I personally don’t wear a helmet while riding my trike. I always wear one if I ride a bicycle. That being said helmets are not something I give much thought to. It never dawned on me that a standard bicycle helmet is said to be effective as far as protection only up to 17 mph. That makes no sense to me. It is like telling a football player his helmet won’t protect him if he runs faster than 10 mph. It really makes no sense since there are bicyclists who reach speeds of 30+ mph without the aid of an electric motor. Anyway, this video is saying that one needs a different helmet offering more protection when riding an e-bike which obtain speeds up to 28 mph. Of course, some e-bikes go much faster than 28 mph. So then what do you do? I don’t know anything about any of it, but I have long thought that a standard bicycle helmet offers minimal protection … especially compared to a motorcycle helmet.
Ebike certified helmets are more costly than many standard bicycle helmets. All of them I looked at were over $100. One was $465. Ouch! HERE is an article on them.
One person commented that you should bypass this ebike helmet and go with what downhill mountain bikers use. … which is a full face protection helmet. They are not cheap … $200 to $300 dollars on Amazon … but they definitely do offer more protection.
Now I ask ya … is it safe to buy /use a used helmet? What is the answer? Is it okay to go to a thrift store and get a used helmet saving big bucks? Is it alright to wear a helmet someone gave you? The answer is … maybe but maybe not. Most definitely it is risky.
Two different things come into play. First the protection that a helmet offers lessens as the helmet ages. That is because the materials the helmet is made of deteriorates over time and lose some of their protective qualities and abilities.
Secondly if the helmet has been dropped it can result in a crack in it that can’t be seen with our eyes. Again, such a crack can diminish the protection the helmet offers. The helmet might look like it is brand new but one or both of these factors may come into play. I know it is frustrating to possess a helmet that still looks like new and in looking at it one naturally thinks that it is perfectly fine and that there is certainly no reason to throw it away and replace it with a brand new one. No one in their right mind likes to throw money away. It is hard to convince ourselves that we should replace our helmets every few years even when it still looks like brand new. However, that is what we are told we should do. I doubt if many of us do this. I have to admit that I don’t. My helmet still looks like new and I am not one to spend money unless I really need to.
Here is what the industry says:
“It’s often recommended that a helmet worn frequently should be replaced every 3 years or so. The reason is that the foam degrades due to sun, heat, salty sweat and other environmental factors, added to the usual knocks of regular cycling activity.”
I have never dropped my helmet and I know that even though it may not offer as much protection as it did when it was brand new it still offers some. I don’t plan on buying a new one anytime soon. But I bought it new so I know its history.
Personally I would never buy a used helmet nor would I consider a used one someone wants to give to me. We just don’t know the history of the helmet.
Headkayse One is a game changer for cycling safety because of Enkayse.
Conventional helmets are made from polystyrene. In a large impact polystyrene deforms to provide what’s known as “sacrificial protection”. This is why you have to be careful not to drop your polystyrene helmet in everyday use, and it’s why manufacturers recommend that you replace your helmet after a knock.
Headkayse … pronounced “head case” … hmmm, interesting … is indeed unique. It is scary to think that a brand new conventional helmet can be so easily damaged and rendered considerably less effective in protecting our noggins. It is not only scary, but downright sad and maddening. Who wants to keep buying new helmets quite frequently for fear that our current helmet might not be up to the task of protecting us (even though it might be nearly new itself)?
Enkayse is designed to work differently. It manages the energy of impacts, so it can retain its integrity after more than one impact, large or small. It flexes to the shape of your head for better comfort and security.
Because Enkayse dissipates energy rather than deforming on impact, it also cushions small bumps. Polystyrene can’t do this, since forces which are too weak to deform it are transmitted through. Enkayse provides comfort in protecting from small bumps. This may also have long-term benefits as researchers believe the cumulative effect of small knocks contributes to brain disease over time. Because Enkayse shrugs off little bumps, it means that Headkayse One is durable against the knocks and scrapes that come with everyday use. You can be sure that Headkayse One will stand up to the daily grind. You can view the entire article about this new material HERE.
This is an interesting video (below) demonstrating how conventional helmets are effected by bumps and impacts.
Their website reports that they are 167 % funded in their startup campaign. These helmets don’t come cheap, however, they should greatly outlast a conventional bike helmet which helps offset the price involved.
So if you are a helmet wearer you might consider looking into a “head case” for your noggin. They say they think they will be in production soon (mid 2017). You can pre-order HERE and it should be cheaper than when they start selling them online. They show about $112 plus shipping charges if pre-ordered.
They will be available in 8 different colors. One size fits all. Be safe out there and …
This could be our head as it smashes onto the ground.
I was just reading thru a posting and the comments on Facebook about helmet use while riding a recumbent trike. I have written about helmets before**(see links below) so I reckon this is a revisit of the subject. The last several years of my working career were spent employed in a local hospital where my job was being with patients who needed someone with them constantly. That included a whole lot of head injury patients. Some eventually make full recoveries, but some have some serious issues the remainder of their lives. I saw first hand what they went thru and what they put others thru (including myself). (I could tell you some stories.) It was the exposure to all of this which sold me on how important it is to wear a helmet on a bicycle or motorcycle.
So it was only over the last 13 years or so that I personally have been using a helmet. If I ride a bicycle or motorcycle of any kind I always wear a helmet. Of course, I am of the age where helmets didn’t exist when I grew up. I rode many 10s of 1000s of miles on bicycles without a helmet. I only had a few wrecks in all those miles and fortunately I never received a head injury of any kind. I personally rarely wear a helmet while riding on my tadpole trike. I am not trying to say that it is safe not to wear a helmet while riding a tadpole trike and I certainly am not advocating it. I am well aware that things could go horribly wrong. For me it is a personal choice and I feel relatively safe not wearing one. But if I were to get back on a bicycle I definitely would have my helmet on.
There is one thing missing in this picture. The person is
not drooling. (I have seen a lot of that.)
Many of us make excuses as to why we don’t wear a helmet while riding. Some say it makes them look stupid or uncool. Some say that helmets are uncomfortable. Some say that helmets are hot.
Some say (especially females) that it messes up their hair. Some would say that helmets are not needed on a trike. Some say that any combination of the above excuses apply.
What is my excuse(s) you ask? To be honest I find them uncomfortable and hot. I can’t even stand a hat on my head unless it is bitter cold outside.
Even a visor type hat that is totally open on the top is hot to me, but I wear one when I am riding to shade the sun from my eyes. If I remove it I immediately feel relief as far as the matter of heat. I am really miserable with a helmet on.
Some say that a helmet interferes with their headrest. As to the matter of a helmet interfering with a head rest, first of all they are not headrests … they are neckrests. A neckrest should be positioned low enough that a helmet is above it. Also the type of helmet one wears makes a difference. Many helmets are impractical to wear when a neckrest is involved as they protrude too far back and some even protrude down a little more than others. A helmet which doesn’t protrude back works much better.
I have a large size neckrest which I made (pictured above) and my helmet clears it ok. My helmet (a Bell Citi) is fairly flat where the back of the headband is so even if it rests against my super soft neckrest it doesn’t present any problem. Here are examples of helmets that work well with neckrests … a Giro Air Attack (left) and a Bell Citi (right):
Tadpole trikes can tip over and the rider can get injured in a tipover.
I have tipped over a few times, but never hit my head on anything. Only once did I get any injury and it was just some abrasion on my arm. For those who ride tadpole trikes which have high seats they can tip over even easier so extra caution is needed while riding on such a trike.
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Leaning into a turn can help considerably to prevent a tip over (roll over). Of course, this only applies if you are going fast enough for this to be a concern.
Here is something I learned as a young child:
This can be very helpful. Just be sure no one is coming from the other direction.
Paramedics treating downed cyclist.
I guess what bothers me the most about this subject is the stupid comments some people make. I am talking about comments against the use of helmets and the justification some folks make. They are simply ridiculous. I would be the first to agree that a bicycle helmet does not offer the protection that a motorcycle helmet does. Never the less, they do offer considerable protection. No one should ever try to persuade others not to wear a helmet. Yes, it is our head and our choice … unless you happen to be somewhere that has a helmet law requiring the cyclist wear helmets. If you are a rider of a tadpole trike who normally does not wear a helmet and you travel into other states and jurisdictions you might want to check whether or not helmets are legally required. Most of the time organized rides require the use of helmets by all participants.
Nope, far be it from me to try to talk anyone out of wearing a helmet. They could be key to helping us to …
Most of us are quite familiar with the saying “you get what you pay for”, but is that always true? What about bicycle helmets? What’s the difference between a $30 helmet and a $400 helmet? The ANSWER may surprise you. Oh, there may very well be some differences, but when it comes to protection offered … well, not so much. Basically I would have to say that the biggest difference is $370. So what does $370 get you? Probably the most noticeable differences come under the realm of comfort. The more expensive helmet may be lighter and be better ventilated. It may have better quality headgear and buckles. That’s about it however.
So the big question is … “Is it worth it”? I reckon we all must decide that for ourselves. As for me, no way! I am quite satisfied with my $50 helmet which I bought on sale for 30 some dollars.
It is said that when it comes to the protection a bicycle helmet provides it is more a matter of design than it is price. Some helmets offer more protection because of their physical shape. The truth of the matter is bicycle helmets offer rather limited protection when compared to some other types of safety helmets such as the helmets NASCAR drivers use. And motorcycle helmets offer far more protection as well. And I rather imagine the same is true of the helmets jet fighter pilots wear as well. Still though bicycle helmets do help …
From Helmet.org: Helmets provide a 66 to 88% reduction in the risk of head, brain and severe brain injury for all ages of bicyclists. Helmets provide equal levels of protection for crashes involving motor vehicles (69%) and crashes from all other causes (68%). Injuries to the upper and mid facial areas are reduced 65%.
When it comes to the testing of bicycle helmets the industry is sadly lacking in how they test as well as things they don’t test. Anyway, what standards and tests that are in place all helmets have to pass. That is why there is little difference in helmets when it comes to the protection they offer regardless of the cost of the helmet. You can find more information about helmets HERE.
Although the following video is aimed at children wearing bicycle helmets it has some good information in it.
And here is Consumer Reports video on bicycle helmets.
Awhile back I posted an article on this blog about “an invisible helmet“. Here is an interesting and informative video about bicycle safety helmets and the protection they offer (or fail to offer).
So if you just like spending money you are free to buy those expensive helmets. Just remember one thing about bicycle helmets. They are only good for one impact and should never be reused. A helmet can get damaged simply by accidentally dropping it onto a hard surface resulting in it needing to be replaced. One could buy a lot of $30 to $50 helmets for the cost of one $300 to $400 helmet.
Another thing to keep in mind is that it is highly recommended that helmets be replaced approximately every 5 years or less depending upon how they are taken care of and the actual physical condition of the foam used in them. In time the foam loses it’s effectiveness in protection.
Like I said, no bicycle helmet offers great protection regardless of price. The degree of injury sustained in accidents varies according to the individual factors involved. Never the less helmets do offer some protection and may very well help us to continue to …
ENJOY THE RIDE!
I decided to add on the following to this article. It comes from the helmet.org website. I highly recommend this website as it is packed full of information. Keep in mind that nearly everything written about bicycle helmets are just that … “bicycle” … meaning that not everything one reads necessarily pertains to tadpole trikes. There is a world of difference in the realm of safety and accidents between two and three wheels.
The Two Minute Summary
You always need a helmet wherever you ride. You can expect to crash in your next 4,500 miles of riding, or maybe much sooner than that!
Even a low-speed fall on a bicycle trail can scramble your brains.
Laws in 22 states and at least 201 localities require helmets, although few cover adults.
Make sure your helmet fits to get all the protection you are paying for. A good fit means level on your head, touching all around, comfortably snug but not tight. The helmet should not move more than about an inch in any direction, and must not pull off no matter how hard you try.
Rear stabilizers do not substitute for careful strap adjustment.
Pick white or a bright color for visibility.
Common sense tells you to avoid a helmet with snag points sticking out, a squared-off shell, inadequate vents, excessive vents, an extreme “aero” shape, dark colors, thin straps, complicated adjustments or a rigid visor that could snag or shatter in a fall.
The average careful bike rider may still crash about every 4,500 miles. Head injuries cause 75% of our nearly 700 annual bicycle deaths. Medical research shows that bike helmets reduce or prevent most of cyclists’ head injuries. And helmets may be required by law in your area.
How Does a Helmet Work?
A helmet reduces the peak energy of a sharp impact. This requires a layer of stiff foam to cushion the blow. Most bicycle helmets use crushable expanded polystyrene (EPS), the picnic cooler foam. It works well, but when crushed it does not recover. Expanded polypropylene (EPP) foam does recover, but is much less common. Collapsible plastic liner materials recently appeared and offer promise. The spongy foam pads inside a helmet are for comfort and fit, not for impact protection.
The helmet must stay on your head even when you hit more than once–usually a car first, and then the road, or perhaps several trees on a mountainside. So it needs a strong strap and buckle. The helmet should sit level on your head and cover as much as possible. Above all, with the strap fastened you should not be able to get the helmet off your head by any combination of pulling or twisting. If it comes off or slips enough to leave large areas of your head unprotected, adjust the straps again or try another helmet. Keep the strap comfortably snug when riding. The straps hold your helmet on, not the rear stabilizer.
What Type do I Need?
Most bike helmets are made of EPS foam with a thin plastic shell. The shell helps the helmet skid easily on rough pavement to avoid jerking your neck. The shell also holds the foam together after the first impact. Some excellent helmets are made by molding foam in the shell rather than adding the shell later.
Beware of gimmicks. You want a smoothly rounded outer shell, with no sharp ribs or snag points. Excessive vents mean less foam contacting your head, and that could concentrate force on one point. “Aero” helmets are not noticeably faster, and in a crash the “tail” could snag or knock the helmet aside. Skinny straps are less comfortable. Dark helmets are hard for motorists to see. Rigid visors can snag or shatter in a fall. Helmet standards do not address these problems–it’s up to you!
A sticker inside the helmet tells what standard it meets. Helmets made for the U.S. must meet the US Consumer Product Safety Commission standard, so look for a CPSC sticker. ASTM’s F1447 standard is identical. Snell’s B-95 standard is tougher but seldom used.
Fit is not certified by any standard, so test that on your own head. Visors are not tested for shattering or snagging in a fall, so you are on your own there.
Coolness, ventilation, fit and sweat control are the most critical comfort needs. Air flow over the head determines coolness, and larger front vents provide better air flow. Most current helmets have adequate cooling for most riders. Sweat control can require a brow pad or separate sweatband. A snug fit with no pressure points ensures comfort and correct position on the head when you crash. Weight is not an issue with today’s bicycle helmets.
Some head shapes require more fiddling with fitting pads and straps. Extra small heads may need thick fitting pads. Extra large heads require an XXL helmet. Ponytail ports can improve fit for those with long hair. Bald riders may want to avoid helmets with big top vents to prevent funny tan lines.
When you pick up a helmet, look first for a CPSC sticker inside and a smooth, well-rounded shell with a bright color outside. Put it on, adjust the pads and straps or the one-size-fits-all head ring, and then try hard to tear it off. Look for vents and sweat control. Helmets sell in bike shops from $30 up, or in discount stores for less. A good shop helps with fitting, and fit is important for safety. The $10 discount helmet can be equally protective if you take the time to fit it carefully, and for another $10 you get easier fitting. Helmets are cheap now, and are seldom on sale, so don’t wait for a sale price. Many of us bought our helmets after a crash. You can be smarter than that.
I don’t know whether to call this the daily chuckle or what …
Since I first wrote this article I have come across this website which rates helmets and claims that thru their testing there really is a difference in helmets as far as the protection they offer. One thing that I noticed is that it is not the cost which determines how good the helmet rating is. A $55 helmet scored far higher than many of the helmets costing hundreds of dollars. As they say … “go figure!”