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Advocacy & Safety Cyclists should expect and demand safe accommodation on every public road, just as do all other users. Discuss your bicycle advocacy and safety concerns here.

View Poll Results: Helmet wearing habits?
I've never worn a bike helmet 178 10.66%
I used to wear a helmet, but have stopped 94 5.63%
I've always worn a helmet 648 38.80%
I didn't wear a helmet, but now do 408 24.43%
I sometimes wear a helmet depending on the conditions 342 20.48%
Voters: 1670. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 10-22-11, 08:34 AM   #226
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Originally Posted by The Chemist View Post
... the potential benefits of wearing one, in my view, outweigh the potential downsides by a fair margin...


This guy has made his choices and it's a fact that he'd be safer if he rode with the flow of traffic without a helmet, than against traffic flow, with it.

I'm guessing he's thinking if he does get hit, the helmet will most likely prevent any head, or brain injury.

He'd be safer, if he made safer choices

Last edited by closetbiker; 10-22-11 at 09:32 AM.
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Old 10-22-11, 08:46 AM   #227
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After seeing a teenager down the road after he was hit by a car, made my mind up a helmet was needed.

At first I wore a ball cap, helmet is much cooler, don't sweat near as much, and with my old body they're laughing at more than my head wear.
I don't care, after seeing another old guys head bruises the shape of a helmet, made my mind up he was standing there because he wore his.

Never thought I'd be saying this, if I'm riding, a helmet is on.

To each his own.
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Old 10-22-11, 09:30 AM   #228
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After seeing a teenager down the road after he was hit by a car, made my mind up a helmet was needed...
If protection from being hit by a car is your concern, a helmet might be a good choice if it was designed to provide such protection, but it is not.

"bicycle helmets are not designed to withstand the impact of collisions with motor vehicles"

"The tests cycle helmets currently go through mean that they should offer similar protection to a pedestrian who trips and falls to the ground... helmets protect in falls without any involvement with motor vehicles...in todays road traffic accidents, it's not unlikely for a cycle helmet to be subjected to severity loads far greater than it was designed to cope with"

Last edited by closetbiker; 10-23-11 at 10:35 AM.
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Old 10-22-11, 09:43 AM   #229
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After seeing a teenager down the road after he was hit by a car, made my mind up a helmet was needed.

At first I wore a ball cap, helmet is much cooler, don't sweat near as much, and with my old body they're laughing at more than my head wear.
I don't care, after seeing another old guys head bruises the shape of a helmet, made my mind up he was standing there because he wore his.

Never thought I'd be saying this, if I'm riding, a helmet is on.

To each his own.
Assuming you were aware of the possibility of a cyclist suffering head injuries while cycling prior to seeing the incident with the teenager, is it really rational to start wearing a helmet just because you saw said incident? Are you currently aware that cyclists occasionally die from broken necks? Do you wear a neck protector? Would you, if you saw a cyclist suffer a broken neck?

As always, I don't care whether you wear a helmet or not - but the thought process leading to your decision doesn't seem very rational.
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Old 10-22-11, 10:09 AM   #230
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I've gone to the dark side. I bought a bicycle helmet. Why? because as I was riding along I asked myself a simple question. If something were to happen where I was to be thrown from this saddle, would I rather go down wearing a helmet or the ball cap I had on? The helmet might not provide the protection necessary to prevent a serious head injury, but i suspect it will do a better job than my ball cap.

Subtract one from the poll under "I've never worn a bike helmet"
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Old 10-22-11, 10:10 AM   #231
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... the thought process leading to your decision doesn't seem very rational.
not rational at all.

... an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It's better to not get hit. That's what real bicycle safety is about.
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Old 10-22-11, 10:30 AM   #232
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... i suspect it will do a better job than my ball cap...
Both will (hopefully) do the job it was designed to do.

Unfortunately, too many people think a helmet can do more than it was designed to handle. I don't think a ball cap has the same problem.
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Old 10-22-11, 04:19 PM   #233
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Both will (hopefully) do the job it was designed to do.

Unfortunately, too many people think a helmet can do more than it was designed to handle. I don't think a ball cap has the same problem.
Will a helmet provide more protection than a ball cap, in some situations?
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Old 10-22-11, 04:41 PM   #234
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Will a helmet provide more protection than a ball cap, in some situations?
It will for some situations, but not for the situation cited as the reason for it's use.

As has been recently posted by a couple of members, some people wear helmets for their protection from motor vehicles. These types of impacts are not what helmets are made to withstand
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Old 10-22-11, 04:44 PM   #235
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It will for some situations, but not for the situation cited as the reason for it's use.

As has been recently posted by a couple of members, some people wear helmets for their protection from motor vehicles. These types of impacts are not what helmets are made to withstand
You make it sound like a helmet would offer no protection in any situation involving a motor vehicle, which is false.
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Old 10-22-11, 04:57 PM   #236
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This guy has made his choices and it's a fact that he'd be safer if he rode with the flow of traffic without a helmet, than against traffic flow, with it.

I'm guessing he's thinking if he does get hit, the helmet will most likely prevent any head, or brain injury.

He'd be safer, if he made safer choices
Messenger bag hanging low off the front ain't the greatest choice either with each pedal stroke his right knee pushing the bag into his right arm possibly making steering input. At least he has brakes
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Old 10-22-11, 05:15 PM   #237
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You make it sound like a helmet would offer no protection in any situation involving a motor vehicle, which is false.
A helmet won't provide protection if it's subjected to loads beyond it's limits.

Is that a false statement?
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Old 10-22-11, 05:31 PM   #238
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... At least he has brakes
True, but has a perception of protection led this cyclist into danger?

Is this an example that the benefit of protection a helmet can provide is outweighed by poor decisions that result in an increase in injuries?

Last edited by closetbiker; 10-22-11 at 05:36 PM.
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Old 10-22-11, 06:12 PM   #239
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This guy has made his choices and it's a fact that he'd be safer if he rode with the flow of traffic without a helmet, than against traffic flow, with it.

I'm guessing he's thinking if he does get hit, the helmet will most likely prevent any head, or brain injury.

He'd be safer, if he made safer choices
Oh, I hate keeping this stupid thread alive by participating in this mindless, never ending debate but every once in a while I just can't help myself.

A while back I posted some informal observations I made in Boston one evening on a ride home from work. I was testing this "risk compensation" theory that gets tossed about in here. It doesn't quite jibe with what I've observed about helmeted riders taking any more risks than non-helmeted riders. In fact, dare I go out on a limb and say I've noticed just the opposite?- Yep, I will.

I took one risk behavior- Lights/No Lights. Of the 14 riders I saw wearing helmets 12 had lights on their bikes. I saw 15 non-helmeted riders but 6 of them were on Hubshare Bikes, which come equipped with built-in lights. Of the 9 non-helmeted riders on other than Hubshare bikes 0, NONE, had lights on their bikes.

The following weekend I took a road ride into the western suburbs/countryside outside of Boston. This is the spandex/carbon fiber crowd ride. I saw 34 riders on that ride. 32 of them riding responsibly and on the road- including kids with families. All 32 of them had helmets on.

The other 2 riders, non-helmeted, were riding on the sidewalk- a kid of about 11 years of age who shot across an intersection in a crosswalk and quickly bunny hopped to the sidewalk and the other, an adult rider who wandered from the street to the sidewalk and back again, almost getting nailed at one driveway and had a bag dangling from his handlebars (ironically from Harris Cyclery my LBS). See picture below:



Now my picture proves nothing just as Closetbiker's proves nothing but I offer it as just a balance to the idea that helmeted riders take more risks.

I suggest that others look around at other cyclists and observe certain risky behaviors: no lights, running red lights, riding against traffic, sidewalk riding. What percentage of helmeted vs non-helmeted riders do you see engaging in risky behaviors?

I'm now living in NYC and I see both helmeted and non-helmeted riders do stupid things (as well as ride really well) but I'd say the larger percentage of bicyclists doing stupid things in this city are non-helmeted riders. Again, I am not saying I never see helmeted riders do stupid things- just a greater percentage of the cyclists doing stuff that makes me go or or or or are not wearing a helmet.

Maybe because Closetbiker lives somewhere that mandates helmets he sees such a large percentage of helmeted riders doing stupid things?

So one picture of one cyclist riding the wrong way with a bunch of cabs in the background doesn't make much of a point with me. Just as I'm sure one rider on a sidewalk won't make much of a point for many of you.
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Old 10-22-11, 06:38 PM   #240
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Originally Posted by closetbiker View Post


This guy has made his choices and it's a fact that he'd be safer if he rode with the flow of traffic without a helmet, than against traffic flow, with it.

I'm guessing he's thinking if he does get hit, the helmet will most likely prevent any head, or brain injury.

He'd be safer, if he made safer choices
That's ONE guy. Are you implying that ALL helmet-wearing cyclists behave like this guy, or that all non helmet-wearing cyclists DON'T behave like this guy?

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Old 10-22-11, 06:53 PM   #241
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That's ONE guy. Are you implying that ALL helmet-wearing cyclists behave like this guy, or that all non helmet-wearing cyclists DON'T behave like this guy?

What I'm saying is even with a helmets ability to provide a measure of protection, there hasn't been a corresponding decrease of injury when people wear them.

There must be a reason for this. One possible reason is people adjust their behavior to compensate for this protection, thereby eliminating any benefit they may have gained.
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Old 10-22-11, 07:03 PM   #242
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A while back I posted some informal observations I made in Boston one evening on a ride home from work. I was testing this "risk compensation" theory that gets tossed about in here. It doesn't quite jibe with what I've observed about helmeted riders taking any more risks than non-helmeted riders. In fact, dare I go out on a limb and say I've noticed just the opposite?- Yep, I will.
Hey, yesterday I observed 4 riders. All of them wore helmets. All of them glided through 4-way stops without pausing. I humbly offer this on the same level of your observations.

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The following weekend I took a road ride into the western suburbs/countryside outside of Boston. This is the spandex/carbon fiber crowd ride. I saw 34 riders on that ride. 32 of them riding responsibly and on the road- including kids with families. All 32 of them had helmets on.
But what's your definition of riding responsibly? Earlier you posted that you wear a helmet because you descend hills at 45 mph with the risk of deer jumping out into your path. Were these families also engaging in your highly-risky activities?

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The other 2 riders, non-helmeted, were riding on the sidewalk- a kid of about 11 years of age who shot across an intersection in a crosswalk and quickly bunny hopped to the sidewalk and the other, an adult rider who wandered from the street to the sidewalk and back again, almost getting nailed at one driveway and had a bag dangling from his handlebars (ironically from Harris Cyclery my LBS). See picture below:
Look, both of these unfortunate lacked their magic hat, and they know that if you ride on the road (instead of in the magic bike lane), ESPECIALLY, if you don't have your magic hat on then the evil, nasty cars will EAT YOU UP. So, naturally they rode on the sidewalk. Thank you for contributing your unique, personal perspective. It's nice to see into the mentality of the average, un-educated (and apparently uneducatable) cyclist.
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Old 10-22-11, 08:20 PM   #243
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...Look, both of these unfortunate lacked their magic hat, and they know that if you ride on the road (instead of in the magic bike lane), ESPECIALLY, if you don't have your magic hat on then the evil, nasty cars will EAT YOU UP. So, naturally they rode on the sidewalk. Thank you for contributing your unique, personal perspective. It's nice to see into the mentality of the average, un-educated (and apparently uneducatable) cyclist.
Ah, I see. So it's the non-helmeted cyclist that is also subject to the "magic hat" theory. You're saying that non-helmeted riders take risks and do stupid things like ride on sidewalks or on the edges of roadways because they have been brainwashed into thinking that without a helmet they must cower in gutters and on sidewalks. Wow. Thanks for educating my "uneducatable" little brain.

Now I understand why you, a non-helmet wearing cyclist, are so concerned about my 45 mph descents in mountainous regions with tree lined roads and an abundance of wildlife. You, lacking the "magic hat", would slow your bike to what?...walking speed?... 12 mph? Whereas I, trusting in the "magic hat", descend at much faster speed than you would deem "safe". This despite the fact that I rode just as many descents at just as fast a speed long before I ever put a helmet on my head.

Yeah, you're right. I really don't get it. I guess I'll never learn. Sorry.
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Old 10-23-11, 06:06 AM   #244
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Ah, I see. So it's the non-helmeted cyclist that is also subject to the "magic hat" theory. You're saying that non-helmeted riders take risks and do stupid things like ride on sidewalks or on the edges of roadways because they have been brainwashed into thinking that without a helmet they must cower in gutters and on sidewalks. Wow. Thanks for educating my "uneducatable" little brain.
I think it's pretty obvious at this stage that you're probably non-educatable. You started out with a lame, sneering attitude and have continued to use this to prevent yourself from understanding much about this topic. I guess that helps you feel comfortable with your decision to ride like a fool.

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Now I understand why you, a non-helmet wearing cyclist, are so concerned about my 45 mph descents in mountainous regions with tree lined roads and an abundance of wildlife. You, lacking the "magic hat", would slow your bike to what?...walking speed?... 12 mph?
I feel comfortable descending at about 20mph to 30mph. I doubt my ability to stop or avoid anything above that. Probably I would be safer going below 20 mph, but I'm not completely risk averse.

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Whereas I, trusting in the "magic hat", descend at much faster speed than you would deem "safe". This despite the fact that I rode just as many descents at just as fast a speed long before I ever put a helmet on my head.
Yes, and I shall call out to you "go slower, spring airhead" when I see you and enact a mandatory speed limit for buzzman. Then I will contribute numerous posts to internet forums in which I berate you for your choices. After all, I know what's best for you don't I?


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Yeah, you're right. I really don't get it. I guess I'll never learn. Sorry.
You sure don't get it. Which is pretty darn sad after all the time you've spent on this.
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Old 10-23-11, 07:09 AM   #245
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A helmet won't protect your brain, but it will protect your skull. You choose. Is it better to survive with a concussion that possibly leaves you living with a brain injury (and possible long term "disabilities") or would you rather have a crushed cranium that causes your death? It's a simple question. Its the same question that every motorcycle/automotive racer, ski racer, or football/hockey organization must answer, and they are require the competitor to wear helmets to allow them the best chance of surviving. If you would rather "bleed out" within your skull than to have to live with a brain injury and any possible debilitations that resulted, leave the helmet at home. Its your choice. But choose wisely grasshopper...
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Old 10-23-11, 07:25 AM   #246
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A helmet won't protect your brain, but it will protect your skull. You choose. Is it better to survive with a concussion that possibly leaves you living with a brain injury (and possible long term "disabilities") or would you rather have a crushed cranium that causes your death? It's a simple question. Its the same question that every motorcycle/automotive racer, ski racer, or football/hockey organization must answer, and they are require the competitor to wear helmets to allow them the best chance of surviving. If you would rather "bleed out" within your skull than to have to live with a brain injury and any possible debilitations that resulted, leave the helmet at home. Its your choice. But choose wisely grasshopper...
A helmet will not protect my skull in a car/bike collision, which is the most likely to cause head injury to begin with (and seriously, I ride safely and use lights at night, so the chances are extremely close to 0 to begin with). Read the links, the helmets are tested with a 20 lb weight in them dropped from 2 meters on a flat surface (that's 11 mph for those who don't want to do the math). When they are tested on curbs, they are dropped from a height of 1 meter, or 6 mph. Now first off, I am rarely going less than 13 mph, and usually more. Speed limits where I ride are never under 25 mph, so that's how fast the cars are going. I weigh 225 lbs., not 20, and cars weigh upwards of a ton. Can you please explain how a helmet tested at the above limits will save my skull when getting hit at 25 mph by a 2000 lb. vehicle? These are not magic hats, but are subject to the limits of physical science, and physical science says that in real world situations these will protect my skull no better than the cycling cap I always wear. Never mind that the odds of me getting hit like that are so low...but that's another arguement altogether.
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Old 10-23-11, 07:59 AM   #247
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I feel comfortable descending at about 20mph to 30mph. I doubt my ability to stop or avoid anything above that. Probably I would be safer going below 20 mph, but I'm not completely risk averse.
#1. Sorry if you've taken my tone as sneering. I have little knowledge of how, where or what you ride other than that you don't wear a helmet- and I have absolutely no problem with your choice not to wear one. Perhaps my occasional derision, exasperation and frustration at things like "Magic Hat Theories" and "Risk Compensation Theories" and debatable "studies" that go counter to my own personal experience and observations are what trouble you. Well, those are simply my opinion on those opinions- no need to take them personally.

#2. With regards the speed at which you descend hills on bicycles. That is also your choice. And that's fine by me. I just posted a clip from a film in another A&S thread of a guy riding down hill with 450 lbs of potatoes on the back of his bike, dragging one foot on the ground, wearing flip-flops and smiling away as he does so. I posted it because I'm profoundly inspired by how he uses his bike. I would never presume to tell him how to ride or to put on a helmet even though I think he'd be safer with a helmet, decent shoes, disk brakes and not dragging his foot along the ground.

#3. As far as the speed at which I descend- I'll take your opinion under consideration. There are many cyclists who post regularly in BF's who average between 20 and 30 mph on level ground- I am one of them on occasion. If that is a speed you consider risky while descending do you consider those speeds unsafe on level ground as well? Should we all be riding our bikes at less than 20 mph because we'd probably be safer?

Here are some clips for your perusal:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b5xR4rYo9tw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-zYV_iwXZhg

In both cases I happen to think they were better off with a helmet than without but you may disagree, particularly since the South African cyclist suffered a concussion despite having on the helmet.
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Old 10-23-11, 08:05 AM   #248
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A helmet will not protect my skull in a car/bike collision, which is the most likely to cause head injury to begin with (and seriously, I ride safely and use lights at night, so the chances are extremely close to 0 to begin with). Read the links, the helmets are tested with a 20 lb weight in them dropped from 2 meters on a flat surface (that's 11 mph for those who don't want to do the math). When they are tested on curbs, they are dropped from a height of 1 meter, or 6 mph. Now first off, I am rarely going less than 13 mph, and usually more. Speed limits where I ride are never under 25 mph, so that's how fast the cars are going. I weigh 225 lbs., not 20, and cars weigh upwards of a ton. Can you please explain how a helmet tested at the above limits will save my skull when getting hit at 25 mph by a 2000 lb. vehicle? These are not magic hats, but are subject to the limits of physical science, and physical science says that in real world situations these will protect my skull no better than the cycling cap I always wear. Never mind that the odds of me getting hit like that are so low...but that's another arguement altogether.
Just a couple of questions:

At what speeds (and drop heights) are motorcycle helmets tested?

What is the difference between perpendicular and vertical speed when falling off a bike?

If I am traveling at 25 mph and fall off my bike will my head at the ground at 25 mph?
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Old 10-23-11, 08:13 AM   #249
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Just a couple of questions:

At what speeds (and drop heights) are motorcycle helmets tested? 14 mph
http://www.msf-usa.org/imsc/proceedi...cleHelmets.pdf
What is the difference between perpendicular and vertical speed when falling off a bike?
Seriously, if I go down at 15 mph, I strike my head at 15 mph.

If I am traveling at 25 mph and fall off my bike will my head at the ground at 25 mph?
If you land directly on it, yes. However, it is more likely that you will be struck by a car and hit your head that way. If a car hits your head at 25 mph, then a car hits your head at 25 mph.
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Old 10-23-11, 08:18 AM   #250
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Also, as you bring up motorcycle helmets, there is a signifigant reduction in death rates and injury rates with their use http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motorcycle_helmet while there is no apparant reduction in death and injury rates with bicycle helmets (there are several links in this thread). That is the difference, comparing motorcycle helmets and bicycle helmets is like comparing apples and bongo drums.
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