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Is it time to switch to full-face helmets as the standard?

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Is it time to switch to full-face helmets as the standard?

Old 10-29-22, 10:47 AM
  #1  
bluefoxicy
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Is it time to switch to full-face helmets as the standard?

Helmet vs. no helmet aside (there's a thread for that whole mess), something's come to my attention.

Doing some research online, I've found several accounts of people losing their teeth while biking on the road. One person relayed from his surgeon that facial injuries damaging and destroying multiple teeth during daily commutes are fairly common. Professional cyclists engaged in road racing also generally experience facial injuries in crashes involving the head.

On the other hand, full-face helmets look stupid.

I'm not sure that actually counts as two sides to the argument.

So putting aside whether you think helmets matter at all anyway, is it time for those of us who wear helmets to set an example (and avoid losing our teeth) by wearing full-face helmets in all cycling conditions?

(Mind you this is coming from someone who wears a light mesh jacket with impact-resistant plastic interlocking elbow armor and spine protector, but maybe it's time to rethink safety norms in general.)
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Old 10-29-22, 10:54 AM
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Aesthetics aside, I think most people would shy away from full-face helmets because of how hot and sweaty they'd get.
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Old 10-29-22, 11:06 AM
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Or go with what hockey goalies now wear - helmets with wire cage face shields. Better ventilation while still still keeping your face off the road. (I wore the hockey version as a teen goalie. I could take a hard slapshot full in the face. Didn't hurt at all. By contrast, getting hit with the then popular molded fiberglass shields was NOT fun. All the pro goalies wised up and switched.)

Edit: Oh, and obviously, the high end cages need to be titanium. Light, strong, good abrasion resistant and sweat-proof. Neat little welds at all the crosses.

Last edited by 79pmooney; 10-29-22 at 11:10 AM.
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Old 10-29-22, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by JW Fas View Post
Aesthetics aside, I think most people would shy away from full-face helmets because of how hot and sweaty they'd get.
That or how expensive they are. $150 for a well-ventilated one, and it's still going to be somewhat hotter than a $30 skull cap.
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Old 10-29-22, 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by bluefoxicy View Post
I've found several accounts of people losing their teeth while biking on the road.
I've found several on-line accounts of alien abduction while cycling as well, but concluded that these incidents are infrequent enough to not warrant special anti-abduction hardware.
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Old 10-29-22, 11:23 AM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
Or go with what hockey goalies now wear...
Yes... I have always thought this an excellent idea. Think of it, you have a special helmet approved for specific sports but not interchangeable with other sports. That does not sound right to begin with. Why not use a hockey helmet on a climbing wall, or baseball plate, or spelunking trip, or even a bike ride. The hockey helmets are already set up to be modified for various stages of protection and are proven. I feel pretty strongly about this. Especially with the kids who need four or five different helmets for the different sports they may participate in. The hockey helmets already look similar to bike helmets to begin with.




Next Rant... Multi Sport shoes... Ha... They would never let this happen...
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Last edited by zandoval; 10-29-22 at 11:37 AM.
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Old 10-29-22, 11:23 AM
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Is it time to switch to full-face helmets as the standard?
As one option with product selection, voluntarily purchased? Sure. Those preferring to amp-up their level of protection can then do so.

As a "standard" forced upon people or producers? Absolutely not.
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Old 10-29-22, 11:56 AM
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Or add something like the single piece face protector that ski racers use. Sort of similar to the f1 halo thing.
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Old 10-29-22, 12:29 PM
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It would make more sense from a money-saving perspective and lives saved to mandate helmets for cagers.
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Old 10-29-22, 01:27 PM
  #10  
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No thanks. It's either going to impair my ability to shed body heat or visibility. Or both.
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Old 10-29-22, 02:05 PM
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Originally Posted by zandoval View Post
Yes... I have always thought this an excellent idea. Think of it, you have a special helmet approved for specific sports but not interchangeable with other sports. That does not sound right to begin with. Why not use a hockey helmet on a climbing wall, or baseball plate, or spelunking trip, or even a bike ride. The hockey helmets are already set up to be modified for various stages of protection and are proven. I feel pretty strongly about this. Especially with the kids who need four or five different helmets for the different sports they may participate in. The hockey helmets already look similar to bike helmets to begin with.




Next Rant... Multi Sport shoes... Ha... They would never let this happen...
I was forgetting about the shields for the skaters. In my day they were just for goalies. The rest (at least at the pro level) protected their teeth by leaving them in their lockers.

Yes, ventilation! Those who don't play have no idea how hot ice hockey is. Your uniform has to be warm enough that you are ready to go when you are called. Then it may be full blast the entire several minutes until the next stoppage. No whistle? You see wasted players throwing themselves into the bench, completely spent. (And that replacement doesn't get two seconds to shed a layer.)

And proof? Walk into any hockey locker room. There isn't a sport that smells as bad.
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Old 10-29-22, 07:48 PM
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While I don't doubt that ER doctors see all sorts of things "frequently", that doesn't mean much if you don't have some reference to how many miles and riders actually make up the population that the doctor's sample comes from.

The flip side of this is individual riders mostly have just their own experience and perhaps a few family and friends to base personal judgements on. So, it never happens, until it does of course.

Some sort of face shield is like any other safety equipment we could use. Arguments can always be made to how it would be safer to use. And no doubt, if I were flying through the air ready to face plant on the road, and had time to contemplate such things, I'd sure as heck wish I had a face shield and more in the moment.

So, it comes down to where do we draw the line. Currently bike helmets are the norm just as wearing seat belts in a car. I remember when both were essentially unheard of. I think the data is out there that shows wearing seat belts has truly saved thousands of lives, I'm not sure what is there for bike helmets, and of course I'm sure wearing face shields on a bike, there's little to no data as it's simply not done for road rides.

I would certainly consider a face shield if it were normalized to some degree, perhaps improved performance (more aero) and didn't create significant discomfort. Simply put, I consider and use as many safety features as possible if the overall cost is relatively insignificant. That's why I use a helmet, daytime lights, bright clothing, and gloves.
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Old 10-30-22, 12:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Mtracer View Post
I would certainly consider a face shield if it were normalized to some degree ...
Why does it have to be "normalized"? If you think it's safer, use it.
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Old 10-30-22, 05:56 AM
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If I feel the need to protect my teeth while riding, I'll just leave them at home.
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Old 10-30-22, 07:12 AM
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Originally Posted by zandoval View Post
Yes... I have always thought this an excellent idea. Think of it, you have a special helmet approved for specific sports but not interchangeable with other sports. That does not sound right to begin with. Why not use a hockey helmet on a climbing wall, or baseball plate, or spelunking trip, or even a bike ride. The hockey helmets are already set up to be modified for various stages of protection and are proven. I feel pretty strongly about this. Especially with the kids who need four or five different helmets for the different sports they may participate in. The hockey helmets already look similar to bike helmets to begin with.




Next Rant... Multi Sport shoes... Ha... They would never let this happen...
That would be a viable answer. You could remain cool. If you had a full face covering and it is 96 degrees, it would really be hot.

Last edited by rydabent; 10-30-22 at 05:41 PM.
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Old 10-30-22, 07:27 AM
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There are any number of things in life from which to protect oneself. I suppose one must do what one must if there are strong feelings about a particular danger; however in many cases there is a wide gap between possibility and probability of an incident. I'd expect traumatic tooth injuries to occur more often from participation in sports like basketball and soccer. They are non-contact in name only.

Keep in mind that use of personal protective equipment will present some risk. Full-face helmets are heavier and will stress neck muscles, face cages may catch on something when you slide during a fall resulting in serious trauma.

I'd definitely recommend enhanced protection during cycle jousting.

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Old 10-30-22, 07:54 AM
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I don't wear a full face helmet on my MC. Just a pull down face screen for bugs.
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Old 10-31-22, 12:49 AM
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Originally Posted by bluefoxicy View Post
is it time for us to set an example by wearing full-face helmets in all cycling conditions?
Yes, absolutely. I think you should set the example.
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Old 10-31-22, 05:48 AM
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I started riding again in 2013 and have ridden about 15000 miles since then, three weeks ago I crashed & ended up with a concussion & two broken teeth. I thought long & hard about full face helmets, but Arizona is very hot in the summer & hopefully I'll go another 15k before my next crash (I mostly ride the canals around here, have no memory or idea of what caused the crash and I was wearing a helmet). I will however get one of the supplemental cycling insurance policies, my medical insurance took care of most, but teeth are expensive and were not fully covered... Lesson learned.

Going in today to see if I can be released to ride again.
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Old 10-31-22, 06:36 AM
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^^^^^^^^^^^That's a thought I always have and it's very disconcerting. When will my next accident be? How bad will it be? When will the next time I get hit by a car? How bad will it be?....


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Old 10-31-22, 07:08 AM
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Originally Posted by JW Fas View Post
Aesthetics aside, I think most people would shy away from full-face helmets because of how hot and sweaty they'd get.
Maybe the solution is a the typical bike helmet with some sort of guard on the front... not an enclosure, but a "fence" similar to football helmet. Something to protect the face, but not limit airflow.
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Old 10-31-22, 08:40 AM
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Amazingly enough, this has been studied. A standard was developed. Tests to that standard were developed. Helmet models from multiple manufacturers (which curiously don't look like hockey or football helmets) are available that meet the standard.

Here's an example: the Giro Switchblade MIPS, CPSC, EN-1078 and ASTM-1952-DH offering in just one of its many colors.



So if this appeals, knock yourself out.
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Old 10-31-22, 03:31 PM
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Originally Posted by work4bike View Post
^^^^^^^^^^^That's a thought I always have and it's very disconcerting. When will my next accident be? How bad will it be? When will the next time I get hit by a car? How bad will it be?....


I want to think you are joking, but somehow I think you are serious. Sad. I don't want to spend a single day like that. Better not to ride then. Fatalism has no place in a road cyclists toolkit. If I didn't think I have 99% control over possible outcomes out there I simply wouldn't throw a leg over.
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Old 10-31-22, 05:58 PM
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Old 10-31-22, 06:15 PM
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I wore a full face helmet on my motorcycle. Started wearing one after I did face plant in an accident.

But the added weight and ventilation issues would dissuade me from using one on a bicycle.
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