View Poll Results: What would you do if you forgot your helmet?

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  • Doed not apply; I only wear a helmet when I race (note: Darwin Award Nominee)

    3 2.83%
  • Ride anyway (see note option #1)

    22 20.75%
  • Ride anyway; I have already re-produced so Darwinism is not an issue

    17 16.04%
  • Go back and get helmet

    42 39.62%
  • Cancel ride and drink beer

    14 13.21%
  • Other: explain

    8 7.55%
Results 1 to 48 of 48
  1. #1
    Retro Grouch
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    What to do when you forgot your helmet..

    Most of us have been there; 20 minutes or more drive to the trailhead, and you discover you forgot your helmet. What do you do?

  2. #2
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    Ride anyways

    Quote Originally Posted by aka brad
    Most of us have been there; 20 minutes or more drive to the trailhead, and you discover you forgot your helmet. What do you do?
    I would just ride anyway, just maybe more cautiosly. I've actually have been ridding Sans helmet on my shorter rides from my house, I wouldn't do it on a road ride though.
    I've also bought a cheap pair of Bmx pedals at a nearby shop, when I found out that I had forgotten my ridding shoes at home, an hour or so drive away.

  3. #3
    Not because I'm fast.....
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    Quote Originally Posted by aka brad
    Most of us have been there; 20 minutes or more drive to the trailhead, and you discover you forgot your helmet. What do you do?
    I wouldn't ride without my helmet. I wear the helmet no matter where I ride, even if it is just a mellow cruise on the paved bike path. You never know when those damn prairie dogs will dart out in front of you and knock you off the bike.

  4. #4
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    i've

    I've broken helmets from crashes. Better off a helmet than my skull

  5. #5
    Nouveau Retrogrouch SuperModerator
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    I forgot my helmet yesterday. I planned on a mellow course check ride on a "short" loop (16 miles) while most of the others did the big loop. I cautiously rode anyway. No problem until I was moving some rotten logs. As the end was straight over my head the end broke off and dropped 2 feet - square into my head. Still hurts. If it had been a "normal" trail ride I would have gone back for the helmet or not have ridden.

    Returned to car. Drove home. Grabbed helmet. Drove back (50 min round trip). Rode back down course until I met the main group and completed ride with them - helmet on.

    Made dang sure I was wearing my hard hat for trail work today!
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  6. #6
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    14 years and I have never owned a helmet.

  7. #7
    Reviewer/Tester
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    Helmets.. I hate helmets.

    Never wore one for years, both motorcycles and bicycles.

    Then the law about having to wear them was passed, so I got one. I hated it. Still do.

    I would ride without one...I often do in the bush anyway.

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  8. #8
    Arrrr.
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    I forgot my helmet the other day, I rode anyways. I also discovered that there are a bunch of low-hanging limbs on the trails that I usually just brush with my helmet. They hurt when they brush your head.
    You see, in this world there's two kinds of people, my friend: Those with loaded guns and those who dig. You dig.

  9. #9
    And He was Not
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    I've broken 3 helmets, I'm sold they work. I'd go to the nearest wallmart or bike shop and buy a cheapy rather than do without. My life is worht more than 40 minuetes drive time.

  10. #10
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    I've broken one and my girlfriend, two. Mine cracked right in half. It was a '01 E2 and it had a dent about an inch deep from some submerged quartz. I really do think I would be dead or vegitative if that rock had penetrated my skull an inch or more. That fall f-ed my neck up really bad too. I always wear a lid.

  11. #11
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    It is the rider's choice.......

    To be an idiot. I survived a closed head injury WITH a helmet on! It is not cool to come to in a hospital and wonder what the heck is going on. It has been over 10 yrs. andI still have negitive effects from it. No- helmet- no -ride!!

  12. #12
    Yes, that's fonetic
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    I guess I'm an idiot then. I would do it again, too.

    Before you flame my irresponsible ass, know I've been riding mtb's for 17 years and I've forgotten my helmet exactly 2 times. Both times were on trails that were relatively benign with no dangerous drops or super highspeed descents. I let the group go on the fast parts and poked along at a slowwwww pace and still had a blast. Maybe on a more potentially dangerous ride (I know, "they're all potentially dangerous yadayadayada") I would've chosen differently. I actually saw more of these trails due to the lack of visor and attention robbing speed than I ever had before.

    I wouldn't advise it to most, but hey, I saved gas not driving home in my big assed truck!

  13. #13
    Over the Hill
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    I leave an old spare helmet and gloves in my toolbox in the back of my truck. I also have broken three helmets in two years. One was on a tree limb I tried to duck under and mis-judged. Another time my jersey sleeve caught on branch and ejected me.

    Most of my riding is exploration.

    If you are not lost or getting bushwhacked, the trail is probably too easy.

  14. #14
    Witty McWitterson
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    I've hit my helment hard enough to dent/crack it many times, so I know its worth. But if I forget it, I'm still riding. This has only happened a few times in 16 years though. Not worth the gas/time. I just take a mellow cruise instead. See more of the trail and its surroundings than I normally would. Its nice to take a break like that every now and again. Just to slow the pace. All you helemt nazi's can call me irresponisble if you want. I just wonder how many of you are lying to save face. [flamesuit on]
    Just a regular guy.

  15. #15
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    I havenever broken a helmut, but a very close friend had her life saved by one when she went OTB. That plus the fact that I make my son wear his both on the bike and on his skateboard (Neither of which I wore when I was skating and pedaling earlier in life) make me cancel the ride and drinka beer if I forget the brain bucket.

  16. #16
    Nat
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy
    I forgot my helmet yesterday. I planned on a mellow course check ride on a "short" loop (16 miles) while most of the others did the big loop. I cautiously rode anyway. No problem until I was moving some rotten logs. As the end was straight over my head the end broke off and dropped 2 feet - square into my head. Still hurts. If it had been a "normal" trail ride I would have gone back for the helmet or not have ridden.

    Returned to car. Drove home. Grabbed helmet. Drove back (50 min round trip). Rode back down course until I met the main group and completed ride with them - helmet on.

    Made dang sure I was wearing my hard hat for trail work today!
    I didn't think you ever took your helmet off. That one time I saw you without it kind of freaked me out!

  17. #17
    Neg reppers r my biatches
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    not sure what I would do to be honest....guess it depends on the trail.

    Having said that, I keep my bike gear bag in my car so this "should" never happen to me. Frankly, this possibility (along with forgetting some other important gear) is precisely why I keep my gear bag in my car at all times.

  18. #18
    thats Mr.Dirtbag to you
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    Wink it couldn"t hurt

    Quote Originally Posted by aka brad
    Most of us have been there; 20 minutes or more drive to the trailhead, and you discover you forgot your helmet. What do you do?
    At this stage in my life, another good blow to the head might just help!
    "You know, the novelty kind of wears off after the first few times..."

  19. #19
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    I guess because I started riding mtn. bikes before it was thought of to wear helmets I have to vote ride anyway, and have and still do on mellow rides out back with the wife. I have yet to break a helmet over the years.

    One thing though is that I consider wearing a helmet, especially on a group ride, as a courtesy not unlike having a pieps and a shovel on a backcountry ski tour. If you do stack and hurt yourself because you don't have the protection you are just dropping your fate into the hands of your fellows which is not fair to them. If a helmet can prevent this from happening it is well worth having on your noggin.

    I do take it off and sling it on my pack for extended uphills in hot weather. What I am more apt to do is forget my cleats, which using eggs means a trip back to the house.
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  20. #20
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    I would ride without helmet and be more conservative. Let's face it, if you go slow enough and avoid super technical sections there should be no problem.
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  21. #21
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    Condom analogy.

    Is there a condom analogy here?

  22. #22
    Retro Grouch
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    I obviously left off a common option..

    Quote Originally Posted by FoShizzle
    not sure what I would do to be honest....guess it depends on the trail.

    Having said that, I keep my bike gear bag in my car so this "should" never happen to me. Frankly, this possibility (along with forgetting some other important gear) is precisely why I keep my gear bag in my car at all times.
    "#7. Ride anyway, but keep it slow and not take any chances";

    that's what I did this time. I too have a "bike bag", but the day before I took out my helmet so I could pick up my son from school on our third wheel. I should also add I would never ride with my kids without a helmet and have driven back on at least one occasion I can think of.

    I always go by the wisdom, "Example is not a way of teaching; it is the only way".

    1G1G, Brad

  23. #23
    Fat Is Where It's At Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by aka brad
    "#7. Ride anyway, but keep it slow and not take any chances"
    My helmet is always on my gear bag but if I were to forget it option 7 will be the most probable course of action. Keep it slow doesn't mean no danger but you would think it would be if you try to be cautious enough.

  24. #24
    Slave to the grind
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    i rode very slowly once when i forgot my helmet...

    the girl in front of me slowed momentarily to enjoy the viewwhen we were on top of a 3 foot wide bridge over a 15 foot chasm.

    i wouldnt have been quick enough to release from my cleats and dab.

    i couldnt yell at her either or she would have just frozen in place.

    i just did a silent scream and prayed that she kept rolling. which she did.

    screamed at her afterwards instead... havent forgot my helmet since then.

    before that though, i would normally go back home and do a road ride or go to a nearer trail if possible.
    Let it flow, let yourself go, slow and low, that is the tempo.

  25. #25
    Nat
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    Quote Originally Posted by grumpstumper
    Is there a condom analogy here?
    How about, "Go ahead and ride anyway but stop just before you crash?"

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by gearless
    To be an idiot. I survived a closed head injury WITH a helmet on! It is not cool to come to in a hospital and wonder what the heck is going on. It has been over 10 yrs. andI still have negitive effects from it. No- helmet- no -ride!!
    Its not the riders choice to be an idiot. There are family, kids, partners and friends to consider. There are rescue workers, paramedics, police who will be spending their time and public dollars to find and save your sorry ass. If you take reasonable precautions like wearing a helmet then you have done what you can. If you chose not to wear a helmet, your "personal, individual" choice actually may end up involving a lot of others lives and dollars. So I agree, no helmet, no ride.

  27. #27
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    Yeah...

    I am of the camp, no helmet, no ride. If you want to go out and participate in a dangerous sport, fine, but be sure you take reasonable precautions.

    I personally won't ride with a person who doesn't have a lid. I am out there to have fun, enjoy nature and burn some kilojoules of pent up rage. I am not out here to scrape somebody's brains off of a frickin' rock becuase they couldn't be bothered to take a reasonable precaution.
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  28. #28
    SSlow rider
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    I've had my bike for two months now and forgot my helmet once. I realized that it was at home when i got to the trailhead (one hour away). I decided to ride anyway and I made it out ok. In the last few weeks a report of a guy dying on the very same trail I was riding came out. He is reported to have not been wearing a helmet. This is enough to scare me into never riding helmetless again. Yesterday I forgot my helmet but realized this fact about 20 minutes into my 45 minute drive, I turned back and got the helmet.

  29. #29
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    Since Iv'e learned to ride well, and bail out well when needed i can't say I need a helmet, Ive got a dent in mine from a race where I ducked under a branch far enough to get my head under normally, but with the helmet sticking up it almost took my head off, no fun, but I wear it on the road... I wear it when there are a lot of people around too, just so they won't complain about me not wearing it... I guess they win.. again preventitive measures... just don't fall...

  30. #30
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    i am going to start wearing my helmet in the car and when i walk the dog and when i shop and at work and crossing busy intersections oooh and on the escalators in the airports too and at the beach and in the bar and skiing and then i am gonna start wearing shoulder pads, a cup and steel toe boots and a flack jacket and nomex underwear.
    To air is human, to dig is divine.

  31. #31
    i worship Mr T
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    never forgotten my helmet...

    but, if feasible, i'd probably go home and get it. if not feasible i'd opt for beer drinking. cracked a helmet this past weekend so i'm a very big fan of them right now.

    i have, on the other hand forgotten my shoes, sportsbra, gloves, hrm strap, chamois cream, socks, and front wheel............

    rt
    Last edited by *rt*; 06-06-2005 at 09:11 AM.
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  32. #32
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    Closed head injuries are the worst kind of injuries you can get. My wife is a rehabilitation counselor and she is constanly telling me about her clients with these injuries. Once you injure your brain you are not the same person. That said, I wear my helmet every time I ride.

  33. #33
    fresh fish in stock...... SuperModerator
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    I shave my head - so no helmet equals sunburned and peeling head... Not cool.

    I've also had to replace helmets after running into trees - I always wear'em
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  34. #34
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    I'd either head home or find someplace nearby to buy one. Know of too many people dying from head injuries.

    I originally didn't wear one, but now I can't imagine riding with out it. It would probably be like riding with out my shoes for my clipless pedals. Just not right.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by aka brad
    "#7. Ride anyway, but keep it slow and not take any chances";

    that's what I did this time.
    I'd either skip the ride or do #7, depending on the ride:
    • Moderately (or more) technical mtb ride, especially with lots of trees around: no helmet, no ride.
    • Any ride with substantial climbing and descending: no helmet, no ride.
    • Any road ride with significant traffic: no helmet, no ride.
    • Any bike-path ride with significant traffic, especially where lots of kids might see me riding helmetless: no helmet, no ride.
    • Flat-to-lightly-rolling desert terrain, lightly technical: ride with due caution, monitor speed and never exceed 10-15 mph (exact cutoff depending on surface conditions).
    • Deserted bike-path ride: ride with caution, keep speed moderate, be extra cautious when approaching other users, do not ride at dusk when critter encouters are most likely.
    • Beach cruise: use reasonable caution, staying on the sand and off the rocks.


    Within a couple days I'll post the pics of my 5-day Memorial weekend jaunt to the Oregon desert. On some of the rides (all of which were on desert doubletrack, varying from smooth hardpack to rough jeep trails), I carried my helmet on the flat and climbing sections, putting it on for the descents. Again, I would only ever go without for very low-risk riding. For "real" mountain biking, as well as commuting and road riding, I always wear a helmet. Although this has never happened, if I found I didn't have a helmet when I got to the ride start (and it wasn't an extremely mellow ride, as outlined above), I'd figure out a way to get a helmet on my head or cancel the ride. Even when I was in high school, back in the day when those big white hardshell Bells were the only choice, and hardly anyone wore them because they were so hot and geeky ... I wore one anyway.

    I try to keep in mind that helmetless cyclists are several times more likely to die, and many times more likely to end up a paraplegic, quadriplegic or vegetable. Given that the overwhelming majority of cycling deaths are caused by head injuries, and given that helmets prevent and reduce the severity of those injuries by factors of several times, for most riding wearing a helmet is a no-brainer to me. Or maybe I should say that not wearing a helmet is a "no-brainer" ... in more ways than one!

    All that said, I'm still not in favor of helmet laws. I believe strongly in personal liberty, and in your right to use your head as you see fit. If you don't see the point in protecting your own brain, I don't see the point in telling you what to do. Just don't expect me to view it as an intelligent and informed decision.
    Last edited by GlowBoy; 06-06-2005 at 02:19 PM.
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  36. #36
    One gear to rule them all
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    Quote Originally Posted by aka brad
    Most of us have been there; 20 minutes or more drive to the trailhead, and you discover you forgot your helmet. What do you do?
    This just happened to me last Thursday. My wife and loaded up, drove to the trail head. We put all of our stuff on, and.....WTF.....where is my helmet? We didn't have time to go back and get it. Well.. do I ride sans helmet, or not ride?
    I rode.
    I was thinking about no helmet riding while we were headed home. I figured, I rode my whole childhood with no helmet, jumps, endos, and all sorts of crazyness. What's one more time.
    Todd............. If you can't be kind, at least have the decency to be vague

  37. #37
    Recovering couch patato
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    Owned MTB's since '89 and rode really hard since '96 or so. That's also when I stopped not wearing helmets, and started wearing Lycra. No one without the other. Did forget a helmet a couple times on rides, and just rode really mellow. Never broke a helmet in my life. Maybe my riding is too lame thanks to my nation's geography, maybe because I'm a chicken on the bike. Since I ride 29" (2.5 years) I've crashed only a handful times at best, most of the time laughing my face off because how silly it was.
    When I buy my own car, I plan to put a full kit spares in : tube, CX and MTB, helmet, shoes, pedals, gloves, shorts. I'm stupid with rain jackets and food as well. Gotta put a bit of cash there as well, for gas and such.
    I have before and will do again : ride mellow. should be safer than taking what feels like risk, with a helmet on. I feel I know what I'm doing enough to be able to say so. also, I'm so tall that before my head hits the ground, my hand are already brcing for impact. In my skateboarding days I always came home with wrecked hands. Wonder why I never got gloves. Not a standard product in toy stores back then, perhaps.
    No lycra, no helmet for me. I look like enough of a geek without, at least for this country. The day we enforce wearing helmets, I'm going to buy helmet stocks, most cyclists don't own helmets here, like 995/1000.

  38. #38
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    The people who wear helmets seem to do a lot of crashing on their heads....

    "The man is richest whose pleasures are the cheapest" Henry David Thoreau (obviously a single speeder)

    "...everytime you throw something away your load gets lighter..."

  39. #39
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    Ride anyway

    Bigwheel and ~martini~ said it best. Although, I probably wouldn't consiously ride too cautiously. It seems when you think too much about riding cautiously, you make mistakes. I would just let it flow but would keep it dialed back and would opt to walk super technical sections.

  40. #40
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    Lace up my running shoes...

    and do a nice long trail run. No helmet, no ride.
    Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, beer in one hand, pizza in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO - what a ride!"

  41. #41
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    I learned my lesson

    A decade or so ago, I used to ride to school without a helmet (saved it for mountain biking in the woods, where I was likely to crash). Then one day, on the way home I was hopping a little teeny curb and hit some loose gravel, went down hard and ripped my scalp open. Bled like a madman. Got lots of funny looks on the way home, what with being covered with buckets of gore and all. Lots of stitches. I ALWAYS wear a helmet now.

    Keep your brains in your skull!

  42. #42
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    Forgot my helmet once and its a 40 min drive back to the house so I rode anyways. I just didn't feel comfortable without it though. I couldn't relax and just ride. Always had the thought in my mind of going down and knockin my melon, becoming a vegatable, drool dripping out of my mouth uncontrollably, wife and family having the burden of constant care, having to use a diaper all the time, on and on...I'll never ride the trails without one again.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigwheel
    I guess because I started riding mtn. bikes before it was thought of to wear helmets I have to vote ride anyway...
    I'm with you Bigwheel. I didn't even start wearing a helmet until about 10 years ago. If I got to the trailhead without a helmet, I'd ride anyways. Might ease off the speed or risk taking on the tech lines, but I'd ride, no question. Sometimes I wonder how people & kids of previous generations ever survived without all of today's important & necessary safety equipment...
    A man must have enemies and places he is not welcome. In the end we are not only defined by our friends but those against us.

  44. #44
    grasso e lento
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    Go and get it or don't ride

    I think around my parts if you ride in a park and get busted it's like $200.00.... Plus I have kids and I feel like if I can't be a good example then they are doomed....



    -Dude
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  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by DWF
    Sometimes I wonder how people & kids of previous generations ever survived without all of today's important & necessary safety equipment...
    here, here...heck, seat belts were an option when my car was new in 1964!

  46. #46
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    I have never forgotten my helmet for MTBing, but have on several occasions for kayaking, as have many of my friends. With kayaking, there is no question - a helmet is a must on any whitewater. I have been lucky enough in the past to borrow one from a fellow boater. I now keep a Pro-Tec in my truck at all times; it serves as my do-it-all backup for both boating and biking, and as a loaner to anyone who might have forgotten theirs. .

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by DWF
    Sometimes I wonder how people & kids of previous generations ever survived without all of today's important & necessary safety equipment...
    Well, not all of them did survive. Certainly even then, it was a pretty small part of the population that got outright killed in cars or on bikes. Your chance of getting killed driving without a seatbelt or riding without a helmet is still very low -- just a fraction of a percent any given year, and maybe cumulatively a few percent over the course of your lifetime. But that doesn't change the fact that you reduce that "small" chance by a factor of several times by using modern safety equipment.

    I honestly don't ever expect my house to burn down, but I sure as hell wouldn't allow my homeowner's insurance to lapse for any significant period of time.

    Here's my anecdotal response to the use of anecdotal instead of statistical arguments around safety equipment: I could easily say, "hey, I've never been in a critical car accident, so why have I been wearing a seatbelt for 38 years?" If my family had had that mentality when I was growing up, my parents, brother and sister would be dead now, and I would be the only survivor. And speaking of optional seatbelts in 60s-era cars, the survival of my two siblings can be credited directly to my father's DIY installation of seatbelts in our 1967 era family car.
    Last edited by GlowBoy; 06-08-2005 at 03:05 PM.
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  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by GlowBoy
    Here's my anecdotal response to the use of anecdotal instead of statistical arguments around safety equipment: I could easily say, "hey, I've never been in a critical car accident, so why have I been wearing a seatbelt for 38 years?" If my family had had that mentality when I was growing up, my parents, brother and sister would be dead now, and I would be the only survivor. And speaking of optional seatbelts in 60s-era cars, the survival of my two siblings can be credited directly to my father's DIY installation of seatbelts in our 1967 era family car.
    There is no doubt, in my mind, that riding with a helmet is "safer" than without. But I also know for a fact that attributing increased safety from serious injuries to the wearing of a helmet is also anecdotal. To the best of my knowledge there is no sound stastictical evidence or large scale studies that shows that riding with a helment results in less significant head trauma than not wearing one. Bicycle helmets are not designed to ward off or prevent significant injuries, they merely reduce scrapes & bumps.

    I started wearing a helmet in the mid 90's when I was living in New Zealand and they passed a mandatory helment law. New Zealand has not seen a decrease in head/brain injuries since. 10 years of mandatory helmet use in a country with a strong cycling culture and no decrease in injuries over that time. YMMV.
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