I don't really want to fan fire of the helmet flame war, but I'm guessing that's where this will end up. And maybe this belongs added on to the helmet thread, so if the mods thought that was appropriate (or if they wanted to delete it altogether), that'd be fine.
I do think that in the above, excruciatingly long Helmet thread, there is actually some good information about helmet advocacy and where it falls, priority-wise with safety. What seems to be lacking is any hard statistics to back up anyone's views. There's one oft-cited, oft-refuted study countered by another oft-cited, oft-refuted study. So I was surprised when this showed up in my campuses "Bike News"
Does anyone know where they are pulling their statistics from? This subject is so hotly debated, that it's hard to imagine that there's any study that has such clear-cut results. Now I don't want to be labeled as a "helmets are bad" person, because I'm not. I usually (although admittedly not always) wear a helmet, and while I have doubts that the statistics are as straight-forward as this paper seems to state them, I do think you are probably safer with a helmet than without one. But I guess I'm finally seeing the point of people who say that by over-emphasizing helmets, you may be scaring away potential cyclists, or at least giving the impression that you're engaging in a high-risk activity. I read the above section in the paper and thought, "Wow, they want you to think that if you don't wear a helmet, you'll end up brain damaged or dead." Then they say, "it never hurts to emphasize the importance of helmets while biking." I would agree, but I'm not sure that's what they're doing. I think they're throwing out some out-of-context numbers in an effort to scare people.Did you know that...
Bicycle helmets have been shown to reduce the risk of head injury by as much as 85 percent and the risk of brain injury by as much as 88 percent. They have also been shown to offer substantial protection to the forehead and midface.
A majority of the fatal accidents could have been prevented by using helmets.
The use of biclycle[sic] helmets is inversely related to age of the bicyclist, meaning as the bicyclist's age increases chances that he/she wears a helmet decreases!!!
REMEMBER - it never hurts to emphasize the importance of helmets while biking.
I think a helmet is a good idea, but not wearing one is far from the most dangerous thing you can do on a bike. I would much rather see people advocating safe cycling practices in general, and I don't think it's good cycling advocacy to make it sound like a high-risk sport (although I recognize that there are high-risk cycling activities, but I don't think that represents cycling in general). I'd much rather see them say, "Cycling, if done responsibly, can be safe and healthy, and can be even safer if you wear a helmet." But don't try and scare me off my bike or keep on edge waiting for the next potentially fatal accident to happen.
But that's just my opinion. What do you all think?