View Full Version : Re: How I cracked my helmet

Rick Warner
July 9th 03, 10:32 PM
(Peter Rosenfed) wrote in message >...

> As a helmet agnostic, I'll have to chime in. People always say there
> helmet "cracked" and so must have saved them. This really annoys me.
> Helmets do not protect your head by "cracking". They crack because the
> foam used is brittle, but the foam absorbs almost no energy when it
> cracks. The foam absorbs energy by compressing. If all that happened
> is that the helmet "cracked" with little or no compression, then it
> did not, in this case, help protect your head. If, on closer
> examination, you see that the foam is partially flattened out
> somewhere, then the helmet did its job and absorbed significant
> energy.

Modern shells hide most or all of the compression in the foam under them,
so most folks look at a helmet after an accident, see a crack, and figure
that is the extent of the damage. If they peeled off the plastic shell
they will usually find a lot more underneath. It will be unusual for
one to see the flattened or dented foam without doing a bit of dismantling,
which is not as easy with the newer fusion styles as it was with the older
non-fusion styles.

I have had 4 accidents in the last 20 years where I landed partially or
fully on the head. All 4 helmets involved in those accidents suffered
significant compression of the foam. The worst that happened to me, as
far as head injury, was getting knocked unconscious for an hour or so;
they listed a concussion on that due to the loss of consciousness, but
there was other symptoms of the concussion or head injury (even ran a
CT scan). In the first of the 4 accidents I was vaulted up and over
traffic, and landed head first. Again, no head injury but the foam was
compressed significantly. In only one of the 4 cases did the helmet
crack, and that was following a line between two air vents.

In the end, the best course of action after hitting one's helmeted head
is to replace the helmet even if there is no sign of damage. Bell/Giro
has a good replacement policy. Or one can buy a new one. But personally
I would not use one that has hit the ground.

- rick warner

Tom Sherman
July 10th 03, 07:48 AM
Luigi de Guzman wrote:
> ...
> > I'm not from Madison but I believe riding a bicycle on the sidewalk is
> legal
> > there, unless a building abuts the sidewalk.
> >
> > Robert
> errrr...but don't most sidewalked roads have buildings on them?\

In most of the residential areas of Madison there is a lawn between the
sidewalk and the houses/apartments. Outside of the downtown area, most
businesses have a landscaped area between the sidewalk (where they
exist) and the building and/or parking lot.

Tom Sherman - Former Madison resident

mark freedman
July 12th 03, 11:26 AM
Mark Hickey > wrote in message >...

> I agree that many overstate the amount of injury their helmet may have
> saved - but I'd suspect not even the most ardent anti-helmet types

Funny story. My Bell whatsit-Pro shell cracked and started
falling apart the day I bought it. So it's been missing chunks for

I swerved to miss a door (guy was in such a rush to get to The
Beer Store that he never checked for cyclists) and braked to miss
the streetcar tracks. Did I mention that this is a good way to crash ?

So I did a face plant. The visor and my FitOver sunglasses and
regular glasses took the force. I was too dizzy to stand, so
crawled to the curb and insisted on going to the hospital to be
checked. Ambulance eventually arrived, paramedic took one look
at my cracked helmet with pieces missing, and said "WOW!!! That
helmet probably saved your life." I didn't have the heart to
contradict him. Went to the hospital. The admitting nurse took
one look at the helmet and said "WOW!!! That helmet probably saved
your life." When I saw the nurse-practitioner a few hours later,
SHE took one look at the helmet and said, "WOW!!! That helmet ...."

So I'm probably one of the statistics they cite when pointing
to the benefits of wearing a helmet. Although the visor and front
edge of the helmet certainly reduced the force with which my
forehead hit the concrete. Almost tempted to get a full face
coverage helmet, which would improve my appearance as well.

> would claim that I would have come away from my "interaction" without
> significantly more injury had I not been wearing a helmet. As it is,

Yeahbut (as I said via Email)if you hadn't been wearing
that helmet you wouldn't face the expense of buying a new one ....

> after almost two months I'm still experiencing some post-concussion

Apparently concussions are cumulative, which seems like an
incentive to be extra careful for a few years while your brain

Hope you're well soon.


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