To wear or not; Helmets

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To wear or not; Helmets

Postby Bob0119 on Mon May 24, 2010 1:14 pm

This isn't about what helmet to wear, though I really strongly advise a DOT helmet. This is a story about what happened to my younger brother.

The chief argument I've seen about not wearing a helmet while riding a scooter is because the scooter does less than 40mph (in most cases).

This is when a helmet is most likely to save you. If you are doing 90-100 miles an hour and land head first, yeah, you're pretty much done, but in low speeds, the helmet can save you a lot.

It's not a matter of life or death. It's a little known thing called "Traumatic Brain Injury" which could leave you halfway between the two.

Traumatic Brain injury is like a concussion on steroids. The brain smacks around on the inside of the skull and just like when you hit your thumb with a hammer, it begins to swell. This swelling inside the skull causes your brain to crush itself on the inner walls of your skull causing brain cell death. This situation can be fatal. The treatment usually involves removing a portion of the skull and trimming the brain (usually the center that controls speech) which usually results in a reduction of the swelling.

I'm am not a doctor. I've had to learn all this the hardest way possible; watching it happen to someone I care about.

In 2005, my younger brother was involved in a low speed collision. He was travelling at around 30mph when he was struck by a vehicle that had been waiting at a stop sign. He was wearing a helmet, but it was not a DOT approved one. He was launched over the handlebars and landed directly on his head (according to witnesses). Had he been wearing no helmet, he'd have died on impact. Had he been wearing a DOT helmet, there is a greater likelihood that the helmet would have absorbed more of the impact.

While he lay in a coma, we lived in an ICU waiting room for nearly a week. His prognosis was that his injuries were mortal and he wouldn't last through the night. Then he wouldn't last three days. Then he wouldn't last a week, then he would live as a vegetable. He survived his accident, but he is merely a shell of his former self. He can walk (sort of; he needs a cane and someone to guide him so he doesn't fall) he can talk (sort of, one word answers and an extremely limited vocabulary). He needs someone to do everything for him including making his meals and wiping for him when he uses the bathroom.

He lost his job, his wife, his house...nearly everything he loved and now spends his days staring blankly at the TV.

You may not care about what happens to you. My little story may not sway you if you insist on riding without a helmet, or getting a cheapie non-DOT "decorative" helmet, but think about those around you when you choose your helmet. Think about the pain you may cause them by going cheap or thinking you're a badass who doesn't want to look like a sissy wearing a helmet on a moped.

Traumatic Brain Injury is often called "the family injury" because it hurts those around the victim more than the victim. The effects of Brain Damage are permanent; nobody is the same after such an injury.

My brother's 2002 Harley Davidson Night Train weighed 10 times what my 2009 Honda Met weighs. You're damn right I wear a helmet, I would beg you to consider doing the same. It's not just for the pain it will save you...
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Re: To wear or not; Helmets

Postby rustybones49801 on Mon May 24, 2010 1:25 pm

Your point is well taken. Thank you for sharing this with us and giving the members of this forum much to think on.
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Re: To wear or not; Helmets

Postby Bustin on Tue May 25, 2010 8:30 pm

That's a sad story Bob , my condolences to you and yours.

Whether to wear a helmet , and which type is the best choice, is one of those subjects that will have a wide range of opinions in any group of riders , and most of those opinions will be strong ones. I know mine are.

One of our semi-local ABATE bigwigs crashed at 40mph and took a serious headshot a few years ago , suffered only a mild TBI due to the helmet liner slowing the brain / skull impact down a bunch , but since he was wearing only the barest minimum skullcap "toy" helmet with no chinbar or face shield (we have a helmet law here , much to the ABATE crowd's chagrin) he lost much of his lower face and is now horribly disfigured . Eats and drinks through a feeding tube, and has endured a number of painful surgeries , and faces many more. His life will never be the same , he is now very much handicapped and will be for the rest of his days.

Without a shred of sarcasm or irony , I'd really like to know if he still feels the same about helmets and helmet laws now, as he did before having that big dose of first hand experience....but I'm not comfortable bringing up the subject with him , not to mention that his ability to talk has been greatly compromised. He is still active in ABATE, or at least still wears the colors. For all I know , he may be more anti-helmet law now than ever, because the one he was forced to wear by the state spared his life , but left him alive to deal with a horrible aftermath. I can only speculate ......but I bet if he could go back in time and was given the chance to opt for a real helmet prior to taking on that full size pickup tire with his face, he'd do it in a heartbeat.

I've been riding on the street for over 25 years now, and working in the motorcycle industry for many years as well....seen a lot of injuries , heard a lot of crash stories , many of them fatalities. Without going into great detail I will simply state that it's a quality full face helmet, anytime I ride a motorcycle . No exceptions. Others are entitled to their own opinions on the matter , just as I am entitled to mine.
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Re: To wear or not; Helmets

Postby Bob0119 on Wed May 26, 2010 8:15 am

The key is, I'd be willing to bet there are far more "wish I/they had been wearing a helmet" and "glad I was wearing a helmet" stories than there are "thank God I left my helmet at home" stories.
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Re: To wear or not; Helmets

Postby ronnath on Tue Jun 22, 2010 5:43 am

Big debate going on here in iowa about helmets. For whatever reason ABATE swings a boat load of influence in the legislature and has managed to fight off ANY attempts to make helmets mandatory.

Read about it here:

http://www.desmoinesregister.com/apps/p ... 0106210312
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Re: To wear or not; Helmets

Postby oxford_scooter on Fri Jul 30, 2010 10:31 pm

I pulled into a gas station to expend all of $2.00 on a fill up when an
older ragged guy pulled up to another pump riding a Harley. We chatted
it up a bit and he left me with something that I think about every time
I crank up my Met.

He told me there were 2 kinds of motorcycle riders.

Those that have been in an accident.
And those that will.


I think about that statement deeply everytime I push the electric starter.
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Re: To wear or not; Helmets

Postby ronnath on Sat Jul 31, 2010 3:29 am

indeed, OS.

i've also heard it this way:


There are two kinds of bike riders.

Those that have been in an accident.
And those that haven't......yet.

I'm glad the guy's statement has stayed with you.
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Re: To wear or not; Helmets

Postby jdelamater on Wed Aug 04, 2010 11:27 am

I dumped my met at 5mpg going around a turn in the rain. Not a big deal and just some scratches on the scoot. When I fell to my side, my head nailed the pavement and bounced a little, even at such a low speed. I was wearing my FF helmet.

Even from such a minor minor fall this is what happened.

Image

Now, especially with a baby on the way, it's ALWAYS a helmet. Yup, it's not a question of if - it's WHEN.

Also, here's something to consider. Watch this video to see what happens with your face isn't covered.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ky1jZSdmewI&feature=player_embedded
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Re: To wear or not; Helmets

Postby vulcan on Sat Sep 04, 2010 8:02 am

Sorry to hear of these sad stories. This is also something I know about firsthand. Not from accidents, but because both my parents died from strokes. My mother lived in a nursing home for 10 years not knowing who she was or where she was. I wouldn't leave the driveway without a DOT approved full face helmet.
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