What's new

New Helmet?


Speeding Up
May 29, 2008
So, they say you need to buy a new helmet after every crash. Is it true?

My first day riding back in Tokyo... and I hit a pedestrian. A group of three guys were walking on the left hand side of the Edogawa river path and I yelled, in Japanese, "coming through じゃまします." and headed for the opening on the right of the path. One of the guys turned around, saw me, and then stepped right in front of me. I couldn't slow down/swerve enough in time and we collided--sending me off my bike and sliding down the grass hillside.

My fault for going too fast/ not yelling sooner.
His fault for being a %*#$#&^$@& idiot and stepping in front of me after he turned around and saw me?!

The pedestrian was fine, or at least wanted to be tough enough in front of his friends to claim being fine. My bike is fine, the shifters got turned in but that's easy to fix. I'm a bit bruised and whip lashed and certainly did hit my head on the fall but nothing major. The helmet shows no damage. Do I need to get a new one?

really... I'd rather spend my money on a bullhorn or something.:(
If I do have to buy a new one.... In the states, I was told that all helmets are about equally safe and more money just buys more air/coolness points. Is that true in Japan?
Thankfully I have no first hand experience, but a lot of Googling does support the notion of replacing a helmet after a crash.


I feel your pain about that @#$%^ing walker. I face similar stupidity every time I river ride. It's got to the point now where I expect a dumb reaction when I ring my bell or ride past, so I either slow down or give them a very wide berth.

I was actually considering a loud horn too. Something like

it's your gamble. new helmet you are reassured, same helmet you have a nagging "what if". as long as the helmet mets safety standards they all do the same job. more money spent means more style. Horns only work if they can be heard so ipodders or zuners will still veer in front of you from time to time. Speed kills as they say. glad you are not hurt too badly.
Unless your helmet shows some clear sign of damage (or you suspect it is damaged) I would not bother replacing it. If you want a second opinion you could take it to your LBS and see what people think but its probably fine. Anyway though...if you want peace of mind...



... Horns only work if they can be heard so ipodders or zuners will still veer in front of you from time to time. ...

I've tried a horn or two, but found that people mostly have a "gosh, what's that?" reaction, rather than realizing it may be a bike coming. Those little ching-a-ling bells are so common that anything else seems not to be connectable to approaching traffic. Maybe something that sounds like a scooter horn would work?
Sorry to hear about your crash on the Edogawa. Glad you and the bicycle are not too damaged. I ride along that path a few times a week and have had a few scary moments with pedestrians, crows, cats, other bikes and dogs.

I think I would replace the helmet as I believe that you can get hairline cracks inside the helmet even if you can't see them.
50/50 with the helmet. Shame to buy a new one if it's ok. I only get new ones if I can actually see the crack. The new ones may have the hidden cracks in them as well.
If you know you hit the helmet very hard...get a new one. Always good to have a spare one around even if you think it may have minor damage. I keep all my old helmets. 2 have very bad cracks. One is basically split in half with blood still caked on the straps.... nice trophy that one....

Also, with yelling out.... our team rides the Edoriver every Sunday and we pelt along in groups of 4 at over 40kph in single file. 5 years of doing this and we have never hit anybody. We yell out well in advance and make sure the people have heard us. If we think they can't hear then we slow right down to an almost stop. If we know they have heard us seen us and taken a safe move to one side we keep on pelting along...

The usual yell for us is 自転車来ます。 and that's what I yell when I'm leading anyway... JITENSHA KIMASU.... 2 or 3 times... very loudly till I get a reaction from the target.

This time of year a lot of newbie walkers on the river who don't know about us crazy cyclists. You have to be careful.
Proper Etiquette

Yelling "Jama!" to a crowd in front of you is akin to saying, "Get the hell out of my way!" The proper thing to do if there seems to be any chance of a collision is to yell, "Sumimasen!" AND slow down. Any accident with a pedestrian is entirely the cyclist's fault according to Japanese law. So take it easy and be careful, you don't want to pay for anyone's hospital bills. :cool:

And let's keep the locals on our side, please. BTW, ringing a bell to get through a crowd is so declasse--most people consider it rude--you're lowering yourself to the level of those obasan mamacharie riders who don't give a rip.
And let's keep the locals on our side, please. BTW, ringing a bell to get through a crowd is so declasse--most people consider it rude--you're lowering yourself to the level of those obasan mamacharie riders who don't give a rip.

Have to agree with this whole-heartedly. Being ding-dinged! every 10 meters used to drive me up the wall, literally and figuratively, as a pedestrian in Tokyo and Kyoto. The good-manners columns in cycling mags preach against it, too.

Another option to the "jitensha kimasu" and the good old "sumimasen" is a sing-songy "通りま~す" ("toorimasu", "coming through!"). And remember that to many pedestrians (the elderly especially), a cyclist passing close and unexpectedly at even quite modest speeds feels as alarming as a dump truck passing too close to us out on the road...
Hope you recover soon. To speed up the recovery keep doing stretching exercises to the point where a slight pain is felt in the stretch and stop.

1. If your helmet is already over 3 years old then now is a good time to replace it. If not...

2. Inspect the outer surface of the helmet to see what kind of damage was incurred
2a. Some scratches and indents caused by asphalt or other hard surface - replace
3. Evidence of grass
3a. Inspect the inner surface of the high density expanded polystyrene foam (first remove the sponge foam padding). If the HD expanded polystyrene foam has cracks of any size or indents caused by the crash (or not) - replace.
3. If you're satisfied by these inspection guidelines then replace the helmet when it becomes 3 years old (periodically inspect the helmet, we should all do this even it hasn't been in a crash as it gets hit and knocked about).
Thanks for all the replies. I think I will replace the helmet... as soon as I find one I like. It is more than 3 years old and I did accidentally drop it down my stairs recently...

For the record, I did slow down for the pedestrians, but not enough. I was probably going 20km/hr at most 25. I usually commute to work and try very hard to be careful and keep everyone on the cyclists side.

While, "jama" is indeed rude, "jamashimasu" is more like "gonna be in your way soon" and "ojamashimasu" is very polite. Is that not true? I thought I was being polite and got tired of "sumimasen."

"jitenshagakimasu" sounds like something worth trying, though a "ching ching" bell is tempting too... although very annoying for everyone involved.

Thank you for all well wishes. The whiplash is almost gone and everything else is a-ok.
My 2 yen

As someone who has hit a couple of people on the Arakawa, luckily with no damage being done, it is always best to think that they can't see you at all. I'd like 100 yen for every time someone has looked right at me and then still walked or ridden in front of me. Oji-sans on bikes seem to be the worst. they look one way then ride the other way. Slow down right down and give them as a wide berth as possible.

Replace that helmet!

Top Bottom