Not logged inC1 Owners C1ub
Top Home Help Search Register Login OpenID
Up Topic Open Technical Section / Accident Log / BMW CRASH TESTS
- - By Marino Date 14-03-2007 07:13
I've finally managed to stitch these five crash tests together and compress them to fit under 1mb... OUCH!
Attachment: Movie_0006.wmv (866k)
Parent - - By Lawrie Date 14-03-2007 07:55
Very interesting, did you notice on the head-on that the C1 had a toughened screen, that shattered when it hit the ground?  They're all laminated now.

I'd never seen that last one before, good one mate.
Parent - - By beamish Date 14-03-2007 10:27
Excellent. Great job Marino.
Parent - - By dragonr99 Date 14-03-2007 13:20
Good work - it's great to have it in a size that can be emailed (especially to "non-believer" motorcycling friends!!!

Interesting to watch the first side impact - the rider's head clearly moves outside the safety cage just after the initial impact. If the impact had been with a truck / bus / van then it looks likely that the rider's head would have impacted with the front of the other vehicle.

Also interesting to watch the safety belt footage - it looks to me like the belts are either load limiting, or exhibit elastic behaviour (the rider can be clearly seen to move forward relative to the seat during the decelleration phase) - another safety plus for our little bikes (albeit one which reduces the strength of the whiplash arguement).

Anyone got any info on the C1's safety belt design?
Parent - - By greenrickoshea Date 17-03-2007 19:34 Edited 17-03-2007 19:36
"albeit one which reduces the strength of the whiplash arguement".

I don't know about that mate.

I'm far more likely to have a frontal impact with some tw*t of a taxi driver doing an unplanned U turn.

"The force to the neck due to a shifting and snapping, forward and backward action, is often up to five times greater than the force of the collision itself, and (unfortunately) the use of seatbelts actually speeds up the "Whipping Motion" of the neck, causing even more injury".

"In one study, it was determined that patients who had a whiplash-type of injury, 39-60% of them developed osteoarthritis in the ensuing years".

Sorry my wife's a doctor. :-)

I would never wear a standard crash helmet in a C1. But that's a personal opinion.

Parent - - By larry Date 17-03-2007 19:35
What would you wear?
Parent - - By johnC1 Date 17-03-2007 21:49
A woolly hat in winter and nothing in the summer :-)
Parent - By andogas Date 20-03-2007 20:39
Has anybody else seen the guy in the Croydon Area in the mornings who rides a Blue faired Suzuki SV650. He wears full leathers, gloves, boots Motocross googles and a thick balaclava; NO HELMET! Did a double take first time, thought he must have had lid stolen at work or something but I see him most days just the same. Maybe he is concerned about whiplash and gravel rash!
Parent - - By johnC1 Date 17-03-2007 21:48
It is a good personal opinion in my personal opinion. My wife suffered whiplash in a car 20 years ago and received a small amount in compensation, agreeing it would be a final payout. Years later she started having trouble with her neck. Imagine if she'd been wearing a 1.5Kg helmet at the time. 
Parent - - By beamish Date 17-03-2007 21:59
Dread to think.....
Parent - - By dragonr99 Date 20-03-2007 17:39
The behaviour of bodies in a vehicle accident is complex and it's impossible to model every scenario - especially when secondary and tertiary impacts are involved - thus a "gut feel" opinion might not actually be correct. There are so many varying factors involved that I personally wouldn't dream of advising anyone to / not to wear a helmet on a C1. My final year thesis at Uni was the mathematical modelling of traffic accidents - I truly wish the C1 had been around at the time (not least because it would make me 6 or 7 years younger...) as this would have been a fascinating line of research.

The point above re reducing the validity of the whiplash arguement actually referred to the seat belt video, not the side impact. The presence of crumple zones & load limiting belts results in lower forces due to the decelleration in the initial impact - it's this reduction in force due to these additional features which reduces the potential for whiplash (compared to a rigid structure / no load limiters on the belts) - hence my contention that these devices reduce the validity of the arguement.

The majority of whiplash injuries in rear end impacts, and are to the occupants of the vehicle that's hit from behind. Many whiplash injuries in cars are due to the (normally adjustable) head restraints being set too low and therefore failing to do their job properly - but most of the population is blissfully unaware of this and assume that their ncap 5star car means they're perfectly safe!

Likening whiplash in a car to a C1 is also risky as the design of the belts differ - we're held nice and "square" in a four point harness, whereas the "poor" car driver is in a 3 point harness which allows upper body rotation during an impact - this rotation has a great impact on the severity of any whiplash injury... so in that respect we're doing quite well!!! Four point belts would undoubtedly reduce injuries in cars, but people won't put up with the inconvenience!

The design of the seat can also make a huge difference - one research paper compared the best & worst small cars in a whiplash scenario - noting the vehicle with the stronger seat back (designed to protect front seat passengers from injury due to rear seat passengers / objects) faired worse than the one with a weaker seat back. The crash tests were repeated with the seats exchanged & the results were reversed. The weaker seat back gave way as the occupant (dummy!) hit the seat, thus reducing the difference in the rate of decelleration between the head and neck - thereby reducing the whiplash. Had there been a heavy object on the rear seat however, the results with the weaker seat design would have been very different. This just proves it's almost impossible to win in all scenarios...

Also it is quite possible that the wearing of a helmet could actually reduce the whiplash potential! One of the influential factors regarding whiplash is the relative positions of body, neck, head and head restraint. With the body in it's normal seated position (back against back rest) there is evidence to suggest that the distance between the head & head restraint has large bearing on the severity of whiplash (hence the fact a few manufacturers have developed active head restraints that pivot forward to reduce the gap in an accident) - a gap of more than a couple of centimetres corresponding to a dramatic increase in whiplash. When I'm sat on my C1 without a helmet there's a relatively large gap (3 or 4 cm) between the back of my head & the head rest - but when wearing a helmet that's reduced to 1 or 2 (not because my heads in a different place - the helmet fills the gap!) and thus potentially reducing the whiplash risk...

The whiplash mechanism isn't fully understood yet - the vast majority of whiplash research has historically been biased towards rear end impacts as that's where the highest frequency of injuries occur (I cringe when I see adults in the back of small cars - their shoulders above the back of the seat & no head restraint). It's very difficult, if not impossible, for anyone to provide a definitive answer as to whether a C1's safer with or without a helmet - I may be wrong, but I don't recall ever reading anything from BMW themselves where they state it's safer without?

The weight of the helmet will have an adverse consequence if basal skull fracture is considered - this is where in a very high 'g' frontal impact the neck pivots forward toward the horizontal & then head tries to carry on forward & the force generated causes head to effectively part company with the top of the neck - cracking the base of the skull in the process. The additional weight of a helmet will, without question, increase the risk of this. The HANS device as seen in F1 etc is designed to prevent this, in simple terms, by attaching the helmet to the back of the seat - thus stopping it carrying on forward) However, given the limited top speed of our trusty steeds, and the built in crumple zones, I'm not sure even a full speed head on impact into a wall would generate sufficient force! While I'd never volunteer to do it again, especially not on a C1 - there's to few of them as it is! - I've personally (although not intentionally!) done my bit as a crash test dummy... crashing a race car head on into very solid barriers at a much higher speed than my C1 (albeit a 125) could ever achieve (although it was amazing how slowly things appeared to be happening...) The car itself was destroyed, the visor actually came off my helmet and the metal strap on my watch broke as it tried to carry on forward over my hand... I had the most impressive bruising from the harnesses, a cracked rib togehter with a sore head & scrap helmet from the "whiplash" impact back into the seat (thankfully the head restraint section was well designed) - but my head stayed connected to my neck - so I guess either I was very very lucky, or the impact required for basal skull injury are truly massive.

The whole whiplash subject is very complex and I don't believe any of us have the data available to make a quantitative statement either way. Until definitive, scientific, comparisons are done (which in reality isn't going to happen) we have to make our own judgements after weighing up the available information. That's the nice thing about the C1 Club - views for and against helmets are allowed! Long may this freedom continue - it's the reason I'm here rather than in the other place!

Personally I do wear a helmet on my C1... not because I adamantly believe it's safer with a helmet or don't want to get stopped (a £30 ticket is nothing compared to whiplash), but because I find it too noisy & my ears get cold without it!

The most important thing is that with or without a lid, our odd little bikes are about as safe as can be on two wheels whilst still managing to be enjoyable to ride!
Parent - By Marino Date 20-03-2007 18:03

>The HANS device as seen in F1 etc is designed to prevent this

Robin a very comprehensive post with plenty of interesting points..I actually mentioned the Hans device a while back see link below.. :-)
Parent - By greenrickoshea Date 20-03-2007 20:14 Edited 20-03-2007 20:35
I take on board your theory that there has been insufficient data. Although I think this data is availiable and I shall try to obtain this data from BMW headquarters. My personal opinion and that of others I have spoken to would suggest that the unique design of the twin belts and the speed the belts lock to prevent you hitting the windscreen would amplify these forces and expose the rider to greater forces althhough as you say the forces would be more predictable due to the constraints of the shoulder hoops and the belts.

BMW clearly have accepted that these vechiles can be ridden without helmet protection as in all their publicity material and helmet exemptions appeals. To gain an exemptions in many EU countries experts would have considered the availiable data and advised the legislative that an exemption should be granted. This has been tested in all countries where an exemption has been granted(15 I think) so I do not accept your comment that this is a "gut feel".  

The hans system used in formula one is specialised and these drivers undergo training to ensure their bodies can cope with these g forces and that their helmet movement will be limited with the use of this restraint system in the event of a crash. As far as I'm aware no system is availiable to the general public although I might be wrong.

A comment made by a bike journalist after PP victory in the magistrates court:

"While the C1 clearly offers protection that normal motorcycles do not, Parker's moral case is strengthened by the fact that a helmet will exacerbate whiplash injuries when the rider's body is restrained, as it is in the C1, because the helmet adds considerable weight to the head".

As I have said it is a personal opinion and I have performed my own risk assessment and in my particular case, I cannot justify the wearing of a standard crash helmet in the use of the C1.

Here's an article that may be of some interest.

The Typical "Whiplash" Iinjury
Every day a gazillion cars zoom along the worlds highways and that number continues to increases at an incredible rate of speed. We're all in a hurry. We drive too fast, follow to close and don't pay attention anywhere near as much as we should. Because of this, year in and year out, motor vehicle accidents continue to multiply. In the United States alone recent statistics show that more than 12 million Americans are treated each year for motor vehicle accident injuries. That number continues to increase like wildfire!

The typical whiplash injury: Recent statistics indicate that proximately 40 to 45% of impacts are caused by the front of one vehicle plowing into the rear of another. This, more than anything else, causes the "Whiplash-Type" of tissue damaged injury.

Although tissue damage frequently occurs at the time of the accident, the "Symptoms" may not show up right away. Tests reveal that when the front of a 3,500-pound car, traveling at only 10 miles per hour, strikes the rear of another vehicle, it can transmit a force of 25 tons to the motor vehicle it struck.

Few people realize that an untreated neck or back injury from a motor vehicle accident is likely to develop into arthritis in later years, adding more pain and disability. In fact, recent studies show that nearly 40% of whiplash victims end up with arthritis within five years of the injury.

When you think of injuries, you think of high-speed accidents, but experts say whiplash also happens in low speed crashes - - even when there's no damage to the vehicle!

The force to the neck due to a shifting and snapping, forward and backward action, is often up to five times greater than the force of the collision itself, and (unfortunately) the use of seatbelts actually speeds up the "Whipping Motion" of the neck, causing even more injury.

You're rushed to the hospita/emergency room: The typical Emergency Room is equipped to evaluate life-threatening conditions and provide emergency aid treatment only. The Emergency Room staff focuses on broken bones, hemorrhaging, internal injuries, and "Emergency Situations". Beyond that, there's not much else they can do. Unfortunately, a lot of the damage done in a rear impact accident, does not show up in the Emergency Room x-rays. Very often it's not until several hours (or even days!) later that the symptoms of a "Whiplash-Type" of injury becomes apparent.

Treatment: A "Whiplash" should be treated just as aggressively as a broken bone because the potential for long-term consequences can be greater in soft tissue injury than in broken bones. So, what happens to the soft tissue in an accident? The answer to that is even in a slow speed collision, the forces applied to bones, muscles, and joints of the body are clearly capable of inflicting significant injury. Almost all joints are pulled and twisted. Why? Because the body of the occupant is first accelerated forward in his seat. The head remains relatively stationary while the body moves forward underneath. This inflicts tremendous force on the neck. Then, just as the neck is stretched to (or even beyond) its normal limits, the torso has stopped its forward motion, the neck snaps back. When this takes place the head has accelerated up to five times the G-force of the impact - - and then back! Muscles and ligaments can be stretched beyond their breaking strength. Discs can be damaged. Nerve roots or the spinal cord can be injured permanently.

Will a soft tissue injury heal itself?: The answer to that is not a simple "Yes" or "No" because, without immediate and proper treatment, while it often does heal - - it can do so somewhat imperfectly!

In one study, it was determined that patients who had a whiplash-type of injury, 39-60% of them developed osteoarthritis in the ensuing years.

In another famous study patients were interviewed more than two years following the settlement of their cases. Without the proper care, 45% continued to complain of ongoing pain and disability (in the area of their neck and/or shoulders) which was determined to be directly related to their accident.

So what do you do? When you speak to the individual who is treating your Whiplash you must complain, complain and complain!

Don't allow yourself to be conned with something like, "I'm sorry, I know it hurts but just wait awhile. It'll go away"! That's not an honest answer.

You're entitled to treatment by an "Expert" and/or a team of them. Ask around (they're out there) and you'll find one. No matter how long it takes make sure, (when you're finally released from treatment) that your "Whiplash" injury has been completely repaired. If you don't than you have only yourself to blame.

DISCLAIMER: The only purpose of this insurance claim article THE TYPICAL MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENT "WHIPLASH-TYPE" INJURY is to help people understand the motor vehicle accident process. Neither Dan Baldyga,, or anyone associated with make any guarantee of any kind whatsoever; NOR do they purport to engage in rendering any professional or legal service, NOR to substitute for a lawyer, an insurance adjuster, or claims consultant, or the like. Where such professional help is desired it is the INDIVIDUAL'S RESPONSIBILITY to obtain said services.

By: Dan Baldyga - Author, e-mail:



If you have written an article and would like it to be published, please contact us;


Parent - - By johnC1 Date 20-03-2007 21:05
The increased gap without a helmet could lead to a greater force on the back of the head in a rear impact, but I think this is minimal compared to the extra weight force to a front impact. The extra absorption of the front impact nose will help a bit, but looking a the distance the head is propelled forward, I still think it is safer without. You are also more visually and aurally aware without a helmet which helps avoiding an accident in the first place! (though perhaps not if you are freezing cold, but a woolly hat will help). I accept it is perfectly safe to ride without a helmet and there isn't enough evidence a helmet will make is any safer. If there was any evidence, you'd have to wear one in an open top car too. BMW are not stupid and wouldn't risk putting their reputation at risk and their design is just superb. Helmets have always been a poor safety device as they only protect the skull. They do save lives when a motorcyclists are thrown off the bike and hit their head. Just a shame about your neck downwards! The C1 makes a huge leap in safety preventing the biggest cause of death and injury which is being thrown off the bike in a collision/slide. You don't need a helmet if you have a safety cell to protect you, but it is your neck and you should have the choice as an adult. 
Parent - By beamish Date 20-03-2007 22:14
Almost every motor cyclist that is killed on our roads today is wearing a helmet. FACT !

Most death in cars are caused by head injuries and had people been forced to wear helmets in cars, then some of these pepole would likely still be alive today.

The C1 is without a doubt one of the safest motorcycles around. With or without a helmet.

I bet you all knew that anyway.

A great post there Dragon. I dare you to post it in the Forum. ;-)
Up Topic Open Technical Section / Accident Log / BMW CRASH TESTS

Powered by mwForum 2.29.3 © 1999-2013 Markus Wichitill