Helmet question

Jonah

Member
Dear all,

Since e-bikes travel at greater speeds than those attained with non-motorized bicyles, I wonder if regular bike helmets offer sufficient protection. The following website gave this summary:

http://www.bhsi.org/powered.htm

"If you use a bicycle helmet for a powered vehicle traveling 20 mph (32 kph) or more, you are taking a greater risk than most bicyclists that the helmet will not be adequate for the type of crash you should expect. For reasons explained below we recommend a light motorcycle helmet instead. For low speed powered scooters, CPSC recommends a bicycle helmet."

Your thoughts would be appreciated.

Regards,

Jonah
 

J.R.

Well-Known Member
Since most bicycles are ridden between 9 and 14mph I expect the notion of a bicycle helmet being less protection than a motorcycle helmet for speeds 20-28mph is true. Some European spec bike helmets are designed better than US spec bike helmets.
 

PowerMe

Well-Known Member
I agree with that assertion. As I tend to be a slow rider (even with an eBike), averaging 15mph or less, a regular bike helmet is fine for me. But for those who average >20mph and often exceed 25mph, then a more robust helmet is not a bad idea!
 

KenM.

Active Member
This is a hard topic for me,
I always have a helmet on when I ride a motorcycle , but I just can not get into wareing one on a bicycle . I think I will be the same way when I get my e-bike next week.
I know I should , but I can not seem to get it in my ( or on ) my head.
And I have been hit my more cars in my ridding life time then most of you guys put together . So I know! Ken.
 

stevenast

Well-Known Member
True, bike helmets have the same protection if they cost $15 or $100. Just be sure it has the CPSC bicycle label.

Re: the original post. a full face motorcycle helmet probably would give more protection, but maybe what it gives in impact protection it takes away in situational awareness?

Since I don't have an Iron Man suit, my rule still is - just don't get hit by a car.
 

JoePah

Well-Known Member
Dear all,

Since e-bikes travel at greater speeds than those attained with non-motorized bicyles, I wonder if regular bike helmets offer sufficient protection. The following website gave this summary:

http://www.bhsi.org/powered.htm

"If you use a bicycle helmet for a powered vehicle traveling 20 mph (32 kph) or more, you are taking a greater risk than most bicyclists that the helmet will not be adequate for the type of crash you should expect. For reasons explained below we recommend a light motorcycle helmet instead. For low speed powered scooters, CPSC recommends a bicycle helmet."

Your thoughts would be appreciated.

Regards,

Jonah
I bike in Miami where there are hundreds of road bike riders, some juiced, who ride in the mid 20s, some of them 30 mph.. Not sure what they are taking.

I tried going out with one A group on my old Steel racing bike, full Campy group. We started out nice, like 19 mph, then the pace picked up every mile, until we reached 22+ mph, where I could no longer keep up with them.. At one point a group passed me like I was plodding on some cruiser bike, felt like a pos..lol

Almost all of those riders had Giro Aero Helmets, the $150 kind... I bought one and it is like wearing nothing at all.. Great fit, very light.

Unless your ebike is taking you above 30 mph, you should be fine with a quality bicycle helmet, just like everyone else uses.
 

Jonah

Member
Thanks. I looked at Consumer Reports and their top rated helmet is the Scott Arx. Scott uses a technology that reduces rotational force to the brain. I work in a hospital and see how head taumas change lives forever. I love riding bikes but would like to hedge my bets as much as is reasonably possible. I will let you know how the Scott helmet wears if I get one.
 

Jonah

Member
Bicycle helmet, motorcycle helmet, what's the difference if you're hit by a car? Ken, sounds like you've been pretty lucky! The most important thing is avoiding vehicles. A helmet is mostly an illusion of safety in traffic.

http://www.risksense.org/2012/06/14/the-myth-of-the-bicycle-helmet/
There are lots of ways to fall on your head that don't involve a fatal car vs. bike collision, I have been commuting to school and work since the 70's and my helmet saved me on 2 occasions. I hope everyone knows that helmets should be inspected by the mfc after an accident as they may be compromised. I very much appreciate all your thoughts.
 

PowerMe

Well-Known Member
The most important things are:

1. Wearing the helmet every time. It can only help if you actually wear it.
2. Make sure the helmet is on properly and seated level. I see kids wearing helmets all the time that are angled back. Not even close to being on correctly.
 

stevenast

Well-Known Member
There are lots of ways to fall on your head that don't involve a fatal car vs. bike collision, I have been commuting to school and work since the 70's and my helmet saved me on 2 occasions. I hope everyone knows that helmets should be inspected by the mfc after an accident as they may be compromised. I very much appreciate all your thoughts.
Off-road, helmet always.

In traffic, not so much:

http://www.cnet.com/news/brain-surgeon-theres-no-point-wearing-cycle-helmets/ (this is a different link than the one I posted above :) )

It's a brief article, but for those who don't read it, one of the main points is cars drive closer to helmeted riders. You're potentially more likely to get hit by a car if you are wearing a helmet.
 

stevenast

Well-Known Member
I've been looking over the articles that I posted, & I have a couple more reflections.

Since I don't ride in traffic, it feels to me ...I have no evidence to back it up ... but it feels this way... The most dangerous thing I do on a bike is to go fast down hills.

I also think that subconsciously I've been feeling safer doing that because I'm wearing a helmet. If I leave the helmet at home I don't think I'm going to go down hills as fast, because I'm going to feel vulnerable with my bare head.

What triggered this thought, is from the articles I posted we learn that people psychologically take more risks when they're wearing a helmet, because they feel safer, yet basically they really aren't.


If only I could put my helmet on and then ride with the mindset that I don't have it on...
 

J.R.

Well-Known Member
I've been looking over the articles that I posted, & I have a couple more reflections.

Since I don't ride in traffic, it feels to me ...I have no evidence to back it up ... but it feels this way... The most dangerous thing I do on a bike is to go fast down hills.

I also think that subconsciously I've been feeling safer doing that because I'm wearing a helmet. If I leave the helmet at home I don't think I'm going to go down hills as fast, because I'm going to feel vulnerable with my bare head.

What triggered this thought, is from the articles I posted we learn that people psychologically take more risks when they're wearing a helmet, because they feel safer, yet basically they really aren't.


If only I could put my helmet on and then ride with the mindset that I don't have it on...
That's only looking from the perspective of someone that always or mostly wears a helmet. If you never wear a helmet, you may feel different.
 

George S.

Well-Known Member
Good topic. We're starting to see manufacturers make "speed helmets", but basically what they have done is to expand on the EN1078 standard as a marketing argument. It's not clear how effective these helmets are, and it would be interesting to see them be subjected to some lab tests. I suspect that the addition of visors and more enveloping shells at the cervical level offers better protection. But we need norms rather than guesswork and marketing schemes. I hope the industry develops a hybrid helmet that's halfway between a motorbike helmet and the standard bicycle helmet. There seems to be a lot of room for improvement in this area. Many "speed helmets" are made for professional competitors and serious roadies, but it doesn't seem like a lot of thought has been put into making a helmet for everyday use.
I don't like being told to wear a helmet because in many situations it is too much. But I would look at better designs, especially if they could do 'something' for the face plant type accident. I've known two people who suffered fatal injuries, head injuries, on a moped and a dirt bike.

I was driving my camper once and a cyclist hit me, in back and head first, no helmet, but the aluminum caved in to absorb the impact. The hole went through, well into the camper. He was going 25 mph downhill and I was parked off the road outside a white line, where cyclists travel. He admitted "he was looking down, following the white line". He was coherent, though they took him away with all the neck braces and stuff. I'm extremely grateful he didn't hit the structure that holds the aluminum panels in place.
 

stevenast

Well-Known Member
That's only looking from the perspective of someone that always or mostly wears a helmet. If you never wear a helmet, you may feel different.
So true, I always wear the helmet. I'm just wondering if maybe I should change that policy a little bit lol. I may try riding sometimes without the helmet, ironically for safety reasons!
 

Jonah

Member
This is a very interesting discussion. I looked at the web pages and TED video. They seem to be more opinion than data driven. The assertion that bike use declines when helmets are recommended or required is correlation but that does not prove causation. Here is another link that may be worth looking at:

http://www.bhsi.org/bicyclingmag1305.htm

I think it is always good to question the efficacy of our practices. Perhaps helmets overall are not helpful. However, for my own peace of mind, I will wear a helmet. Essentially, we use energy absorbing items to protect ourselves so I will do this for my head. My accidents, work with brain injured individuals and my cautious nature preclude me from taking more risks because I am wearing a helmet. Additionally, I don't find bike helmets uncomfortable.