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  1. #1
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    Helmets cramp my style: Part 2

    Quote Originally Posted by Helmets cramp my style
    Hey everyone, this thread is getting a bit too long to load well. If you want to start a new thread, feel free to do so.

    East Hill
    My first impression was that the (Spring Airheads...Helmets Cramp my Style) thread was simply shut down.



    and I couldn't get my fix

    but after I got up off the floor, I could see and understand that a 6 year, 200 page discussion might pose some logistical problems for the board.

    Time to continue on here.
    Last edited by closetbiker; 05-11-09 at 08:48 AM.
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  2. #2
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    Is there really anything left to say? I'm going for a bike ride...

  3. #3
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Basil Moss View Post
    Is there really anything left to say? ...
    Are you kidding? I'm just getting warmed up.

    From the HCS thread,

    Quote Originally Posted by John C. Ratliff
    ...why use a bicycle helmet?...(because) if a car...knocks him/her off the bike... the bicycle helmet can save a life... without cars around, I would be willing to forgo the helmets on regular rides..

    If you want to get good information, go to http://pubmed.gov and search the database for the latest research.
    Well, I went to pub med and found

    Quote Originally Posted by PubMed
    ...The large majority of pedal cyclist deaths are due to head injuries after collision with a motor vehicle...but current (helmet) models are not designed to withstand the impact of collisions with motor vehicles.
    based on this good information, will John still be willing to forgo the helmets on regular rides?
    Last edited by closetbiker; 11-11-09 at 05:54 PM.
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    Domestic Domestique UnsafeAlpine's Avatar
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    Can we agree that helmets do provide some level of protection? If it's just from a slow-speed head-pavement crash, it's still protection, correct?

    If we assume that helmets do provide a small level of protection, would it not also be safe to assume that some people have those types of crashes for which helmet use is designed?

    Can we then assume that every cyclist is at risk of that type of crash? I'm not saying all cyclists will crash that way, but we are all at risk, just as we're all at risk of being hit by a car.

    If we're all at risk for a specific type of crash for which a helmet could save our lives, would it not be prudent to wear a helmet?

  5. #5
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    I think that we can all agree that risk is part of life, so then the question becomes does cycling elevate a risk of head injury above that of any other situation. Is cycling risky enough to warrant the use of a helmet?

    There is no doubt a helmet can provide a certain level of protection but it just seems there are many people who believe it can provide protection above what it is made to do and that the risks to cyclists are greater than they actually face.
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  6. #6
    Domestic Domestique UnsafeAlpine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by closetbiker View Post
    I think that we can all agree that risk is part of life, so then the question becomes does cycling elevate a risk of head injury above that of any other situation. Is cycling risky enough to warrant the use of a helmet?

    There is no doubt a helmet can provide a certain level of protection but it just seems there are many people who believe it can provide protection above what it is made to do and that the risks to cyclists are greater than they actually face.
    So what are the drawbacks to using a helmet? I know that the HANS system was designed to restrain the head using a heavy race car helmet, but bike helmets have a minimal weight and I doubt the same types of injuries race drivers were facing also occur with helmeted riders.

  7. #7
    xtrajack xtrajack's Avatar
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    My helmet probably isn't protecting me because of it's age,However, I feel that it is offering more protection than a helmet I won't wear.

  8. #8
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UnsafeAlpine View Post
    So what are the drawbacks to using a helmet?
    False security maybe. Misplaced priorities.

    I don't believe there is anything wrong with wearing a helmet, it's more about the attitude towards them.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    The police seem to be having doubts about our all-ages mandatory helmet law here in BC.

    One of our province's major dailies has a cop columnist and he admits he's swayed by arguments about the ineffectiveness of wearing helmets and asks if it is time to reconsider this law.

    http://www.theprovince.com/Cars/Much...097/story.html

    Much to ponder over mandatory bike lids

    BY MARK TONNER, THE PROVINCE MAY 10, 2009

    Police officers become accustomed to being labelled. This month I find I'm
    wearing another, square on the forehead.

    Apparently I'm a "Liddite." An unthinking proponent of mandatory bicycle helmet
    laws.

    I'm not sure I'm done with it yet, though I am willing to think. Bicycle helmets
    don't offer genuine safety, according to the anti-lid set. Most bike fatalities
    involve collisions with cars, not falls onto hard surfaces. Helmets are rated
    for simple falls, not collisions at speed.

    The natural response, a call for better helmets, is said to be misguided.
    Studies on more robust motorcycle helmets show mandatory laws elevate crash
    rates, even cause fatalities. Something in a false sense of security is said to
    bring trouble, while an elevated sense of danger actually providessafety for the
    helmet-free.

    Helmet laws are said to cause perceptions of danger, making people afraid to
    cycle. Fear-driven preference for auto transport brings congestion, raises the
    risk to pedestrians, other drivers, and you guessed it -- cyclists. The fewer
    cyclists on the road, the more dangerous it is for those who do ride.

    Social engineers would have us trained from childhood, to want to ride, and to
    obey the law when we do. They'd have motor vehicles made to slow down and
    respect cyclists, rather than impose helmets on riders.

    It's no surprise to see anti-liddites pointing to the Netherlands. Drug liberals
    have been bowing that way for years, though the bicycling issue may benefit more
    clearly from Dutch insight. They restrict auto access to residential and
    shopping districts. They support public transit, subsidize cycling, and you
    guessed again, they don't insist on helmets.

    Almost half of Netherlanders pedal to work without helmets, yet the country has
    a uniquely low rider-mortality rate. They've addressed the real problem, as they
    see it. The cars.

    The extreme side insists that mandated helmets equal legislated fear. Auto
    manufacturers sell more cars when people fear cycling. Oil companies sell more
    fuel, helmet manufacturers sell to a market held captive by regulation and fear.

    Past a certain point, the anti-helmet manifesto reads like a Michael Moore
    script. Cigarettes kill 400 times as many people as bicycles, but smokers aren't
    made to use filters. Skin cancer kills ten times as many as bikers, but
    sunscreen isn't compulsory.

    Add an alien and we'd get David Duchovny back. For my part, I'll admit to being
    swayed. Police officers aren't lawmakers, but we're being asked to think
    carefully about enforcement of helmet laws as weather improves.

    The new Burrard bridge bicycle lane will provide some interesting moments,
    almost certainly. I can guarantee a major portion of bridge riders will be
    helmet-free. It's the same everywhere. A sizeable segment within the cycling
    community simply isn't buying into this law.

    I think about proposed bicycle exchange programs, with cycles available in
    strategic locations around town. Spontaneity would be entirely removed if one
    needed a helmet to take advantage.

    I think about the will of the community, both riders and drivers, and whether or
    not this law expresses majority beliefs. Is it time to reconsider? Let me know,
    at the address below.

    Sgt. Mark Tonner is a Vancouver police officer, whose column appears biweekly in
    the Province. His opinions aren't necessarily those of the city's police
    department or board. Mark may be contacted at marcuspt@shaw.ca
    Last edited by closetbiker; 09-20-09 at 09:41 AM.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member maximushq2's Avatar
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    The other day I went for a ride wearing my helmet as usual. About half way into the ride I took the helmet off as my head was a bit warm and then i rode the rest of the way without it. I have to say that I have been wearing a helmet for so long that I forgot the feeling of not wearing one. Feeling the wind on my hair and not having the weight of the helmet and annoying straps was absolutely great. I think I am going to go without my helmet for a while unless I go mountain biking or at night when I use a helmet light.

  11. #11
    Senior Member howsteepisit's Avatar
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    The bigger question on bike helmets from what I have seen is the disagreements between those who think that societies interests are better served by mandating helmet usage and those that believe opposite. That's a debate never to be settled because of the diverse attitudes about rule, regulation and governmental roles.
    Recycle, Reclaim, Reuse and Repair
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    Quote Originally Posted by closetbiker View Post
    I think that we can all agree that risk is part of life, so then the question becomes does cycling elevate a risk of head injury above that of any other situation. Is cycling risky enough to warrant the use of a helmet?

    There is no doubt a helmet can provide a certain level of protection but it just seems there are many people who believe it can provide protection above what it is made to do and that the risks to cyclists are greater than they actually face.
    Can you answer one question for me? It is a yes or no answer, nothing complicated.

    If you crashed, would you rather have a helmet on your head?

  13. #13
    Banned Omni.Potent's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hnsq View Post
    Can you answer one question for me? It is a yes or no answer, nothing complicated.

    If you crashed, would you rather have a helmet on your head?
    This ^^ is meant for entrapment, and doesn't qualify for a simple 'Yes or No' answer.

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    Last edited by Omni.Potent; 05-11-09 at 10:19 AM.
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  14. #14
    Domestic Domestique UnsafeAlpine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by howsteepisit View Post
    The bigger question on bike helmets from what I have seen is the disagreements between those who think that societies interests are better served by mandating helmet usage and those that believe opposite. That's a debate never to be settled because of the diverse attitudes about rule, regulation and governmental roles.
    I believe personal freedom is greater than mandates when it comes to personal safety. I disagree with mandatory seatbelt laws, mandatory motorcycle helmet laws... I believe people should make their own choices.

    I used to live in a town of 1800 people. I had to drive to get groceries and when I did, I never wore a seatbelt. I had talked to a cop about collisions and he told me, as far as he could remember, the only collisions that happened where between 2 people who were bored and decided to ram each other. Seat belt use was mandatory, but what purpose did it serve to wear one in town?

    Now that I live in a city of 150,000 people, whenever I drive, I wear my seatbelt. The risks are greater and I'm less willing to rely on other people's driving skills.

  15. #15
    Senior Member alhedges's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hnsq View Post
    Can you answer one question for me? It is a yes or no answer, nothing complicated.

    If you crashed, would you rather have a helmet on your head?
    Demanding answers to yes-or-no questions is the sign of trying to score points, not to have an honest discussion.

    But I'll answer the question. If I were crashing, I would rather have a helmet on my head. A motorcycle helmet with full face protection, since motorcycle helmets are substantial enough to provide some protection.

    hnsq, if you were crashing, would you rather be wearing a motorcycle helmet with full face protection or a bicycle helmet?

  16. #16
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hnsq View Post
    Can you answer one question for me? It is a yes or no answer, nothing complicated.

    If you crashed, would you rather have a helmet on your head?
    I have crashed both with and without wearing a helmet and I can say without hesitation that the helmet or lack thereof, made no difference.

    That's not to say my in next fall a helmet could make a difference, but from what I've learned about cyclists that crash with helmets on and the nature of brain injury, the difference a helmet can make is so slight that I'd be as willing to accept the damage to my head as I'd be willing to accept that the damage to any other part of my body in a crash.

    I've removed my helmet after 21 years of wear. I'm sure I will crash again. What does that tell you?
    Last edited by closetbiker; 05-11-09 at 10:48 AM.
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  17. #17
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by howsteepisit View Post
    The bigger question on bike helmets from what I have seen is the disagreements between those who think that societies interests are better served by mandating helmet usage and those that believe opposite. That's a debate never to be settled because of the diverse attitudes about rule, regulation and governmental roles.
    there have been studies that show the societal costs of imposing helmet laws.

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/...than-good.html

    Mandatory bicycle helmet laws could do more harm than good, a new study claims.

    Helmet laws like those in effect in Australia levy a substantial cost on healthcare systems because savings from fewer head injuries pale in comparison to the costs incurred by decreases in cycling, a mathematical model concludes.
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  18. #18
    L T X B O M P F A N S R apricissimus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hnsq View Post
    Can you answer one question for me? It is a yes or no answer, nothing complicated.

    If you crashed, would you rather have a helmet on your head?
    If you crashed, would you rather be wearing full body armor? Yes or no.

    (Me personally, if I crashed, I'd rather be surrounded by layers or feather pillows. If I crashed, that is.)

  19. #19
    Domestic Domestique UnsafeAlpine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by apricissimus View Post
    If you crashed, would you rather be wearing full body armor? Yes or no.

    (Me personally, if I crashed, I'd rather be surrounded by layers or feather pillows. If I crashed, that is.)
    I'd prefer to be surrounded by some steel, maybe a "cage" if you will. I'd also like something soft that will absorb the impact of my body, a cushioned seat perhaps. And even better, a restraint device so that my body doesn't flail wildly around or prevents me from crashing altogether. If my bicycle had 4 wheels instead of two, I'd be less likely to fall over as well.

  20. #20
    www.theheadbadge.com cudak888's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UnsafeAlpine View Post
    So what are the drawbacks to using a helmet?
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  21. #21
    Senior Member squirtdad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UnsafeAlpine View Post
    I believe personal freedom is greater than mandates when it comes to personal safety. I disagree with mandatory seatbelt laws, mandatory motorcycle helmet laws... I believe people should make their own choices.
    .
    that is fine...as long a people are mature enough to make their own choices and take responsiblity for rhe results.

    Bottom line is that neither is true. Take teenagers and seat belts. Not wearing seatbelts is a major cause of death when kids are thrown from cars.

    As for taking responsibilty if you choose not to wear a seatbelt or motorycyle helmet...are you prepared to pay for all of your medical expenses (even i you have insurance) and if permanently injured not take any govement support? Most people are not, so an individiuals freedom make come at a cost to all.

    are you willing to take the responsiblity to the impact to your family if injured because you are exercising your 'freedom" by not using a seatbelt?

    Will a bicycle helmet help in a major bike/car crash....maybe maybe not. Will it help with other crashes....in my direct experience I would say yes. I have done first aid on people who have crashed, both with and without helmets. The person with a helmet had a lot less injuries.

    Same thing with skiiing. I absolutely miss the wind in my hair aspect of skiing fast without a helmet, but wear a helmet now after a couple of close calls that were not in my control.

    No simple answer.... but good compromize is what is most typical...make bike helmet usage required for kids....and let them make up their mind after 18.....when theoretically the are more mature.
    Last edited by squirtdad; 05-11-09 at 01:00 PM. Reason: correct my meaning with and without are different
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  22. #22
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    bottom line for me is the probabilities of having a crash, or hitting a head in a crash and the potential mitigation of injury provided by a helmet.

    No doubt, they can reduce some injuries to a degree, but can they reduce them enough to make it worth the effort to wear one?

    Some people think yes, others think no.

    Children are not adults, but that's not to say some children are not more mature than some adults.

    I'd say, it's far more productive to prevent injuries via responsible riding than wearing a helmet. If someone isn't responsible enough to ride safely, should the encouragement to wear a helmet be a priority over the encouragement to ride in a safe manner?
    Last edited by closetbiker; 05-12-09 at 09:54 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by squirtdad View Post
    that is fine...as long a people are mature enough to make their own choices and take responsiblity for rhe results.
    .

    This line of thinking should also apply to the use of helmets while walking around busy cities. Or the use of helmets while doing chores about the house. Or the use of helmets when climbing stairs. Or the use of ... I hope you get the point. If you don't then here's some more: it should also apply to people that have body mass indices greater than a medically recognized threshold, it should apply to the consumption of trans-fatty acids (no more than one burger every 2 weeks please or you're irresponsible).

    Quote Originally Posted by squirtdad View Post
    As for taking responsibilty if you choose not to wear a seatbelt or motorycyle helmet...are you prepared to pay for all of your medical expenses (even i you have insurance) and if permanently injured not take any govement support? Most people are not, so an individiuals freedom make come at a cost to all.
    Are you exercising enough every week? If not then it's up to the government to make sure that you spend enough time in a mandatory, government approved gymnasium. It's your choice: act responsibly or else there are consequences for your actions young man.

    Quote Originally Posted by squirtdad View Post
    are you willing to take the responsiblity to the impact to your family if injured because you are exercising your 'freedom" by not using a seatbelt?
    Are you able to look your loved ones in the eye and tell them that you made choices which affect your health and safety to a much greater extent than the tiny, tiny risk of a dangerous bicycle accident? No? Not even if your little child tugs on your shirt sleeve and lisps: "Daddy, please, put down the beer and have a rooiboos tea instead. And while your at it you could lose a few pounds and stop riding that dangerous automobile into work every day." You monster.

    Quote Originally Posted by squirtdad View Post
    Will a bicycle helmet help in a major bike/car crash....maybe maybe not.
    The evidence is clear that it won't.

    Quote Originally Posted by squirtdad View Post
    Will it help with other crashes....in my direct experience I would say yes. I have done first aid on people who have crashed, both with and without helmets. The person without a helmet had a lot less injuries.
    I assume that's a typo. Your experiential anecdote is, I'm afraid, nearly useless for making any sort of judgement. That's not being rude, it's a simple statement that you need hundreds of thousands of examples of people falling with and without helmets in a variety of conditions in order to make any judgement. The countries and states which have imposed helmet laws allow us to compare before and after MHL and show that there is no clear benefit to wearing helmets.

    Quote Originally Posted by squirtdad View Post
    No simple answer.... but good compromize is what is most typical...make bike helmet usage required for kids....and let them make up their mind after 18.....when theoretically the are more mature.
    I think that's terrible when there's no clear evidence. Like any other medical intervention there are side-effects. For helmets these range from the strangling of children by helmet straps when they're caught in other objects, to the decreased use of bicycles among young people who then grow up to be non-bicycling adults, to a generalized misperception that helmets are a usefully protective safety device.

    Helmet use ought not to be compulsory for any age group unless it is clearly shown that its benefits far outweigh its negative effects.

  24. #24
    Domestic Domestique UnsafeAlpine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by squirtdad View Post
    that is fine...as long a people are mature enough to make their own choices and take responsiblity for rhe results.

    Bottom line is that neither is true. Take teenagers and seat belts. Not wearing seatbelts is a major cause of death when kids are thrown from cars.
    I thought it was obvious I was talking strictly about adults. Apparently not. Sorry for the confusion.

    As for taking responsibilty if you choose not to wear a seatbelt or motorycyle helmet...are you prepared to pay for all of your medical expenses (even i you have insurance) and if permanently injured not take any govement support? Most people are not, so an individiuals freedom make come at a cost to all.

    are you willing to take the responsiblity to the impact to your family if injured because you are exercising your 'freedom" by not using a seatbelt?
    Individual freedom always comes with a pricetag. Does that mean individual freedom should be removed?

    As far as the family goes, I've always been bothered by that argument. It's as though your family has no say in what you do. If I tell my family that I'm not going to wear my seatbelt while driving 75mph, I would hope they would have some input into that.

    Will a bicycle helmet help in a major bike/car crash....maybe maybe not. Will it help with other crashes....in my direct experience I would say yes. I have done first aid on people who have crashed, both with and without helmets. The person without a helmet had a lot less injuries.
    Can you say both crashes were exactly the same? They happened at the same speed, the same rate of falling, the people had the same build, etc... I've crashed without a helmet and have seen people in much worse shape who had a helmet on, but that doesn't prove wearing a helmet is dangerous.

    Same thing with skiiing. I absolutely miss the wind in my hair aspect of skiing fast without a helmet, but wear a helmet now after a couple of close calls that were not in my control.

    No simple answer.... but good compromize is what is most typical...make bike helmet usage required for kids....and let them make up their mind after 18.....when theoretically the are more mature.
    Again, it's about personal choices. If you feel safer wearing a helmet walking down a flight of stairs, please, wear a helmet, but it shouldn't be mandated.

  25. #25
    Senior Member dynodonn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by closetbiker View Post
    bottom line for me is the probabilities of having a, or hitting a head in a crash and the potential mitigation of injury provided by a helmet.

    No doubt, they can reduce some injuries to a degree, but can they reduce them enough to make it worth the effort to wear one?

    Some people think yes, others think no.

    Children are not adults, but that's not to say some children are not more mature than some adults.

    I'd say, it's far more productive to prevent injuries via responsible riding than wearing a helmet. If someone isn't responsible enough to ride safely, should the encouragement to wear a helmet be a priority over the encouragement to ride in a safe manner?
    CB, we're all human, and being as such, we make mistakes occasionally even while riding responsibly. Like you, I've crashed with and without a helmet, but in my case the outcome was far more favorable while wearing a helmet. Just recently had a local cyclist died from crashing in virtually the same manner as I did years back without a helmet, the difference was that the cyclist hit his head on a concrete sidewalk while I hit my head on the asphalt roadway. Stories like that only reinforce my beliefs of why I choose to wear a helmet every time I go for a ride on the bike.

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