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Helmets are for stupid/smart people - Page 3

post #61 of 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Rick View Post
There's a very big difference between having a belief and wanting to impose that belief on everyone else. I would be surprised if most of us here who advocate helmets wanted to go so far as to force everyone to wear one. To be sure, there are such people, but I think they're in a small minority

Is that true of all safety equipment, or just helmets? Do you suppose release bindings have the same effect?
There will come a day when helmets will be mandatory. Probably will start in NY like everything else then migrate through the Country.

Question is, do you feel more secure skiing trees with a helmet on? Sure you do. People have already stated they are better protected against branches slapping them in the head. Which only proves that if you skied trees without a helmet, you'd ski them a little slower and would stay away from low branches and probably give the trunks a little more room. You would also ski a little slower and be more careful while skiing the edges of trails where the good snow is wouldn't you? Absolutely. People wouldn't think of hucking big air or slidding rails without a helmet on would they? No. Tyronne Shoelaces will vouch for that. So, helmet use does increase the big balls factor. People with helmets ski faster, and in places, and ski differently than they would without one. The false sense of security I'm talking about.

The bindings issue isn't comparable.
post #62 of 121
Having played football at a high level, THOSE helmets provide an amazing level of protection but only at low speeds. Having said that, tree branches are 90% of why I wear one. At this point, after so many helmeted days in the trees if I were to forget my helmet I'd get some painful branch hits.
post #63 of 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lars View Post

Originally Posted by nogophers
When I was first considering a helmet purchase, I asked several people if it was a difficult adjustment and what helmets they recommended. A snowboarder who I met on a lift at Steamboat pointed to a yellowish streak on his helmet and said this: "Aspen tree". That was enough for me. Since then, I have whacked my helmet against hardpack once and have bumped it more than once on branches and chairlift bars (not to mention the time my wife closed the tail gate of my Jeep as I was standing there).

Yes, helmets are great for many reasons. Oh, and I definitely found myself skiing more aggressively when I first bought it!

<end quote>

So, before you bought your helmet, you never wacked your head on the hardpack or chairlift bars? Or asked people why they had yellow streaks on their helmet/
This line of questioning, and similar to my earlier post is the sort of thing not discussed in the frequent "Helmet?" threads. Folks speak of real differences in 7cm of ski length, yet little is said about adding almost a pound of plastic and foam to your head, reducing audio/aural sensitivity and limiting head movements, however slight.

Interesting shift of topic when asked about "adjusting to helmet use" and the fella shows you where a tree(branch?) left a mark on his helmet... maybe he didn't hear you well enough to address your question? Or maybe his adjustment included skiing closer to trees with a helmet, again, because he couldn't sense just how close he was to them?

For me adjusting to helmet use has been similar to ski geometry and binding mount position changes: takes several runs to settle down.

rgds,
Dave
post #64 of 121
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lars View Post
... snip ...
Question is, do you feel more secure skiing trees with a helmet on? Sure you do. People have already stated they are better protected against branches slapping them in the head. Which only proves that if you skied trees without a helmet, you'd ski them a little slower and would stay away from low branches and probably give the trunks a little more room. You would also ski a little slower and be more careful while skiing the edges of trails where the good snow is wouldn't you? Absolutely. People wouldn't think of hucking big air or slidding rails without a helmet on would they? No. Tyronne Shoelaces will vouch for that. So, helmet use does increase the big balls factor. People with helmets ski faster, and in places, and ski differently than they would without one. The false sense of security I'm talking about.

The bindings issue isn't comparable.
Sure it is. If bindings were less likely to release, do you think you would ski more slowly, with the result that you'd be in fewer situations where the bindings would release?

But this all misses the real question. Do helmets cause some people to ski more aggressively? Possibly, perhaps even probably. Do helmets prevent head injuries? Probably. Is the net effect a reduction or increase in injuries? Hard to say, as it is impossible to construct a double blind experiment, so one has to rely on quasi-experimental methods. But the conclusion of the research community, from the summaries I've read, tends to believe that the overall impact of helmet use is to reduce injuries.

Mike
post #65 of 121
Last time I got thumped on the head was 1972. Windmilling skis attached by runaway straps. Actually, I got thumped everywhere. I saw stars and birds and all that stuff they show in the cartoons when someone gets their head whacked. Stopped having that problem after getting ski brakes. I've walked away from numerous violent, head over heels yard sales since then, with nary a scratch. Now I don't ski near as fast as I used to, and rarely fall.

Other folks report frequent bops on the head since acquiring a helmet. I also have to ask: what was happening before the helmet? Do helmets magically cause hard objects to fly toward peoples heads?

I ski and bike sans helmet. If I had to ride a motorcycle, I'd have a helmet, but I don't ride motorcycles. I'm driven by a fear that the police will pick up a helmeted head attached to 200 lb of hamburger if I crash. I have to be dragged kicking and screaming onto an airplane. I religiously wear my seat belt, but I'd rather not have the air bag, thank you. The odds are my next car crash will be hard enough to be injured by the air bag, but not hard enough to be saved by it. I sometimes use power tools in a manner that would cause the folks at OSHA to have conniptions, but that is usually the only way to get the job done, so I do it. If I thought for a minute that there was a significant chance of getting hurt doing something, I wouldn't do it, or I would take greater precautions.

If the day comes that I believe that there are too many misguided missiles coming down the hill above me, I'll probably break down and buy a helmet, but that would be about the only thing that would get me to do it.
post #66 of 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by samurai View Post
Aside from the safety issues that Tyrone so brilliantly brought to our attention--

My helmet-
is more comfortable than a hat,
is warmer than a hat,
keeps my goggles dryer and less prone to fog than a hat,
deflects low-hanging tree branches better than a hat,
collects less snow than a hat,
and has nicer earbuds for my iPod than a hat, and
lasts longer than a hat.

Quite frankly, I'm always stunned that somebody would A) refuse to wear the vastly superior equipment, and B) actually think they have an excuse not to wear a helmet.
What he said (except I don't wear an iPod).

Further, the helmet I have is extremely light. There might conceivably be some small set of incidents where it could contribute to neck strain, but I believe (yeah, religion again) that such a set is very small for this particular helmet.

I always had trouble with a hat creeping up on my head (probably because I have a fat head...) and exposing my ears to the cold. The helmet doesn't do that.

And, of course, I have an anecdote.

While skiing one of our nice little steep powder/tree runs about three weeks ago, I dropped down and around some large obstacle (tree, rock, I don't know - it was covered with snow). The drop was no more than 4 feet, but the landing, encountered with some speed, was firmer and flatter than I expected, and I walked out of a ski.

Unfortunately for me, I failed to collapse on the spot but continued down another little 45-degree pitch about 8 or 10 feet in length on the remaining ski. My ability to control my direction of travel was, shall we say, compromised, and I ran smack into a tree, bounced off, and fell another 6 or 8 feet down the slope.

Points of impact on the tree were: right knee, lower lip and forehead. I was amazed upon sitting up to discover no blood, although I had a sore knee and a fat lip. The helmet not only prevented what almost surely would have been a concussion, it stuck out enough to even prevent my goggles from getting scratched. I was on my way again in a few minutes after crawling back up the hill to retrieve my ski. More cautiously, we might add.

So, that's my story, and I'm sticking to it! Thank you, helmet!
post #67 of 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by jhcooley View Post
What he said (except I don't wear an iPod).

Further, the helmet I have is extremely light. There might conceivably be some small set of incidents where it could contribute to neck strain, but I believe (yeah, religion again) that such a set is very small for this particular helmet.

I always had trouble with a hat creeping up on my head (probably because I have a fat head...) and exposing my ears to the cold. The helmet doesn't do that.

And, of course, I have an anecdote.

While skiing one of our nice little steep powder/tree runs about three weeks ago, I dropped down and around some large obstacle (tree, rock, I don't know - it was covered with snow). The drop was no more than 4 feet, but the landing, encountered with some speed, was firmer and flatter than I expected, and I walked out of a ski.

Unfortunately for me, I failed to collapse on the spot but continued down another little 45-degree pitch about 8 or 10 feet in length on the remaining ski. My ability to control my direction of travel was, shall we say, compromised, and I ran smack into a tree, bounced off, and fell another 6 or 8 feet down the slope.

Points of impact on the tree were: right knee, lower lip and forehead. I was amazed upon sitting up to discover no blood, although I had a sore knee and a fat lip. The helmet not only prevented what almost surely would have been a concussion, it stuck out enough to even prevent my goggles from getting scratched. I was on my way again in a few minutes after crawling back up the hill to retrieve my ski. More cautiously, we might add.

So, that's my story, and I'm sticking to it! Thank you, helmet!
concussions are caused by the movement of your brain inside your skull. Your helmet might keep your head from laceration but not concussion. That's why they're useless in severe head/hard impact at speed collisions. Of course they do provide some benefit and some degree of protection. I'm not debating that.

I'm not trying to get anyone not to wear a helmet. It's not a question of stupidity or genious whether or not to wear one. If you feel safer wearing one, fine. I don't have an arguement with that.

If you're totally honest with yourself, you'll admit that wearing a helmet gives you an inner feeling that you are safer and because of this feeling, you'll be more apt to ski a harder line at faster speeds than you would without one. You'll be less apt to worry about skiers behind you, less apt to steer clear of tighter trees and more relaxed skiing the edges of trails.

That's fact. And for many novice and intermediate skiers, that's a timebomb. You're gonna need that helmet.
post #68 of 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lars View Post
concussions are caused by the movement of your brain inside your skull. Your helmet might keep your head from laceration but not concussion. That's why they're useless in severe head/hard impact at speed collisions. Of course they do provide some benefit and some degree of protection. I'm not debating that.
To be clear -- a (well-designed) helmet helps prevent concussions by absorbing the force of the impact and/or reducing the rate of deceleration of your skull as it hits something. The reason they don't help (much) at high speed is that the forces are so high that even a reduced rate of deceleration is more than enough to seriously injure or kill you. You would need a much bulkier/heavier helmet to try to bring the forces down to manageable levels at very high speeds.

The research is pretty clear -- if you smack your head hard into something, you are almost always way better off if you have a helmet on. People who survive hard collisions with a helmet on are less likely to have brain damage.

Quote:
If you're totally honest with yourself, you'll admit that wearing a helmet gives you an inner feeling that you are safer and because of this feeling, you'll be more apt to ski a harder line at faster speeds than you would without one. You'll be less apt to worry about skiers behind you, less apt to steer clear of tighter trees and more relaxed skiing the edges of trails.

That's fact.
I think this tendency is a valuable thing to be aware of.

But my feeling is that most people don't ski or ride significantly more dangerously than they would without a helmet. Unfortunately, it is really hard to get this kind of information statistically, especially with various self-selection biases.

For instance, very aggressive skiers might actually have a very high rate of helmet use -- but they're might also have a much higher rate of accidents than more cautious skiers whether they wear a helmet or not. That can make it look like wearing helmets leads to dangerous skiing, but it was really the other way around -- people who choose to ski dangerously try to minimize the risks by wearing as much protective gear as possible. Correcting for this sort of thing in studies is very difficult, and often impossible if they have only aggregate statistics.

Quote:
And for many novice and intermediate skiers, that's a timebomb. You're gonna need that helmet.
Plenty of bad things can happen to you even if you are skiing carefully. Some of those will result in worse outcomes if you are not wearing a helmet.

The questions you would want to ask are:

Does wearing a helmet significantly increase the number of accidents per hour of skiing?

(Answer: Unclear. May vary from person to person.)

Does wearing a helmet make you significantly less likely to be injured if you have an accident?

(Answer: Probably, but it may slightly increase your risk of neck injury. This also depends on the type and speed of the accident.)

Does wearing a helmet significantly reduce the severity of whatever injuries you get?

(Answer: For head injuries, yes, at least to a point. It may slightly increase the severity of neck injuries.)

If you had accurate answers to all of those questions, you could figure out whether the overall effect of wearing a helmet is positive or not.
post #69 of 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lars View Post
If you're totally honest with yourself, you'll admit that wearing a helmet gives you an inner feeling that you are safer and because of this feeling, you'll be more apt to ski a harder line at faster speeds than you would without one. You'll be less apt to worry about skiers behind you, less apt to steer clear of tighter trees and more relaxed skiing the edges of trails.
Wearing a helmet does make me feel safer from some head injuries, but it doesn't meen I'm more apt to ski a harder line at faster speeds... sure in a fall, my head may be safer, but I can still break my legs, back, tear a ligament... just because my head is now slightly safer doesn't mean I'm about to push the limits and risk the rest of my body... when I assess risk, I'm thinking about a whole lot more than just my head... a head's no fun unless you have a healthy body to keep it in place.
post #70 of 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lars View Post
If you're totally honest with yourself, you'll admit that wearing a helmet gives you an inner feeling that you are safer and because of this feeling, you'll be more apt to ski a harder line at faster speeds than you would without one. You'll be less apt to worry about skiers behind you, less apt to steer clear of tighter trees and more relaxed skiing the edges of trails.

That's fact. And for many novice and intermediate skiers, that's a timebomb. You're gonna need that helmet.
If I understand you Lars, you're referring to potential changes in behavior thought to negate the benefits of safety equipment, a concept sometimes referred to as the risk compensation hypothesis, or risk homeostasis hypothesis (RHH). In this particular circumstance, the RHH supposes that the perception of a lesser risk of injury arising from wearing a helmet will lead to greater risk-taking behavior. However, when it comes to skiers and snowboarders, there is no empirical evidence to support the risk homeostasis hypothesis:


Accid Anal Prev. 2005 Jan;37(1):103-8. The effect of helmet use on injury severity and crash circumstances in skiers and snowboarders. Hagel et.al.

We used a matched case-control study over the November 2001 to April 2002 winter season. 3295 of 4667 injured skiers and snowboarders reporting to the ski patrol at 19 areas in Quebec with non-head, non-neck injuries [

to eliminate confounding by the risk reduction of head and neck injuries from helmets that would bias the results against the risk homeostasis hypothesis - Rick] agreed to participate...Conditional logistic regression was used to relate each outcome to helmet use. There was no evidence that helmet use increased the risk of severe injury or high-energy crash circumstances. The results suggest that helmet use in skiing and snowboarding is not associated with riskier activities that lead to non-head-neck injuries. Helmets reduce the risk of head injury (by as much as 60%, according to at least one study), and there is evidence that they reduce the risk of neck injuries, as well. If there was some kind of risk "homeostat" in skiers and boarders, those lower head and neck injury rates would be off-set by more frequent and/or more severe non-head-neck injuries, but that doesn't seem to be the case.

And though you say that they're not comparable, there's no conceivable mechanism by which a risk homeostat would impact the effects of helmets without also having some affect about the perceived risk reduction associated with release bindings. So if one is going to argue the risk homeostasis hypothesis against helmets, why shouldn't we apply the same reasoning to bindings?
post #71 of 121
Quote:
Helmets reduce the risk of head injury (by as much as 60%, according to at least one study), and there is evidence that they reduce the risk of neck injuries, as well. If there was some kind of risk "homeostat" in skiers and boarders, those lower head and neck injury rates would be off-set by more frequent and/or more severe non-head-neck injuries, but that doesn't seem to be the case.
Devil's advocate: this isn't completely conclusive, as it is possible that wearing a helmet increases the frequency of, say, low-severity neck injuries even as it makes head injuries less likely and has little or no effect on other injuries.

But it does suggest that this factor is not big enough to offset the reduction in head injuries. As a whole, the studies seem to show that an average skier/rider is going to be better off with a helmet than without.

It's possible that for some people, wearing a helmet will cause them to ski much more recklessly, negating any benefit it might have provided. But I doubt this is the case for more than a very small percentage of skiers/riders.

Like I said above, I do think it is always important to be conscious of safety and not get complacent on the slopes, regardless of any safety equipment.

Quote:
So if one is going to argue the risk homeostasis hypothesis against helmets, why shouldn't we apply the same reasoning to bindings?
Devil's advocate again: helmets provide a more constant reminder of their presence, which would make the "false sense of security" factor stronger than with release bindings.
post #72 of 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthias99 View Post
Devil's advocate again: helmets provide a more constant reminder of their presence, which would make the "false sense of security" factor stronger than with release bindings.
Seat-belts provide a more constant reminder than air-bags, but do you think either give the driver a stronger "false sense of security"?
post #73 of 121
Air bags provide a sense of "there's a live bomb eighteen inches from my chest", which makes me at once more cautious and more stressed, because I don't want that thing going off in my face, under any circumstances.
post #74 of 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by tam View Post
Seat-belts provide a more constant reminder than air-bags, but do you think either give the driver a stronger "false sense of security"?
I believe studies have shown that people drive a lot safer when their is an explosive device in plain view attached to the steering wheel with the detonator attached to the front bumper.

Actually that is not true. There was no study like that. In a different study what they did find out is that driver safety significantly improved when they attached a large sharp pointed steel spike sticking out of the steering wheel toward the drivers chest.
post #75 of 121
Skiing with a helmet...full face of course....makes me feel that in the event of a bad crash, I might just break every bone in my body and tear every ligament but I have increased the odds that I may actually live to tell about it.

Does it make me ski more recklessly...no quite the contrary, instead of worrying that I will split my head open, break my back and tear my legs off, I just have to worry about breaking my back and tearing my legs off, so less to worry about means more mental energy put towards skiing and accident avoidance.

I think we would all ski better, no matter how good you are, if you can reduce or obliterate any fear or apprehension. Most here are avid skiers and know ski theory as well as they know there own names but that does not mean we all execute in text book style. I believe that this is largely due to a fear that if we fail, physically, it might just mean falling down a jagged cliff, into a tree, or bouncing down an ice covered mogul field.
post #76 of 121
I am not a helmet wearer. After 43 years of skiing, just have never saw a need. I ski mostly in Ohio, so that qualifies my current experience. If I were skiing in trees, I think I would get one.

My wife insists that the kids wear helmets, so inorder to get them I the hill I comply.

Anyways, yesterday I helped a kid off the hill and bandaged him up in the patrol room. He had a nice inch and a half gash on the top of his head. Somehow he said that his snowboard hit him in the head going over a jump. He was not wearing a helmet. Some would say that it argues in favor of helmets. I tend to see the real story, never let your kids snowboard.

Actually, I think it is a good example of a helmet serving a pose short of preventing brain damage.
post #77 of 121
"I tend to see the real story, never let your kids snowboard in Ohio."

Fixed it for you.
post #78 of 121
I never wore a helmet growing up skiing, never really thought it would prevent any kind of injury. I recently bought one right before going out west for my first time, and I had a quite a wreck my last day of the trip. I was going maybe about 30 down a slope and slammed onto a flat groomer, landing on my head and bouncing off it. I suffered a compression fracture in my vertebrae and a concussion. Im pretty sure if I werent wearing a helmet, it could have been a hell of a lot worse. I have to say, as well, that wearing a helmet really doesnt make me feel more gutsy, so the crash itself had nothing to do with some pyschological motive that a helmet may have given me.
post #79 of 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by tam View Post
Seat-belts provide a more constant reminder than air-bags, but do you think either give the driver a stronger "false sense of security"?
If it wasn't clear, I was presenting a "devil's advocate" argument in the text you quoted. ie, I don't really believe that, but it's at least a semi-logical counterargument to what the other poster was saying. A helmet is in your face (literally), while I would guess most skiers don't know or care much about their bindings (until they either release prematurely or fail to release, that is.)

Personally, I don't think that having seat belts or airbags (or other safety features, like ESC) makes me drive differently. But thinking about it, if I was for some reason forced to drive without a seatbelt, I would probably be more cautious. I always wear a seatbelt, and nobody rides in my car without one. It's not so much that I think I drive dangerously, but I do drive pretty fast on the highway, and I see enough stupid driving to know that someone else could hit me or cause me to wreck even if I do nothing wrong. A minor accident at high speed that might be walked away from with a seatbelt could easily kill me without one. I would feel like I was missing a vital piece of safety equipment.

If I skied at very high speeds or in dangerous terrain (trees, cliffs, big air in terrain parks, etc.), I would probably feel the same way about a ski helmet.

I don't feel like I would drive any differently without airbags, possibly because I have only had a car with airbags for a few years. Plus, airbags help in a crash, but not as much as seatbelts.
post #80 of 121
post #81 of 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Rick View Post
And though you say that they're not comparable, there's no conceivable mechanism by which a risk homeostat would impact the effects of helmets without also having some affect about the perceived risk reduction associated with release bindings. So if one is going to argue the risk homeostasis hypothesis against helmets, why shouldn't we apply the same reasoning to bindings?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthias99 View Post
Devil's advocate again: helmets provide a more constant reminder of their presence, which would make the "false sense of security" factor stronger than with release bindings.
While perhaps lower intrusiveness might diminish the influence of risk compensation, we have yet to see any data or even a good argument that such an effect is absolute. So why wouldn't a presumption of risk compensation against helmets be applicable to release bindings, if only to a lesser degree?
post #82 of 121
The best way to get people to wear helmets is for the government to issue a statement saying helmet use is frowned upon and then announce a plan to introduce a bill to ban helmet use at ski resorts. Everyone will then complain about the nanny state conspiracy and cry out, "You can't tell me what to put on my own body." Once helmets become forbidden fruit, everyone will then want to wear one just to look cool.
post #83 of 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by prickly View Post
Along these lines, does anyone use back armor for their kids?
Yes and no... my 11 y.o. daughter is the most cautious skier in the world. I don't make her wear armour. She happily wears a helmet though.

Harald (6 y.o.) on the other hand has "race" training twice a week, is absolutely fearless and hits all sorts of rails, boxes and kickers. He wears back armour. Even if he's not hurting himself, there's always the risk of being struck by the next little speed demon running the gates.
post #84 of 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lars View Post
concussions are caused by the movement of your brain inside your skull. Your helmet might keep your head from laceration but not concussion. That's why they're useless in severe head/hard impact at speed collisions. Of course they do provide some benefit and some degree of protection. I'm not debating that.
I agree with your statement "concussions are caused by the movement of your brain inside your skulll." However, I can't say I agree with you when you say, "That's why they're [helmets] useless in severe head/hard impact at speed collisions".

"Useless" is a strong word in this discussion.

My opinion is based on the experience that I described in my original post in this thread: I was skiing at what I think was greater than 30 mph, caught an edge at that speed, and was instantly slammed head first into very hard snow. The impact cracked my helmet. Try hitting a helmet with a ball peen hammer and see how much force it takes to split the shell. As I stated in my original post, if I weren't wearing my helmet in my crash, and the helmet didn't redistribute those blunt impact forces, what would have happened to me?

I was in what I think you would agree is a "severe head/hard impact at speed collision" situation, but would you still say that my helmet was "useless"? I believe 100% that it kept me out of the hospital or worse.

My crash is at 3:43 in this video:
post #85 of 121
I choose to wear one. you guys are on your own.
post #86 of 121
Thread Starter 
Lars

Your argument doesn't hold water. If it did, then the presence of seat belts in cars would have resulted in greater deaths because motorists would have engaged in riskier behavior, obviating the injury prevention that they provided. Didn't happen.

I don't doubt that there are some circumstances where helmets have resulted in some folk engaging in riskier behavior with the result of serious injury. But I also do not doubt that helmets have, in aggregate effect, reduced the extent and number of injuries.

Should they be mandatory? I'm a libertarian, and don't think I (or anyone one else) has that right to require that type of behavior.

That being said, I still stick with my belief that there are no downsides to wearing a helmet.

Mike
post #87 of 121
I wear a helmet. It keeps my head warm

With that said, I don't have a problem if someone decides not to. There was an article in Procycling recently from Chris Boardman (former world hour record holder, won several stages of the TDF ect. during his career) and he was talking about how he gets flak when not wearing a helmet. He tests bikes for Procycling (or did until a few months ago) and he was often photographed not wearing a helmet in the tests. Every time this would happen, there would be a flood of emails/letters to the mag, screaming about it. His point was: hey, I am a pro bike rider, can handle a bike better than most, and if I feel the need to wear a helmet, I will put on on. It showed him wearing helmets in races (where crashes happen all of the time and where, IMO, a helmet should always be worn) but not perhaps on a quiet country road, where the chance of getting hit by a car is very slim. Hey, I don't always wear a helmet either when riding: In a group, or a busy road, around town and such, I always wear one if possible. Out on a lone ride in the mountains, on a deserted, scenic road, I may choose not to. Of course, there are plenty of helmet police types to call me out if I don't, but I have yet to just randomly crash for no reason on a quiet road, and am not too worried about it. When I was growing up, us kids rode our bikes everywhere, not a helmet in sight (they really hadn't caught on yet) and all of us are still here, alive and well. I grew up in a quiet town that was easy and safe to get around on a bike; a much more important component of safe riding than simply wearing a helmet.

Boardman's statistics were that instead of focusing on the helmet/no helmet debate and passing laws regarding them (and whether helmets actually reduced injuries, the numbers were uncertain) that we should focus on getting safer streets and more kids on bikes. Passing laws requiring kids to always wear a helmet isn't always productive: if they can't afford a helmet or have lost theirs, they may not ride at all. The slight risk of not wearing a helmet is strongly outweighed by the increased chance of poor health that the kid who is no longer active, riding a bike, will someday develop. Diabetes and heart disease from inactivity are much larger risks. It is easy to pass a helmet law, and much harder to develop safe cycling routes in our cities. I am all for helmets, but as cyclists, we can do much better for our safety than simply requiring everyone to wear one.


Regarding ski helmets: It is hard to find a good reason not to wear one, but I don't have a problem if someone decides not to. One local rep was seen last week wearing a helmet at the trade show. Someone was saying "hey, finally decided to get a helmet, eh?" and he replied "only at trade shows. They have become so PC that I feel forced to wear one, but would prefer not to, and don't otherwise". I see little dis-advantage to wearing a helmet, except that they look a bit dorky. Then again everyone used to ski in ski sweaters, probably for reasons closer to fashion than practicality. Brrrrrrr.......

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post #88 of 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Rick View Post
While perhaps lower intrusiveness might diminish the influence of risk compensation, we have yet to see any data or even a good argument that such an effect is absolute. So why wouldn't a presumption of risk compensation against helmets be applicable to release bindings, if only to a lesser degree?
I guess the reasoning would be that since release bindings are almost always safer than non-release bindings, and most people don't even think about them, they definitely result in a net reduction in injuries. Whereas many fatal crashes might not be affected by a helmet, and some studies have found that they may slightly increase your risk of neck injury. So even a slight increase in risky skiing behavior when wearing a helmet might be enough to offset its benefits.

I don't think that is the case. That last study you quoted seems to show that there isn't an increase in general accidents/collisions when an "average" skier/rider is wearing a helmet.
post #89 of 121
I really do not get this debate and how staunchly the no helmet supporters defend the idea that helmets do not provide substantial protection in day to day skiing.

If you go off a cliff and crash into a tree, you are going to be F-ed up for sure helmet or not. But how often does that happen?

I am more worried about catching an edge on a wide open groomer and slamming my head on snow (not trees) or having a gate whap me in the noodle. (Saw a guy nearly get his ear ripped off last year on a gate. Bloody mess.) If he had a helmet, would have been an amusing story at the bar not a biohazard and trip to the e-room.

Most of the back and knee injuries out there are from picking up a kid or laundry basket not hucking a cliff. It is the ticky tacky stuff that will bite ya and make for a long painful recovery from an injury that could easily be avolided with a warm, lightweight and I daresay fashionable piece of plastic.

My .02.
post #90 of 121
As has already been stated in here, I wear a helmet because it's warm, comfortable (imo), and has some nice built in speakers for my mp3 player (which I keep turned down to a very low volume). I don't wear a helmet to save me in every possible instance, but to reduce my chance of greater injury in SOME instances. Wearing a helmet has not increased how risky of skiing I'm likely to do, gaining more experience and ability has done that.

About 2 weeks after my wife and I started wearing helmets, a "very experienced" skier at our local resort crashed and died on a not-so-difficult black run. He was wearing a helmet, but the tree he slammed into still killed him. We first wondered if the helmets really made a difference. What we figured out was that what's even more important than wearing safety gear is to just pay attention to what the heck you're doing and ski safely.

The worst hit I've taken to my head with my helmet on was actually walking out to my car to switch skis. I slipped on the ice in the parking lot and went over backwards... hard and fast. It dazed me for a few seconds and put a nice little dent into my helmet. Obviously I wouldn't have died or gone to the ER with out my helmet, but it sure did cut down on how bad of a headache I would have had with out it.

Another person noted that a hat is nice because it will fit in a boot. I think my helmet is nice because I can stash my cowl, gloves, goggles, and MP3 player in it when I go in for lunch. My own little man purse.

I also believe that wearing a helmet skiing is a personal choice. Do what works for you. Just try to be safe doing it.
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