Bicycle Diaries: Safety first...

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Safety first...

fashion second

I wear a helmet. Period. I've spent too many years stuffing education into my brain. Besides, I've got precious little hair to worry about. So while the debate over the effectiveness of helmets rages on I will continue to wear mine for much the same reason that Pascal gave for believing in God's existence. Basically, why take the risk of not wearing one if helmets are indeed safe? And if they're not, what do I risk by wearing a helmet?

Anyway, if helmets aren't all that safe there's every possibility that they could be made more so. A good case in point is Vin Ferrara, a former Harvard quarterback, who has designed a safer football helmet.

Rather than being lined with rows of traditional foam or urethane, Ferrara’s helmet features 18 black, thermoplastic shock absorbers filled with air that — not unlike his squirt bottle — can accept a wide range of forces and still moderate the sudden jarring of the head that causes concussion. Moreover, laboratory tests have shown that the disks can withstand hundreds of impacts without any notable degradation in performance, a longtime drawback of helmets’ traditional foam.

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Blogger atac3b(m) said...

Hello Mr Wheelman, long time reader, first time poster (gag, retch, cliche expectoration, ptooey),

Here in the merry land of Oz (NOT Austria, although I wish we had their sense of environmental responsibility), we have had compulsory helmets for some years. Although our cycling numbers are relatively small, the 'captive' market supports a local helmet industry - a bit of an anomaly given that most things we use are manufactured in China, including several high-zoot helmet brands. We have some of the most stringent (some say nit-picky) design standards in the world, so much so that until recently, the Snell/ANCAP rating system was douchebag by comparison. We have now got real, and that is no longer the case.
Regarding the rubber buffer impact absorption football design: this would be fine for repeated, expected low-level impacts, but for catastrophic loading such as experienced in bike crashes, isn't it better to have a single-use item? Would you again trust a helmet that had gone through a car windsceen and saved your noggin thereby? Or after a small scrape down a friendly pavement? Where do you draw the line? Where do insurance companies/ambulance chasing lawyers draw the line? Seems like a good idea: I hate polystyrene

1/11/07 17:29  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I started being religious about helmet use when I had a head wreck without one- that preceded a trip to the hospital. Since then I have had three "good" head wrecks and only one required a trip to the hospital (for reasons other than my head).

2/11/07 00:10  

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