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  1. #1
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    OT : Motorbikes and helmets

    Watching a Discovery program on Big Big Bikes. Shots of all these dudes and chicks on HUGE motorbikes, jet powered even, horsepower for a bus station worth of peoplemovers, the real deal.
    No helmet. Just a cool goatee. From the accent and setting, I'm guessing USA.
    What gives? In Australia I think a helmet is mandatory even on a cyclepath ride through the park?

    I'm affraid also motorbikes procreate too fast to have the Darwin effect settle this...

    (confession : I only use helmets for rides where I would also consider lycra. Sometimes even leav the helmet off for 20miles A to- B's over roads I know well.)

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cloxxki
    Watching a Discovery program on Big Big Bikes. Shots of all these dudes and chicks on HUGE motorbikes, jet powered even, horsepower for a bus station worth of peoplemovers, the real deal.
    No helmet. Just a cool goatee. From the accent and setting, I'm guessing USA.
    What gives? In Australia I think a helmet is mandatory even on a cyclepath ride through the park?

    I'm affraid also motorbikes procreate too fast to have the Darwin effect settle this...

    (confession : I only use helmets for rides where I would also consider lycra. Sometimes even leav the helmet off for 20miles A to- B's over roads I know well.)
    I think it is state law which controls here. There is a helmet requirement in California for motorcyclists.

  3. #3

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    Quasi nailed it - in the US, each state determines whether or not helmet use is mandatory with motorcycles.

    I've been riding motorcycles almost as long as I've been riding bicycles, and in 23+ years I've had exactly one bad motorcycle crash. A full face helmet and Aerostitch suit limited my injuries to a broken thumb and a lot of bruises. Would have lost most of the skin on my face had I not been wearing a helmet...

    Ironically, I've only gotten religious about wearing bicycle helmets in the past year. Methinks I've burned through too many of my nine lives.

  4. #4
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    Grrr..

    Firstly, let me state that I hate helmets.

    I rode motorcycles for years without wearing a helmet. The only time I wore one was when racing on the track.

    Then the helmet law was brought in and made mandatory to wear one everywhere. I got an exemption at first, but even that was eventually revoked and I had to wear one like everyone else. I hated it, and still do.

    I rode bicycles for years without a helmet too. Then they made those compulsory for bicycles as well.

    I hate helmets. They are hot and make your head sweat. Unfortunately, here in AU they are compulsory.

    I ride without a helmet whenever I can in the bush. I wear one on the way to the trailhead, but stash it in the bush as soon as I get onto the trail.

    I have been asked why I don't wear a helmet by other bike riders at times, and I do admit to wearing one sometimes on good downhill runs, but my answer is usually that I personally choose not to wear one if I have a choice.

    Does this make me stupid? Irresponsible? I don't know, other people may think so.

    All I can say is, it's my personal decision if I choose not to wear one on the trails. Yes...I have bumped my head a few times when not wearing a helmet, but I have whacked it a LOT harder when wearing one, too.

    Personally, I will ride without one if I can, I prefer it. Until I am forced to wear one ALL the time in the bush, I will continue to ride without it.

    I am NOT saying that it is right for everyone else to do what I do, it has to be a personal decision that you make for yourself.. [until forced to do so by the law].

    R.
    It is inevitable ...

  5. #5
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    I think you owe wearing a helmet that enters the trail behind you, being first to the scene when you've cracked your skull on something solid rather than a helmet. Won't be a pretty sight anyway, but finding your corpse won't be much fun for the guy, and it won't improve his cycling experience one bit.
    On the motorbike, I think you owe it to the paramedics. In BikeGuy's accident he would have made a mess of the ambulance for sure. I do think it's in a way irresponsible to confront others with the result of not wearing a helmet when most needed.

    I had one traffic crash that was bad. A semi-normal commute trip from school, though I was detouring in a bad mood and timetrialing to at least accomplish something that evening. I ran a red light (as usual, bad, I know, and I got fined for that), and from the dead angle behind a small van comes a small car full throtle in fourth. I tried to get out of the way, but he hit my left chainstay with well over 50mph (32mph limit on the intersection), folding up my bike around the nearing traffic sign pole. I had minor scratches, and in this particular crash a helmet was the least I needed. Full DH gear would have been nice for my impact with the pavement. I'm more careful now on commutes.

  6. #6
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    Here in the state of Connecticut, USA the law is wacky. It is compulsory to wear a helmet while riding a bike for everyone under 16. As soon as you turn 16 and get your motorcycle license, you can drive the motorcycle helmet-less.

    That's political lobbying for you I guess.

    B

  7. #7
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    I'm glad we don't have anyone behind a car or motor wheel or under 18 here in Holland.

  8. #8
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    I like your reply. It is not the path I have chosen. I had to laugh I am so opposite.

    I have actually just converted to a full face helmet for commuting...extreme I know, but I see much higher speeds on the road than I ever do on the trail. If I go down at 40 mph, I want all the protection I can get. Most trail speeds, especially on a rigid bike will be much lower. I still wear a full face on the trail also, ever since an aquaintance became a patient and was missing a bunch of front teeth after a cross country ride in the rocks.

    It is indeed hot, but I got used to it. I still need to function bodily to work and support the family. If I were at a different stage of life....single....without small children....empty nest, I might view things differently, but 5 other folks depend on my ability to work daily, and I would be a fool to risk that ability for what is essentially a hobby. I also wear leg and arm armor for cross country rides for the same reason (talk about hot).

    I don't own or ride a motorcycle (even though I would like to) for the same reasons.

    Helmet laws in general are to protect society from the increased cost on society's resources from injuries sustained by unhelmeted riders. If they die, it cost's relatively little. If a rider lives with a severe brain injury, however, the costs are lifelong and extremely significant. Don't think that the person's personal wealth, or insurance will come close to covering the costs. Almost always, they end up on the government's bankroll. As such, it is the government's perogative to require reasonable precautions (helmets) to avoid such costs if possible....not to mention personal suffering, family suffering, etc.

    I think helmets won't usually make a difference in an accident that will be fatal, but can make a significant difference in the disability sustained in an otherwise survivable accident.
    Quote Originally Posted by buddhak
    And I thought I had a bike obsession. You are at once tragic and awesome.

  9. #9

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    I believe in personal choice and all sorts of freedoms being an adult brings. Children are a different story.

    As for those adults that choose not to wear a helmet I say; “The world still needs organ donors”.

  10. #10
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    make a deal:

    If Rainman and anyone else in the USA or anywhere wants to ride a bicycle or motorcycle w/o a helmet or even drive a car w/o seatbelts, then we don't have to render 1st aide w/o first verifying that they have insurance and/or can pay their own bill.

    But it's not just cost. There's a lot of risk involved in rescue. Not to mention liability (in the USA).

    It may be a personal choice to wear a helmet, but it's not optional that society deems your life worth saving should your unprotected skull be cracked.

    -M
    Mike Henderson, Dirty Hippy Mountain Biker and part owner of Jet Lites.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by wolfy
    If Rainman and anyone else in the USA
    I believe Rainman is from Australia.
    Quote Originally Posted by buddhak
    And I thought I had a bike obsession. You are at once tragic and awesome.

  12. #12
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    Correct..I am from AU.

    Wearing a helmet : I DO NOT advise anyone to ride or drive without a helmet or seatbelt.

    Read that carefully.



    All I am saying is: I prefer to ride [sometimes] off road [in the bush] without my helmet.

    Thats my decision. Just for me. No one else.


    R.
    It is inevitable ...

  13. #13
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    The cost to society argument is a red herring that can be used to justify most any restriction of liberty. If you want to save money on medicine, make tobacco, alcohol and potato chips illegal and make people wear helmets in cars. Helmets are fine, but bare headed cyclists are the norm in most of the world, and they're not a big social problem.

  14. #14
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    Enel, muchos respect to you. My commutes are absolutely dead flat. If I cruise 20mph consistently, I had either tailwind or I was going for it. In both cases I mostly wear the helmet. Top speed for most road rides (I don't do the roadie group ride thing) is around 22mph typically. Sometimes 25 when I draft a scooter. My country is very bike-friendly. Most road miles I make lately (I get lazy) is the 21mi to my girlfriend's dorm. Probably 90-95% of that is on 19mph limit roads and cycle paths. No SUV's to evade.

    My carbon fullface helmet is very hot, but in the winter I could learn to use it all the time. rainy rides it could even rock.

  15. #15
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    The issue is....

    Freedom to do as you wish. Back when I was a kid my stepdad was instrumental in repealing the m/c helmet law here in New Mexico - but he always wears a helmet. He just didn't want the government telling him what to do. It turned out that most of the pro-law types were doctors that only saw the carnage of non wearers whose luck ran out.

    I can agree with rainman that m/c helmets are bulky, hot, inconvenient - and I don't wear one around town. Which is where they actually do the most good. Get me out on the highway and I want my wind armor!

    Bike helmets, on the other hand are actually comfy and convenient IMHO. But as Cloxxi (sp?) stated, for non-lycra riding I seldom go dig it out. Back when I did some commuting, the bike hat was the mirror mount and got a lot more use.

    YMMV, your risks are your own - or should be. My mamma made sure I knew the score, but let me make my own decisions. Sure wish the govt would do the same.
    This isn't a "you're doing it wrong" topic.

    WSS/OSS: Open Source Sealant

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by slim_pickens
    The cost to society argument is a red herring that can be used to justify most any restriction of liberty. If you want to save money on medicine, make tobacco, alcohol and potato chips illegal and make people wear helmets in cars. Helmets are fine, but bare headed cyclists are the norm in most of the world, and they're not a big social problem.
    WORD!

    Nothing else really needs to be said...

    And BTW - the argument that one's personal insurance will not cover a major injury and therefore society is left with the burden is crazy. Same argument could be made with cancer or diabetes or any other disease that requires long term, pricey treatment. That is why insurance companies insure a broad range of people...to spread the risk.

    LP

  17. #17
    dirty hippy mountainbiker
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    It's not a red herring, becaue you can't just leave someone to sort himself out with a concussion. At most it's a slippery slope.

    I go back and fourth on it too. Cause you're partially right. But i have a problem with being obligated to assist someone who is hurt because he/she chose not to wear a cheep, effective and widely availabe safety device. [you can't be adicted to not wearing a helmet, and you aren't compulsively induced to take it off, and it's not a naturally occurring spontanious disease.]

    It's sort of similar to the non use of condoms and the contraction of STDs. There are people who say, "that's not for me" in regard to that too.

    Sort of similar to free-solo rock climbing. Only that more explicitly puts others at greater risk.

    -M
    Last edited by wolfy; 11-28-2005 at 06:04 PM. Reason: add something
    Mike Henderson, Dirty Hippy Mountain Biker and part owner of Jet Lites.

  18. #18
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    Not sure if you have seen this thread but it makes a good argument for wearing a helmet.

    Beware....Nasty pics! http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.ph...ghlight=helmet

    I would like to get a XC full face helmet like the Met Parachute or Casco Viper MX or the Giro that is no longer made.

    At gnomefest this year we did a night ride and Cronometro went down hard, he did some serious damage to his body, his helmet was cracked in several places, I hate to think what would have happend to him if he was on his own or without a helmet.
    blah blah blah

  19. #19
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    I use the Giro Switchblade and like it a lot. Not too heavy or hot.

    Recently purchased the Pryme AL. Heavier, sturdier, better fitting, but will be hotter for sure. Luckily it's 30's-40's right now. The Pryme will probably be the winter helmet and the Giro for summer as long as it lasts.

    Cloxxi: I go down (and up) a few steep hills. Max speeds hit 44 mph for a few seconds, and a sustained 35 mph for a couple minutes. Of course on the way up, I average between 5-7 mph. You have to pay for the speed some how.
    Quote Originally Posted by buddhak
    And I thought I had a bike obsession. You are at once tragic and awesome.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by wolfy
    It's not a red herring, becaue you can't just leave someone to sort himself out with a concussion. At most it's a slippery slope.

    I go back and fourth on it too. Cause you're partially right. But i have a problem with being obligated to assist someone who is hurt because he/she chose not to wear a cheep, effective and widely availabe safety device. [you can't be adicted to not wearing a helmet, and you aren't compulsively induced to take it off, and it's not a naturally occurring spontanious disease.]

    It's sort of similar to the non use of condoms and the contraction of STDs. There are people who say, "that's not for me" in regard to that too.

    Sort of similar to free-solo rock climbing. Only that more explicitly puts others at greater risk.

    -M

    Good points M. I especially like your condom analogy. I have never thought of that.

    One more thing to think about though. Are we totally disconnecting the responsibility for the accident from the responsibility to wear a helmet?

    Let's keep this limited to the trail. I know when I do not weat a helmet on the trail, I do not take any new lines or try hard stuff or ride new trails, usually just out for a cruise on known singletrack. I strongly feel that I can keep my risk of having a major head injury very low. Sometimes I choose to take that risk. This is different in my view from some rider that chooses to bomb around all the time pushing the limits without a helmet. I am not shocked when that rider takes a bad fall, and without a helmet, I would not be shocked at a head injury. Maybe I am fooling myself here and playing with semantics...

    Good discussion!

    And for the record, I think the bike helmet vs. motorcycle helmet are completely different arguments.

    LP

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by slim_pickens
    Helmets are fine, but bare headed cyclists are the norm in most of the world, and they're not a big social problem.
    I disagree. The reflection off the heads of some of those "bare headed cyclists" can blind drivers and cause terrible crashes. I think particularly bare headed cyclists should be required to at least wear some kind of hat or wig to reduce the reflection.

  22. #22
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    LP, then what's the difference between motorcycles and bikes? In both cases, the first to the scene when a rider is down and with messed up skull, it's going to be nasty. Marked for life, just like the one down. On the trail, it's even harder to find any professional help. There's crashes I had with a helmet that I managed to get myself going on the bike again, which without helmet would have seen me waiting for help. My friend recently had such a case. Was JRA a moist DH, when she found herself smacked to the ground, to change to respond or anything. Hard hit on the helmet, which survived, but without a whiplash would have been the smallest of her concerns. Silent day at that trail that day.
    I sure hope I won't ever be the first to the scene when a non-helmet rider goes down in a bad way.

    Over here there's a few trails that appeal to newbie riders (running shoes and jeans) obviously without helmets. It's trails with cool DH's, of course they appeal. But when a rider goes DOWN, each time the local trailbuilders have a fight on their hands to keep the trails open. Some people also bluntly say it "now you're cool not wearing a helmet, but we'll have to be the ones carrying you to the hospital.".

    I'll admit further that on a few occasions I did forget my helmet myself and let it not ruin the ride. I was just very careful. I remember one time it was really cold, I wore a warm hat in stead. That's about it.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cloxxki
    LP, then what's the difference between motorcycles and bikes?
    I believe the difference is understanding the actual dangers involved with each activity and taking the appropriate precautions.

    Riding a powered motorcycle in traffic or on the trails is generally going to happen at a higer rate of speed with more moving mass than a cyclist, which will in turn likely increase the severity of the potential crash. As I posted before, the higher the potential danger actually is, the more likely a person should wear a helment IMO. A skilled rider riding at a casual pace on known trails is not dangerous enough to necessarily warrant a helment in every instance. At the least, there is no need to be dogmatic about it. Motorcycle use crosses the line in my book, or in other words, the activity is dangerous enough to warrant helment use all the time.

    For the record, in my state, wearing a helment on the bike is not mandatory if you are over 16, but if you are involved in an accident the second party will not be held responsible for any resulting head injuries if the cyclist was not wearing a helment, regardless of fault for the accident. How's that for incentive...

    LP

  24. #24
    The Voice of Reason
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    Florida doesn't have a helmet law for motorcycles anymore. You have to be at least 21 to ride a motorcycle helmetless. The number of motorcycle deaths has increased quite a bit since the repeal of the helmet law but not all of it can be blamed on riding without a helmet. Florida has a mandatory seatbelt law, though. It still boggles my mind to see a grown man on a motorcycle not wearing a helmet.

  25. #25
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    Yeah, and the next motorist in his car being pulled over by the police for not wearing a seatbelt :s

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