A new twist on my favorite topic...hellmets

http://www.bikeradar.com/news/article/court-judgment-has-major-implications-for-cyclists-20250

The good bits:

[quote]Considering a case where a cyclist and motorcyclist collided (Smith v Finch 2009), Mr Justice Griffith Williams ruled that the cyclist could have been found partly liable if wearing a helmet would have prevented or reduced his or her injuries.

In this particular case, it was accepted that a helmet would not have protected the cyclist, Robert Smith, because of the speed at which he hit the ground. [/quote]

[quote]
Helmet expert Dr Bryan Chinn examined Mr Smith’s helmet, which was about 20 years old, and told the court that neither that model nor a more modern one would have prevented Mr Smith’s injuries because he hit the ground in excess of 12mph. He said the scalloped shape of most modern helmets would not have prevented Mr Smith’s injuries, given the location of the impact on the back of his head.[/quote]

Oh and Nick, feel free to have a field day with the legal ramifications (at least in the UK) :wink:

I’m sorry, but that is a poorly written article, and also sounds like a dim witted judge. He just opened up a can of worms that really had no business being opened. If you look at the comments after the article, people bring up very valid points about why the judge’s decision makes no sense.

Thats why I posted this (and less about the crappyness of hellmets) - I really hate dangerous precedences.

As for the writing well, not every journalism major knows how to write either :wink:

well i can assure you that if you are involved in an accident here and that your are not wearing a helmet, you WILL be deemed negligent and to have contributed to your own prejudice (injury). Whatever compensation you may get will be greatly diminished–depending on circumstances, sometimes the entire action is rejected for what is called “faute contributoire”. It’s like operating a chainsaw wearing sandals. There’s no legal requirement to wear boots, but the judge will laugh you and your loose toes out of court.

In Quebec civil law, judges are always much more reticent in attributing extraordinarily grand sums to victims. Like if you try to dry your pet bird in the microwave, the American or Ontarian judge might give you a million bucks because your heart is broken, here, they’ll ask for the receipt from the pet shop and give you whatever you paid for the bird, i.e. $29.99.

Anyway, you can’t sue for road accidents however stupid the other guy may have been. It is all covered by the SAAQ, unless of course the driver runs you over on purpose, then you may get exemplary dammages (to show others not to do the same thing); probably only a few thousand bucks.

i once flew over my handlebars at maybe 40 km/h and fell straight on my head. I thank god i was wearing a helmet.

Nick: you’re exagerating, we were only going between 37 and 38km/h.

But it was a mean crash. And lucky you had that helmet.

so in other words, nick, this “dangerous precedent” won’t have any effect on the courts here in Quebec, nor on your own helmet-wearing habits?

In all the lit I’ve combed through (granted its far from comprehensive) there are some fair constants starting from roughly 1990 until today.

Most sources claim impact energy limits for helmets at around 110-150 joules which translate to impact velocities of the head (not your travelling velocity) of about 24-30 kph.

Even with the newer EN1078 standards the collective engineering wisdom has decided to limit itself to obviously low velocities (4.5-5 m/s or a paltry 17 Kph) for the more realistic oblique impact tests.

That collective wisdom then goes around patting itself on the back that the standards are good but I can’t remember the last time I’ve fallen going that slow.

If one accepts the current basic understanding that helmet protection is governed by the compaction of foam (and thus independent of the shells), at velocities much greater than those being tested densification of the foam is going to be approaching 90% of what is “close packing” and its protection ability is basically nil - you can see this on most graphs where the measured force suddenly peaks upwards.

For most cases where they are testing now densification is usually in the 70% range.

The main point (and one that constantly appears in the lit) is that these things are great for MOST crashes - ie where your average cyclist is going to be but inadequate for serious riding.

I think thats a poor example - your chainsaw analogy would be more akin to someone plowing into a lamp post without a helmet and then attempting to claim damages.

A better example would be failing to wear a helmet on a field site and having someone drop a several metric ton object on their head - the negligence of the act and the outcome is totally independent of personal negligence with respect to safety equipment.

I’m fairly sure that can get bumped up to murder charges, assault, etc when appropriate. 1 ton of steel and several hundred HP is a fair weapon.

i meant if you are operating a chainsaw and someone causes you to drop it on your foot.

definitely, but that is not a civil suit and you’re not the one bringing charges, the crown is. You can’t sue for murder. If you want to extract money from the criminal offence, you return to a civil suit where the burden of proof is less onerous. That’s why OJ was found not guilty for murder in the criminal suit (which requires proof beyond doubt), but guilty for murder and ensuing emotional distress in the civil suit (which i believe in the US also only requires a greater probability that it was committed than not–la prépondérance).

What i mean to say is that barring death or life-long impairement, emotional distress (moral dammages as they are called here) will get you next to nothing in Quebec, whereas the US judge will almost tempt you to be involved in a crash so great are the pecuniary awards.

[quote]but guilty for murder and ensuing emotional distress in the civil suit (which i believe in the US also only requires a greater probability that it was committed than not–la prépondérance).
[/quote]

Yes, you don’t need to “prove” said cases beyond a reasonable doubt.

There is little in the way of protective clothing that will prevent your foot from getting cut off if you drop a chainsaw on it - rather similar to this situation where there isn’t any reasonable protective clothing that will protect you from high speed impacts :stuck_out_tongue:

the saw won’t go thru steel-toed boots if u drop it on it.

Only if you are wearing chain saw boots - otherwise those things cut through most protective footwear.

Are you wearing a motorcycle helmet when you ride? Its actually rated for the sort of impacts you’re more likely to face as a competitive cyclist :wink:

not to jump in the middle of your argument, but a lot of downhillers wear motorcycle/dirt bike helmets these days.

I think the obvious solution is that road bikers just dress like dirt jumpers.

Screw aero.

motorcycle helmets can be aero. check it. http://www.extremesupply.com/zamphelmets/motohelmets/zamphelmetrz10.htm

How about body armour?