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  1. #1
    mtbr member
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    why not more debate about helmets?

    A while back I had been following a debate on a BC ski forum

    http://www.telemarkskier.com/cgi-bin...c;f=1;t=001358

    about how resort skiing has become more dangerous over the years. The debate gets pretty involved with pros and cons of wearing helmets to ski and snowboard. An often used arguement against their use is that these helmets (which are way more over-built compared to your typical xc helmet) are only designed to protect up to 20 mph. Presumably using helmets can increase the risk of injury since the average speed on an intermediate run is about 30 mph and, as indicated by lots of anectodal and more substantially tested evidence, people gain a false sense of security when wearing a helmet and subsequently take greater risks. Even many of those who favor helmets admit that they are probably only good at preventing "nuisance injuries".

    I know there are a few people out there that argue against wearing bike helmets (and in one case I think the arguement is based on the choking hazard present when wearing them off the bike) but in the bike world the debate is WAY more biased towards the pro-helmet side. Why do you suppose that is? Did I just miss a lot of the arguing when bike helmets were coming on the scene?

  2. #2
    Your Customer Sales Rep
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    Quote Originally Posted by dir-T
    A while back I had been following a debate on a BC ski forum

    http://www.telemarkskier.com/cgi-bin...c;f=1;t=001358

    about how resort skiing has become more dangerous over the years.
    As one poster already said ... all the evidence is anecdotal. Nobody ever posted FACTS showing that resort skiing has become more dangerous (eg head or just injuries per 1000 skiers or something like that). If such statistics or studies exist, there would be something to argue about, other than "When I was a kid, yadayadayada ... ". D.
    You be you. I'll be riding.

  3. #3
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    Wearing a helmet is a non issue for me, if i know i am going to be riding for any length of time, i put one on. I have had many instances where i have been whacked in the head by low tree branches whilst trail riding, and others where i have crashed and hit my head. On one ride a friend hit his head on a tree branch so hard it would have most certainly knocked him out if he wasn't wearing a helmet.

    The only helmets i have issues with are downhill helmets, some offer nowhere near the level of protection they should. Motocross helmets with DOT safety standards are much more appropriate, especially considering the speed that a decent dh bike is capable of these days. Look at John Waddell, i understand that his team made the decision to run mx helmets over bicycle oriented full face helmets, that decision probably saved his life.

    I have found a good site that looks at just about every bicycle helmet on the market, it provides some really information if any one is about to buy one.
    Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute
    Last edited by mr plow; 04-08-2005 at 02:35 PM.

  4. #4
    Linoleum Knife
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    I've landed on my head enough to appreciate the protection of a helmet.

    I won't ride with people who don't wear them. It's purely selfish. I don't want the responsibility of telling a family their loved one died of stupidity. I don't want to ride out with a dead body over my saddle, And I don't want to have to clean brains out of my tires after a ride.

    Edit - - > and to answer the question about the debate in skiing, snow is soft compared to rock and dirt. For 99% of skiiers, if you hit a tree, you screwed up really badly somewhere.
    Most of the "extreme" skiiers I know (my sister and her friends) all wear helmets. So do most snowboarders I see - they fall down a lot more than skiiers, so it's only natural.
    Last edited by forkboy; 04-08-2005 at 02:08 PM.

  5. #5
    My post is that way --->
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    Not got a clue about the snowboard/ski arguments, but most MTBers are more aware of the hazards in MTBing - rocks, trees, the instability of the bike in certain terrain - compared to the soft landing that snow can provide. Given that most MTBers have started to ride since helmets were widely available and affordable, there hasn't been much of a cultural impediment to their use.

    With old-time roadies it is obviously a different story. Culturally it is much more difficult to adjust to wearing something that is a relatively recent development. And the argument that it doesn't afford much protection carries more weight in the types of accidents that you might have on the road.

    It is still a common debate though, but more about riding in general - whether helmet use should be compulsory for cyclists - not about MTBing specifically. And if it was as Pro as you suggest, then compulsory helmet use would surely be more common than it is.
    Wibble

  6. #6
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    Purely ancedotal for me, but I've broken over 7 mtb helmets in my short mtb "career" of 5 years. Each time I destroyed a helmet, I was really glad to be wearing it...and I'm betting at least two of the times I wouldn't be here typing had I not been wearing one. I've had plenty of violent crashes w/o my head touching dirt/rock and no neck injuries from that. Perhaps the arguement does hold true though...my confidence drops to near zero w/o my helmet. I never ride w/o a helmet...even when tooling around on a flat bike path.

  7. #7
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    I have a Giro Hammerhead with a gouge across the top of it from a tree branch, it was one of those fallen tree incidents on a trail I was used to and a tree had recently fallen.
    The gouge is about 1/2" deep and 1" long and at the time I connected the tree branch I hit it hard enough that I was momentarily stunned!
    The point is, I am glad I was wearing that helmet as I am pretty certain any branch that could make that dent in my helmet and stun me would have done a lot more damage to a bare head!

  8. #8
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    I'm not arguing one way or the other about helmets - I wear them for bikes and boards. I'm just curious why it's really not a debate in the bike world while skiers (at least those on the board I posted the link to, and a couple other people I know - including a lower-level pro) can argue all day long about it.

    I think this is probably the best explanation...

    "Given that most MTBers have started to ride since helmets were widely available and affordable, there hasn't been much of a cultural impediment to their use. -Seb"

    As for this...

    "and to answer the question about the debate in skiing, snow is soft compared to rock and dirt. For 99% of skiiers, if you hit a tree, you screwed up really badly somewhere. - forkboy"

    That could be the case at some ski areas but not all of them, and definately not in an out-of-bounds setting. It's not hard at all to hit a tree during a high speed run through a gladed area. Nor is it tough to fall in a tight rock-walled chute.

    And lastly, and maybe most important to me...

    "but I've broken over 7 mtb helmets in my short mtb "career" of 5 years -imbkid"

    How fast were you going and what type of impacts were they (straight into a tree, fall sideways with head hitting the ground, head over heels ragdoll type thing)?

  9. #9
    Linoleum Knife
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    nm

    My post had nothing relevant to this thread or this board.

    Sorry
    Last edited by forkboy; 04-08-2005 at 03:01 PM.

  10. #10
    Perpetually single track
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    Most were slower speed OTB's, one was an inch of dust on top of smooth rock, wheels slipped outevenly, head contacted ground before anything else did. Another I was maxed out on my 44x11 on a fire road and lost it somehow...don't remember much from that one.

    *shrug*....I got no skills and if I wanna actually ride, the more padding the better.

  11. #11
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    I think there are plenty of good reasons.

    Rock/Pavement/Cars: hard and rough, Snow & padded lift towers: soft and slick
    Singletrack and road shoulders: narrow, Slopes: wide
    Mountain Biking: you're on your own, Skiing: Ski Patrol is there along with plenty of others

    That said, I'm shopping for my first ski helmet in my 23 years of skiing.

    Edit: damn that makes me sound old. For the record I'm only 27.
    Last edited by @dam; 04-08-2005 at 06:57 PM.

  12. #12
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    Giro 9

    Quote Originally Posted by @dam
    That said, I'm shopping for my first ski helmet in my 23 years of skiing.
    My wife has one and it's sweet.

  13. #13
    Trail rider and racer
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    We need Pete, he generally has some interesting points to make about helmets.
    Trev!

  14. #14
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    We have enough rules and too little common sense.
    Noone should be able to tell me that I have to wear a helmet. I should be smart enough to wear one or man enough to accept that I might get hurt and not sue someone if I do manage to get my dumb ass really screwed up.
    If I want to take it easy and feel the fresh breeze in my hair - that should be my choice. Screw anyone that wants to tell me differently.

    Noone should have to wear a helmet - everyone should. Bedwetting liberal pansies always think they know what is best for everyone else (obligitory shot at the left). Why not let those that choose to not wear helmets go off and kill themselves - or live though the experience unscathed. Either way - let people make decisions themselves then let them deal with the consequences.

  15. #15
    Ass-kickin chili fixins
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    Why not more debate? Cause in most cases, it's out of our hands. Much like wearing seatbelts.

    Much of the time, helmets & seatbelts will protect what & how they're designed to protect. Sometimes, they don't. Sometimes, they cause more injury than if you didn't use em at all. But what's there to debate? It is what it is. If you didn't know, you can research it and find out, in an effort to weigh the pro's & cons, and make a conscious, intelligent decision. Unfortunately, it will do you no good. Instead of educating people or encouraging intelligence, it's cheaper in the short-term to just make a couple lawyers rich, and just pass a law that says people MUST wear seatbelts and helmets. It has aparrently become lawmakers (on both R&L sides, don't kid yourself buddy) jobs to save us from our ignoramus selves, whether we like it or not this makes it easier for us to remain unintelligent.

    Yet another case of everyone knowing what's best for everyone else...

    Getting away from frickin politiking busybodies are why I ride my bike in the first place.
    Last edited by Master Shake; 04-08-2005 at 04:38 PM. Reason: Aff, in the time it took me to pen this, Zenophobe or whatever posted basically the same thing.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by zenorb
    We have enough rules and too little common sense.
    Noone should be able to tell me that I have to wear a helmet. I should be smart enough to wear one or man enough to accept that I might get hurt and not sue someone if I do manage to get my dumb ass really screwed up.
    If I want to take it easy and feel the fresh breeze in my hair - that should be my choice. Screw anyone that wants to tell me differently.

    Noone should have to wear a helmet - everyone should. Bedwetting liberal pansies always think they know what is best for everyone else (obligitory shot at the left). Why not let those that choose to not wear helmets go off and kill themselves - or live though the experience unscathed. Either way - let people make decisions themselves then let them deal with the consequences.
    2nd that.
    Your fear of looking stupid is holding you back.

  17. #17
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    I wear a helmet when I ride a bike, period. I've taken both low and high speed falls where i was glad to be wearing a helmet.

    I don't when I ski. If I skiied chutes, jumps, trees, technical backcountry, I might re-evaluate it.

    Think about the two celebrity skiing deaths that pushed helmets to the light. The Kennedy family member, who was involved in a game of catch while skiing down a run, and Sonny Bono, who was loaded on prescription pills. Both avoidable, pilot error type accidents.

  18. #18
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    - "And lastly, and maybe most important to me...

    "but I've broken over 7 mtb helmets in my short mtb "career" of 5 years -imbkid"

    How fast were you going and what type of impacts were they (straight into a tree, fall sideways with head hitting the ground, head over heels ragdoll type thing" -

    From what I understand, helmets of all sorts are intended to deform in the event of a crash - it's how the energy of the impact is absorbed, much like crumple zones designed into cars. Sure, you could wear a cast-iron helmet and it would not deform in a crash, but your head sure as hell would. All helmets are intended to be "used" only once. There is always a statement with the helmet that in case of a crash, it should be returned to the manufacturer to check for soundness. A helmet that was destroyed in a crash was simply doing it's job.

  19. #19
    Glad to Be Alive
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    I have to say I am thankful I have had a full face helmet. After one fall on an easy trail, I knew that an XC helmet wouldn't save my teeth.....now only Full Face
    the trick is ENJOYING YOUR LIFE EACH DAY, don't waste them away wishing for better days

  20. #20
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    you have to remember where and what we are riding, compared to skiing and snowboarding. unless you hit a tree (not the majority of crashes on snow/ski), a crash at under 20 mph isnt going to hurt much because of what your falling on- soft snow (unless its ice, where a helmet would help). on bikes, a low speed crash can be just as damaging as a high speed one because the bike itself, the hard ground, the mulitude of trees, roots, rocks, etc that are on or right next to the trail to hit. or for road riders, the tarmac, curbs, sewer grates, etc. ive never worn a helmet skiiing, but for recreational skiier on a large mountain thats groomed, its not really necessary. ive never crashed and said, man i wish i had a helmet. ive broken a helmet or two, and ive landed many times on my head that, without a brain bucket, surely would have done some damage, either skin scrapes, concussion, etc.

  21. #21
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    Saved my life 3 times over the last 15 years

    I went head on to a bridge stantion on a motocycle at 35 mph. It shattered 4 layers of fiberglass out of six. I had on a Simopson full face race helmet, I hit it with my forehead, damaged my neck and broke some bones but I am still alive to crash some more. Number two I was a victim of a hit and run on my bicycle, the driver hit me so hard I flew 10 feet or so into a tree where my back got hurt and my head hit the trunk so hard it broke my helmet in half. It was an old white bell helmet from the late 80's. The last time was some time last July, I took a six foot drop ride into a creek that everyone crosses without a problem as I have countless times before. this time I went over the handle bars hit the rocks at the bottom my head I remember bouncing off the rocks at the bottom. My spine was saved by the CamelBak I had on I still broke 3-4 ribs and compacted 2 discs and tore up my arm pretty bad.It broke a Bell Aquila into three peices. Now if this is not a testemony to wear a helmet then You would not be getting this thread from me because I would have been dead after the first wreck.
    I now wear a Giro Semi-MX because it is a hard shell and I don't ride a Motocycle anymore. I still crash allot but I know I will not be a vegtable. I hate to see people without helmets because I know how they save lives.
    I don't ride, I close my eyes and hang on for dear life.

  22. #22
    Ass-kickin chili fixins
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    Quote Originally Posted by Endo pro
    I hate to see people without helmets because I know how they save lives.
    I know they save lives too. And I've had a couple critical conditions myself. But it's not really any of anyone's business but my own if I want my life saved, is it? If we were kept ignorant in the face of the risk, then there may be an argument regarding our appointed rulers being responsible, and at that point, they would be right to decide to either educate us, or simply pass a law. But that's not the case. I know the risks, and have made an informed decision regarding the value of my life and my desire to preserve it. I don't need to be protected from myself, and I appreciate those who can recognize this. So I'll continue to take the helmet & seat belt tickets under a bogus alias, and continue to drop them back off at the police station in the evening with an explanation.

  23. #23
    chainpain
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    Quote Originally Posted by zenorb
    Bedwetting liberal pansies always think they know what is best for everyone else (obligitory shot at the left). Why not let those that choose to not wear helmets go off and kill themselves - or live though the experience unscathed. Either way - let people make decisions themselves then let them deal with the consequences.
    Oh, the politicians who always think they know what is best for everyone else are called liberal over there. Funny. "Over here" we call em conservative socialists.What on earth does liberalism have to do with prohibitions? United States of America is a strange part of the planet.
    Last edited by chainsuck; 04-13-2005 at 01:00 AM.

  24. #24
    MG6
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    helmet in general protects and saves injuries. Does it saves life? Yes and No. We can all put on a helmet for all kinds of sports but if you are using it improperly, then what is the purpose in wearing one in the first place.

    The misconception of helmet usage is... the education in using a helmet isn't put or stressed enough on how it is used, worn and the sign of failure.

    Yes, you could wish to opt out on wearing a helmet and it is true that your life is yours and no one else but... who is paying for the bill at the end of the day? Tax payer which is us and including yourself. What really gets me when someone say "it is my life and no one else, so don't control it!" Well, we do live in a free country (to a point) but we also live in a country where suing someone is their rights.

    So if it is ok in your terms in not wearing a helmet, it might not be ok for your parents or family members because they have the golden finger of suing the city, the person who didn't cut the tree that day, the stupid puddle of water that the sun didn't dry up quick enough for you to have a better eye sight of the road.

    So let it be, wear the helmet and be protected.

  25. #25
    Ass-kickin chili fixins
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    Quote Originally Posted by MG6
    ...
    Some good thought went into that post. Very nice.

    So by your own admission then, the problem would be one of failing to recognize personal responsibility. In this case, part of that responsibility is making sure my "family members" know that I'm completely aware of the risks, and have accepted them. Imagine how many times a person has this conversation with the people who love them over the decades before it reaches you on an internet forum.

    When I was a kid just out of high school I made sure death was wrapped up with the family lawyer. Occasionally, I make sure it's up to date. I figured I wouldn't live to see 30 with the kind of riding I do, and I was very, very close to being right. I can't see why anyone who participates in a hazardous lifestyle such as driving in cars or riding off road wouldn't take the same precautions.

    Who is footing the bill? There is no bill. No one who knows me is suing for anything, whether theres ice on the road, or a piano falls out a window. Shti happens, you let it go, and you move on. I die, well, it had to happen sometime. In the early 90's, I lost out on a 36 million dollar deal. I could have sued ten years later when I found out why & how. But it wasn't right in the first place, and suing was only goign to make a bigger mess out of it. You've just got to accept the chaos that make's this cramped little world function, and get on with your short life. People who berate each other over nickels & dimes... well, it looks a lot like swine in the trough. Go beg for your feed. What was your positive contribution that made all the resouces you consumed while you were here worth it?

    I'm not suicidal or anything, but I have no illusions of anthropocentric grandeur either, and if an opportunity comes along to end this absurd existence, I'll take it.

    Or maybe you could just tell me to wear a helmet and I'll do it. But probably not.

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