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What is the minimum protection you wear?


Thai-lad
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I see many videos of unprotected riders, as well as riders who wear differing amounts of protective armor depending on the ride they're planning.

What's the minimum safe amount for a low speed ride?

I recommend this as a test.  Take your wheel outside on the pavement. Stand next to a wall.  Lean the back of the wheel against the wall.  Don't power up your wheel.  Mount your wheel then gently push off.  Try to hold your balance, but feel free to fall forward and try to catch yourself when you no longer can.  This is what falling off a wheel would feel like at no speed.  Any forward momentum at all would make it much much worse. If you are able to get up without injury, then your protection works.  If you break your wrists, ribs, shoulders or smash your face, perhaps it would be time to order some better protection once you're back from the hospital. :)

Not brave enough to try?  Can't say I blame you.  Maybe think about it next time you take a low speed ride....

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What I think I should wear: Full face helmet, motorcycle jeans with knee protection, motorcycle gloves,  wrist-guards, motorcycle jacket with elbow, shoulder and some back protection

What I wear:  Helmet, motorcycle jeans with knee protection, motorcycle gloves, motorcycle jacket with elbow, shoulder and some back protection.

My knees have been the only part of my body that have experienced any minor abrasions during my one cut-off  fall (slow speed), and with the minor falls while learning to ride. My hands landed afterwards or at the same time as my knees and at nowhere near a wrist breaking impact level. Even though the Face-plant is my greatest fear, I currently have been taking the risk of not wearing a full face helmet because I don't want to, and riding in the city in bike lanes or even on bike trails in heavy bike traffic, other drivers/riders seem to crowd one more if that rider seems protected than if they seem vulnerable. This might be in my head, but I believe there have been "some" studies suggesting such. YMMV

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30 minutes ago, Jerome said:

What I think I should wear: Full face helmet, motorcycle jeans with knee protection, motorcycle gloves,  wrist-guards, motorcycle jacket with elbow, shoulder and some back protection

What I wear:  Helmet, motorcycle jeans with knee protection, motorcycle gloves, motorcycle jacket with elbow, shoulder and some back protection.

My knees have been the only part of my body that have experienced any minor abrasions during my one cut-off  fall (slow speed), and with the minor falls while learning to ride. My hands landed afterwards or at the same time as my knees and at nowhere near a wrist breaking impact level. Even though the Face-plant is my greatest fear, I currently have been taking the risk of not wearing a full face helmet because I don't want to, and riding in the city in bike lanes or even on bike trails in heavy bike traffic, other drivers/riders seem to crowd one more if that rider seems protected than if they seem vulnerable. This might be in my head, but I believe there have been "some" studies suggesting such. YMMV

Did you sprain your wrists when doing your four point landing?

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5 minutes ago, The Fat Unicyclist said:

For me, the general rules are;

  • <20 km/h = wrist guards
  • 20-35 km/h = wrist guards + helmet (open face) + body armour (if it isn't too hot).
  • > 35 km/h = wrist guards + helmet (full face) + body armour (always)

And would you try the zero speed fall test I proposed wearing only wrist guards?

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1 hour ago, The Fat Unicyclist said:

If my life depended on it (or if you offered me enough money), I would.

But then I ride an electric unicycle... Not only am I used to falling off (with scars & screws to prove it), but I expect it!

But if I offered you no money and your life wasn't on the line, you wouldn't?  Yet that's exactly what you're risking (and much more) every time you ride with only wrist guards and no helmet.

A basketball dropped from a height of 2 meters will hit the ground a little over 1/2 second later and reach over 20 km/hr at impact.  Throw it forward at 20 km/hr and the impact will be double.  If you're lucky the forward momentum will be lost as friction (but think of your face as the brake pad!).  However, if you're unlucky and your head hits a tree stump, wall, lamp post or curb, well no amount of screws can fix that...

In short riding helmetless at any speed is, in my view, a risk not worth taking. You are playing Russian roulette, and just cause you survived the previous turns doesn't improve your odds the next time you spin the barrel.

I would no more ride without a helmet than I would deliberately ride into a wall at 20 km/h. 

At least with an approaching wall I could anticipate the impact and get my hands up.  But my reaction time for a free fall is more than .6 seconds...

Not criticizing your choices here, they're yours to make.  Only providing food for thought.

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8 hours ago, mrelwood said:

@Thai-lad, you have a very provocative tone to your message. In my opinion, rightfully so, but unfortunately it does hinder the message getting received by those who need it the most. Solution? Not a clue.

Although I have ridden a few times the 100m to my car at below running speed with only wrist supports, otherwise I don’t even get on the (powered on) wheel without a helmet w/ chin guard, wrist support gloves, and protection at the knees, elbows and shoulders. At below 20•C I wear a motorcycle jacket and leather pants. I heal slow.

Sorry if it comes across as pedantic.  But then I live in Thailand, with one of the highest rate of traffic deaths in the world.  And where motorcycle (scooter) accidents are the leading cause of motor vehicle fatalities, and the population at large still is largely helmetless...  Every day you can see pictures in the local media, of multiple examples of unlucky bike drivers and/or passengers whose families will be arranging another funeral.     I just wish those who post those engaging videos that we all love to watch would think about the impact their example will have on newcomers.  Full respect to guys like EUC Extreme and others who clearly take protective armor seriously, but for the reasons I explained above, it's just as critical to have adequate protection even if all your doing is standing in place.  Lose your balance, and 0.6 seconds later an impact at 20 kph could change your life forever.  But I'll get off my soapbox now ;)

Edited by Thai-lad
fixed spelling
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2 hours ago, Thai-lad said:

In short riding helmetless at any speed is, in my view, a risk not worth taking. You are playing Russian roulette, and just cause you survived the previous turns doesn't improve your odds the next time you spin the barrel.

Yes, I agree... but there is a difference between riding at 10 km/h and riding at 40 km/h... in particular the potential damaged caused. 

And while I don't condone people taking unnecessary risk, the fact is that every person crossing a road anywhere is taking a risk - it comes down to the potential for injury to occur, and how significant that injury may be...

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The images below show the actual gear I wear for every ride and what I also consider as my "minimum protection"

TSG Pass Full Face Helmet

Flexmeter D30 Wrist Guards

Shift Enforcer Knee & Shin Guards

G-Form Pro X Elbow Pads

TSG Pass.jpeg

Flexmeter.jpg

Shift.jpg

G-Form.jpg

Edited by fbhb
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6 hours ago, The Fat Unicyclist said:

For me, the general rules are;

  • <20 km/h = wrist guards
  • 20-35 km/h = wrist guards + helmet (open face) + body armour (if it isn't too hot).
  • > 35 km/h = wrist guards + helmet (full face) + body armour (always)

I was trying to calculate how fast you were riding inside the warehouse the other day. I believe you broke at least one of your general rules. :) 

30159980928_d660ff3b5d_b.jpg

 

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1 hour ago, The Fat Unicyclist said:

Yes, I agree... but there is a difference between riding at 10 km/h and riding at 40 km/h... in particular the potential damaged caused

And while I don't condone people taking unnecessary risk, the fact is that every person crossing a road anywhere is taking a risk - it comes down to the potential for injury to occur, and how significant that injury may be...

I completely agree with what you say here, particularly the parts I highlighted in bold text.  At 40 km/h, your body will contain 5 times as much energy to dissipate if you fall, than if you were stationary, if my math skills don't fail me. 

My point is, that I think you underestimate the danger of just falling from an otherwise stationary position.  The terminal impact velocity if you land head first will be over 6 meters per second (20+ kph).  That's more than enough to be fatal (see table below).  Every kph of wheel velocity you add to that number increases the final impact speed.  But you can only die once :P .  You probably won't land head first, but you also know you could.  Helmets are not a panacea for every contingency, but they do improve the odds.  Riding without one is an unnecessary and completely avoidable risk.   

 

So for me, the absolute minimum riding protection would be a helmet and wrist guards.  Even just learning to ride.  Maybe especially just learning to ride :efef36327c:

 

 

----------------

from http://www.internationalbrain.org/examination-of-bi-thresholds-in-terms-of-the-severity-of-head-motion-and-the-brain-stresses/

 

Table 2. Correlation of ICP and acceleration of the head with HIC scores

 

Speed of impact (m/s)

Acceleration (g)

ICP (kPa)

Shear stress (kPa)

HIC

1

62.1

47.4

3.71

196.1

2

140.3

137.3

9.31

363.8

3

222.3

191.1

14.05

705.3

5

317.07

276.14

25.64

1939

 

A similar response and correlation can be seen in the behavior of brain tissue shear stress as depicted in Figure 2(c); At 1 m/s no injury is expected. Based on the thresholds proposed by Kang et al.4, at speeds of 2 and 3 m/s, however, the shear stresses are 9.3 and 14.05 kPa, respectively, estimating the probabilities of mild and severe injuries. At speed of 5 m/s, the shear stress is considerably larger than 16 kPa (brain tolerance) and fatal injury occurs. The data of shear stress can clearly predict the occurrence of injury.  

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9 hours ago, The Fat Unicyclist said:

For me, the general rules are;

  • <20 km/h = wrist guards
  • 20-35 km/h = wrist guards + helmet (open face) + body armour (if it isn't too hot).
  • > 35 km/h = wrist guards + helmet (full face) + body armour (always)

For me, the general rules are:

- <20 km/h = learn and practice how to fall (watch YouTube tutorials, join a martial art group!)

- 20-35 km/h = wrist guards + practice advanced falling techniques over and over, and over and over, and ...

- > 35 km/h = DO NOT DO IT on an EUC, if you must: wear wrist guards + practice advanced falling techniques over and over, + wear a helmet (full face) + body armour (always) + keep you Organ Donar Documents with you! (always!)

I took many falls while learning to ride, some on the ACM with quite some speed. Never hurt myself seriously. Did Aikido since childhood.

Reference:

 

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56 minutes ago, Toshio Uemura said:

For me, the general rules are:

- <20 km/h = learn and practice how to fall (watch YouTube tutorials, join a martial art group!)

- 20-35 km/h = wrist guards + practice advanced falling techniques over and over, and over and over, and ...

- > 35 km/h = DO NOT DO IT on an EUC, if you must: wear wrist guards + practice advanced falling techniques over and over, + wear a helmet (full face) + body armour (always) + keep you Organ Donar Documents with you! (always!)

I took many falls while learning to ride, some on the ACM with quite some speed. Never hurt myself seriously. Did Aikido since childhood.

Reference:

 

Many good techniques for dealing with falls in different martial arts, but if you don't have any warning it's coming, it takes longer than .6 seconds to respond.  You might have time to tuck your head and begin a body twist, but more than that??  Do you think you're good enough to take the test I proposed in the first post of this thread?

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12 hours ago, Jerome said:

My knees have been the only part of my body that have experienced any minor abrasions during my one cut-off  fall (slow speed), and with the minor falls while learning to ride. My hands landed afterwards or at the same time as my knees and at nowhere near a wrist breaking impact level. Even though the Face-plant is my greatest fear, I currently have been taking the risk of not wearing a full face helmet because I don't want to, and riding in the city in bike lanes or even on bike trails in heavy bike traffic, other drivers/riders seem to crowd one more if that rider seems protected than if they seem vulnerable. This might be in my head, but I believe there have been "some" studies suggesting such. YMMV

Indeed, there is some evidence supporting this from a 2007 studie [1]. That study suggests that drivers would have a smaller buffer zone when overtaking a helmet-wearing bicyclist compared to one without. Since helmets have proven to actually be very good particularly for single-vehicle accidents, the big take-away left from the study is course that we should all ride wearing wigs and while keeping close to the car lane. Also, a later study couldn't replicate the helmet association[2], but seems to have replicated the kerb distance factor. That abstract doesn't mention wigs, so surely that advice is still good :)

[1]: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17064655

[2]: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24086528

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35 minutes ago, Nils said:

Indeed, there is some evidence supporting this from a 2007 studie [1]. That study suggests that drivers would have a smaller buffer zone when overtaking a helmet-wearing bicyclist compared to one without. Since helmets have proven to actually be very good particularly for single-vehicle accidents, the big take-away left from the study is course that we should all ride wearing wigs and while keeping close to the car lane. Also, a later study couldn't replicate the helmet association[2], but seems to have replicated the kerb distance factor. That abstract doesn't mention wigs, so surely that advice is still good :)

[1]: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17064655

[2]: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24086528

If you're riding in traffic, the more likely cause of a crash will be the motorist who doesn't see you and cuts in front of you, or hits you broadside, or the pothole that causes you to lose it, not the guy who clips you by passing too close.  Anyone who rides without a helmet in traffic in the hopes that he/she will be safer because they think cars will give them a wider berth is taking a grave (and I think foolish) risk.  But that's just my opinion. :)

Edited by Thai-lad
spelling mistake
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2 hours ago, Thai-lad said:

Many good techniques for dealing with falls in different martial arts, but if you don't have any warning it's coming, it takes longer than .6 seconds to respond.  You might have time to tuck your head and begin a body twist, but more than that??  Do you think you're good enough to take the test I proposed in the first post of this thread?

Well, I wouldn’t know if I could pass your test as discribed, but I have a yearlong history of bad falls and face plants since childhood and I got never seriously hurt, since I had been taught and practiced regularly how to fall. There was my afghan hound that decided to run between my legs while jogging together and just recently the face plant I had on a moderate slope, when I tried to ride my E+ forcefully uphill the way I rode my Tesla the weeks before on much steeper slopes. This last one probably qualifies you test conditions. As you said: it happens instantaneously and there is little or no time to react, but your subconscious takes over, IF you have practiced before. You instinctively turn your head sideways to stiffen your neck muscles, so your nose doesn’t hit the asphalt and my hands and forearms I always keep up and near my face. So all you need is stretch your legs in order not to hurt you knees and land on your toes and slide on the triangle of your flat hands and forearms. In Japan, we fortunately have lots of tatami everywhere in almost every house to easily practice every day. In western countries it might take some effort to find a practice spot, but green soft grass or a baseball or soccer ground should be sufficient too. So yes, I believe I am good enough to survive your test. Sounds a bit like this:

This is close to where I have my hands when speeding. Having them below your hips I do not recommend. Hold your hands as taking a picture with an imaginary camera (or a real iPhone as slide pad ?) and you should be safe.

Edited by Toshio Uemura
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14 hours ago, Rehab1 said:

I was trying to calculate how fast you were riding inside the warehouse the other day. I believe you broke at least one of your general rules. :) 

30159980928_d660ff3b5d_b.jpg

I was waiting for someone to mention that... But you will notice I said "General Rules" as there are always exceptions - and this was one of them.   :D

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30 minutes ago, The Fat Unicyclist said:

I was waiting for someone to mention that... But you will notice I said "General Rules" as there are always exceptions - and this was one of them.   :D

Just havin some fun! I fall into the exception category more than I’d like to admit. 

 :cheers:

Edited by Rehab1
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8 hours ago, Toshio Uemura said:

Well, I wouldn’t know if I could pass your test as discribed, but I have a yearlong history of bad falls and face plants since childhood and I got never seriously hurt, since I had been taught and practiced regularly how to fall. There was my afghan hound that decided to run between my legs while jogging together and just recently the face plant I had on a moderate slope, when I tried to ride my E+ forcefully uphill the way I rode my Tesla the weeks before on much steeper slopes. This last one probably qualifies you test conditions. As you said: it happens instantaneously and there is little or no time to react, but your subconscious takes over, IF you have practiced before. You instinctively turn your head sideways to stiffen your neck muscles, so your nose doesn’t hit the asphalt and my hands and forearms I always keep up and near my face. So all you need is stretch your legs in order not to hurt you knees and land on your toes and slide on the triangle of your flat hands and forearms. In Japan, we fortunately have lots of tatami everywhere in almost every house to easily practice every day. In western countries it might take some effort to find a practice spot, but green soft grass or a baseball or soccer ground should be sufficient too. So yes, I believe I am good enough to survive your test. Sounds a bit like this:

This is close to where I have my hands when speeding. Having them below your hips I do not recommend. Hold your hands as taking a picture with an imaginary camera (or a real iPhone as slide pad ?) and you should be safe.

Keeping your hands up at speed is a good tip, as is tucking your head to the side and tensing your neck muscles in a fall.  Straightening your legs and sliding on your feet and forearms will leave a lot of your skin on the pavement if you aren't wearing pads, however.

Like you said, that takes practice, since most people's reaction will be to raise their head, bend their knees and try to run it off if they have time to react at all.

Another place to practice might be to fall (not dive) from the side of a swimming pool.

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Problems are, at low city cruising speeds,  riding with raised arms is not practical, and it takes about .2 seconds for even a trained athlete to react.  That leaves .4 seconds to raise your arms and straighten out.  My cat can do that, most people won't even know they are in free fall until it's too late, as they're still hoping their feet will come down on the pedals.  Starting martial arts training at 40 - 60 years of age is also not likely. Bottom line is it's far better to wear wrist guards and a helmet for every ride.

Edited by Thai-lad
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People who ride motorcycles/scooters, hang gliders, paramotors, , eucs, esk8s, bikes, e-kick-scooters, or do mountain/rock climbing, downhill sking/snow-boarding,  sky-diving, motor-cross and many more activities, have decided to risk life and limbs for personal reasons. Some pursue their activities in a cavalier way, while others take every precaution in terms of dress/equipment/implementation. Most of us probably fall in the middle. We all delude ourselves, however, into thinking we have some say as to for whom the bell will toll. 

Science can discuss possible consequences of various falls/collisions/etc. Trauma Centers can site real cases and provide statistics.  No one, however has every been able to site "who" will fall/have accident/collision. They can only predict  what likely will happened, or what has happened  to those unlucky souls who do have an incident. When we mount our dangerous machine/equipment/endeavor of choice, in reality we are looking down the barrel of "Dirty Harry's" Magnum 44 and we should ask ourselves "do you feel lucky .. well do you punk?"

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3 minutes ago, Jerome said:

People who ride motorcycles/scooters, hang gliders, paramotors, , eucs, esk8s, bikes, e-kick-scooters, or do mountain/rock climbing, downhill sking/snow-boarding,  sky-diving, motor-cross and many more activities, have decided to risk life and limbs for personal reasons. Some pursue their activities in a cavalier way, while others take every precaution in terms of dress/equipment/implementation. Most of us probably fall in the middle. We all delude ourselves, however, into thinking we have some say as to for whom the bell will toll. 

Science can discuss possible consequences of various falls/collisions/etc. Trauma Centers can site real cases and provide statistics.  No one, however has every been able to site "who" will fall/have accident/collision. They can only predict  what likely will happened, or what has happened  to those unlucky souls who do have an incident. When we mount our dangerous machine/equipment/endeavor of choice, in reality we are looking down the barrel of "Dirty Harry's" Magnum 44 and we should ask ourselves "do you feel lucky .. well do you punk?"

It's one thing to stare down Dirty Harry's barrel.  It's another to play Russian roulette.  One thing is not under your control, it's a risk you can't avoid if you partake in the activity.  The other is a deliberate choice.  As a daily motor scooter rider on some of the most dangerous streets in the world, I am keenly aware that I take a small but non-trivial risk every time I go on the road.  With the high heat and humidity here, I would much prefer not to wear a helmet.  But I know better.

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