alex

133 months ago

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That 70mph bus-crash helmet pic and my take on it

Every so often, you see a story hit Facebook/Reddit/Twitter about some bike crash or other. In this case, it was the old favourite "My friend hit a bus at 70mph and walked away".

Motorcycle helmet damaged in a 70mph bus crash. Apparently

Motorcycle helmet damaged in a 70mph bus crash. Apparently

Looking at the picture above, I am going to be the first to step out and call shenanigans on this story.

Firstly, it was on at least two different facebook feeds and Reddit, all with what look like different user names. That may be the case (after all, even I have more than three friends) but the copy was identical. Looks like karma whoring to me.

Secondly, look closely at the helmet and specifically the damage. There's a number of things that don't make sense.

  • If this was a 70mph impact as suggested, wouldn't the helmet be cracked and splintered rather than ground down?
  • That's a lot of grinding down on a helmet. The only way it could have been done is for the "flat" part to be in contact with the road for a few seconds. And now imagine what positon the rider had to be in for that to happen. More or less upside down with the legs at 2 o'clock - the grazings below, on the side, are more like what I'd expect
  • While I'm no expert, I'd expect that with that large a part of the helmet ground away, you'd see through the lining
  • The edge of the grinding is too regular as if it was rigidly held in one spot

So, to summarize, there's too much grinding in one spot, and it's a spot that no rider would ever skin on in real life.

My suspicion is that while the crash happened, the helmet was actually ground down on a belt-sander to make it look worse. Or just for fun.

Still, if it did happen, and the guy really did walk away after a crash that did this, it's a great reason that we should all be wearing helmets.

[cid=18883,http://i1.ytimg.com/vi/9LfEFhBelTY/hqdefault.jpg]

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vintagemxr

133 months ago

About the "helmet test": When polycarbonate shell helmets were first introduced (1960-70?), shells were known to fracture easily or even shatter on impact. Their shock absorption / dissipation qualities came under scrutiny too. As I recall the problem with shattering was improper temperatures in the molding process. Even the best materials handled improperly may fail. I'd guess that the shattered helmet was a unit at least made under questionable quality control methods. I'm with the others, the ground down helmet looks a little too neatly ground down.

alex

133 months ago

@shinyup, @jordan - I think we all agree helmets are good. @shinyup - it's a Chinese helmet sold in Korea (apparently) so I'm not surprised you couldn't find it. I'd have to agree though, whatever it is, it couldn't be sold in North America.

Jordan

133 months ago

Agreed, it looks to me like the flat spot is in the wrong place. Still, it is a good reminder to always wear a helmet (and gloves, and m/c pants and jackets, and boots, etc.) every time you get on the bike.

shinyup

133 months ago

Agreed, the ground down helmet has to be fake. However, i have to call shenanigans on the hammer video too. Certainly, no such helmet would be sold in the North American or European markets (no DOT ofr SNELL stickers). But more significantly, I can't find any mention of RZO helmets on google at all. If this brand existed, there'd be some evidence, no? Finally, all helmets sold in North America MUST meet DOT standards at minimum, and as far as I can tell, the main thing helmet manufacturers work on to distinguish themselves is how to meet that standard with lighter or fewer materials, or in a more aerodynamic form. Maximizing either of those qualities requires tradeoffs in strength, so I have a real sense that the difference between a $40 lid and a $400 one isn't the crash safety, which should be roughly identical (comparing similar classes of helmet), but rather how heavy or bulky it is.