Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute

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Crash Stories

Summary: Many stories of crashes with helmets.
Most often the helmet worked, but on occasion it did not.

Each story below was sent to us by a different person. We have converted names to pronouns and formatted each one in a single paragraph, but have made no other changes. We have comments on what the stories mean below. Please email us your own crash story.

Everything below here was added before we began dating the stories. We began this page in 1997.

BHSI Comments

A lot happens in an instant in a bicycle crash, and the brain does not register all the data. A blow to the head can blank out some memory as well. On occasion we have examined a helmet that is credited with preventing injury and found no evidence of external marks or crushed foam. But we have also had riders tell us they did not hit their heads at all and have shown them the gouges in their helmet, cracks and crushed foam to indicate that they did, but the helmet cushioned the blow and they were not aware of hitting. So the rider's memory is not necessarily an accurate indicator of what happened.

We are not suggesting that this collection is statistically significant, or even that it is a representative sample. People who died in their crash despite wearing a helmet obviously did not send us a message about it. Helmets don't prevent all head injuries, and of course many unhelmeted riders crash without brain injury. But we invite you to take a look at some of these and decide for yourself whether or not the shared experience they represent means anything to you.

And watch this space for more stories. Maybe yours...

Send us your own crash story to info@helmets.org.

Some are not so lucky . . .