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  • Writer's pictureGary Moller

Saving my Brains for another Day!

Updated: Apr 6


Helmet
Although dented and bloodied, my MIPS helmet saved the day!

It's been a few days since my painful head-on collision with an e-bike while cycling. I've had time to reflect on the incident and what could have happened. You can read about it here:



What saved me from serious injury was the special helmet I was wearing, plus having practiced the "tuck and roll" method of falling onto the ground. In this article, I want to explain how this helmet works and why, if you ride a bicycle, you should be wearing one.


This video, below, is essential viewing for anyone thinking of purchasing a helmet (my helmet, by the way, ranks an amazing second! https://www.helmet.beam.vt.edu/bicycle-helmet-ratings.html)



So, to describe my most recent accident

A heavy steel bike hit me three days ago with such force that I was lucky to avoid serious injury. The e-bike knocked my bike and lower body backward, while my upper body lurched forward. My right shoulder, arm, and helmeted head slammed into the handlebars, smashing my protective glasses. Although it was ugly, I managed to tuck as I landed on the pavement, the right side of my body and the side of the helmet absorbing some of the impact. My upper right arm had suffered three gashes, and my helmet had some dents from hitting the handlebars and the ground.


I was wearing a MIPS helmet, this one here, to be exact:


MIPS stands for "Multi-directional Impact Protection System"

  • Helmet technology for added protection against rotational motion from impacts.

  • Low-friction layer inside the helmet moves slightly upon impact.

  • Redirects and spreads the rotational forces away from the brain and cervical spine, reducing injury risk.


I want to emphasise that I am not being paid or incentivised to promote this helmet, or its New Zealand distributors, Wide Open Sports. They've been extremely helpful with finding me the helmet that incorporates the need for high performance on the bike, while giving the best protection. So, thank you Wide Open Sports — the helmet is doing the job it was designed for!


My MIPS helmet saved me from what could have been a serious brain and neck injury. Usually, when a bike rider, be they our Granny or an Olympian, falls onto the ground or, in this scenario, colliding with a bulky e-bike, then falling onto the ground, the impact is rarely a straightforward, high-energy head-on blow. Instead, on a bike, it's almost always an impact, plus shearing (rotational) forces on the brain, as the helmet makes contact with an immovable surface and, instead of sliding, it sticks while the body keeps moving. Let me explain this a little more.


Most bicycle accidents occur at speeds below 20 kilometres per hour or when the bike is almost stationary, so the impact is usually low in blunt velocity while high in shearing forces. The resulting shearing forces cause the most significant effects. These forces cause the brain to rotate violently within the skull, and leading to the twisting and tearing of the neck. This is highly undesirable.


My MIPS helmet, plus wearing protective eyewear and padded cycling gloves, along with knowing how to fall safely, likely saved me from more severe injuries. My head and helmet hit the e-bike and then the ground with shearing forces. While I was a little stunned (I call it a "bell-ringer"), there were no residual effects by the next day, other than some superficial wounds, bruising, and stiff muscles. The truth is, as in this case, the worst accidents on a bike may happen while you are ambling along, relaxing, and not concentrating, while enjoying the sun on your face, soaking up all that Mother Nature has to serve!


The one guarantee, if you ride a bike, is you'll fall off when you least expect to, so be prepared at all times!


So, whether you're preparing for the Olympics, or merely riding to the shops, please don your safety gear, including a MIPS helmet. It'll come in handy when you least expect!

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3 Comments


michellecurtisgunn
Mar 17

Did the other person stop Gary? Or they blissfully unaware.?

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Greg Sharpe
Greg Sharpe
Mar 14

Cycling to work, I went in head first into the side of a car that turned in front of me. He didn't see me, even though I was wearing a high vis top and coloured helmet. I was in the tuck position and riding flat out at 60kph+ and being smaller (73kgs), the driver didn't see me with the sun behind me at about 5pm. I braked hard and had the rear wheel in the air. My helmet disintegrated but saved my head from major injury. I had stitches in my ear, inside and out. I asked to be taken to A&E by the driver but he said he was busy!!! I rode the rest of the way to work,…

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Gary Moller
Gary Moller
Mar 14
Replying to

Crikey, Greg!

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