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back to article New cycle helmets emit stench if they need replacement

Remorseless German boffins have come up with the greatest boon to humanity since self-warming hand cream: they have invented cycle helmets which begin to smell disgusting once they need to be replaced. Many cyclists like to wear helmets in order to protect the bonce in the event of a mishap. The cheapest and lightest type of …

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Joke

So, can this ...

...also please be employed on politicians and governments ?

When they crack, they begin to stink and need to be replaced immediately ?

Oh wait, that happens the day after general elections anyway. Haw haw haw.

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Not sure I'd want to smell...

...in the event of an accident.

Even as a trained first aider, treating people can be pretty unpleasant with all the bodily fluids involved. Not sure I like the sound of trying to give CPR to someone whose head is covered in something designed to smell horrible.

So long as it doesn't actually leak out it should be ok though.

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Joke

Great...

Great, so not only have you been hit by a car, with all of the associated injuries that causes, but your also going to smell atrocious too! The Ambo's are going to love you!

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Happy

It'll work.

Because nobody wants to walk around with a stinky helmet.

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Go

No, it won't.

How do you think I keep my helmet from being stolen? If somebody wants it THAT bad, they can have the stinky thing.

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Old technology

Socks have been made this way for centuries.

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Happy

immature?

cheesy helmets!

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Nice idea, but for the smell

Couldn't they leak easily-washed-off pigment instead?

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M7S
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Stinky cyclist

How would anyone notice this additional aroma?

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Stinky cyclists?

I'd be happier pumping out BO as a cyclist than pumping out CO as a lazy lardarse four-wheeled death wagon driver.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Stinky cyclists?

Let's not have this thread descend into a cyclists-vs-the-world type deal for once? Stay on topic and be NICE. I'm aiming for an aggro-reduced Tuesday.

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Re: Stinky cyclists?

Have the best of both worlds, get a folding bike to keep in the back of the car and then you can emit loads of CO *and* BO by swapping transport mode part-way.

I leave my cycle helmet at home, that keeps it nice and safe.

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'I'm aiming for an aggro-reduced Tuesday.'

Even if she has to kill someone to do it.

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Re: Stinky Cyclists?

Agreed.

It's usually cyclists vs cyclist-haters though. Generally we have no problem with anyone else.

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WTF?

Re: Stinky Cyclists?

"It's usually cyclists vs cyclist-haters though. Generally we have no problem with anyone else."

There's a third group?

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Troll

Re: There's a third group?

Yes. Why, what's your point?

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Coat

The last thing I'd want to be told..

.. is that I've got a smelly helmet.

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+1

I can't believe I missed the boat on the smelly helmet gags. I'm so ashamed.

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Boffin

By the way, just so everyone's aware

Small-scale elective studies indicate that cycle helmets may alleviate serious injuries: large-scale population studies indicate they don't. The risks are in any case very small; and in the couple of minor accidents I've been involved in in my life, I was glad not to be wearing one.

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Mark it depends on the country

In Australia, where it is now compulsory to wear a helmet, believe me it saves lives (as proven by the stats, i cant be bothered finding them now, but there available online). The reason is that in Aus, there are no bike paths and because our cities tend to be spread out with less traffic it means if you get hit by a car its guaranteed to be doing the speed limit and so will cause maximum damage.

In Germany, where i now live, I've never felt the need to wear a helmet. In Bremen (and most other cities) dedicated cycle paths run along the sidewalks (usually away from the roads) and so the only points where your likely to have a crash is at intersections, when someone is backing out of/or into their driveway or with pedestrians. None of which occurs at high speed.

So your right in some cases it works in some it doesnt... But even in small crashes I've never come across a case where wearing a helmet has been detrimental...

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Get the evidence

Authoritative information can be found at http://www.cyclehelmets.org/ . Recommended for anyone interested in making an informed choice.

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WTF?

By the way

It was clear from your reasoning that you didn't wear a helmet during a couple of accidents.

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Well, for my part...

I had a pretty spectacular fall and the helmet absorbed the impact well enough that I didn't even realise my head had contacted the ground. It also ensured that neither my face nor my glasses connected with the nasty rough bitumen --either would have been messy.

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Anonymous Coward

@mark

I'll be glad after your next accident, but perhaps you could get a 'do not put on life support' tatto? or become a Jehovas Witness? I don't want to be paying your hospital bill whilst you are in a coma...

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Anonymous Coward

I was glad to be wearing one....

....when a lorry pulled out of a side road right in front of me "I left you room to go round guv.." Yes, on the wrong side of the road on a busy blind bend....

I was glad my wife was wearing one when some silly woman was paying more attention to her child in the back seat than the road she was pulling out into. Cue one cyclist on the floor with a helmet split in two.

My brother in law wishes his brother had been wearing one when a car overtook at the wrong point and hit him. Minor scratches, cuts and bruises, apart from the bang to his head which left him severly brain damaged.

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@lglethal Re: Cycle paths

...are invariably full of broken glass, grit and inconsiderately parked cars (certainly round where I live anyway). Where off-carriageway cycle tracks exist these are generally even worse in this regard, and there is an increased risk of accidents where the path rejoins the main carriageway or crosses a junction. They are death traps imho, and quite a few studies back this up. Most recent one I read indicated junctions of cycle track/road 3 times more likely to cause accident than if just using the road junction.

A study of the UK's largest purpose-built cycle path network in Milton Keynes over two decades found that the network suppressed rather than encouraged cycling and has proved to be consistently less safe than the town's unrestricted main roads.

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@ Blackworx

I hate to say it but i think thats a large part of the cultural difference between the UK and a place like Germany. Because so many Germans ride bikes, they are generally kept very clean, and people treat them with respect . In the UK, the same people that think a suped up Vauxhall (read: extra large subwoofer) is the height of sophistication are also likely to to everything they can to make the life for the rest of us more difficult. Hence the broken glass, etc...

Different cultures and all.

I will still always where a helmet in Aus (and the UK) but will continue to go helmetless in Germany. Just the way i feel...

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IT Angle

on wearing helmets

i've come off my bike before, and i always wear a helmet. so far the helmet hasn't hit the ground, but if it does i'd much rather be wearing it than not.

I've also seen a bike get in an accident at the end of my street (intersection, steep hill, dodgy brakes, over the bonnet of a car). The helmet was split into pieces, the guy was ok apart from the broken arm and mild concussion. he'd have been a lot worse off without a helmet, given that he hit head-first. anecdotes, i know, but the reason anti-helmet people claim they're useless is because all the crashes they experience don't involve significant head contact. those that *did* have head contact are now either pro-helmet or dead.

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That's right.

My head came within a couple of inches of the ground at low speed, but didn't hit. If I'd been wearing a helmet, I might have hit my head, with unknown, but probably minor, consequences. No consequences is better than unknown-but-probably-minor, in my book.

The plural of anecdote is not data; and so far I've heard no data here, only anecdote. The onus is on those who think that helmets do good to provide evidence to support their view.

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Boffin

I'd be interested to hear your stats

As I recall, rates of deaths and serious injuries in the various Australian states fell when helmets became compulsory, by about the same % that levels of cycling fell: in other words, the individual risk wasn't materially changed. Of course, we could reduce the stats for deaths in pretty much *any* activity by doing something to discourage 30% of participants.

If you have different or more up-to-date data, I'd be interested to hear: I've changed my mind once on this matter, and I'll do it again if the evidence supports it.

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@lglethal

Having cycled a lot on the continent (still on roads though!) I'd agree wholeheartedly. There is a very strong anti-cycling culture here, which is a massive change from even fifty years ago and going back to the turn of the last century when cycling and cycling clubs were all the rage, and nowhere near as many folk owned cars.

However that's only half the story. On the safety of cycle paths/tracks, even the non-UK studies consistently come back saying they actually decrease safety. For some examples see here:

http://www.cyclecraft.co.uk/digest/research.html

The heading at the top is quite telling: "This list is intended to be without bias, but little evidence has been found to suggest that cyclists are safer on paths than on roads."

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Glad to be alive

because I was wearing a helmet.

Some bozo pulled out of a side road and I smacked into the side of his car doing about 20mph. Saddle disintegrated and its metal frame tore a hole in my thigh, pedal broke my foot, brake lever impaled my leg and I flew over the bonnet (hood, to those in the US), and landed on my head. Helmet was split it two, but my skull and its contents were left intact.

Bottom line. Only morons ride a bike without a helmet.

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Re: Glad to be alive

http://www.cyclehelmets.org/1019.html

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Anonymous Coward

@The Indomitable Gall

"...It also ensured that neither my face nor my glasses connected with the nasty rough bitumen..."

I once tended to a cyclist who hadn't been wearing a helmet (at least, we couldn't find one around and he wasn't in condition to remember) and I noticed the wire arm of his glasses had cut much of his ear off! Poor chap.

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@ Mark it depends on the country

I will counter that if you are hit at high speed the helmet is likely not to make a difference in that you may sustain deadly injuries anyway while a fall at slow speed from a bicycle will usually only break bones at most if you can avoid a still-deadly direct head impact on pavement.

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Helmets are not for collisions with automotors

A bicycle helmet will usually be manufactured for absorbing shocks you can get up to ~20Km/h - That means, it's good for the shock you get from falling to the ground while riding at your usual speed. And yes, believe me they work. I was once hit laterally by a car, so I fell down at ~20Km/h, and the helmet broke in two (and I don't recall even hitting my head, I felt much stronger the scratch in my leg).

The other time I fell down and damaged a helmet it was due to uneven terrain, so again, ~20Km/h. The helmet didn't break, but I do remember the hit I took on the head, enough to warrrant a new helmet.

So, I can safely say that a helmet saved my life, and another helmet saved my facial integrity :)

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I call FUD on that site.

Considering the bruising my head did sustain and comments from those that attemded the incident (Police and paramedics), I can assure you that the helmet did prevent serious head injury. I think I will take the advice of those that deal with the results of not wearing a helmet over an obvious FUD site.

The argument that non helmet wearers are not at risk because they are safer riders is rediculous. In no way does having a helmet on your head make you feel any less vulnerable while sharing the road with cars, busses and trucks.

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I call straw man on that comment

"The argument that non helmet wearers are not at risk because they are safer riders is rediculous"

If it is such "obvious" FUD then please give your reasoning; don't just oversimplify and misrepresent an entire detailed argument with one false statement and expect people to take it as read. To me it's far from obvious that there is any FUD going on. They're not against people choosing to wear a helmet, they're just pointing out that helmets are a lot less likely to save your life than you have been told they are.

Just because police/paramedics told you that the helmet saved your life doesn't necessarily make it so, but if you choose to believe their word then that's fair enough. I work daily with paramedics and ambulance technicians and I know for a fact that technical training on the efficacy of cycle helmets is not a part of their professional education, and I very much doubt it comes into police training either. So what you have been told at the scene is based on the same assumptions you yourself are making, and does not prove a thing. The bottom line is these people do not have the knowledge any more than you or I do to say for sure one way or the other (but they did anyway) and the split helmet "evidence" is anything but.

One of the most telling comments I have heard from a paramedic was that "pedestrians should be the ones wearing helmets" as walking down the street/crossing the road is orders of magnitude more dangerous than riding a bike. My point is not to say "this is the reason why helmets are pointless and people shouldn't wear helmets" (far from it, it's a personal choice) but that non helmet-wearing cyclists shouldn't be vilified for their "idiocy" any more than non helmet-wearing pedestrians.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: I call straw man on that comment

Good grief people. It's just like airbags and seatbelts - in some situations they'll save your life, in others they'll fuck you up. It's luck, in the end. So make your choice and stick to it and shut up about it.

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Badgers

Lalalalala!

Not listening! Too busy challenging preconceived ideas!

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FAIL

Yes, the stats are available online

The Oz stats are indeed available online - I already posted www.cyclehelmets.org, one of whose patrons and editorial board is Oz's leading expert on the subject - Dr Dorothy Robinson. Her 2004 paper presents a detailed overview of the real-life evidence from both Oz and NZ.

Executive summary (bearing in mind that the year the law was first introduced coincided with other "road safety" laws).

* Cycling head injuries fell dramatically (there's your evidence).

* Pedestrian head injuries fell by almost exactly the same amount (the nearest thing to a control group)

* Cycling numbers also fell dramatically, so head injuries per cyclist actually changed very little, in sharp contrast to the pedestrians.

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FAIL

Great

Going on the theory that a damaged helmet is better than no helmet, this is a shit idea.

However I am inclined to agree with Mark McNeill on the effectiveness, or rather lack thereof, of cycle helmets in the first place. Besides - a good proportion of people who wear them don't even bother putting them on properly in the first place. These are invariably the same people who have no consideration for other road users and in general give cyclists a bad name.

No helmet is a valid replacement for proper road skills - something which sadly seems to be lacking in a large percentage of cyclists.

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As a cyclist

I heartily agree with that sentiment.

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Go

News Flash

They ALL emit a foul smell after just a few rides in the hot sun. Given the amount of heat offloaded by the human head, and the accompanying sweat, they all smell like a locker room in very short order. Even in colder climates this is true. Ever wonder why bikers date only bikers? Because the sweaty smell keeps the non bikers away.

The sprays work for a while, but once the non removable materal gets soaked you can't get rid of the stench.

As far as injury prevention, only in slow speed crashes folks, Read the statistics.

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Well, golly

Helmets only protect in low speed crashes? I guess that makes them pointless then, since I plan on only being involved in fatal high speed crashes.

Seems to me that the anti-helmet brigade don't have much worth protecting in the brain department anyway.

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Anonymous Coward

Nanny State

Whether or not helmets work is a point that can be argued over and over.

A point that can't is the compulsion by government. It's up to me if I want to kill myself and nobody else's business.

Personally I'm much safer being less protected - it makes me more alert. This is why Volvo/SUV/Hummer drivers are the worst on the road - they know that they'll get away with driving like a turd because the car will protect them. It works the other way too:

"I don't need to think bike because they've all got helmets on and will not die if I hit them".

It's called negative risk compensation.

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Anonymous Coward

As long as . . .

you have a 'Do not rescusitate' tatoo, as recommended above, so we don't have to pay for your witless, though still breatging corpse.

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Joke

Personally I'm much safer being less protected

That's what you told her? And she bought it?

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Paris Hilton

smells like teen spirit

What's that SMELL?!

Oops, I think I just had an accident...

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Why can't they have something visible?

Wouldn't it be more appropriate to have a vial that releases some sort of ink over either the inside or outside of the helmet?

I can see more of an application for this for motorbike and motor racing helmets, which are a lot more expensive and for which the edict is also "if you drop it, replace it".

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