them (thankfully as both have had to have them replaced with nasty dents after falls) but I know that I would cycle less if I always wore one. It's Ok saying it's vanity (which it is) but I can't be turning up at meetings with flattened and sticky up (how does that happen?) hair, so if I had to wear a helmet, I'd take the car, which would mean I lose the health benefits of my bike. Where I live we have a great network of off-road cycle paths, so I rarely cycle in traffic, but everything we do carries some risk.

I hope your DB makes a speedy recovery.

Fennel Wed 20-Jul-11 09:59:39

I feel very strongly about making cycling safer, rather than cyclists wearing ever more protective gear.

If you go to Denmark, the Netherlands, parts of Germany, noone is wearing a helmet, adults and little kids pootle around merrily on their bikes, on those lovely cycle paths, no sign or lycra or fluorescent jackets. Cars are used to cyclists and it's generally seen as a safe activity. That is the sort of cycling culture I would like to see people trying to implement here. So that cycling would be a lot safer.

Also, with cycling, yes there is a risk of being killed or injured by a car. I weigh that against the health benefits, the average cyclist is much fitter than the average for their age, so they are less likely to get other illnesses. Not that I want to be killed or brain damanged by a car, of course.

Andrewofgg Wed 20-Jul-11 10:02:20

Don't mind your language, but MYOB, and forgive me, while there are more men cycling than women I don't see women in helmets either. Very few of either of them do it.

Good luck to DB.

And I'm ready to hang, draw and quarter the next cyclist I see who thinks that red lights don't apply to them. Heaven forbid they should lose some momentum and let pedestrians cross safely.

ghosteditor Wed 20-Jul-11 10:03:00

OldRed how on earth is that useful? 'The majority' hmm? And you know that for a fact do you? I know dozens of amateur cyclists and not one will run a red light, and we spend a lot of money on bright lights. Yes, I do see some cyclists who don't abide by road rules, but then I see a lot of drivers who act in similar ways - speeding, illegal parking etc, etc. I think you'll find that the people who cycle like cocks are also the people who drive and behave generally like cocks. So please don't tar us all with the same brush. That's just uninformed drivel.

ShowOfHands Wed 20-Jul-11 10:05:09

"cant see that they will be bothered about helmets to be honest when the majority of them cant be arsed to stop at red lights or even wear something bright (let alone lights) on a dark night"

Aah yes cyclists. One homogeneous, squirming, fetid mass.

There are idiots on bikes the same as there are idiots in cars. They take unnecessary risks whatever their mode of transport. The bike isn't the problem.

He actually did it cycling the short distance from the cycle path he goes down towards work back to his house. The car was over the speed limit (only doing 30 I think but as it's a residential area think the limits 20 )

Anyways they both flew round the corner and collided head on.

I go to the other extreme of being an utter wimp who won't cycle on the roads at all, I actually walk the half mile or so to our cycle path thingy blush

ShowOfHands Wed 20-Jul-11 10:07:13

X-posts with ghosteditor.

I am a v keen cyclist. As is dh. We are friends with a lot of cyclists. We're dull enough to belong to cycling clubs. I don't know any cyclists who jump red lights and dh (as a cyclist and a copper) is always the first to have a word with any cyclist who is being less than safe.

worldgonecrazy Wed 20-Jul-11 10:08:02

showofhands if they say that again, just ask them if they're the ones that think russian roulette is a fun way to pass the time.

WhollyGhost Wed 20-Jul-11 10:10:06

Cycling in the UK is scary, dangerous - not because of a lack of protective gear, but because motorists seem utterly oblivious. I am guessing that is why your brother was injured in the first place.

Why not divert your energy into promoting drivers' awareness? The evidence wrt helmets is mixed (and I do always wear one). Also, this stupid painting of lines on the road and calling them cycle tracks does more harm than good. The painted lines provide no protection, and convince motorists that in against the kerb is where cyclists should be.

miniwedge Wed 20-Jul-11 10:11:16

lol at posters assuming that a cycle path is safer than the road. You can still fall off and hit your head on a cycle path, it is just as hard as a road on impact.

I cycle daily to and from work, it's about 12-14 miles a day dependant on which route I take. Most of that is cycle paths.

I never ever ride without a helmet.

Cycle paths have just as many hazards as roads, random branches laying across the track after a storm, groups of teens stood chatting on the track round a blind bend, groups of mums with prams and small children on scooters, slippery patches of gravel/mud. The list goes on and on.

The vanity thing is just stupid in my opinion. I would rather find a way around having an odd fringe from my helmet than leave my kids without a mum.

ShowOfHands, my brothers in a cycling nerd too and is in a club.

He is a bit of a nerd and a stickler for the rules, i'd be very surprised if he jumped anything, this is the bloke who once when he realised he needed to get off a train an extra stop down the line searched out the guard and bought an extra ticket.

Thank gawd he was wearing that helmet tho, have a feeling he'll be taking the car to work when he goes back.

ghosteditor Wed 20-Jul-11 10:13:39

ACT that's awful sad. Sounds like an unfortunate accident, but not helped by the speeding driver - I hate 20 mph zones as much as the next person but they are there for a reason!

I hardly ever ride on cycle paths - not after I nearly wiped out a pedestrian at the bottom of a hill (I was probably cycling down the cycle path at 25mph at that stage). I had 'right of way' for whatever that's worth and didn't know the road very well, but she stepped out from the bus stop on one side of the cycle lane to the pavement on the other side to flag down a bus. Fortunately I missed her but it would have been a very unpleasant collision, especially with the bus pulling up behind us. Give me a road any day - but then I live in an area with lots of cyclists near the countryside, not in a city. And I'm also a very assertive cyclist who doesn't ride in the gutter, which makes it easier to have a say in what's happening with traffic behind me. If only we could make cycling more appealing to everyone we might be able to push for more useful and better maintained cycle routes...

GooseyLoosey Wed 20-Jul-11 10:14:23

Agree that cycle paths are not safer - it was a cycle path that ds came off on.

ghosteditor Wed 20-Jul-11 10:16:40

x-post with miniwedge - yy, that's it exactly. Cycle paths are great for pootling along with kids but as a roadie you can easily travel at 20-30mph and we shouldn't share a narrow pavement with pedestrians at those kinds of speeds.

VirtualWitch Wed 20-Jul-11 10:17:13

I fell on my head off a bike and my helmet had a deep gashes in it from the road where my forehead was. So it probably saved me from a serious head injury or deep abrasions at the least, but it didn't save me from knocking my front teeth out and a big gash on my face.

There is evidence that falling backwards with a helmet can result in serious neck injury and while I choose to wear a helmet, I'm against making it compulsory, not least because it would give yet another get out clause to dangerous drivers who hit cyclists.

I had a friend who was killed when cycling by such a driver. One of her legs ended up on the other side of the road from her body. If only a helmet could have prevented this! (Quite country road at in clear conditions too). Another cyclist killed locally in the words of the attending police officer who was present in his last moments of consciousness "was nearly cut in half".

The example above of Denmark, Germany and Holland shows that it is drivers at fault, not cyclists for not wearing helmets, and the culture that produces dangerous drivers I see as virtually indistinguishable from the one that produces "bike riders" who run red lights and drivers who think cyclists are at fault if sustaining serious injury when hit by a car if not wearing a helmet. Basically people in this country don't take enough outdoor exercise...

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now