Our director, Alan Nestor, explains his thoughts on helmets and shares what he wears:
“Perhaps only cat memes light up the internet more than a discussion about bike helmets! Well, buckle up – this might light a match!
Full disclosure; 1. I wear a helmet. Always have. 2. It is not a legal requirement to wear a cycle helmet in the UK so there is still personal choice involved.
A couple of reasons for the post – toward the end of this winter, with the nights still darker than pitch, my neighbour came off his bike on his commute home. Up until that point it was a normal, in town commute when something went into his spokes, throwing him off the bike and over the handlebars. He landed on his head and can’t remember much after that. Knocked himself out cold. A passing NHS doctor (what luck!) quickly attended, called the ambulance and (in an act of super charity) took care of the bike.
My neighbour was wearing a helmet. The helmet was written off, split open like a cantaloupe. But the helmet did its job. My neighbour made a full, speedy recovery, was back on his bike in quick fashion and is, forever grateful, to the doctor & the helmet!
I ride my bike every day. I commute on dark, bad, rural roads. I often train alone, on isolated, quiet country roads. Without being too melodramatic my neighbour’s experience made me question my mortality & safety. It must be an age thing!
Time for a new helmet?
The second reason for the post was that about the same time, Specialized binned their helmet range & launched a slew of updated product with some eye catching features. All models now come with a MIPS option and certain models come equipped with Angi.
MIPS is an enchanted safety feature layer that reduces rotational impact to the head. There is heaps written about it (and other similar enhanced safety products). Systems make claim & and counter claim. Competitors throw shade on each other. My view is that if the feature does not make me less safe and if there’s even a chance that it makes me safer, I’m in! Besides, a brain surgeon I know wears a MIPS helmet…. A brain surgeon!! Specialized were late to the MIPS party but are now in, both boots.
They (on their higher end models) have also worked with MIPS Technologies in designing a super slick, lightweight version of the system which is very impressive.
Angi is a very cool piece of kit. A small transmitter is bolted to the back of the helmet. Its essentially a gps tracker and, tellingly, an accident reporting tool. Through movement monitoring it can tell if the wearer has been involved in a. crash. If it detects an incident it can send a nominated contact a message and a location. There are a number of accident notification systems out there but, in testing, Specialized claim to have had no ‘false positive’ alarms. No crying wolf!
It’s high tech stuff, it’s impressive and it’s a little ‘big brother’! I don’t know anyone who likes insurance (apart from an insurance broker pal of mine!). Angi does not prevent accidents. Like any (outdoor) activity cycling carries elements of risk. Angi can provide a safety net. I think of it as assurance not insurance.
I wear a helmet. Always have. I wear the best helmet I can. I wear a MIPS & Angi helmet.”