Take the 2-minute tour ×
Bicycles Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for people who build and repair bicycles, people who train cycling, or commute on bicycles. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I've done a bit of research but can't seem to find much information on how neck braces actually work to protect the neck. There are many views on whether they are actually effective in reducing serious injuries (in the same way it took a long time for ski snow board helmets to be proven).

Neck Braces are a recommended safety item by the UCI for downhill events, unlike full face helmets which are mandatory, but all racers wear them.

What do they protect and how do they do that?

share|improve this question
3  
The most dangerous fall is a face plant, where the head/neck is extended backwards. The spine is "designed" to absorb a fall where you tuck your head and roll, and it bends easily in the forward direction with relatively low danger of fractures or spinal column injury. Not so when the spine is curled backwards with any force -- fractured vertebrae and spinal injury is fairly likely. Presumably the brace is primarily intended to prevent this backward curl. –  Daniel R Hicks Jun 12 at 11:13
    
Not all downhill riders wear them. –  cherouvim Jun 12 at 11:46

2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

A neck brace limits range of motion to protect the neck and spine

BikeProducts

A neck brace restricts any extreme movement of your neck during a crash. In other words, it prevents your head from tilting too far forward, backward, or to the side, all of which can damage the spinal cord. A spinal cord injury can, at best, keep you off the bike for six to eight weeks or, at worst, put you in a wheelchair. Why take the risk of serious injury?

As for statistics Nascar instituted HANS like 13 years ago and they feel they have statistics that demonstrate that it is effective.
HANS
I get Nascar is not the same as a bicycle but once you protect the head the next thing you need to protect is the neck.

share|improve this answer
    
+1 for the quote –  arne Jun 12 at 13:53
    
Nascar (motocycle and other race car) drivers have significantly heavier helments than bike riders. I do not believe the statistics can be that scientifically applied to cycling, but it is probably as good a starting point as you will find and makes for a good marketing stratagy. –  mattnz Jun 13 at 3:35
    
@mattnz A system that limited head motion was shown to reduce injuries. From that I would conclude that limiting head motion in another sport would also reduce injuries. Not arguing with you. You stated your opinion and I have stated mine. –  Blam Jun 13 at 17:12

I should think that they only work in conjunction with a full face helmet in that the helmet's angular motion range (up, down, left/right tilt) is restricted in such a way that on crashing, the typical "break-neck" motion (sharp snap of the neck) is avoided.

However, this is just an educated guess.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.