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Discussion Starter #1
For some of you this isn't even a question b/c you don't have a choice. But let's discuss helmets. I usually (that's right, I don't always) wear my helmet. In another thread I caught some flak for a comment about not usually liking helmets. I think helmet laws are kind of like gun control - a good case can be argued either way. So what are the pros and cons?

Here are some of my thoughts:

pro:
the helmet makes me feel safe.
it protects my hearing.
it keeps bugs out of my eyes (and my mouth ;))
if i crash and bang my head, I might live to tell about it

but are there drawbacks to wearing a helmet?

Hmmm. Since I don't have to wear a helmet b/c I live in Wisconsin and I ride with a license, not a permit, I've spent a lot of time riding without one. It's true that the longer I ride, the more I wear it, but I have noticed drawbacks.

First of all, I can't hear as well. I can't hear the bike and I can't hear traffic as well with the helmet on when driving in town. Of course on the highway, the helmet blocks the wind and enables me to hear the bike better. But in town, it bothers me that i can't hear - i don't feel as aware.

The helmet also limits peripheral vision. we all complain about cagers doing things that could harm us. I believe I've avoided potential accidents in town b/c I wasn't wearing my lid. One time a guy ran a red light. I saw him with peripheral vision and gunned it out of the way on a frontage road where he could have nailed me (he was really hauling). I might not have seen him with my helmet on and that scares me.

Also, the other night some cager in an suv pulled out in front of me at a stop sign. I had completed a left turn through an intersection. I saw a suv at a stop sign. It was stopped. I looked where I was going (another left turn). The suv pulled out into my path (or potentially into the side of my bike). My girlfriend said, "honey watch out", and disaster was avoided. I would not have heard her with a helmet on.

The last time I crashed (yes I have crashed more than once unfortunately since I started riding 8 years ago), I got some light scuffs on my helmet. I didn't even know I had hit my head (was in pain from broken ribs, punctured lung) until I looked at the helmet, but I was glad I had it on.

So what does everybody else think? It would be nice if you when you share your opinion you indicate whether you have any experience riding without a helmet.
 

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Interesting stuff.

So, in a nutshell, it's kinda what I've suspected: that at higher speeds, hearing and vision may decrease, while at lower speeds hearing and vision may increase.

But in the end, I know one thing: our bodies are fragile. Our heads can crack like eggshells when they take a hit. For those who don't like to wear gear, the way I see it is like this: take your knuckles and drag them on a sidewalk. It's gonna hurt a bit. You may even bleed from the scraping away of your skin. Now imagine sliding across pavement for 20 feet? 50 feet? Your skin will not hold up. Now, take your head and bang it on a curb. It's gonna hurt as well. Now, imagine your head tumbling and smashing into a curb. I'd place my bets on the curb holding up each time. I can't say the same for our heads.

Sorry, not trying to sound like a fearmonger. Just being realistic.

To all: keep in mind, I'm not directing this post at anyone specific. I'm just of the opinion that we motorcyclists sometimes tempt fate simply by riding among all the morons on the road. I firmly believe that the discomforts of gear are highly worth it, with the hope that my gear might help me to continue riding for a long life.

inca jones
 

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I'd never ride without one (except for that 10 minute ride when I was in ohio, I just had to try it [8D] ).
The Pro's outweigh the cons a hundred times over..

It's like the seatbelt/airbag debate.. they save thousands of lives, but also kill a few people (getting stuck in the seatbelt, or killed by a rapidly deploying airbag). In the end, you are still much, much safer with one on. I'd also never leave home without my seatbelt on..
 

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My Father's Friend's Son just died this weekend from not wearing a helmet. He was trying to pass a car and the car made a left turn. Although I firmly believe his accident could have been avoided, his death could have been avoided with some protection. He also broke his neck and his back in the fall...21 years old, such a shame.

I went without my helmet for 2 blocks at 10 mph with no cars around, I was still petrified! I will always have my lid on, no matter what.
 

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Dopey as it may be, I only wear my seatbelt when the roads are wet (law or no law) and will always strap my lid on (law or no law)
 

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Not even a hard decision. Wear a helmet. I'm glad I do or I might not even be here to type this. I was hit in the rear at an interstion and without my helmet I might be a vegetable. My helmet has big gashes and is cracked (Shoei helmet....Not some junk thing). Without it that would have been my skull. It just commen sense in my opinion but to each is to own as it is your head.
 

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As someone who works in law enforcement and does a lot of MVC investigations, I can't believe there's people out there who might actually argue it's safer to ride withOUT a helmet. I'd love for those people to come with me on a few motorcycle accident investigations. We recently had a fatality where a guy on a cruiser ran into the side of a small family car wearing a beanie helmet which flew off on impact. His speed? Estimated at about a whopping 35 mph - that's it. He flew over the car and landed on his back. I watched as a firefighter giving emergency medical attention tried to secure him as medical personnel got him on the stretcher for the ambulance placed his hands on either side of his head and neck and his brain was literally running out of his cracked skull. Would he have walked away unscathed if he was wearing a full face helmet? No, likely not. But all on scene agreed he would have lived. End of story, and the reason I'm jaded in this argument. You think some attitudes of bikers out there would change if they had witnessed this scene? I do. Maybe some people need to.

Look, lots of people say "It's my choice" and I entirely agree. If you have no helmet laws, it's YOUR call. Go nuts. But this argument about increased vision or "hearing" your bike may make it safer than riding WITH a helmet is lame at best. People should do what they want, I'm not the type to lecture people for making choices they're legally allowed to make. But PUH-LEASE... don't throw a stretch like this the way of people who might be trying to decide and wrongfully influence their decision. Helmets save lives. Period. I have seen it first hand SEVERAL times.

Mvrk, if you're asking or care about my opinion, I suggest you never get on the bike without throwing on a helmet. But that doesn't mean I'm going to flame you for making a choice. Just be sure you know the facts. Let's face it... riding a sportbike today isn't exactly the safest thing we could be doing, don't you just wanna make sure you tip the odds in your favor as much as possible?

[I'm just gonna hop off this soapbox now]
 

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i learned to ride w/o a helmet so i was never conditioned to wear a helmet and when i put one on i had the same arguements about sight and hearing...i got smart and chose to wear my helmet, now the sight and hearing thing doesn't bother me at all...i rode the other night w/o my lid b/c i picked up some girl and everything was way too loud for me.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I expected some heated responses and very firm convictions. I guess that's kind what I got. I guess it's harder to for me dj, b/c in several personal incidents I still would have walked away with no head injury even if I wasn't wearing my lid. I suppose that seeing what you see would make you a lot more cautious (and rightly so). I recently had an accident where I broke ribs and punctured a lung while wearing all my gear (including my helmet). What disgusted me is that none of my protected parts would have been injured even if I'd been wearing shorts and a t-shirt. Where I need the protection, there was none.

So for anyone on the fence about wearing a helmet: I will now attempt to sway you toward it so that I am not responsible for your untimely demise. All in all I guess I agree that the best and safest route is to wear a good helmet. I wanted to play the devil's advocate to see what responses would be shared. However, what I have to say about reduced ability to hear and utilize peripheral vision should not be taken lightly! What this means is that you need to be extra careful. Make sure to turn your head far enough to see and be conscious of that fact that an extra effort to be aware of your surroundings is required for safe riding. Also, please use your mirrors so you don't get rearended.
 

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Riding is like skydiving. Eventually, you're going to hit the ground. I'd rather have a parachute myself.
 

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Check out my crash thread and imagine those scrapes on your head instead of the lid. That happened so fast (and the helmet protected me so well) I barely knew my head touched the ground until I took it off ans seen the damage. As bristley as they are, my whiskers wouldn't have protected quite as well as the shoei lol.
 

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I was always that if you ride it's not a question of if, but when you going to go down. That all came true to me last October at 60 mph in rush hour traffic on the interstate. My helmet tells the story of what my face might have looked liked without my helmet. I am not onlyin favor of helmets but full face is a great idea too.
 

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Try this on for size. These pictures were taken about 3 days after I bounced down a highway at 75mph. Road rash destroyed the left side of my face, and my ear had to be re-assembled by hand. I wasn't wearing any gear because I was in a truck at the time (ejected when seatbelt failed during a rollover). I have one more surgery to do, and then I'll be done, but I have permanent scarring, and the whole ordeal was one of the worst I've ever been through.

I've never had an inch of road rash on a bike- my body was covered with it after this accident (wrist, back, hands, legs, face, head, etc). I always wear at least a helmet and gloves on a bike, and usually a jacket. Road rash sucks.

Oh, and nevermind the stoned-ass look on my face. I was on a lot of morphine. :D
 

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i know a guy that wiped out doing a wheelie like 3 days ago, he didn't have his gloves or jacket on, but was wearing his helmet

he lost like 4 finger nails (Scraped off) and got some pretty bad road rash, but his head was fine (the helmet was scratched to hell, if he didn't have it on he woulda cracked his skull and died or he would be lookin like freddy kruger) he actually walked to a nearby house to get help where he later passed out, had he not had his helmet on he might not have been discovered for a while and might of died...

fact of the matter is you never know when your gonna go down, that's why they are called accidents

the shit about hearing and peripheral vision is bullshit, even if you don't have a lid on you have to turn ur head to MAKE SURE there is no one next to you if you are changeing lanes whatever, if the helmet fits properly you have the same peripheral vision as if you weren't wearing one

and the crap about your broken rib, you had leather on so im guessing it saved you from alot of road rash, you can't expect it to make you invinsible

"What disgusted me is that none of my protected parts would have been injured even if I'd been wearing shorts and a t-shirt. Where I need the protection, there was none"

so you were disgusted your head didn't slam into anything? that is the stupidest thing i ever read
 

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its simple if you ride wear a helmet,if you dont then you shouldnt ride .If you cant see whats comming from the left or right with your helmet try turning ur head a little:D
 

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I don't know, back home we don't have helmet laws. So it was weird getting stationed in CA, having to wear a lid all the time(incl. all kinds of other b.s. on base). By now I've gotten used to it and actually like wearing my helmet. Wouldn't go without it. The only bad thing is carrying it with you, having to take it off, put it back on, take it back off, and when some hot chick asks for a ride, and you know you are gonna get some, you gotta be like: Sorry honey, only if you can find a fucking helmet.
 

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I think that should be the only exception when to not wear a helmet....if a hot chic wants to come home with you so you can get it on. Give her the helmet and take the risk for some lovin! After you are finished...tell her to call a cab or walk. [8D]

all in fun!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
FMAN, I'll try to reword it so you can understand what I meant. I guess I didn't explain the part about my gear correctly. I'm happy that I avoided injury to parts of my body beyond my ribs. But in this freak instance, I didn't need the gear (my jacket isn't even rashed). What I could have used was some good rib protection. I'm frustrated b/c none of my gear is designed to prevent rib injury (or a punctured lung).

In response to your comments about hearing and peripheral vision: I can tell that you have ridden very little if at all without a helmet (which is a good thing). Of course you head check to either side when changing lanes, etc. but no full face helmet allows the same peripheral vision that you have without one no matter how well it fits. This is easy to test if you don't believe it. The simple fact is that you trade a little bit of peripheral vision for a lot of head protection in case you crash.

I can only chuckle about the reduced hearing part:D. My helmet of choice is Shoei's rf900. It has been touted as "the quietest helmet on the market". at low (in town, stop and go) speeds, any human will be able to hear better without the helmet than while wearing it.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
More than anything else, I started this thread to hear everybody's opinions. I am not advocating driving around without a helmet. In fact, in my first post I stated that I usually wear mine. I also didn't mean to offend anyone. But I think it's clear that no helmet is perfect just like a seatbelt doesn't always save your life and does in fact occaisionally cause somone to die.

I think that any adult who doesn't live in a fantasy world can admit that there may times when their helmet is a liability, just as there are times when a seatbelt is a liability. And like most reasonable people that same adult can make the choice to wear their helmet and their seatbelt b/c they know that the odds are in favor of it saving them rather than hurting them, while at the same time knowing and admitting that there are sometimes occasions when the intended safety device causes harm.

I didn't mean to upset anybody. I think I'm done now.
 
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