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Cyclists without helmets on..

(260 Posts)
Writerwannabe83 Sun 06-Oct-13 09:52:08

Am I the only one who gets really annoyed about this?

If it is the law that us drivers have to wear seatbelts why is their safety choice an optional one?

IF we knocked a cyclist of his bike and he suffered irreparable brain damage or death as a result of a head injury it is us who would have to live with that guilt, even though they made the choice not to wear a helmet.

And then you see some parents out with their children on bikes and although the children always have helmets on, not all the parents do. It is great they are protecting their children, but why do they think their own brains don't matter? I don't mind cyclists on the road at all, but I wish they would wear helmets and keep themselves safe.

Maybe I'm just overly anxious about hitting one....or do they think it will never happen to them?

Sukebind Fri 11-Oct-13 17:58:44

I realise I am coming to this debate extremely late in the day but I will just say my husband was hit by a car and ended up being dragged along and then trapped under a bus in London. The medics who helped him (who were amazing and included a doctor cycling to work herself) were almost incredulous that he walked out of hospital that day with no broken bones and only skin and muscle trauma. He was told in no uncertain terms that if he had not been wearing a helmet he would have died.
The drivers vs cyclist debate is a different matter and quite a painful one for our family after the above accident and its aftermath. I can't comment on much as I don't want to break forum rules. I will say though that the law and many car drivers seem to automatically assume the cyclist is at fault.

RIZZ0 Fri 11-Oct-13 17:39:11

I think your last point is extremely moot. And a bit silly in assuming that those who cycle to work wouldn't exchange cycling for any other excercise.

Anyway... Cars aren't the only danger for cyclists, slipping on loose gravel and badly banging your head can cause you seriously injury. I had the bloodstained towels and calls for an ambulance to prove that, after a woman slid on my road recently and needed help form me and my neighbours. Arm injuries and concussion could have been a lot worse as she banged her head hard.

I drive around a lot of horseriders and if anything, I imagine people see the ones without the helmets as the "experts" as they seem to have the confidence to go without one.

I'm always suspicious of 'research' that people cite until I know who it was done by, and who was asked.
I haven't read any research, but anecdotally, I have a close friend alive, and another accident witnessed in which both riders were credit their well being to helmets. It's good enough for me.

I believe that horse and bike riders should wear head protection in case they fall, skid, faint, hit a pothole/get bolted with (horses, not bikes obv!), or collide with a car because they stand a better chance of survival if the brain is protected as long as, as some have said, worn correctly.

I'm assuming you didn't mean to refer your last point to me as I didn't call anyone an idiot.

ColinFirthsGirth Thu 10-Oct-13 20:38:07

A number of experts also think that if helmets were made compulsory that less people would cycle in this country. This would cause more deaths because of heart attacks etc.

ColinFirthsGirth Thu 10-Oct-13 20:36:03

RIZZO -There is scientific evidence to prove that drivers drive less carefully near people wearing helmets. I totally appreciate that your friend was saved by wearing a helmet - that's great! I have seen as a nurse a child that was saved by a cycling helmet. However you can't say that they should be worn by all cyclists because of this. The question of whether helmets really are safer is a complicated one and the research is mixed on this. If drivers drive less carefully near cyclists with helmets on - and this is thought to be subconscious - then this is a very important factor to consider. It doesn't mean that we are idiots - in fact my husband and myself have read many of the studies related to helmet use. Knowing people that have been saved by helmets doesn't mean that they are necessarily safe for ALL cyclists in this country. People should read all of the research out there before calling people idiots.

NotCitrus Mon 07-Oct-13 10:05:41

DP cycles 8 miles to work in London traffic. He doesn't wear a helmet.
Reasons: cars and buses really do leave you less space if you have a helmet on. (main reason)
It's hot and sticky and reduces his view and hearing a bit.
Tosser drivers can see he's male without it, and so don't give him sexist aggro.
The types of accident he's most likely to have at the speeds he can get up to in the traffic aren't ones where a helmet is likely to help.
He knows (fromyears of martial arts) how to fall to protect himself. In 15 years he's been knocked off twice, scraped his knee badly one time, few bruises the other.

BIL cycles in faster traffic a similar distance and does wear a helmet - he looks blokier to start with, and doesn't have so much practice at falling, resulting in wrecked shoulder when he did get knocked off once.

I don't cycle on roads but did have an accident the only time I ever wore a helmet - it protected me from scraping my face in dirt, but a more experienced cyclist wouldn't have had that accident anyway.

Seeing kids on scooters,I wonder if helmets give them a false sense of security, or if the kid is going so recklessly to start that the parents then get them a helmet?

comingalongnicely Mon 07-Oct-13 07:43:21

I dread driving past cyclists, especially those with kids or youngsters as you've no idea what they're going to do. I especially love the ones that swing over to the middle of the road when they look behind them!

So, if anything, I tend to drive "super carefully" when going past them, compared to normal driving.

It makes no difference to my driving if they're wearing helmets or not.

Car's don't seem to drive differently past me when I'm cycling if I'm with or without helmet - but then I don't skulk near the kerb, I'm just to the left of the middle of the lane so that they can't try to squeeze past & have to wait until they can overtake properly. If there are cars behind me & are going to be for a while I tend to pull onto the pavement & ride there for a bit to let them past.

Helmets are a personal choice and should stay that way. The only reason a lot of professional cyclists wear them is because it's in the rules and nowadays you're more aerodynamic with one on.

If you want to wear one, fine - If I don't then please don't assume I'm an "idiot". I'm a grown up & my style of riding will probably make me much less likely than you to be involved in an accident in the first place.

Pan Sun 06-Oct-13 23:50:04

Rizzo - no facetiousness at all. No reason for it? But what you just said now wasn't what you said previously?

Witching hour cometh, and I have some riding to do in the morning. Drive and ride safely, sans or avec helmet.

bearleftmonkeyright Sun 06-Oct-13 23:49:25

Clearly tiggerpigger, you are a genius.

bearleftmonkeyright Sun 06-Oct-13 23:45:37

Rizzo, my brother died in a car accident so I really do understand where you are coming from. Losing anyone in a road accident is a tragedy which is very difficult to come to terms with and you want to do your utmost to prevent. I would imagine you are an extremely cautious careful motorist.

RIZZ0 Sun 06-Oct-13 23:45:17

Quite. Night all.

tiggerpigger Sun 06-Oct-13 23:43:05

Can't believe how many simpletons there are here who don't understand how wearing a helmet can protect your head... jesus...

RIZZ0 Sun 06-Oct-13 23:42:26

Jesus Pan, I don't know if you're being facetious but please listen. I was saying I wouldn't give special, or less, consideration to a cyclist. I said a HELMET wouldn't make me drive in any LESS safe a manner.

RIZZ0 Sun 06-Oct-13 23:40:24

Maybe you're right Bear, I don't know about the OP.
When I'm the driver I do think it would be good to know everyone is a protected as poss though in case they did make a mistake and you end up colliding with them for any reason. Nobody's perfect and the road's a dangerous place (even though we're all trying to be safe), and seeing the torment of my DF's family I cannot now see cyclist not wearing helmets and not think of the risks.
Sometimes when you're in a scary place, praying for the life of someone you care so much about, it hits home how fragile we are and you think you would do anything to keep safe and keep your loved ones from pain. I'm a recreational cyclist and never wore a helmet before the accident, I do now.

Obviously this is emotive for me and I come from a particular angle, but it found a lots of comments on this thread flippant yet without knowledge. I'm off to bed.

Pan Sun 06-Oct-13 23:36:24

I'm not splitting hairs at all. I appreciate your sentiment totally, but you wouldn't do anything risky when overtaking another car - so it's the same for bikes, surely. No special consideration needed.

RIZZ0 Sun 06-Oct-13 23:31:26

I do Pan. I didn't say I don't drive carefully the rest of the time and you're splitting hairs.

I just said I drive carefully around them either way.

bearleftmonkeyright Sun 06-Oct-13 23:28:53

Rizzo, I don't doubt your friends experience. The op started this thread as a motorist with no interest or knowledge of cycling. Helmet use should have no.consequence to the motorist. Which is why I feel the op was bu.

Pan Sun 06-Oct-13 23:27:59

or of even..

Pan Sun 06-Oct-13 23:27:30

"I drive carefully around a cyclist whether or not they are wearing a helmet,"

this is a bit annoying RIZZO tbh. You should always drive carefully. We are not 'special cases'. As i'd said drivers give about 3 feet or so when overtaking cars/trucks etc. So just do the same for cyclists. This should not be a challenge for competent drivers and not something to be proud off.

RIZZ0 Sun 06-Oct-13 23:22:29

I'm not over-crediting helmets. As I have already said, my friend walk away (eventually, after a coma and much surgery) from a horrible accident that she would have died from if not for her helmet. Her experience amongst others I have known or witnessed is good enough for me and worth more than most of the (mostly speculative) anti-helmet comments here.
If any of you can say that you have experienced the same as her and lived to tell the tale without wearing a helmet I'll shut my mouth.

Also, I drive carefully around a cyclist whether or not they are wearing a helmet, because they are a person!
Ridiculous to suggest people drive recklessly around helmet wearing cyclists. There are many ways to die from being hit in various parts of the body... helmets just protect your head!

LessMissAbs Sun 06-Oct-13 23:16:14

Pan If micro is so ill-informed and insulting about people/issues she knows nothing about then it isn't a surprise when her contribution isn't valued

This is going to sound horribly conceited, but I generally only take advice from people who are better qualified or more experienced than I am. I find its a guideline that serves me quite well in life.

TrueToWho Most of the helmets I see on cyclists are incorrectly positioned and would offer no protection at all

Really? How fascinating! Are you a helmet-fitting type person then? And you are blind to all those cyclists who race competitively and have aero helmets meeting not only British standards but BTA/British Cycling race rules which are terribly stringent? Amazing!

I knowof two people, one very recently, whose lives absolutely were saved by wearing (correctly fitted ) helmets

What on earth were these helmets made of? To actually make the difference between life and death is remarkable, as opposed to between minor injury and somewhat more serious injury. Theres not actually a lot of difference between dying from a brain injury, being brain damaged or having no long term effects. A lot of it is down to factors such as speed and direction of fall, surface hit and how effective the presence or absence of any helmet is. But if you are unlucky and suffer a catastrophic injury to a certain vulnerable and important part of the brain, and you have any factors which may exacerbate it, such as a history of recreational drug or steroid use, then you may die.

Pan Sun 06-Oct-13 23:08:14

yes helmets should have the peak bit over the forehead, not pointing up to the skies. And strapped properly.

and sun glasses are essential.

bearleftmonkeyright Sun 06-Oct-13 23:05:49

Rizzo I've got to apologize, I got you and another poster mixed up.

TrueToYou Sun 06-Oct-13 23:05:46

Most of the helmets I see on cyclists are incorrectly positioned and would offer no protection at all.
I knowof two people, one very recently, whose lives absolutely were saved by wearing (correctly fitted ) helmets.
Yanbu, btw!

Abra1d Sun 06-Oct-13 23:03:41

Cycling is a normal activity, like walking. In countries where there is a lot of cycling, such as the Netherlands and Germany, helmets are rarely worn.

Shouldn't pedestrians on county lanes also wear them? And runners?

Evidence in favour of helmet wearing is patchy, OP. If you researched the matter, you would see this.
Drive safely and you are unlikely to hit me on my bike, without a helmet. If I have wear helmets I will start driving instead and there will be one more dangerous car on the road. My hair cannot cope with helmets and then a business environment. It goes flat and lank.

bearleftmonkeyright Sun 06-Oct-13 23:01:44

Rizzo, you are getting a hard time because you have clearly not read the rest of the thread, especially lessmissabs posts. Also you haven't added anything very useful or informative.

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