The Cyclops Biker Syndrome

Discussion in 'Triumph General Discussion' started by Alan Gilbert, Dec 20, 2022.

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  1. Alan Gilbert

    Alan Gilbert Senior Member

    Nov 22, 2018
    Lincolnshire, UK
    OK . . allow me to apologise at the outset as this is not specifically a Triumph discussion topic but if it helps avert disaster for someone, Triumph rider or otherwise, then I'm all for it . . . . . .

    As an optometrist and now thankfully retired, I have seen a number of one-eyed cyclops motorcyclists over the years and it always pains me to see bikers riding with an open visor. If you get hit in the eye by a piece of road grit when you are doing any sort of speed, your eye will be very likely enucleated. In other words - destroyed.
    In short, there is enough energy to completely penetrate the eye and destroy all visual function, even at relatively low speeds.
    The problem isn’t just restricted to road chippings but also applies to flying insects and other airborne detritus. The blunt trauma from a beetle, bee or wasp at 70mph+ is also enough to cause the loss of an eye.
    Anyway - I’ve always wondered how much protection we are afforded by our polycarbonate visors and so here’s your answer. . .
    Enter stage left the visor from my now decommissioned Shoei RF200 and in the opposite corner, my .177 Weihrauch HW100 12ft lbs air rifle.
    I fired one pellet at point blank range straight at the visor. It made a nice little divot but didn’t penetrate - very reassuring.
    By way of comparison, it will easily penetrate a steel Heinz bean can full of water and exit the other side at 25m+ . . .
    The amount of energy involved here is far in excess of that which your visor is ever likely to encounter in normal use. A .177 pellet is 4.5mm in diameter and made from solid lead - perhaps typical in size for a piece of road grit but much denser. Also, the muzzle velocity for a 12 ft lb air rifle is well over 500 mph, again - far in excess of the speeds of any flying object you might reasonably expect to be out there waiting to zap you.
    So, the lesson is . . . . never ride with your visor open at any speed unless at the very least, you’re wearing "large" sunglasses with plastic (not glass) lenses but better still, lower your visor and don't become a cyclops biker for the want of a little common sense.


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  2. TripleGrey

    TripleGrey New Member

    Aug 19, 2022
    Bedfordshire UK
    Errrrr......thanks! I think.
    You've scared me sh**less. Don't think I'll ever ride with the visor up again.
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  3. Pegscraper

    Pegscraper Elite Member

    Jun 12, 2020
    I once got hit in the eye by a bee at around 35mph and thankfully managed to come to a controlled stop. The pain was excruciating, my eye became severely bloodshot and I lost 90% of the sight in it for a week or so, then it gradually came back to full function. I was very lucky to say the least.
    Some years ago a friend of mine was following a truck which had, what turned out to be, a piece of a house brick jammed between the double rear tyres on one side. As he was lining up to overtake, the brick flew out, smashed his bike's screen and clipped the top of his helmet. Imagine getting that in the face. The tyres on twin rear wheeled vehicles are the first thing I check whenever I come up behind one.
    This thread brought back to mind a saying my old metalwork teacher from school used to use if he caught you not using goggles when you should (as well as a severe bollocking!):joy:....."You can dance with a wooden leg and you can eat with false teeth but you can't see through a glass eye. WEAR YOUR GOGGLES LAD!!!" (Closely followed by a whack round the earhole:sob:)
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  4. Col_C

    Col_C I can't re...Member

    Aug 5, 2015
    Slight derailment, not had a bee in the eye, but have had one inside the helmet (from underneath) and sting me on the cheek. You won't have seen anyone stop and remove their helmet any quicker, and also tested SWMBO's emergency braking who was following behind (on the Fosse Way).
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    MICK LEONARD Well-Known Member

    Oct 31, 2022
    I remember as a teenager a lot of the guys would ride without any eye protection (obviously pre visor days) but googles were available. Glad I used to wear them now, and would never ride with the visor up. Good advice and cheers.
  6. Wessa

    Wessa Cruising

    Apr 27, 2016
    North West England
    A great remind of debris danger if your visor is up. Must admit even armed with this valuable knowledge I still do occasionally ride with my visor up

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