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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    39

    Riding w/o a helmet

    I have made a concerted effort to ride every other day, unless something comes up that makes it impossible--so, no excuses. This morning in my haste, I loaded my bike onto the car., grabbed my keys, ID, auto/health insurance cards, a couple of bucks and water. I drove to my destination, unloaded the bike, rode about a quarter of a mile when I realized I drove off without my helmet and gloves! Of course, anxiety swept over me as I imagined what could happen. I decided to ride only on the bike path (My original plan was to ride a loop which was half bike path and half road)--and cut the time short. Although I was on a no auto bike path, I was still paranoid! Has anyone else done this--and what did you do?
    I know this is a stupid question, but I sincerely struggled with this.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    3,853
    I'll ride to the store (four blocks away in a residential neighborhood) without my helmet, but for any place I have share with cars I'll have it on.

    Electra Townie 7D

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Posts
    9,324
    I forgot my helmet once when I was doing a training ride for a double century. I rode about 30 miles without it. My husband was doing sag for the ride - we were riding up the back side of Mt Hamilton middle of nowhere with no options for refueling. He brought it to me. We didn't want to wait for him to show up at the ride start since we had a long day - about 150 miles ahead of us.

    You know as kids we rode without helmets. Yeah, I think it's a good precaution, but I'm going to live my life and ride my bike. And I'm certainly not going to "judge" adults who choose not to wear a helmet. Out nanny state irritates me.

    Veronica
    Discipline is remembering what you want.


    TandemHearts.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Montreal, QC
    Posts
    764
    I can't ride without one. I'm too clumsy and I'm sure it would be THAT day that I would manage a fall. The only time I rode without one was this summer at campground and it was sooooo fun nothing on your head. But I started to think of something bad that could happen and next ride I had it on.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Houston
    Posts
    1,301
    I certainly have a problem with people who don't use a helmet. IF you fall or someone bumps into you or whatever it just takes hitting your head in the right spot and you'll have a serious injury. It's just not worth it to me.
    2012 Jamis Quest Brooks B17 Blue
    2012 Jamis Dakar XC Comp SI Ldy Gel
    2013 Electra Verse

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Posts
    9,324
    Quote Originally Posted by thekarens View Post
    It's just not worth it to me.

    There are lots of things that are not worth it to me. But that doesn't mean I get to impose my will on others. If I could impose my will... oh boy! That would be cool!

    Veronica
    Discipline is remembering what you want.


    TandemHearts.com

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    39
    Fortunately, no one "shamed" me--it was all self imposed. I have to admit I did think of the times when I was a kid when helmets were non existent (I was a product of the '50's). I have decided to buy a second helmet and leave one in the car, so this doesn't happen again. Thank you all for your input.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    471
    Students all over campus - no helmets, ipods earbuds in, running stop signs. Crossing streets without looking. Riding the wrong way up the middle of the street. It makes me want to tell their parents they are wasting that tuition money.
    2013 Specialized Myka FSR Comp
    2013 Specialized Ruby Sport (carbon)
    2014 Salsa Vaya 3 (steel)
    2014 Felt Z75

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
    Posts
    14,501
    Welp, AFAIC, presence or absence of cars really has nothing to do with it. Honestly, in a collision with a car, a helmet probably isn't going to help. The only times I've landed on my head have been in single-vehicle wrecks. When a bike crashes without colliding with another vehicle, it tends to throw the rider violently on their head. If I hadn't been wearing mine back in '87, being dead is about the best thing that would've happened to me.

    A couple of years ago I was headed out to the club ride, a little bit discombobulated since we had a houseguest staying in our downstairs where I normally stow my bike stuff, and I got about four blocks before I realized what that strange naked feeling was. I went straight back home for it.

    It's been a while since I trotted out the story about the last time either DH or I rode our motos without helmets ... We'd just started dating. At the time he was living in a state where helmets were required, so it had been a very long time since he'd ridden without one. Also at the time, I'd often ride short distances at lower speeds bareheaded. One night we decided to leave our helmets at our campsite and ride to a restaurant a mile or two down the road. By the time we got back from dinner, each of us was so terrified for the *other* one that we have never done it again.

    But, I also feel like everyone needs to make her own decision about that. The only thing I can't abide is seeing helmets dangling from the handlebars or bungied to a rack. If you're going to have one with you, for crying out loud, wear it.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Oslo, Norway
    Posts
    4,066
    Personally, I always wear a helmet, and I insist that my son do so too. The way I ride and the places I ride, I've ending up hitting the deck about once a year or every other year, crashes where wearing a helmet has helped. I also get very wary when I see other people not wearing helmets in traffic, as it signals to me that this is someone who doesn't cycle much and is happy to take chances. This is because in Norway helmets are pretty much the norm.

    However, I've read enough statistics on how helmets won't help in serious crashes, and the negative sides of mandatory helmet use, to realize that my view probably is heavily tinged by habit. I probably could ride safely without a helmet, and I'm sure other people could too. In Denmark they do, all the time. So I try not to be too black and white about it.
    Winter riding is much less about badassery and much more about bundle-uppery. - malkin

    1995 Kona Cinder Cone commuterFrankenbike/Selle Italia SLR Lady Gel Flow
    2008 white Nakamura Summit Custom mtb/Terry Falcon X
    2000 Schwinn Fastback Comp road bike/Specialized Jett

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Houston
    Posts
    1,301
    Quote Originally Posted by Veronica View Post
    There are lots of things that are not worth it to me. But that doesn't mean I get to impose my will on others. If I could impose my will... oh boy! That would be cool!

    Veronica
    Trust me, I have no desire to impose it on others, just like the people who don't use a seatbelt or ride their motorcycle without a helmet. My next door neighbor lets her 5 year old ride both motorized and pedal vehicles without one and he's a little daredevil, but I don't say anything because that's their business. It's not worth it to me, but it's not my or my family's health that's at risk.

    FWIW a guy in our bike club was hit by a car and the helmet saved his life. He still spent a month in the hospital, but he was saved permanent brain injuries and is riding again.
    Last edited by thekarens; 10-20-2014 at 11:11 AM.
    2012 Jamis Quest Brooks B17 Blue
    2012 Jamis Dakar XC Comp SI Ldy Gel
    2013 Electra Verse

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    3,853
    Quote Originally Posted by thekarens View Post
    Trust me, I have no desire to impose it on others, just like the people who don't use a seatbelt or ride their motorcycle without a helmet. My next door neighbor let's her 5 year old ride both motorized and pedal vehicles without one and he's a little daredevil, but I don't say anything because that's their business. It's not worth it to me, but it's not my or my family's health that's at risk.
    Took me a long time get to this point but I'm there, that pithy phrase "not my circus, not my monkeys" reminds me that I need to keep my sights on my own business, I don't have enough of an attention span to spread it around.

    Electra Townie 7D

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,394
    I can honestly say that when it comes to kids, I will never "get there." I don't say anything to roadies who are helmet-less, but that is extremely rare in these parts. It's the newbie recreational types that seem to bother me. While commenting to adults is not the thing I always do, I'd be lying if I said I've never done it. I don't sit around and think/worry about this stuff, but when I see it, I do get upset.
    Yeah, I know the stuff about the nanny state, etc. Perhaps that's why I like living in Massachusetts.
    2015 Trek Silque SSL
    Specialized Oura

    2011 Guru Praemio
    Specialized Oura
    2017 Specialized Ariel Sport

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    2,545
    In the OP's situation, I probably would have made exactly the same choice. As others have pointed out, that's not entirely logical -- you can certainly have a serious crash without cars around. But it "seems" safer to be away from cars.

    I occasionally take off my helmet if I'm cycling very slowly in a park and looking for birds, but other than that I always wear one. I keep the helmet on the bike, so forgetting it is less likely.

    I see a lot of people cycling without helmets; it would never occur to me to say something to them. Recently I saw someone cycling with a helmet-less (and very young) infant in a backpack. I found that shocking and upsetting. I hope they weren't going very far, and I hope they got there safely.
    Last edited by PamNY; 10-21-2014 at 01:54 PM.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Oslo, Norway
    Posts
    4,066
    Yeah, that was part of my point, Emily, that how we behave is affected both by the real risk (traffic vs no traffic, slow vs fast) but also by the culture component. In a culture where "real cyclists " wear helmets, wearing one signals that you probably are aware of other things, like visibility. Or vice versa, not wearing one signals to me someone who doesn't care. I usually don't get to watch them long enough to tell if they're actually running real risks or not. I'm viewed by everyone I know as a dedicated cyclist, that is reason enough to not skip the helmet even if it's just for pedalling slowly uphill the half a mile on a cycle path from the grocery store.
    Winter riding is much less about badassery and much more about bundle-uppery. - malkin

    1995 Kona Cinder Cone commuterFrankenbike/Selle Italia SLR Lady Gel Flow
    2008 white Nakamura Summit Custom mtb/Terry Falcon X
    2000 Schwinn Fastback Comp road bike/Specialized Jett

 

 

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