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About Don Dingee

An experienced strategic marketer and editorial professional, and an engineer by education, Don is currently a blogger, speaker, and author on social computing topics, and a marketing strategy consultant. He's had previous gigs at Embedded Computing Design magazine, Motorola, and General Dynamics.

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Obituary for a Brain Bucket

Posted June 21, 2012 1:00 PM by dondingee

Mountain bikers not-so-jokingly refer to their helmets as "brain buckets", slang from a culture that embraces possible danger somewhere ahead, yet goes forth in search of adventure and fun.

Like so many days before, last Tuesday this brain bucket was strapped to a head in Chandler, Arizona, for a short 12 mile ride. In the early morning, the rider does two six mile loops on a flat course of pavement with bike lanes for all but a small portion of the journey.

The Tuesday ride went differently. About half way around, there was a flash of moving paint and metal in the bike lane near an intersection, the rider braked, and the helmet contacted something - hard. The rider still isn't sure what, but the best guess is it was the side of a car that had made a turn in front of the bike, not seeing the bike at all until it was way too late. (Sunny day. Biker wearing bright red shirt, 6′ 3″, 220ish lbs. Big bike, in bike lane between two lanes of traffic and right turn lane, travelling between 12 and 15 mph. Not seen.)

The brain bucket was still attached to the rider when he came to on the pavement, and fortunately there were no major leaks. The first passer-bys arrived at the scene telling him not to take it off, which he did anyway. Sometime in the aftermath, the dazed rider heard a police officer say "there's penetration damage on the …", meaning the helmet had hit something on the car. There was a bewildered driver sitting sobbing on a curb, screaming "I killed him, I killed him!" From the multiple cracks in the lining of the helmet, the violence of contact is evident.

The rider actually stood up for a few moments at the scene, still running on adrenaline, wanting to assure everyone he was not dead. He told the EMTs "my groin really hurts." While he was scooped up and transported to an ER with "level 1 trauma", the helmet lay on the ground shattered. It returned home with the police officer, with a bike and sunglasses, to a scared wife and a forlorn dog who weren't quite sure what was going on. (Pretty amazing considering the rider had no ID and no phone, but was able to correctly cite a phone number. RoadID might make a good gift.) The news was the rider was alive and receiving care.

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#1

Re: Obituary for a Brain Bucket

06/21/2012 1:15 PM

I believe in usinig helmets,

even though the biker was dress in high visibily attire. There are always (2) sides to a story with the truth laying somewhere in the middle.

I have followed these bikers, and atleast where I am from, for the most part what I witness, they have total disregard for the law.

They pass through stop signs without even a slow and go, but blow through them with out skipping a beat.

And secondly, just because you have the right-a-way, you still have to look after yourself. Or your epitaph will state, "I may have been killed, but I did have the Right-A-Way"

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#2

Re: Obituary for a Brain Bucket

06/21/2012 1:28 PM

As far as I am concerned this is just one more reason to ban cycling on public roads Sure the helmet may have saved him from a bad head injury but then again if he would have looking ahead of where he was riding and paying attention to what was going on around him that probably would have done even more good.

We have the same cycling idiots on the roads here as well. Some literally in the middle of the driving lanes even when there is as much as 10 feet of paved shoulder on the side.

Some years ago a buddy of mine was a witness to an cycle VS car accident. The cyclist claimed the car hit him but the driver and my friend both agreed that the car was was sitting still and had been for over 10 seconds while waiting for a traffic light to turn green when the cyclist slammed right into the side of the car after having crossed one full lane of traffic first! Riding looking down instead of ahead of course while crossing a street.

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#3
In reply to #2

Re: Obituary for a Brain Bucket

06/21/2012 1:35 PM

As far as I am concerned this is just one more reason to ban cycling on public roads

Like a mouse that believes it has rights to run with a stampede of elephants

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#4
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Re: Obituary for a Brain Bucket

06/22/2012 1:47 AM

I sometimes like to wind up unsuspecting fitness Nazi's by casually mentioning a total ban on push-bikes would be a good idea; after all they're incredibly dangerous, far riskier than asbestos, nuclear power and aspartame.

They usually comment "it's not the bike that's dangerous, it's other people".

"Just like gun ownership then" I muse.

I'm usually asked to leave soon after.

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#10
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Re: Obituary for a Brain Bucket

06/24/2012 3:22 PM

Either way, you have to consider your environment. Go in even if you have right a way. Given a choice, A truck or car for that matter against a bike, I would choose to be in the car. It's called defensive driving, I could never figure out people who would put so much effort in laying on the horn, and basically lock them selves up from doing anything else, just to let the other guy know your going to hit them, then do some defensive driving and avoid an incident altogether.

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#7
In reply to #2

Re: Obituary for a Brain Bucket

06/23/2012 9:03 AM

What a vacuous uncaring ban by anecdote, you selfish, callous son of a...

You've taken a well written expose on how an often mocked safety product likely saved a persons life and turned it into a curmudgeonly demonstration of vitriol. The goal of this article is to try and get others to use this safety product because they work. The truly pathetic part of your reply is that you cannot see the offense of your comment. Maybe we should ban reproduction in North Dakota because they sometimes produce idiots.

CR4 ADMIN: My apologies for making a personal attack here. I just could not let the hijacking of a safety product with a political opinion go unchecked.

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#8
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Re: Obituary for a Brain Bucket

06/23/2012 12:51 PM

"Maybe we should ban reproduction in North Dakota because they sometimes produce idiots."

Wouldn't bother me one bit! The wife and I are already one step ahead of you since decided to not have children and as far as I am concerned about our local population the idiots do seem to be multiplying like rabbits around here as of late!

" My apologies for making a personal attack here."

So as to whom and what for were you aiming your personal attack at?

I for one am not part of the reproducing group, the general idiots group, or the clueless dolts on two wheels who wear foam hats with earbuds turned up to 11 while watching the ground go by underneath me instead of paying attention to whats going on around me as I ride on public roads group.

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#13
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Re: Obituary for a Brain Bucket

06/24/2012 9:16 PM

I believe in head gear. I believe one can have all the safety devices, laws and rules in place. But safety starts with the individual first and foremost, not headgear, not pads or safety clothing.

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#5

Re: Obituary for a Brain Bucket

06/22/2012 4:27 AM

I do so love all the comments about the accidents caused by cyclists. Yes its true a lot of cyclists cycle dangerously (although most of the danger is to themselves but it irritates me when I am behind the wheel too) hiowever obviously no one who drives a car has ever cut a corner, broken the speed limits etc.

If you are going to ban bikes I think cars would come higher on the list.

As for accidents - my families two accidents - my mum was driving on a dual carriageway saw it was safe to overtake and pulled out to overtake a slow moving vehicle. While she was overtaking the distant blob on the horizon turned into an idiot speeding who then slammed the brakes on slid for 100 yds hit my parents car sending it over the central reservation and across the other lane fortunately not hitting anyone.

My dad pulled up at a well lit pedestrian crossing to allow a pedestrian to cross. The jerk behind didnt stop just drove straight in the back of him fortunately the pedestrian had only just stepped off the curb as the impact jumped the car forward 10 yds.

Self defence is critical in all forms of transport - I cycle in central london and the number of pedestians that want to throw themselves under the bike is nuts, but sometimes you do just assume that the driver has stopped seen you and is waiting for you and then they cut across.

I think an idea that would help would be training for cyclists, as they are the only road users that dont have any training system (although I expect I would fail my drivers test if i took it again 27 years later). Whilst the rider through a bright red tee made him visible its surprsing how easily colours blend into the back ground. Reflective strips that flash in the light are much mroe easily seen hence their presence on cycling jackets and tops

There are jerks on all transport forms and we have to live and hopefully not kill each other just because you are a safe driver far too many people out there are not

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#11
In reply to #5

Re: Obituary for a Brain Bucket

06/24/2012 3:25 PM

I do not agree about banning bikes, just that you have to know your environment, but I did say about breaking the law, and not by accident by some of the cyclist......actually more that some, a good number of them.

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#17
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Re: Obituary for a Brain Bucket

08/01/2012 6:01 AM

I think an idea that would help would be training for cyclists, as they are the only road users that dont have any training system

Many UK Schools run a cycling proficiency scheme, so that comment puzzles me a little (due to your London location). I guess you mean something a bit more mandatory ?

As to cyclist being the only road users without training, far from it. Horses/Mobility Scooters/Monkey bikes ? The last one is probably illegal - my understanding is that vehicles with combustion engines are regulated, hence you never see a milk float with a license plate and driver training probably reflects that.

There is fault on both sides of the car/bicycle issue. An idiot is still an idiot no matter what mode of transport they use. As a pedestrian, I could cite an equal number of foolishness I've witnessed by all road users (pedestrians included). Being on foot makes most people more aware of the hazards.

I'd not have come late to this thread, but the other day I saw two cyclist (dressed up in all the professional gear etc etc) showing a complete lack of road awareness/courtesy/safety.

As with yourself, I doubt I could pass my driving test this afternoon. It was a long time ago that I took mine, and I'm an infrequent driver. The only saving grace (and I don't intend to sound like I'm polishing my own halo), is that whenever I get behind the wheel after a break from driving I regard it as though it were a driving test (or at least as if somebody ready to pick up on any bad manoeuvre was in the back seat).

Having rambled, I now forget the initial question (). Best to travel on the assumption everybody is going to do something stupid on the road, and that the chosen means of locomotion has potential to kill. As PWSlack alluded, it's all about consideration. The frenetic world we live in is not very conducive to that.

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#6

Re: Obituary for a Brain Bucket

06/22/2012 4:45 AM

Wouldn't it be great if the driver and rider could meet in a public place, just shake hands, and that would be the end of it?

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#15
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Re: Obituary for a Brain Bucket

07/23/2012 10:42 PM

good answer and it does happen

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#16
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Re: Obituary for a Brain Bucket

08/01/2012 5:34 AM

Better still if they could swap mode of transport for a day.

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#9

Re: Obituary for a Brain Bucket

06/23/2012 3:12 PM

Its these people I am referring to that should be banned from riding bikes in public.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=76nFg9AO6XM

and

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MTsy8rRWdEg&feature=related

and how they spend their lives.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ECo5rjYCsGk&feature=related

Just for giggles.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&NR=1&v=CjqvLAs9t1Q

Cyclist justifies self going wrong way on one way street after running into pedestrian.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CG3RLRdETgw&feature=related

The best helmets in the world still cant fix stupid.

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#12
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Re: Obituary for a Brain Bucket

06/24/2012 3:37 PM

I have to say, my girlfriend and I went to Chicago this weekend, took in some museums and such, and along grant park, and lakeshore drive and the paths are shared by pedestrians and bikes. The pedestrians do have the right away, and the most considerate cyclists toward the pedestrians were the tourist, because they were unfamiliar with the paths. The daily cyclists, who knew the terrain, as one of the pedestrians you have to know the environment your in, because the cyclists were cruising very fast and are silent and give no warning. Had some very close calls.

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#14

Re: Obituary for a Brain Bucket

06/25/2012 3:36 AM

<rantmode>

Seen this morning in suburban rush-hour traffic:

  • Cyclist, one, with helmet and derailleur-gear-change bike, ignoring red traffic signals and passing on the left at every opportunity, including a single-decker bus. For this individual, other road users and street furniture are seemingly unwanted obstructions to progress, rendering the individual a good candidate for the Darwin Awards that is kept alive solely by the avoiding tactics of road motor users and Defensive Driving techniques.

</rantmode>

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#18

Re: Obituary for a Brain Bucket

08/01/2012 6:13 AM

The first passer-bys arrived at the scene telling him not to take it off, which he did anyway.

To clarify, the primary reason not to remove a victims bucket is the risk of furthering damage to neck/head.

The fact that the bucket cracked sounds like a good thing. ie - it absorbed some of the impact force. Case not closed, because 'brain spin' is a major killer. Wearing a lid increases the circumferance around the brain. Once somebody hits the deck, the effect is like spinning a wheel and suddenly stopping it. Overall I'm pretty sure wearing a helmet is safer, but in some cases it can be the cause of death. You pay your money, you takes yer choice. Not wearing some skimpy spandex would prevent many superficial injuries (and help me not feeling an urge to upchuck when I see said clothing). Shaving ones legs is also recommended for cyclists (stops muck getting matted into any wounds)

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#19

Re: Obituary for a Brain Bucket

02/18/2013 12:23 AM

I have been riding bikes for 60 years now. First time my Dad pushed me down the hill from the barn to the house without my training wheels I hit the large wooden gate post on the right side of the 16' opening. It didn't stop me from getting right back on and riding for decades but I try to avoid riding on the roadways that have more than one car go by an hour.

I also ride motorcycles and won't even start one up without first strapping my head into a 'brain bucket'. People don't pull out in front of you on purpose but your cross section is so small that the front window posts on nearly every modern car made can hide you completely for a surprisingly long time, especially if you are on converging courses.

Simple fact of life is that helmets save lives. I have 7 helmets of both varieties and one for skiing.

Bicycle helmets should come under the same laws as motorcycle helmets because it is the same road they are on and the same distracted people in the cars texting, looking at their GPS, putting on their make-up, eating fast food and turning around to smack the little ones.

My defensive driving mantra has always been, "Everyone in cars are out to kill me!

For the last year I've taken up the hobby of refurbishing 70's and 80's road bicycles of good quality to the tune of one a week and re-selling them in order to put as many people back on two wheels as I possible can. I also sometimes swap out the higher end components for my 7 bikes. Please watch out for them as I would not like to feel responsible when you run over them.

note: Odd that 'texting' and GPS are not in this spell checker...

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