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to helmet or not to helmet???

So here’s a question?? Are helmets required for Ragbrai?? I don’t generally wear one as they are hot and uncomfortable. Now I know that they are supposed to prevent brain damage (I haven’t got any to damage) and protect your noggin. But when I did some research, statistically(in Australia, I know gravitational pull is different on that side of the world) they have been found that since the introduction of a law requiring helmet use, head trauma has gone up but the number of bikers has gone down. Makes you wonder why? SO, lets start this conversation. To helmet OR, NOT to helmet?

89 Replies

Amanda, January 13, 2019 at 3:23 pm

You can express yourself by wearing a helmet! My son airbrushed the helmet on the left. I did my helmet on the right with spray paint!Helmets


trknight, January 13, 2019 at 5:12 pm

RAGBRAI 2017 on the Karras Loop, ~2-3 miles short of Plover, somehow another rider crashed on top of me, breaking my helmet on the pavement with my head in it. I was knocked unconscious and hauled to the hospital in Pocahontas. When I woke, a doctor was sitting beside and informed me I had bleeding on top of the brain and if it worsened, they were not capable of taking care of it so I was put on a helicopter and flown to a trauma center at Iowa Methodist Hospital in Des Moines. Never experienced before vertigo issues persisted for a year. Without the helmet, who knows what condition I would be in today…

I always ride “defensively”, scanning and evaluating to avoid any potential issues. Unfortunately, other riders may have issues such as wheel touches with another rider that creates tremendous, instant disarray that is unavoidable.

I have amnesia from the accident and only know what a friend told me later that was just a bit behind me. He also told me the other rider got up, grabbed his bike and took off, leaving the scene of an injury accident which, in most states, is a felony.

Just sayin.. if you ride RAGBRAI, make sure you register and wear a helmet!


Jay Kuivinen, January 13, 2019 at 7:04 pm

And by the way HELMET is NOT a verb.


KenH, January 13, 2019 at 9:12 pm

I had an amnesia from my cracked helmet, wake up in the hospital accident too. This was not at RAGBRAI, this was about 200 feet from home. I cannot remember anything from that afternoon but it took the insurance company we had at the time about 3 years to give up asking me about the accident!

In the English language any noun can be used as a verb. Some of our best verbs started life that way! Everyone should helmet all the time, wherever they ride.


Pedaling Pete, January 14, 2019 at 4:35 pm

Wow! You guys have convinced me that RAGBRAI is too dangerous. This is my first BRAI and I think I’ll make my way across the state on another route, and meet up with the ride in one of the cities to see what it’s all about.


John Richardson, January 16, 2019 at 9:05 am

Don’t become too alarmed Pedaling Pete, Ive rode 14 RAGBRAIs and have never been involved in any kind of mishap. Cycling accidents can and will happen anywhere. Trknight so sorry to hear of your accident. Are you pretty much back to normal now? I can really relate to your vertigo and my sense of taste and smell was also way out of wack, but other than having some numb toes I feel like I’m back to normal.


T. Gap Woo, January 22, 2019 at 2:03 pm

Check out this news article! It’ll shock the bejeebers out of you.

18 Reasons Why You Should Never, Ever Put On A Helmet – BuzzFeed

See you along the I-O-Way in July.


KenH, January 23, 2019 at 3:31 pm

A summer or two after my HS graduation one of my classmates was riding his motorcycle and was hit by a car. He was wearing one of the skull cap half helmets mentioned in your link. It wasn’t enough to save him…. Wear a real one!


Iceman !, January 23, 2019 at 4:28 pm

Michrider – I had two more posts after the one to which you responded. Would you please read them and if not too personal, respond.


Rodcrosgrove, January 27, 2019 at 5:42 am

10,000 riders in close proximity. Ages 6-90. And the “CRACK”. Also pace lines and people riding 6 abreast. You better wear a helmet.


Amanda Land, January 27, 2019 at 1:37 pm

I recommend getting a white helmet with lots of vents and a clip on visor. That’s what I wore last year for RAGBRAI and it kept me pretty cool. It kept the sun off my head and face well and the white seems to reflect the sun and not get hot like a black helmet can.


Stephen Tuley, January 28, 2019 at 8:01 pm

I remember a Bell Helmet ad from the late sixties (I’m OLD). It asked what your head was worth to you. “If your head is worth $10, wear a $10 helmet.” I stopped for a crash on Saturday several miles before Montpelier. The guy was unconscious for about ten or twelve minutes. That’s 10-12 actual minutes, I looked at my phone, before the ambulance showed up. I should mention that I’ve been a medic for 26 years , as of last year. The ER doctor who also stopped to help agreed that this guy would’ve died without the helmet. I say if you’re going to ride without a helmet, please sign your organ donor form on the back of your license.


RDaryl Daryl, January 28, 2019 at 9:44 pm

I know a guy who had a crash while riding with his wife. Experienced full concussion.
He has a fancy European helmet with lifetime warranty. When he submitted the helmet for replacement, the company expressed sympathy for the “family loss” as the damage to the helmet showed the crash was fatal. After being notified that the rider survived, the company asked if they could get a copy of the medical records to help with future helmet design.

Another note kids – buckle your helmet straps !!!


Denton Kernodle, January 29, 2019 at 10:58 am

Concerning helmets; everyone should wear a helmet while biking regardless of their speed or ability Also, a helmet is designed to protect the forehead and should be worn one finger’s width above the eyebrow. You frequently see people with the helmets pushed back on their head and that is the wrong position for a helmet. If you have the helmet on the back part of the head then what happens when you crash? With a bike crash you generally lead with your head- the forehead_ and that is what gets hurt. It is a rare bike crash that the back of the head is hurt.


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