Powered pedal cycle in collision

peckerman

Finding my (electric) wheels
Aug 22, 2008
21
0
Thank you for the response, I guess I was looking for some sort of reassurance that wearing one would help.
Hi Intex, I'm new here so not sure what's been said on old threads, so I apologise if this has been covered before, but I can definately assure you wearing one helps. I think wearing one helps a great deal, having been knocked off myself, and witnessed 2 accidents where the helmet wearer managed to cycle home, helmet in pieces. I somehow don't think that would be the case if he was not wearing anything. For a conclusion just go onto youtube and type in bicycle accident or various similar wording, see how many hit their heads. An accident is just that, accidental. You have no control over what happens once you start falling, so it's best in my opinion to offer yourself the best possible chance of protection.
 

rooel

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jun 14, 2007
357
0
Intex, if you type "cycle helmets" into Google you will soon find plenty of advice regarding them, but, as cycle helmets are designed to provide protection only in falls where no other vehicle is involved, I doubt if much of it will reassure you: the only certain way to avoid head injury is to get off your bike, stay at home, and be careful you neither fall out of bed or down the stairs. And do not think you will be any safer travelling by car or walking: the incidence of head injuries within these travel modes is just as high.

The problem is that motor vehicles are very dangerous. Unfortunately their new owners, styling them innocuously as "horseless carriages", managed to gradually insinuate them on to our public highways, and our forebears were then unable to relegate them to separate "ways" as they had wisely done a century earlier with the railways. Even their puny attempt to restrict speeds with the red flag men was soon derided, the new motor vehicles being in the hands of the rich and the powerful. If you read some Edwardian novels such as E M Forster's, Howards End, you will find already references to "road hogs", and collisions, all the perpetrators being "upper class".

Here is a brief selection of sites which may be of help:

Peter Clinch's Packs Page 2

Cycle Helmets: an international resource

Cyclecraft
 
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Rod Tibbs

Pedelecer
Jun 10, 2008
123
0
Frankly I am amazed that anyone could argue against wearing a cycle helmet. Last year I was knocked off my Powabike by a reversing pickup truck. I was thrown across Newmarket High street and the side of my helmet was crushed where my head hit the ground.

Five weeks later I had two holes drilled through my head to relieve a 'chronic subdural haematoma' or blood pooling on the brain. I was within 48 hours of death and no amount of arguing will convince me the helmet did not save my life. The fact that the helmet crushed and my skull did not obviously saved me.

It is essential the helmet fits properly and is held on firmly. If you want to go without a helmet, fine. I speak from first hand experience and I wont be joining you.

Rod
 

rooel

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jun 14, 2007
357
0
I am equally amazed that those who argue in favour of wearing cycle helmets do not also argue in favour of wearing pedestrian helmets, and motor helmets, and going-up-and-down the stairs helmets, etc., etc.
 

flecc

Member
Oct 25, 2006
46,302
23,060
You see now what I mean Intex, here we go again. :(

Got to be the world's most boring subject.
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Django

Esteemed Pedelecer
Feb 11, 2007
453
1
Here we go again indeed.

Time to dig a trench and . . . . er . . . . put my helmet on. :D
 

CheKmx

Pedelecer
Apr 29, 2008
210
0
51
Zurich
There is no statistical evidence to show that helmet wearing increases trench saftey and in fact may increase the wears risk. :p
 

peckerman

Finding my (electric) wheels
Aug 22, 2008
21
0
Rooel have you ever been knocked off your bike? I can't believe that in this day and age someone can actually try and persuade people to not wear protective equiptment. I see what you're saying, a helmet isn't a guarantee that you won't get injured, but it's better safe than sorry in my books. I mean, assuming that you don't have kids, if you did would you honestly advise them NOT to wear a helmet?
 

flecc

Member
Oct 25, 2006
46,302
23,060
I can't see that Rooel was trying to persuade anyone not to use a helmet. It seemed to me that he was just pointing out the limitations of the protection they give.

In sharp contrast peckerman, you are clearly trying to persuade others to use helmets. Why not leave others to decide for themselves? It is their business.
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Encantador

Pedelecer
Jul 18, 2008
45
0
If such information was widely available it would help to counteract the propaganda in favour of wearing helmets which actually has a detrimental effect on cyclists' safety: .
Only rooel knows exactly what he meant, but this sentence to me suggests he is `arguing` that you are safer when not wearing a helmet.
 

rooel

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jun 14, 2007
357
0
Encantador, As it is some way back in the thread I hope no-one will mind if I copy the post to which you refer here (emphasis added this time):

I too would be interested to know if this cyclist was wearing a helmet, but not with a view to crusading in favour of them: it would be useful if all news reports of collisions and injuries involving cyclists stated whether or not a helmet was being worn. This would demonstrate to the public that a)helmet wearing does not prevent accidents (an incredible assumption made by many who have asked me why I do not wear one), b) they provide no protection whatsoever to 95% of the cyclist's body (an obvious fact to which many seem oblivious), and c) they provide very little additional protection to the small part they do cover.

If such information was widely available it would help to counteract the propaganda in favour of wearing helmets which actually has a detrimental effect on cyclists' safety: most motorists on seeing a cyclist ahead, wearing a helmet, and recalling the propaganda, subconsciously assume that the cyclist is just as well protected as they are in their tin box and overtake recklessly, while others, a self-righteous minority, perhaps, decide to teach the cyclist a lesson for ignoring the propaganda and pass in a similarly reckless manner.There is, fortunately, a third category, who on seeing a cyclist ahead, bare-headed, drive extra carefully in his or her vicinity, something I have proved if only anecdotally, by sometimes wearing a cap, and sometimes not. Even a woolly bonnet suggests to some motorists that a cyclist is "protected", whereas a bare head suggests vulnerability. Bareheaded female cyclists with long hair, (or males who don a long blond wig) will notice this effect most, as the male motorist, obeying a primeval instinct, will often regard the female (or apparently female) cyclist as weak and in need of care and protection.​
And here is a reply to Peckerman's query:

I have ridden a pedal cycle, and latterly electrically assisted pedal cycles, for the past 30 years (thirtieth anniversary this month as it happens). In that time I have, fortunately, never been knocked off, but I have fallen off on around six occasions (skidding on ice or oil), never once hitting my head, but skinning my knees, or hands, or elbows, bruising my shoulder, and last winter cracking a rib (having fallen forward over the bike which skidded sideways, and landing on my chest between the road and which was a metal bodied pocket camera which survived the collision better than my ribs, though they healed up naturally within a few weeks without medical intervention).

None of this has persuaded me, of course, that wearing a helmet would be beneficial, but I have taken to wearing gloves (although that is partly to keep my fingers warm at all times and perhaps reduce the onset of arthritis in my knuckles), and I now have a thinner plastic camera kept in a side pocket well away from my ribs. Years ago I fitted a rear view mirror so that I can see what is coming up behind me, particularly vehicles, especially long vehicles, which might swing left across me (we had a tragic death in Edinburgh recently where a helmet wearing cyclist was killed instantly by a long vehicle turning left).

In addition I try not to ride over ice, and look out for oil. In town I have always ridden with the tips of my fingers on both brake levers, and kept my speed down especially downhill on main roads where vehicles are likely to emerge from side roads.

As for the children who are now all over 16, I have never advised them to wear helmets, but when they were younger I always insisted that they never ride among motor vehicles (and I follow that policy myself whenever I can, using the extra power now from the electric propulsion to get through any high speed main road sections which I cannot avoid). I have also advised them to keep their speed down now that they are riding on city roads, and to wear a bright yellow cycle jacket, but unfortunately they will not accept that advice.

I am fully aware that none of these precautions will prevent me or the family ever being knocked off, or when we go out as pedestrians, or motor vehicle passengers, being killed or injured. We have family membership of the CTC (and I have other legal insurance cover) so that if the worst happens we can at least set the lawyers on the offender's insurance company.

My proposals to improve safety for all are:

  • much more intensive policing and rigorous enforcement of road traffic law;
  • constant speed monitoring of all vehicles at all times by in-built monitors which will deduct the fine at midnight every day in a manner similar to the collection of the London congestion charge;
  • and above all, the physical separation of cyclists (and pedestrians) from motor vehicles at all times (except when they are drivers or passengers in such vehicles, in which case they should be compelled/(advised?) to wear helmets, although, as motor cyclists will know, they are not 100% effective at motor vehicle speeds).
 
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flecc

Member
Oct 25, 2006
46,302
23,060
I have ridden a pedal cycle, and latterly electrically assisted pedal cycles, for the past 30 years (thirtieth anniversary this month as it happens). In that time I have, fortunately, never been knocked off, but I have fallen off on around six occasions (skidding on ice or oil)
Adding to Rooel's experience, for me it's been 62 years (40 years in and around a London borough) of cycling not wearing helmets. I've also never been knocked off, but slid off on oily surfaces twice, and I've never sustained any form of injury and come nowhere near to knocking my head. I've also been a motorcyclist for over 52 years and never come off once on the roads.

For many of those motorcycling years and cycling years there were no helmets available on the market, so for well over 10 years my motorcycling was without a helmet, and those were my highest mileage years. Cycling helmets arrived even later onto the market, so if it's wondered why older cyclists so often don't wear them, now you know, they grew up with helmeted cycling unknown.

The key to my not getting hurt is quite simple, primary safety, that is, don't have the accident in the first place. That is far more under one's control than most seem to realise, and it amuses me how those who preach helmet wearing always use as evidence the number and types of accidents they've had. Very obviously they either don't take anything like enough care or haven't developed sufficient skills and rely on the hopelessly inadequate secondary safety of their helmets.

The argument that cycle helmets provide some protection has little meaning to me when so much else on the body is vulnerable to crippling damage. Cycling just with a helmet and having accidents is like skateboarding just with a helmet and not wearing knee and elbow protectors, a bit foolish. When cycle helmet wearers ride without protective gloves and knee and elbow protectors, I judge them the same, since cycling and skateboarding accidents are often at fairly similar speeds and similar in nature.

It's also worth reflecting on the fact that averagely fit humans walk and run and jump at up to around 18 mph, with athletes peaking at up to 26 mph, very much the range of typical cycling speeds. Usain Bolt has just averaged 23.4 mph over 100 metres from a standing start, faster than we can manage on our bikes, and he didn't wear a helmet, tut tut!

I don't wear helmets, but what others do is their business, just as what I do is my business. Sadly many helmet wearers are ill mannered enough to think it's their right to badger non-wearers on the subject.
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newpedelec

Just Joined
Aug 24, 2008
4
0
Hi, I hope I'm not hi-jacking the thread but I have some safety questions that may sound very stupid to you, as I know next to nothig about pedelecs. We live on top of a hill and we could all happily roll down on regular cycles, but then how is our child going to climb up? A pedelec seemed like the natural solution initially, but here are the main questions: are there safety issues related to child's age and are there legal age limits in all countries? We're not aiming at high speeds here, on the contrary, the idea was to limit the speed and only use power assist to actually be able to move up the slope, under adult supervision and off road or on largely unused sidewalks. The plan, which sounds less viable by the minute, was to buy a very lightweight bicycle and get an electric conversion kit (bionX PL250 which weights 7-8kg ?), set a low speed limit and, set power assist off except for climbing up slopes, and possibly using regenerative braking modes downhill. Is this unsafe/unsuitable and why?
 

Phil the drill

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jun 14, 2008
395
6
TR9
Helmet nonsense

Hi,
I couldn't agree more with Flecc. I've ridden motorcycles for over 30 years, here and abroad (India, and if you think its bad here, you'd be in for a real shock over there). 'Touch wood', but nobody's had me off my motorbike yet. I still can't understand the warped logic of riders in the summer wearing a helmet, Tee shirt, shorts and trainers..... A slip in that lot and never mind the head, you'll have filed the ankles flat, followed by knees elbows and hips. You'll also be preciously short of skin and underlying muscle in those areas.....
Cyclists who trundle along our local tourist route (The Camel trail, a flat piece of old railway track between Bodmin and Padstow) fully helmeted at a leisurely 10mph, make me smile. If they fall off they are very unlikely to collect much of a head injury (helmet or not), but the gravel - which they have taken no precautions to protect themsleves from, will definitely bite!
I have had one accident with another vehicle on my bicycle, it was a bad one and it was almost entirely my own fault. I never banged my head at all - in fact that was about the only part of me to escape unscathed!
Why put all the emphasis on just helmets if you aren't prepared to protect all the most likely areas to be injured?
Prevention is always best, being road aware. Sometimes safety clothing gives one a sense of invulnerability and tends to encourage risk taking, making it more likely you'll need it than if it wasn't there in the first place! Equally sometimes they can get in the way and slow down your reactions, or obstruct your peripheral vision.
No, each to their own - if you want to wear a helmet fine.....but please don't try to legislate me into it, 'for my own good' honestly, I won't appreciate it!
Cheers, Phil.
 
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flecc

Member
Oct 25, 2006
46,302
23,060
I've ridden motorcycles for over 30 years, here and abroad (India, and if you think its bad here, you'd be in for a real shock over there).
My sister and motorcycling husband have acquainted me with the terrible riding conditions there Phil, since they lived in India for some years, riding up to the Pakistan hills before each monsoon season. They only had one accident, the usual one there on an uncontrolled crossroad, traffic crossing from all directions at once.

They escaped unharmed, but the Yamaha Tenere was a bit the worse for it. :(
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The Maestro

Esteemed Pedelecer
May 15, 2008
296
0
Aren't we missing the most obvious argument against helmets? They are UNCOOL. I believe we should discourage helmet use by shouting "toast rack head" at anyone who wears one. The modern world is seriously screwed up, we put safety over almost everything until everyone will just stay indoors and play on their X-station or play-box. In the case of bicycle helmets, they offer at best minimal protection but at least they are optional. What really bugs me is motorcycle helmets being compulsory - call me an idiot but I really don't see what its got to do with the law what anyone does to put their OWN life at risk (someone will obviously say "what about the emergency services, what about their family blah de blah", but I will say now that if you think that you are completely missing the point).
Now I'm not stupid, I'd never head off down the motorway a hundred miles not wearing a helmet but WHY can't I pootle down to the shops on a sunny day wearing shorts, t-shirt and no big sweaty horrible helmet on my bike? Riding without a helmet is one of life's great pleasures imho.
 
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flecc

Member
Oct 25, 2006
46,302
23,060
WHY can't I pootle down to the shops on a sunny day wearing shorts, t-shirt and no big sweaty horrible helmet on my bike? Riding without a helmet is one of life's great pleasures imho.
Fully agree Maestro, and luckily for me I had nearly 17 years of motorcycling thousands of miles all over southern Britain before helmet wearing was made compulsory. Happy days of freedom before the nanny state took over the job of giving us a headache.
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peckerman

Finding my (electric) wheels
Aug 22, 2008
21
0
Only rooel knows exactly what he meant, but this sentence to me suggests he is `arguing` that you are safer when not wearing a helmet.
I completely agree. Before this thread turns into a debate, remebering what is originally supposed to be about, I do feel the need to defend what I originally said. I am not preaching to anyone here who won't wear a helmet, you're entitled to your own opinions, as am I. But it saddens me that on a public forum somebody asks about cycle safety and the majority reply is that no-one wears a helmet. And coincidently none of the people who preach not wearing a helmet have actually been knocked off by a car. Interesting.

I don't care what everyone on here does, after all it isn't law to wear a helmet, yet. BUT I really can't believe that forum members offer advice, that a cyclist wearing a helmet is MORE likely to have an accident than a bare headed cyclist?!?!? Thats madness.

Great ideas Rooel, but not in a million years will there be enough resources to build seperated cycle paths on our roads.

As for implying that accidents can be avoided, and that people who have accidents aren't taking enough care, I'm sure national road saftey groups might beg to differ. Many years ago, a friend of mine was cycling along a town road, 30mph limit, and was struck from behind by a driver on his phone.By the way the driver wasn't speeding, he wasn't paying attention( don't even get me started on speeding). He died later in hospital from MASSIVE HEAD TRAUMA. The staff working on him quoted that he would've had a much greater chance of survival had he been wearing a helmet. The driver was jailed for the offence. Now if anyone can honestly tell me that there is no way that would've happened to them as they are much safer/better skilled/carefull than Anthony then we just jumped back a century. Accidents are accidental, that why they are called accidents. I am ranting far too much, but basically wearing a helmet is down to choice, and in my opinion this thread is far too one sided, so I am just putting my opinion across.
Rant over.