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, www.motorbike-search-engine.co.uk, or anyone associated with www.motorbike-search-engine.co.uk 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: email@example.com
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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.