UncleEbenezer wrote:Dod101 wrote:I was just saying to someone recently that in my youth (a long time ago) I must have cycled many thousands of miles with no helmet and have survived to tell the tale.
But would you have survived if you'd worn an encumbrance on your head? Of course that's counterfactual, but we can consider additional risk factors:
- Adding a lever to the head makes a bigger target to hit, and a much greater risk of rotational injury up to and including serious damage to the spinal cord. Which is, I understand, a higher risk than a straight blow-to-the-head.
- Adding encumbrance and overheating may impair your alertness and reaction times. Accidents are rare, near misses are common: the latter happen routinely when alertness from A takes quick action to mitigate B's mistake. Almost all accidents happen not (just) because B makes a mistake, but because that mistake coincides with at least a lapse in alertness from A. I want my maximum faculties to stay on the right side of that line!
I think I am agreeing with you. In my cycling days, I can recall a couple of accidents. One was when my brake cable snapped and I went straight into the back of a bus going downhill. It caused me no injury fortunately. The other was more serious and I live with the consequences to this day. I came off my bike I think cornering on ice, went down head first and smashed a couple of my top front teeth. I was fairly young, maybe early teens and in these far off days, dentists were not as efficient as they are now or maybe my parents were not. The upshot was that I had the two teeth removed and got a plate. Otherwise there was no damage to me as far as I recall. Certainly no protective headgear would have made the slightest difference. I am therefore rather sceptical of the helmets now worn by most cyclists nowadays and in fact they may give a false sense of security.