Summary: Many stories of crashes with helmets. Most
often the helmet worked, but occasionally it did not.
Each story below was sent to us by a different person. We have converted names to pronouns and formatted each one in a single paragraph, but have made no other changes. We have comments on what the stories mean below. Please email us your own crash story.
During a cycling trip to Mallorca I had a pretty major accident on day one which, had I not been wearing a helmet, would have resulted in me no longer being here. I was descending at approx. 40 mph when I approached a tightening right hand bend on the MA-10 heading down into Pollensa. As I hit the brakes I lost control of the rear and was immediately aware of the fact I would not make the corner. I tried in vain to get around but ran out of road, went into the road side ditch and was catapulted off the bike, head first into a rock. I would estimate I was still travelling in excess of 25mph at the point of impact. There was a lot of pain in the neck and back, I was bleeding heavily and struggling to breathe, but was fully aware of everything and did not lose consciousness. The helmet was cracked in several places but took the full impact against an uneven rock surface. After x-ray’s and CT scans I was given the all clear as far as brain damage and fractures was concerned. Indeed I escaped with nothing more than stitches to cuts on my knee and head (no doubt from the force the helmet was pushed onto my head), concussion and whiplash. I was discharged from hospital 48 hours after the accident and was able to spend the rest of the break recuperating by the pool with some pretty angry family! I was back on the bike within a week. I wouldn’t even ride to the corner shop now without a crash helmet on and will be telling anyone who listens that it should be a legal requirement. ALWAYS WEAR A HELMET!
I survived a bicycle accident that occurred in a bike race. I was going 30 miles per hour when my front wheel was taken out from under me due to another rider. I flipped over my handlebars, hit the back of my head and landed on my back. I suffered a concussion and was knocked unconscious. My helmet was completely cracked all the way through in two spots on the back of the helmet. Additionally, the adjuster strap that tightens the helmet to my head had snapped off. I was taken to the ER via ambulance and had a full array of tests-ultrasound, 3 x-rays and a CT scan. I spent two days in ER. All tests came back negative, the most notable being the CT scan since my head took the full force of the accident. If my helmet didn’t save my life then at the very least it saved my quality of life.
I recreantly hit unmarked road works at 15mph the result was fractured scull,eye socket, patella (top pallet )and the loss of two front teeth, on top of concussion and loosing my memory of the entire day. the thing is I was wearing an urge Realjet enduro helmet, I now own a full face down hill but it will be a few weeks until I can wear it.
I learned all this today while researching a replacement for a Scattante helmet that I had a very bad crash in last July. This value "low end" by many cyclists’ standards helmet did it’s job perfectly it protected me from a severe head/brain injury. I was accelerating past 17mph in full sprint up a hill when suddenly my chain got caught in my rear cassette. I was thrown off the pedals and the bike before I could even think. I did an endo and landed on my head, then left shoulder, then left hip and knee. Broke my collar bone, got a very bad road rash on my hip and leg but I believe my head took most of the impact. The interior foam on the helmet (this is an eps inmold construction) cracked in 2 places. I am extremely thankful I was wearing this helmet. I did not sustain a serious head injury. My bell was rung, sure, and my doctor said I very likely sustained a concussion. I had a slight headache for about a week, but thankfully no long-term symptoms. I did not ride for a good 3 months. Normally I do about 3-4k miles a year.
I was riding to work in May 2015. Something I did every day for years. However, I lost one day. See, as I come down the hill at 14 mph, out dashes a rabbit. Into my front wheel. Rabbit gets thrown back into curb. I go over front of my bike. My helmet soon was no more. I hit something in the road helmet first. The plastic shell shattered and the inner foam squished and crumbled. I actually had a very messy gash right above my hairline where the plastic and road grit cut me from where the helmet disintegrated on impact. I was more than a little dazed, as I took my helmet off and was trying to figure out how I got hurt while wearing it. A neurosurgeon was the second car to come up on my wreck. Seeing my apparent lack of helmet and fairly nicely covered in blood head, he thought I was soon to be a patient. Nope. Just a very mild concussion, lots of stitches and several months of treating road rash on my wrists. My head healed before I could comfortably shift and brake again. The rabbit wasn’t wearing a helmet and did not survive. Dumb bunny.
Crash report: I survived a 50 mph car hitting my bicycle from behind. I was wearing a full-face motorcycle helmet, as I did every bike ride for 40 years. (Brand: Shoei). Bike pushed me up, I spun around to come down head first on the roof, then bounced back with my leg going through the back window of the Mercedes. My brain was well-protected (tho Im in a NIH TBI study because no one knows much about TBI). Perhaps you could recommend that safety-conscious cyclists wear these helmets.
My wife and I were riding on a concrete Greenway in Alpharetta Georgia when she was caught off the trail on the edge and ended up falling back onto the concrete which clipped my rear tire and subsequently ended up in me falling down and breaking my collarbone. The attached photographs of the helmet I was wearing say it all. I can remember the sound of the back of my helmet hitting the concrete while my collar bone broke into 3 pieces. There is no doubt in my mind that this helmet at the very least save me from what could have been very severe head trauma and at most permanent disability or death.
Writing from the hospital — going stir crazy. I ride to work as soon as it warms up — I’m an admitted weather wuss. It was gorgeous, 55 and clear. My bike was obnoxiously visible day glo lime with very bright head and tail lights. My pants were black, but my jacket was bright yellow with reflective tape. My helmet — Giro Aspect — had after market LED on the back. I may ride home after dark, but I am as visible as I can manage. I was outside lane on the curb, heading south. From a north bound lane, a car turned smack into me. I hit ground hard, head right to the curb. My bike is toast. I have a nicely wretched shoulder, lots of road rash, broken cheekbone, minor concussion and a very well broken leg and destroyed knee. Definitely nasty injuries, but I’ll heal. My Aspect however. She got the worst of it. The shell is cracked into three chunks with a fist sized chunk just gone. The guts are little more than crumbs. Had I not been wearing a helmet, the cracks would have been my skull and crumbs would be brain. Wearing a helmet was never debated growing up. We rode on open wheels, we wore a helmet. I’ve worn a helmet for 25+ years. I am a reasonably safe, experienced, careful rider. I have heard all the excuses on why I don’t need a helmet. But I don’t wear a helmet because of what I do or don’t do. I wear one because I don’t trust other motorists as far as I can throw them.
During a morning session at a velodrome I was towing a group of 4 riders around the 3rd turn and saw another rider cross my path a bit too late. The other rider rode up onto the track and I T-boned his bike. We both were thrown from our bikes and landed on concrete. I slid across the infield on my head and face and was knocked out for a bit. Both of us were taken by ambulance to the local ER. He had a fractured skull because he was warming down on the infield track without a helmet. I just had a slight concussion and loss of skin on my lower lip. If I hadnt been wearing a helmet I would have had far worse injuries like my counterpart. The other rider apologized later he said he blacked out because he didnt eat breakfast that day.
Heading to the fourth day of a safety training seminar running on time but just barely. I made a left hand turn in a busy intersection with traffic and unfortunately the intersection is crossed diagonally by a railroad track. I took the outside turn lane going about 15 mph and when I hit the rail road tracks my bicycle slid out from underneath me so quickly I didnt have time to brake or put a hand down. The bright side of the accident is that I dont remember anything about it. One minute I was 45 degrees to the ground and the next minute I was two miles down the road trying to remember where it was I was heading. I pulled over and assessed my road rash and condition. Another minute of thinking and I was able to recognize where I was. Another thirty seconds and I remembered where I was heading. After a full day at work my left shoulder was really starting to hurt so I went home and went to urgent care to get the shoulder x-rayed. No broken bones and for obvious reasons the doctor was more concerned about the concussion but confirmed that I was okay. It wasnt until I got back from the doctor that I thoroughly examined the helmet. It was broken through in four locations. Ive never begrudged wearing a helmet but now I am a baptized and confirmed disciple!
A helmet saved my life, I was riding dirtbikes for the first time on a track and was going faster than I should hitting the jumps and feeling the adrenaline, I was told that after a few laps I hit the biggest jump going to fast and I landed sideways and my head first. I only have pictures of me smiling in the ER. Still have memory loss. Wear your helmet.
Hi I am a crit racer and average at least 20 mph or more per ride. Returning from a solid ride tonight I lost control taking a corner went into a slide and hit the back of my head on a higher than normal curb. Other than being embarrassed as several cars stopped I nada few scrapes and a helmet that looked like a cracked egg but my squash is ok. I didn’t take my wife’s advice and skipped a trip to the dr.
Always wear and inspect helmets after a mishap! I suffered the misfortune of a bicycle crash recently, and I will spare you the details. my helmet clearly saved me from a more serious injury. Two friends of mine, who are engineers both told me to buy a new helmet. The helmet, other than a scratch appeared intact. Upon closer inspection, yes put your glasses on; the polystyrene was broken. I took their advice. bought a new helmet and destroyed the damaged one. Always; even for those short rides, wear a helmets.
I am not a fast rider as my knees are completely knackered. That morning was absolute stunner so I shunned the bike gear but wore summer outfit to work. evening turned out to be drizzlier. travelling at normal speed on the bike path I approached a junction and saw a car turning in. thought I would brake and next thing I knew was I was thrown into the road hitting head first and bike cartwheeled and landed straight on the back of my head. the impact was so hard and my wrist bore some of it and broke badly. but apart from mild concussion and disorientation for 5 minutes there was no serious head injuries. I cant bike for at least six months but certainly on the lookout for my next crash helmet. they do work. ALWAYS WEAR HELMETS!
I was out on my road bike last weekend training I had been riding for about forty km the weather was starting to turn for the worse and I decided to cut my ride short and just do one last hill. So I turned left instead of right. I came up to an intersection that I regularly turn at there was a car I could hear coming up about a hundred meters behind me. so I gunned it to clear the intersection before they got there. Normally this intersection is very grippy and a fast turn is possible my gps says I was doing forty one km h. Unfortunately this particular day someone had spilled diesel fuel on the road. The instant I began to make my turn the bike just went from under me it happened so quick I had already smashed my head into the road surface before it registered that I was crashing .I sustained many injuries mostly heavy bruising grazing and sprains Fortunately the lady who had been coming up behind had a car with ABS I could hear the ABS system clattering controlling the wheels locking up on the slippery surface as she stopped ,it was close ,the bike which was still clipped to my right foot had the front wheel under the engine of her car we both got a hell of a fright. While I was definitely stunned for a couple of minutes afterwards I sustained no head injuries beyond a concussion. The right hand side of the helmet was destroyed. the outer shell was deformed but intact, the foam padding inside was totally smashed and crumbling immediately under the shell but mostly intact next to my skull. The helmets impact with the road was so severe it left skid marks in the asphalt. At the very best I would have had serious cuts and grinding injuries to my head but I suspect that would be a minor issue with the brain injury I would have likely sustained. I liken bike helmets to seat belts. that one time you need it and you’re not wearing it. you may not get the chance to regret it. And you never know when you’re going to need one.
We were camping and spent the day on the beach. I left at approximately 22:15 with a rope coil in left hand. I approached a small wooden bridge travelling approximately 15km/hr (estimated) over a shallow ditch where I had to turn 90degrees to the left. The bridge has no guardrail and is approximately 1meter (40") high at the deepest point of the ditch. As I turned the rope got fouled in my left foot. I tried to get it cleared and must have veered left and the front wheel went off the edge of the bridge at the very middle point. All I remember about the exact moment was thinking "oh no, not again". I think what happened next was in an attempt to regain the bike I tried to hop it back up, but the right pedal caught on the edge of the bridge and rotated me 180degrees and sent me head first into the other side of the ditch. All I recall was the terrible noise associated with impact as I came to a dead stop. I don’t know if I was knocked out or not. The pain to my neck was real bad. I think the helmet slipped off partially. I did a self assessment and got myself in a secure position and held firm on my head and helmet. Someone came along and called for help and I eventually took an ambulance ride to emerge and was released the same night several hours later. The helmet is cracked in about 7 places, but the little sun visor never even came off, which indicates an impact mostly to the top of the helmet. My head is all bruised where the ribs of the internal supports of the helmet line up with my head. I have a lot of pain around C7 and T1 and all through my shoulders, ribs and even lungs, but nothing broken. The only abrasion was a slight mark on my nose which bled a lot but was very minor. I didn’t even get my hands off the bars. There was a chain oil mark all the way down my right arm in the pattern of the chain where I must have fended off the bike. The bike does not even have a mark on it. Thanks for reading and please wear your helmet for YOU.
The commute crash. Back on May 13th of 2014. I chose to commute to work largely because of a torque converter failure on my car and because the weather had finally started to act like spring. That day I awoke to a foggy fine mist but certainly nothing bad enough to keep one from riding a bike a little over six miles to work. I had packed a backpack with a rolled up pair of blue jeans, dry shirt and street shoes to change into upon my arrival to work. I’m blessed to live in Wisconsin, a great cycling state. We have the Old Plank Trail in Sheboygan county and a portion of that trail was to be part of my commute route this day. I left home at about 7:15 and rode down a few neighboring streets before turning onto the Old Plank Trail heading west out of Plymouth, WI. The first section of trail I was on that day started with about a quarter mile decent down towards the Sheboygan River. There is a bridge at the bottom of this decent and I slowed as I went up and over the bridge and then took a right turn to follow the trail under highway 23. About 50 yards after crossing the bridge I was beginning to accelerate and was a bit out of the saddle. One of my tires hit something sending a jar to the handlebar that was enough for my right hand to slip of the bar. I remember sitting up just a bit as my right hand left the handlebar, quickly looking down and noting that with only my left hand on the bars I had begun to veer to the right. I got my right hand back on the bars just as I left the trail and began descending the 18” sized rocks of the river bank towards the river. I don’t remember exactly what I did but I must have hit the brakes hard just feet before going into the river, probably more front brake than rear. I went over the bars forward very hard and landed on these large rocks head down. Upon landing I was still clipped into my pedals and the one thing I remember is that I could wiggle my fingers and turn my legs to click out of my clipless pedals. I new immediately that I had not been paralyzed but I was in a huge amount of pain. I felt a tingling in my neck and a sharp pain on my upper left shoulder. After clicking out of my pedals I managed to remove the back pack and just sat there in pain for a few minutes trying to rationalize what had just taken place. I felt stupid, ashamed and disgusted from such a freak accident and wondered why me? I promise you that you never expect that something like this will ever happen to you but I assure you that it’s a risk we take in daily life every day that we awake and head out our doors into the world. It was just that a freak accident. If it happened almost anywhere else on the trail or route to work that morning I may have gotten a bit of road rash or even landed more softly in a grass ditch. Because of the location and surroundings at that moment. riding along a large stone lined river bank I suffered an injury that quite frankly was the worst in my 54 years on earth. After a few minutes of sitting on the stone lined river bank I rose and attempted to lift my leg and walk up the bank but could not. The pain I experienced in my neck from just trying to look up the river bank was nasty. I turned around and sat back down and pushed down on the rocks and lifted my body and used my legs to push myself up the stone lined river bank one rock at a time. It took a few minutes but I was soon seated on the asphalt trail that I had left 5-10 minutes earlier. only to be disgusted with myself as I looked down near the river where my back pack laid with my most important possession that morning, a cell phone. I was forced to work my way back down the stones and then flung my back pack back up onto the trail and again lifted my body and pushed with my legs as I backed up the river bank one stone at a time to again reach the trail, At that point I reached into the back pack and called a co-worker, who was a quick six minute drive away and then I also called my wife. When my co-worker Dale arrived he did a quick assessment. He stated to me. “that because of the pain you are in and the unknown extent of your injuries I think it’s best to call an ambulance”. It didn’t take but three-four minutes for the ambulance to arrive. The paramedics attempted to fit a rigid collar on my neck but the pain was just excruciating as they tried to force the collar under my chin. They loaded me onto a backboard and headed for Sheboygan Memorial. This comment is addressed to the “City Fathers” in Sheboygan. I can assure you that you need to waste no dollars on a street superintendent because with the pains I felt as the ambulance struck every nasty frost line and pot hole I can tell you exactly where to focus your street repair manpower and dollars. The people and staff at Sheboygan Memorial were excellent in their treatment of my injuries which were later diagnosed as a C2 vertebrae fracture and separated left shoulder. I need to stop at this point and tell you that I went into surgery about 6pm that night and was fitted with a halo with four titanium screws threaded into my skull to stabilize my neck in the correct healing position I was lucky and know without a doubt that I wouldn’t be typing this if I hadn’t been wearing a helmet given to me 19 years earlier as a gift from a bicycle industry vendor. There is no doubt, after looking at what remained of the helmet, that the helmet absorbed much of the energy of a 200lb male going over the bars with downward force as he decelerated from a 16mph ride speed. The helmet broke in a number of locations and had inward crush dents from the impact and forces involved in the accident. I want to personally thank:
My wife Bonnie who has carried the extra load and been by my side through this entire ordeal and healing process and been my strength:
Dale Vinson, one of the best co-workers anyone could ask for the Plymouth Ambulance crew who even stopped in my room to check on me
Dr. Pond and his staff at Aurora Medical. A wonderfully skilled man and great communicator
My church family and friends for all your prayers and messages of positive support.
In closing I would just like to state that bicycle helmets were created for accidents just like the one that occurred to me. If you feel even the slightest need to swing a leg over a bicycle. Please start by buckling on a helmet. A freak accident like mine can happen to anyone, especially a small child. I have no doubts after talking with my doctor that without a helmet on my head back on 5/13/2014 I would have been paralyzed maybe even died. If you are a parent I beg you please. do not let your children ride without a helmet. They should be hanging on their handlebar during the riding season so that they must be touched before getting on a bike. Set an example for your kids and those around you and always wear your helmet.
I was riding my bike on a trail through a forest preserve. I used to only wear a helmet if I was riding fast or on busy roads. I usually ride on the sidewalk and avoid roads, actually. I remember being at a fork where you could go on one of two trails. That’s the last thing I remember. I guess I called my wife 13 times in a row at home and left 13 messages that I was in a forest preserve and I didn’t know why. I then called her cell phone five times and then she finally answered. I don’t remember the couple that found me and called 911 for me, or the ambulance, the paramedics, or anything else. At the hospital I kept asking my wife which bike I was on. I kept referring to my "white" bike, which I gave away two years earlier. She said I asked her about 75 times to help me recreate what happened. Needless to say, I got a bad concussion. There was gravel embedded in the back of my helmet. The next week I went back to the trail (this time, not alone) and tried to retrace my ride. The first mile looked familiar, but nothing after that. The doctor said that I will never remember what happened that day, and if I wasn’t wearing a helmet, I would have had brain surgery or be dead. I never ride that fast, but it doesn’t take much. Even on a soft trail. I always wear my helmet now, and I am glad I was wearing that day in June three years ago.
Please could you have a look at my Facebook page cause my story is there as well as pictures of my helmet and injures and to this day I believe that if I wasn’t wearing my helmet I would most certainly of been killed Regards Ryan
This link takes you to Jim Kruper’s crash story. He uses physics to calculate the g’s to his head with and without a helmet and concludes that without his helmet he would have died.
On Monday May 6 I was riding with my son and had completed 12 miles averaging 15.5 MPH when a pit bull darted out from between parked cars and I squarely T-boned the dog. I flew over the handlebars and first hit my head and then proceeded to land on my bottom. I fractured my pelvis and appear to have a concussion and some soreness in my jaw but I am alive. My helmet is cracked through the foam in multiple places. The EMT at the crash site stated that if I had not had a helmet on they would have probably been life lining me to the local trauma center instead I went to the hospital on my own. Wear a helmet.
4 weeks ago had a pretty nasty crash at 40km per hr. during a criterium race when I had a slight wheel overlap and no where to go. Broken Collarbone, Broken shoulderblade, 3 cracked ribs, small lung puncture, very heavy bruising on right hip. Also hit my head and face on the bitumen pavement. 4 days in Hospital, 2 days on morphine. Specialized S-Works helmet crack at bottom of helmet either side of ear. Face injuries minor and cleared in three days. protected by helmet. Stayed alert and told those in attendance including ambulance, symptoms, family contact details etc. Helmet was a very good investment. My brother died falling off a bike at 10km per hr when helmets weren’t necessary or compulsory. Pretty conclusive I’d say.
Its was a simple mountain bike ride on a trail in Houston. The weather was perfect for a ride. About a quarter of the way through there was a ten foot hill with several roots on the downslope. I had a choice between hitting a tree or a large root in the ground. My braking action threw my body forward so i couldn’t lift the front tire and so i hit the root, flipped forward off of the bike and my head landed onto a concrete block sticking up from the ground. The impact was so several the helmet was cracked in several places. That the lord and giro helmets for my life because not only was i able to finish the ride, but other then a small amount of neck soreness and scratches i have absolutely no injuries! Thanks giro and people please always wear your helmets! You never know when it will save your life!
My daughter’s helmet may have saved her life. This blog posting is about the performance of a child’s helmet with cheap taped-on-shell construction that did its job.
On August 26, cycling with friends downhill on Mulholland Drive, in Los Angeles, I flipped over my front handlebars. My cyclometer shows I was traveling at about 23 mph when I did my flip. I landed on my back, and the back of my head hit the pavement, too. The foam on top and on the back side of the helmet is crushed. Obviously I don’t know what would have happened if I didn’t have my helmet on my head. I’m glad, though, that I was wearing it, because my head suffered no injury.
I had a minor accident today but am convinced my helmet kept me out of the hospital. I was riding along Lake Pontchartrain in New Orleans at only about 10 mph when I saw a man fishing, who hooked something just as I was approaching. This was along a restricted road with no cars or traffic whatsoever, so my attention shifted from the road to watching this man to see what he was about to reel to shore. In an instant I flipped over the handlebars after running into a 6" high buckle in the concrete, something not uncommon here. I rolled over the bike and consciously twisted to land on my left side, hit the ground and rolled onto my back in a somewhat controlled maneuver, and was about to roll back up onto my feet when SMACK I hit the back of my head on the concrete. When I got to my feet I removed my helmet to see it was flattened on the rear left corner and had a 3 inch split from the base toward the crest. Obviously I hit very hard and am certain without the helmet I would have had an ambulance ride to the hospital, and if lucky would be too punchy to write this tonight and possibly much worse. Instead its 800mg of ibuprofen with some banged up joints but not even a headache. Thank you Specialized.
I have been replaying the incident the last couple days, and I was very lucky since I do not always wear a helmet. It was quite a surprise to hit my head. I was more or less "finished" with the wreck and rolling onto my feet, knowing I was not seriously hurt when the back of my head smacked into the pavement. In that instant I thought about 10 things — how could I have hit my head from this position and in this very minor wreck/that was very loud — why does it not hurt at all/wow I am wearing my helmet/holy crap I would be bleeding and unconscious if I were not. It was an enlightening experience. You expect the helmet to come into play in some nasty accident involving high speed or a car, but this was about as simple and low speed an accident as you could have. You all have a nicely designed and informative site and glad to find it after this incident.
Riding my favorite ascent, Mount Evans. On the descent. I realized I wouldn’t successfully negotiate the turn, I attempted to fall on the incline. Unfortunately, I was now riding through cross winds, which took me in the opposite direction, straight over a cliff. I plunged 30 feet to the granite boulders below. When I was next aware, I found myself flat on my back on the boulders. I was airlifted to the nearest trauma center.
I had 9 spinal fractures, all in my neck and thoracic spine, including the top two vertebrae in my cervical spine. My rib cage and right scapula were shattered. Both lungs were punctured, and I had severe lacerations to my left kidney and spleen. My internal bleeding was massive. My head, however, had a single gash, and in a location that wasn’t protected by my Giro Atmos helmet. The helmet itself had more than a dozen cracks and multiple crush zones. While a fall like that far exceeds CPSC standards of testing, there is little doubt that the helmet saved my life. I spent 10 days in ICU, and nearly a month in hospital. My injuries were consistent with a fall from that height. However; the mild traumatic brain injury I suffered was minimal.
I’ve since had to have spinal surgery to remove bone fragments and damaged disks from my neck, fusing 4 levels. I’m on the mend, though. I can walk, my faculties are intact, and I even seem to be regaining coordination in my left hand. I remain in severe pain, but I’m alive. I’ll likely even ride again! Life is good.
I had a crash on my bicycle a couple of days ago. I am in my early 40’s and cycle to work and home three days a week; a round trip of 28 km. I was a semi-professional rugby league player until I was 35 years old and still train regularly. I therefore have a body that has taken much physical abuse over the years, and am quick fit and strong. I was cycling on a cycle path, going downhill and banking to the right at about 50 km/h. I drifted a little wide of the riding line, came into contact with some leaf litter and other debris on the cycle path, and the bike went from underneath me very quickly. My most vivid memory of the crash was the force with which my head hit the path and the cushioning effect the helmet provided; it was like falling on a pillow. I suffered the usual associated scapes to my lower leg, upper leg, hip, arm and shoulder as well as some significant trauma to my right shoulder due to the force of it coming into contact with the ground. However, if it were not for my helmet I have no doubt I would have been in the back of an ambulance with a significant head injury. From a person who, on occasion has not worn a helmet, I am happy to sing their virtues from the roof top. I have to buy a new helmet as that one has been destroyed by the crash, but I wont be riding until I have bought another.
I was on a typical ride around a lake near my home, when next thing I knew I was in the ER, watching as my wife walked up to me and said "Ewww." Witnesses said my front tire blew out and I was instantly propelled over the handlebars and landed on my face / head, and left arm. I obviously had a concussion, as the next few hours are a blank (but witnesses say I was conscious for most of the time), and I ended up with an orbital fracture on the left eye as well as a fracture of some cheek bones. I am now the proud owner of several titanium plates keeping everything together, and had 23 stitches to the head and mouth. These wounds are minor, though, in comparison to what probably would have happened had I not been wearing my helmet. It truly did save my life, and bloody as it is I’m mounting it like a trophy to remind me how lucky I was.
I live on Maui and the roads in the upcountry are full of switchbacks and fast downhills. The day of my crash I remember clearly putting on my helmet, a 2007 Giro Atmos. I don’t remember what happened after that. I was found in the road by a first responder paramedic with a flat front `tire and my helmet in place, crushed in at the Left temple. I was semi conscious and responded to questions, but do not remember clearly the half hour before the crash or the first 4 hours after the crash. From the physical evidence I was headed down hill at a high rate of speed and did not make a hairpin curve. It is apparent that my front wheel tire had flatted and I was riding on the rim. I went over the bars, impacted my left temple, brake handles, left hand, left shoulder, left hip and both knees. Evidenced by the abrasions I apparently slid for sometime on my face, hands, elbows and knees. My helmets foam is permanently compressed at the left temple to approximately half the original thickness with some cracks where the helmet fractured. It is important to note that my helmet also has punctures from the chain ring that apparently I impacted at some point after the pavement. My CT scan of my head was negative. I have yet to regain a memory of the ride up to the accident or immediately after the accident. I am shopping for a new helmet. Thankful to be alive and conscious.
Today I was traversing a small grass field to avoid some ducks and when I get to the edge/transition to pavement there’s a fairly big hole I avoid. but because I’m on grass, can’t really get any traction/torque and I endo over the bar and as I’m flying heels over head I’m thinking "this is bad I think it’s a header". and BOOM it was. SMACKED my head on the hard pavement with a good deal of force. Lucky for a helmet. I’ve been a lifelong cyclist from riding to school as a kid to doing my first century in high school and serious road racing in college. Back in the day, even in college, never wore a helmet as they were crude and heavy and not very cool. Never really wore a helmet until 3 years ago as I got back into riding. Any way, a helmet is a very good thing. Best $50 bucks I’ve spent. I’d be in the hospital right now if I wasn’t wearing a helmet. I don’t think I’d be dead but you can never tell.
I decided to do a long bike ride, about 30 miles, instead of a run one day. After turning around and headed back, I heard a car coming up behind me. I was on a slight downhill going maybe 25 mph when I had a strong feeling to turn and look at the car behind me. The car was partway in the bike lane and not moving over. I then tried to move over as far as I could the the edge of the pavement. Unfortunately, there was a pretty steep drop-off from the pavement onto the gravel. My front tire slipped off the pavement and twisted sideways causing my whole bike to slide out from under me. I flew over the left side of my bike and put my arms out to protect my face. My helmet hit my left arm and then the pavement and then broke off. My left arm twisted and my left quad hit the edge of the pavement (which left me with a huge, deep bruise). The car did not stop, but another car did and asked if I was ok. I got back up and rode the rest of the way home. Thankfully, I only came out with two scratched, a very soar arm and shoulder and a big bruise. I am so glad I had my helmet on, or it would have been much worse. I am a college athlete with a big race coming up, and if I hadnt of had my helmet on, I would probably not be racing.
I used your site to help select the helmet that saved my life. After a serious crash, I ended up with a grade 4 AC joint dislocation, bruises, and lots of road rash. But no head or neck trauma. The helmet I wore was crushed at the impact point and had large cracks in the styrofoam. The polycarbonate cover showed extensive scuffing along the side and back from the slide I took on the asphalt after the initial impact. Though I had almost no head pain (it felt like I’d received a moderate open hand slap to the side of my head) the ER doctor took one look at my helmet and ordered a CT. No head or brain trauma. So thanks for the help. I was traveling at 23 miles per hour on a level bike trail at the time of the accident. Another cyclist moved in my path without warning.
I am an avid bike rider and ride four or five days a week, usually 10-15 miles. Last evening I went out for my usual after dark ride. My bike has a head lamp and tail lamp for safety. I always wear a helmet. I was traveling on a paved street, down a slight hill, at about 15-20 MPH. I saw something in the street to my left. As I looked over at it I suddenly struck a large post that was purposely placed across the traffic lane. I flew into and over the handlebars and the first thing that struck the pavement was my head! My helmet was destroyed. There is a large chuck missing out of the right front and is is split in half almost it’s complete length down the middle. The helmet is a Schwinn SW100T made in March of 2006 which, according to the sticker inside, meets the CPSC standard. I was taken by ambulance to a Level One trauma center in Minnesota where I live. Due to the catastrophic damage to the helmet they feared a serious head injury. I received a mild concussion and numerous abrasions and bruising. One of the abrasions/bruises is across the right side of my forehead which is right underneath where the helmet hit the pavement. I can only imagine what that would have looked like had it not been for the helmet. I am very thankful is was not worse and I could have very well received a serious brain injury or even died had it not been for the helmet. As for my bike, I had bought it new in late May of this year and it already had 362 miles on it. From what the police say I think it is totaled. Scratch one Trek 7100!
Last week I had my first ride on a new triathlon bike. I was going around 18 mph in the aero position with a cross wind present. There was a drop of 4 to 6 inches on the side of the road and the wind was pushing me in that direction. I steered to the left away from the side of the road too quickly and started losing my balance and over-compensated to the right and crashed in the middle of the road on my right side. I hit the side of my head on the pavement and broke my helmet in 3 places. Without the helmet I would have been severely injured. As it was I just have a massive bruise on my right thigh and soreness all over.
I was cycling along a country lane, about 25mph, when my attention was distracted by the scenery for a moment. My front wheel dropped off the edge of the bitumen into a 3" rut and then bit back up onto the bitumen. I went straight over the bars, came down hard on the buttocks and then my head slammed into the bitumen. It took a few minutes to get off the road as I was badly winded, but when I got home I took the helmet off and the imprint of the bitumen was deep into the casing and the helmet was cracked badly in 3 places. Without the helmet, that would have been my head.
I was riding home from work on an asphalt trail through the woods about 4:30 PM. I had ridden this trial dozens of times. It was sprinkling and the trail had a lot of fallen leaves on it. I wasn’t going fast (10-15 MPH?) but I had my head down a little to shelter from the rain. I hit something (a stick?) which kicked my front tire about two feet to the left. First I tried to steer into the new direction but I was headed for an earth cliff so I tried to turn back to the right. The next thing I remember is another bicyclist saying something to me. I think I must have been unconscious for a minute(?) because I don’t know where he came from. I don’t know what he said to me or what I said. I got up, picked up my bike and rode the rest of the way home. I was so stunned I didn’t realize how badly I had been hurt until I looked in the mirror. I went to the hospital. I had a concussion, broken cheek bone, two stitches in my eyebrow, and road rash down my left side. One doctor told me the crash helmet had saved my life. I bought a new helmet yesterday and fitted it very carefully. It’s stupid but I never worried about crashing only about being hit by cars. I thought I was safe on the trail. Wear your helmet & ride carefully.
My two ‘helmet saved my skull’ stories. and I’m NOT accident-prone, honest! (NB. A reminder that in the UK, we drive on the left..)
In 2005, on a dry day, I was cycling downhill on a main road, with my 12-year old daughter riding behind me. In preparation for making a left turn into a side road, I glanced over my shoulder to a) check for traffic, and b) that my daughter was still close and aware of my intentions (as we had discussed earlier). From what I remember, just as I turned to look, I must have gone over a pot-hole, or a small dip in the road. In an instant, my front wheel twisted to the right, and I sailed away over the handle-bars, and the bike tried to follow. The next thing I vaguely remember is being spoken to, tasting the blood running down my left cheek, where my spectacle lens had pierced my skin, just millimeters under my eye, and being asked if I was ok. Why I mumbled ‘Yeah, fine’ when I plainly wasn’t ,I don’t know, as I was bruised, bleeding — and very confused. It seems I’d lain motionless on the floor, probably unconscious, for a couple of minutes. My daughter coped admirably with the situation — at first she’d screamed (naturally. ) at seeing her father doing a graceless somersault and land heavily — on his head. As I didn’t move immediately, she thought I was dead. She got off her bike, and waved at the cars coming down the hill to go around me, while dragging my bike off the road, and then calling my wife on her mobile to ask for help — fortunately her mum was only a minutes drive away. She showed great calm for a 12-year old. Just at this point, a lady who had been walking by stopped to help, and got me off the floor, then sat on the kerb with me, proffering tissues to wipe the dirt and blood off. I noticed my bike gloves were shredded — but my palms had only superficial scratches. Someone took the helmet off and I noted in passing the many scratches on it — at that point, the fact that the left side was squashed flat for half it’s length hadn’t registered. Now my head felt like it had been sledge-hammered, and my face cheese-grated. How nothing had broken, I can’t explain (not that I’m complaining). I didn’t get the kind persons name, so I thanked her later through or local newspaper. My wife arrived at some point, loaded the bike in the car, and took me home. It was days later that I saw the helmet again, after an enforced 3-day stay in hospital to check for any after effects of concussion (I had some memory loss). I even had a lumbar puncture to check for blood in the spinal fluid, as my amnesia had concerned the doctors. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. I was aghast when I saw the helmet and the violence inflicted upon it. The front left half was flattened, and the friction had left it’s mark too. I knew I had come down hard (I had witnesses, and of course I had the spectacular bruising and whiplash to show for it), but if I had impacted the tarmac without the helmet, well, it made me feel nauseas just thinking about it. I could be dead, or worse. But there we are, it did it’s job, a 20 sacrificial item, and I had no qualms about spending money on another one.
In 2010, out with a friend for a rapid, lung-stretching ride up and down our country lanes, in the late September afternoon sunshine. We were on the return leg, only a few miles from home, free-wheeling at 25mph down a wide lane, which curved very gently to the left. My friend was in front by about 100m, and remembered, a little late in the day, that a T-junction came up rather quickly just around the bend — I saw it too, just as he shouted ‘BRAKE!’ and he came to a slewed halt. So I slammed on the anchors, probably a little too hard, and the wheels stopped turning very quickly, but the bike and I didn’t. funny thing, momentum. The tyres skidded for what seemed like hours, then the bike wobbled violently, the back slid decisively down to the left, and the handlebars were whipped away from me. I knew at this point it was going to be a painful meeting of man, machine and mother earth. I came down on my back, feet forward, with the bike on my legs (those SPD’s really DO release when you need them too!). The back of my helmet and right elbow impacted first, swiftly followed by my lower back — SLAM! By God, that was hard. I probably bounced a little too. MY first thoughts on impact were: Will I walk again? Is my favourite shirt ok? Is the bike bent? (yes, yes — except for small friction burn, and no) I amazed myself by doing an inventory before daring to get up:
— Can arms and legs gently move? Check.
— Head and teeth intact? Check.
— Can I move my neck? Check
— I’ve still got my glasses on. — A bonus!
Ok, now try getting on to your feet — and pick up that piece of foam. the 4-inch chunk that had broken off the lower right rear edge of the helmet. As these things seem to happen in slow-motion, I distinctly remember the feeling of my head compressing the helmet and then it pushing back, as it took the brunt of the impact. At the same time, I used my elbow as a brake and shock absorber (not a good one either. ), just before all the air was knocked out of me, as my lower half slammed down on its left flank. I was grateful there wasn’t too much grit and gravel at that point on the road — otherwise I could have lost a fair bit of skin too. Result — really only a swollen right elbow with a nasty scrape, a sore lower back, and stiff neck muscles. Nothing broken, other than the helmet. I walked/hobbled back up the lane to check out how much rubber I had laid, and the skid mark was about 10m long. If I’d had the presence of mind (or more falling-off experiences) I might have pumped the brakes, and rescued the situation, but it happens so quickly, and then it’s over. The bike escaped serious damage too — a scuffed bar end, and the front brake caliper out of alignment. Phew!Half an hour in a cold bath as soon as I got home cooled all those damaged areas, and helped minimise stiffness over the following days. Oh — and lots of ibuprofen. Once again, wearing a helmet has saved me from stoving my skull in — and having two layers on my upper half helped minimise gravel rash. Can you imagine what the outcome might have been if that much force had been applied to an unprotected head? Yep, this humble 15 Lidl helmet was FANTASTIC! (I’ve never had a duff product from them yet) Neither of my helmets were at all expensive — They could have been a few grams lighter, certainly not enough vents (I do run hot) and no snazzy graphics, but hey, I can’t see it when it’s on my head. The point is, they are all made to a certain standard, and that’s enough for me. However, there is a rather nice Giro on eBay. but I hope this next one doesn’t have to prove it’s worth for a long time. if ever!
I wanted to share my crash experience and the fact that my helmet likely saved my life. On Sunday, September 12. 2010 my wife and I were on our routine 20 mile weekend training ride, a continuous three mile loop through our neighborhood. We always get a drink from our water bottles at the same point on the loop. On the third lap (I am told) I took a drink and was putting my water bottle back when I ran over a recessed manhole cover (about 1" lower than grade) and then a center line road reflector about a foot away. This upset me enough to wobble for a split second and go down hard on my left side. I was going about 15 MPH when this occurred. I have road rash on my elbow, hip and knee, chipped a bone in my shoulder and sprained the CV ligament. My wife saw me fall and unclipped to see if I was OK. She asked me if I was OK and I said "yes" and then if I hit my head and I responded "no" and I proceeded to take my shoes off and walk home, leaving my bike in the street. At that point she noticed my helmet (a Giro Indicator) was damaged on the left side (photos attached) with some compression on the outside shell, a complete vertical crack and partial horizontal crack in the foam. Several minutes later I started to act incoherently, my pupils constricted, and my wife drove me to the hospital. I was diagnosed with a level II concussion with post trauma amnesia and have no memory of the accident or the next six hours afterward. I apparently bounced my head on the asphalt pretty hard. I am I Safety Engineer by trade, and preach and conduct training focused on wearing proper personal protective equipment. In this case I am convinced that my injury would have been much worse if I was not wearing a helmet, and it likely saved my life.
While riding to work in early October, 2007, I was headed downhill at about 20 mph. As I approached an intersection with a two-way stop (not in my direction), a car approached from the right. Whether the car saw me or not, I don’t know, but it pulled out into the intersection just in time for me to hit my brakes and go hurtling over the handlebars. I smacked my head again the side of the car, and the edge of my helmet came to rest just in front of the car’s rear tire. Rather than stop, the car drove off—with the edge of my helmet still underneath it. I was about ten inches from death. As it was, my helmet was neatly broken along its side, and I lay dazed in the middle of the road. I shouted for help, and a man from one of the nearby houses called 911. It didn’t feel like I had any head, neck, or spine injuries, so I dragged myself out of the middle of the road while the Good Samaritan wheeled my bicycle to his house. Five minutes later the police and paramedics showed up. They took down my information, got my vague impressions of the car that hit me (it drove over my helmet, for Goodness’ sakes), then took me to the hospital. Broken arm, some minor road rash—all in all, it could have been SO much worse. The police never found the driver, but at least the police report was accurate. To add to my troubles, it turns out that my health insurance, supposed to have kicked in, didn’t start for another month. $5 grand in the hole, especially for a newly-graduated AmeriCorps VISTA, is no joke. Surprisingly, however, my bicycle was fine—no dents in the frame, no cracks, wheels still true! I can never thank enough the police, paramedics, and doctors who helped me. As for the Good Samaritan, to hold onto a guy’s bicycle for a week while he recuperates from a broken arm is one of the nicest things anyone’s ever done for me.
My nine year old dropped his bike on Friday. Despite wearing a helmet, which my wife and I have been adamant about, he still smacked his head on the ground and ended up with about five sutures. He is OK, and he suffered no concussion or serious injuries. Some road rash on his forearm was the source of most of his pain. I was truly stunned that he suffered a head injury despite wearing a helmet. A face first nose plant would be one thing, but the impact was up high on his head at the temple. I do periodically re-adjust both of my kids’ helmet straps, but today in surfing the Internet I found your information about "strap creep".
My wife and I had just completed the "go fast" part of our bike ride and were meandering slowly through the neighborhood. As we approached a crosswalk the gentleman standing there motioned me to go through. He distracted me from paying attention to where I was going until my front tire collided with my wife’s rear tire. I went down like a ton of bricks, landing first on my knee, then my elbow and then my head which slammed into and bouced off of the pavement. Fortunately I was wearing my helmet. Otherwise I would have hit on my right temple, possibly causing a very serious head injury or death, particularly give that I am taking blood thinner for clots in the same leg that I landed on. My knee was badly injured, bleeding profusely and requiring 11 stitches to close. The ER at VA Hospital Center was great, including doing an MRI on my head to ensure that I wasn’t bleeding internally. I was fixed up in time to go to a wedding that same evening. The helmet, I believe saved my life. If I can help to further get the word out about the importance of helmets please let me know.
Had a minor crash in Brooklyn NY — after riding 30 miles all over Brooklyn, on my way to an appointment, a block from home; no idea what happened but I have 2 broken spokes on the front wheel so think something got caught and threw me. Anyway, hit the pavement and lost some skin, 7 stitches to my eyebrow but the helmet — a literally out of the box 4 hours earlier Giro — has a crack above where I got stitched so I’m sure it saved me from further injury. I always, always wear a helmet just for this reason, and encourage everyone else to do the same. I was able to get up, fetch the bike, walk home and clean up and take a cab to the ER. Beats lying in the street with a major head wound waiting for the EMT’s.
On the afternoon of the Saturday before Easter, 2010, my wife went out to run some errands in her car and I went out for a ride on the local bike path. When she returned home she found me standing at the corner where the street we live on intersects with the busier street that runs past our neighborhood "looking for skid marks" as I reported to her at the time. I was also able to tell her that I had crashed my bike and that a motorist had stopped to help me up and to get my bike home which is located no more than 100 meters from the crash site. She asked me what happened and all I could tell her was that "maybe I had taken the turn onto our street too fast". As I type this I have no memory of any of that, all I can remember is waking up in the hospital ER and being told that I was there because I had crashed my bike. I remember the things I did the morning of the crash and every thing that happened since waking up and asking that question but I have total amnesia from lunch on Saturday until I woke in the hospital. My amnesia is the result of a concussion and my other injuries include four broken ribs and a small puncture to one lung that fortunately did not cause a collapsed lung. When I was transferred out of intensive care (for observation because of the concussion) to a normal hospital room my new roomate was also a bicyclist who had crashed, breaking six ribs and his clavicle! Both of us were wearing helmets, his saved him from a concussion and memory loss; he knows he crashed when he hit a pothole. Who knows what mine saved me from? Almost certainly a fractured skull and quite possibly life as a vegetable or death. My Uvex Touring model helmet has no scuff marks, just a fist sized piece of foam broken away from the bottom lip on the left side right near the back and some cracking of the foam that is visible from the inside of the helmet. My new Fuji bicycle had only 150 miles on it at the time of the crash and it is nearly intact. There is only a bend in one spot of the rear rim which also has a scuff mark on the side at the same location. The clothes I was wearing at the time have grass stains on them on the left side so I must have gone over the curb and fallen in the grassy area between it and the sidewalk. The damage to the rim undoubtedly occurred when I hit the curb and it seems likely that my head hit the curb too. I may indeed have tried to take that turn too fast, it would not be entirely out of character for me. Or maybe an automobile was involved somehow, possibly the one driven by the person who stopped to help me. I will never know so I can only adopt more cautious behavior on all fronts when I resume cycling to try to prevent a repeat of this accident. I can say one thing with certainty though. Wearing a helmet does not encourage me to take risks I would not otherwise take. Whatever happened that day I am certain I would have behaved no differently had I not been wearing a helmet, only the outcome would have been different. What a great website you have here! Thanks so much for your efforts to promote helmet use and improve helmet performance. I can only hope that my story will help convince some doubter that a helmet is a necessary cycling accessory.
Last Wednesday while riding with a lifelong friend, our lives changed possibly forever. We were on our usual ride and something went terribly wrong. When I realized Jim was not with me I turned around to find him down. No car, we were on a bike trail, no reason but he was down. He was been in sicu with severe brain trauma, he has and will continue to be in a coma for a couple of weeks then hopefully when they bring him out we will see if there is any permanent brain injuries, of course we are hoping for the best he is in great physical condition and if anyone will have a complete recovery Jim will. Yes he had his helmet on, yes he was an experienced rider, it was an expensive helmet, however it did not do its job it did not protect the lower left rear of his head. When looking at the aerodynamics today they are cool. however cool is not good enough. Thank you for your efforts and do you have any recommendations?
On August 23, 2009 riding my bike, front tire blew a flat giving me a bad fall with a broken collar bone. Looking for a replacement of a Bell (Image) helmet that broke and saved a second fall
Just thought I would give you a little feedback from the rainy Seattle area. Last night riding down a steep paved trail on my commute home, I ran off the side of the trail on a wide sweeping turn (apparently going faster than I thought); I went axx over teakettle, leaving a yard sale of bike bags, rocks, and bicycle as I came to rest in the path on my back. The trail was darker than the inside of a cow on a moonless night. I lay in the trail collecting my thoughts wondering what I had broken this time. I was hoping nobody else would come barreling down the trail as I rested there; no one did until after I got up and started putting everything back together so I escaped getting run over by another cyclist. I felt no pain despite wondering what I had broken this time. However, there was some blood from my face since I had done sort of a face plant before rolling. It appears the visor folded down over my glasses and face and took the brunt of what otherwise would probably have been facial road rash. The visor on my Bell helmet was pretty beat up but can be saved, again, with some good epoxy. I am beginning to think about a full face helmet. BTW: visors are very helpful with all the rain we get here, at least for folks wearing glasses. My background: a bicycle commuter since the early 70’s with very few dramatic crashes. This was a relative new route that I had never ridden in such darkness before — hence the surprise. All my downhill skiing of late, combined with the lack of visual clues in such darkness may have changed my perception of speed.
I came around a curve in the road going fast down a moderate decline. I was down on the drops. The last thing I remember was my back tire sliding out from under the bike. My riding partners said that I flipped in the air and landed on my head and face. My bike was thrown about fifty feet away up a hill. I was unconscious for about three minutes. My girls called 911. As they were waiting for help to arrive, two local doctors happened to be riding by and they took over. I was rushed via ambulance to the University of Utah Hospital where I was greeted by a trauma team. My injuries include fractures of most of the bones in the left side of my face, four broken ribs, fractured left shoulder, and fractures in three thoracic vertebrae. The same day of the accident, I underwent shoulder surgery to set the fracture and reattach the deltoid muscle that was completely torn from the bone. The following day I endured a six-hour facial reconstruction surgery. I spent a total of four days in the ICU at the University of Utah hospital and two days in a regular room. I have a plate holding my nose together that will be removed during another surgery in about two months. I have to wear a neck/body brace that holds my head completely still for the next four weeks. I now have a spine doctor, a face doctor and a shoulder doctor. They all expect me to make a complete recovery. My Giro helmet is cracked down to the plastic near the front left side of the helmet, but even with all of these injuries, I did not sustain a head injury. A big thank you to Giro from me, my husband, my son, my mom and dad and my friends. I am living proof that helmets work!
My favorite helmet, a several year old Giro Atmos, gave up it’s life for me 2 weeks ago. I was descending a nice empty winding road on a sunny Sunday around noon, having worked the day before I forgot about the heavy downpours. I was heading down the hill into the last turn I saw, in the shade a gravel wash across the final right turn that I partially hidden in the shade of a tree. Before entering the nex- to- the last turn, my computer read 40 mph. Yep — stupid — but it was sunny, warm and I was feeing great. An unthinking touch to the brakes before the gravel on the sharp right turn sealed my fate. Laid it down, slid through the, thankfully, empty on-coming lane, flipped near the side of the road from my right side to my left — slamming the back of my head into the road. Like others have written, I actually remember thinking I was glad I had a helmet, followed with a question — why am I still sliding. As luck would have it, the ditch along the road was filled with last year’s leaves and smaller sticks which stopped me — lost a lot of skin — but didn’t break anything! In my helmet, all the support straps in the helmet broke loose and the back and top (?) of the helmet has plum-sized gravel almost pushed all the way through the shell of the helmet — the helmet didn’t even crack. Two weeks later — most of the bandages are off and I’m in the market for another helmet and new clothing. The fact that I didn’t break anything was luck, the fact that I’m alive I credit to my helmet.
I’ve just been released from a three-day hospital stay after a bicycle crash this past Saturday on the Sammamish River Trail in Kirkland, Washington. While most of the rest of my body was dinged and bruised, my 68 year old head was fine! Looking at the crack on the inside of by year-old Bell helmet, I’m thrilled it was the liner and not my head. Therefore, I just wanted to write to say that this is one future purchase that I will be pleased to make — a replacement for my old Bell helmet. I will be an advocate for the product, and am grateful that it’s kept me safe.
Specialized S-Works helmet saved my life this weeked. Hit a curb straight on I didn’t even see doing over 20 on my road bike, went head first onto the concrete. Helmet shattered into several pieces, the Head Trauma Doc said that probably saved my life. concussion, cervical strain (thank goodness, EMT’s thought I broke my neck), and a tore up face. otherwise okay. need any pictures of the helmet let me know.
This is just a quick e-mail following an article I read while in hospital in the June edition of Cycling Plus magazine. Ive been cycling and mountain biking for several years and would not dream of getting on my bike without a helmet as far as Im concerned its part of my bike. I truly believe the only reason Im here and able to write this e-mail is because I was wearing a cycling helmet. On 23 May I was knocked off my bike by a car turning right in front of me although he claims he didnt see me, I dont remember a thing about the accident ( which Im sure is a good thing) Ive been told that I bounced over the bonnet of the car smashed the windscreen then landed on the road, thankfully I have no broken bones although very bruised and battered knees and a trapped nerve, all of which can hopefully be sorted out in time. I was taken to A&E and suffered a stroke due to the impact to my head which I know would have been much worse had I not been wearing a helmet. Reading the article in hospital and then seeing the number of cyclists since they let me escape on 3 June not wearing a helmet is driving me nuts and I really struggle to understand the reason why. I will be getting back on a new bike in due course but I can assure everyone my first purchase will be a new helmet.
Today was my first crash. It happened so fast I had no time to react! I was leaning left at 15mph to take a left hand turn while crossing over the center of a 2 lane road. The road was crowned in the center due to ice heaving during winter and my front tire fell into the rut that seperated the 2 halves. This was about 3 inches wide by 2 inches deep by 5 or 6 feet in length.
My front tire basically turned right and stopped and propelled me off to the left. I hit my left shoulder hard, road rash and then a popping noise as my collarbone snapped into 3 pieces. At almost the exact instant the back of my helmeted head slammed into the pavement violently. twice. before I came to a stop at the curb.
I actually had enough time to think to myself ‘ I sure am glad I am wearing my helmet’! I did’nt black out or anything and my riding buddies called 911 and waited with me.
My Limar is cracked all the way through just above and behind my left ear. I honestly feel that if I didnt have a helmet, I would be dead. I mean I hit hard! I’m sure I would have cracked my skull and shaved off my left ear! Since I broke my left clavicle, I am typing this one handed. Tomorrow I see the Orthopedic surgeon to see if I need surgery. ER doc thinks 4-6 weeks of immobilization is all I need. And of course a new helmet!
looks like my health insurance and disability insurance is finally going to pay off. Glad I won’t be using that life insurance just yet.
I have always worn a helmet. I always thought I would never need it. i’ve been wrong efore.
While on a training ride on my road bike for an upcoming century ride I had the bad luck to hit a rock, on edge, about the size of my fist. The next thing I knew I was going down on my right side with my arm outstretched in a reflexive action. I don’t recall hitting the ground/pavement but the next thing I recall was laying on the ground moaning.
After a few minutes(?) I managed to get myself up and begin to access the damage. I was skinned up and very sore. As this was a training ride I stood there and actually considered continuing. I guess my instincts kicked in and I decided to abandon. I turned my bike around and began the ride back to my car. The next thing I recall is standing and talking to a Sheriff’s deputy. He had stopped me, I guess, and checked to see if I was OK. I managed to convince him I was. I then rode off toward my car. I only went a few yards before my vision went dark like an old 1950s TV set turning off.
The next thing I recall is being at my car and putting my shoes on. I then drove to my friends house where I was expected. I don’t recall driving to their house!
When I finally went to the doctor I was told I had a concussion. I already knew that but its always good to have it confirmed. I had headaches for three months afterword. Through research I learned I was lucky. Some people have headaches for years. I still have pain in my right hand where I went down.
After looking at the helmet I know it saved my life without a doubt. The injury ended my riding season for that year. I have told as many people as I could about this event in hopes it would encourage them to wear a helmet when cycling, skating or whatever. It really can save your life!
This story is told in a YouTube video made by a woman who survived her crash, but has led a hard life struggling to overcome her injuries.
I read the testimonial stories on the web page, "Visor Problems Shattered Bicycle Helmet Visor? Cut by a Visor Edge" and thought I would share my experience. several years ago I was getting back into cycling and bought a new bike and helmet, a Giro Mojave. I was practicing for my very first bike race and did a header over the handlebar after braking too much. While I was traveling over the asphalt i had tucked my chin to my chest and the visor on the helmet scraped across the rough surface. When I finally stopped my forward movement my friend came running and checked me out. I had bloody elbows and knees but my face was unmarked because the visor took the brunt of the trauma. No marks on the face, no broken teeth, no road rash. I still have the helmet but no longer wear it, it is a reminder of what could have happened. I have since purchased a newer Giro Xen, with a visor, and have been fortunate to not have been injured on the several accidents I have had since then.
You can also read this story with photos on the mom’s blog .
My 8-year-old son crashed on his bike last week. Unable to break while going down a hill, he went through an intersection (thankfully, no cars were coming) and hit the curb on the other side. His bike flew to the right; he went to the left, sliding across the sidewalk into a hedge. Although he was fairly scraped up on his face and arms, we are fortunate that he was not seriously hurt. We didnt realize how fortunate, however, until we examined his helmet. The helmet, which is now cracked in five places, was compressed 3/8" where his head hit the sidewalk. While the picture (left) does not appear very dramatic, and, as bike crashes go, this was a mild one, the helmet clearly saved him from what could have been a fairly bad head injury.
On 6.6.2007 1600 I lost control of my bike due to a sudden loss of pressure in the front tire on a downhill slope and jumped over the steering bar crashing into the pavement edge face-first. The speed was not too fast (approx
Everything below here was added before we began dating the stories. We began this page in 1997.
At the end of the first accident, my head was wedged, face down, under a parked auto. The top of my head only stopped skidding when I hit the tire of said parked auto. Quite literally the top of my helmet was flush with the tire and the back of my helmet was held by the bottom of the car’s metal fender. The second time, as I slid across the pavement, I thought, "What a neat sound. Is it an airplane? I’d never hear an airplane like that in center city Philadelphia. What is it?" And I realized it was the sound of my helmet scraping the asphalt instead of my scalp and face being peeled off. The third accident was Thursday evening. I was riding south on a one-way street. As I crossed a one-way street that ran west, another cyclist mounted his bike, rode east off the sidewalk and directly into my path. My attempt to avoid hitting him, lined me up to plow into pedestrians, so I let him take me out. I flew over the handle bars, I believe 10 to 15 feet, and landed on the right side of my head and my right shoulder and continued skidding. Apparently I had two seizures before I made it to the ER, and yet, my helmet protected me so well that the doctors sent me home that night after ascertaining that my CT scan and EKG were normal. I was diagnosed only with shoulder trauma and minor (nearly nonexistent) head trauma. My treatment? Rest, decreased activity, tylenol.
Every doctor and medical staff member, some of them cyclists, picked up my helmet and looked at it, commenting on the fact that I’d hit hard enough to break a piece out of my helmet. Everyone of them, unable to hide their concern over what might have happened to my head told me that it was good that I’d been wearing it. And I agreed.
As an adult cyclist, I’ve always worn a helmet but after my three accidents, especially the most recent, I have to encourage other people to wear helmets.
25 mph fall on the head. The wearer was unconscious for 12+ hours after the fall, has a tripod (three-way) fracture of the skull, and has been hospitalized for the past two weeks. While the denting and warping of the helmet are quite clear if you look carefully, neither would be difficult to overlook on casual inspection.
0.25 inch), dislocation of the proximal end of the left clavicle, nasty road rash on top of left shoulder, cracked lower left anterior ribs, numerous pulled, bruised and sprained muscles. Here is the amazing thing, I did not suffer a concussion! The doctors were surprised when my pupils dilated equally regardless of the fact that I was unconsious at the scene. Needless to say we have become gonzo about wearing helmets when riding.
My Spine and Neck Specialist reminded me many times during my recovery that without the helmet I would not be able to complain to him about my slow recovery and pain, that I suffered months after the accident, because he did not treat dead people. If I didn’t die, I more than likely would not be talking to him because brain dead people don’t talk. My Neurologist said upon my first examination, "It’s lucky you were wearing a helmet.". My GP, a fellow cyclist, said, "I’ll bet you’re glad you were wearing your helmet." By now I’m sure you’re wondering how I ended up in such a condition to illicit these statements. One fine afternoon, a picture perfect day, in mid November, I decided to take a little spin. The roads were dry and the air crisp. The first snows had not yet arrived in southern New Hampshire, where I lived. Just the kind of day to get in a 30 mile bike ride About halfway through the ride I decided to head over to an area that I loved to ride; rural back roads with great down hill stretches. To reach that area I had to pass through a heavy traffic area of town.
While doing so, a 1987 Ford Bronco, pulled out in front of me, from a side street. I avoided colliding with the vehicle by performing a panic turn, while applying my brakes. After I passed behind the vehicle I started pedaling again. The vehicle and I were now traveling in the same direction. I was in the breakdown lane. As I approached the right rear side of the vehicle, it suddenly made a sharp right turn in front of me, to go into a gas station driveway. I immediately hit my brakes, considered turning right with the vehicle and decided I’d go under it if I did. I decided to try to pass behind the vehicle, but there was a car next to me now. I had no where to go. I realized then that I was going to die. In the moment before I impacted I thought about the women I married only the year before. The accident was three days after our first anniversary. I thought how sad she would be and how unfair it was for her. Her first husband died shortly after their fifth anniversary.
I figure I was going 18 to 20 mph just before impact. I collided with the right rear side of the vehicle, between the rear wheel well and the bumper. The top of my helmet impacted with the side of the vehicle. I passed out from the force of the impact. The next thing I knew there was a police officer kneeling over me. The remainder of the accident was reconstructed by John Allen, an expert witness and who has performed many accident reconstruction’s.
As the vehicle continued moving to the right, my front tire jammed between the fender and bumper. The bike, with me still on it, pivoted around to the rear of the vehicle. I impacted with the tailgate with my left knee. The impact left a 6 inch dent in the tailgate and a slight fracture to my knee. The material on the knee of my winter riding pants melted and fused with the paint. More than a week after the accident, John found a purple mark on the tailgate of the vehicle that matched the swatch of cloth on the knee of my pants. The dent had been banged out and the paint buffed, but the mark from my pants was still there.
My left shoulder impacted with the window of the tailgate as indicated by the melted material on the shoulder of the riding jacket. My helmet above the ear slammed into the window next as evidenced by an indentation. This is when my doctors figure I suffered the neck fractures and nerve damage, as my head ricocheted away from the window with enough force to fracture vertebrae and tear nerve cords. Because I was wearing a helmet I am now a bicycling neck injury statistic and because of the helmet, I survived the accident without a head injury, aside from a minor concussion. Sometimes when I think about the accident, I also think about the anti drug commercial of a few years ago; "This is your brain on drugs. " and a picture of a fried egg. Instead imagine "This is your brain after hitting the side of a vehicle, without a helmet. " and a picture of scrambled eggs. At the time of the accident I was 40, rode 3,000 to 4,000 miles per year, completed the League of American Bicyclists (LAB) Effective Cycling course and was then in the process of becoming an Effective Cycling Instructor.
A lot happens in an instant in a bicycle crash, and the brain does not register all the data. A blow to the head can blank out some memory as well. On occasion we have examined a helmet that is credited with preventing injury and found no evidence of external marks or crushed foam. But we have also had riders tell us they did not hit their heads at all and have shown them the gouges in their helmet, cracks and crushed foam to indicate that they did, but the helmet cushioned the blow and they were not aware of hitting. So the rider’s memory is not necessarily an accurate indicator of what happened.
We are not suggesting that this collection is statistically significant, or even that it is a representative sample. People who died in their crash despite wearing a helmet obviously did not send us a message about it. Helmets don’t prevent all head injuries, and of course many unhelmeted riders crash without brain injury. But we invite you to take a look at some of these and decide for yourself whether or not the shared experience they represent means anything to you.
And watch this space for more stories. Maybe yours.
Send us your own crash story to firstname.lastname@example.org .
A site with crashed helmet photos and stories
Each helmet saved a head.
The Web site inspired by the traumatic injury of Harry Landymore, a six year old who crashed without a helmet and nearly died. The "long story" of Harry’s crash and his parents’ agony is memorable.
Some are not so lucky.
This page was updated or partially revised on: March 8, 2015.
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