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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 11-05-12, 09:09 PM   #4001
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Originally Posted by skye View Post
I love it. Never let facts get in the way of ignorance, right?

That's my point, "facts" get twisted around by people using statistics with agendas, sometimes, thus my disbelief in the anti-helmet fact/studies/conclusions... Sometimes "smart" people make ignorant/dumb decisions too, just because they want to believe...

EDIT; Isn't it beautiful how the inter-web allows people from both sides of an argument to state their perspective BS (BS from the opponents point of view of course) actual facts from their own point of view...

Last edited by 350htrr; 11-06-12 at 09:58 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old 11-05-12, 09:09 PM   #4002
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Your post leaves out all the interesting parts. Could you share some of the measurements you took, the assumptions you used and the methods you used to calculate this figure?
Razor, he doesn't have time for us ignorami. We'll just have to trust him - he's edumacated.
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Old 11-05-12, 09:40 PM   #4003
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Your post leaves out all the interesting parts. Could you share some of the measurements you took, the assumptions you used and the methods you used to calculate this figure?
I reviewed numerous test standards, especially the one used in the US. I also studied up on the actual materials in my helmet. There is a lot of information I looked through on tests that actually were done too, including damage to helmets that actually were tested.

Measurements (rough ones) on my helmet were of deflection both on the inside and the outside. The full thickness of the foam was compressed somewhat. There are cracks too.

The damage to my helmet is "consistent with" actual damage from tested helmets. That is to say, it is roughly the same extent and type of damage. As it was, there was no evidence of major sliding in my crash.

I have experience doing accelerometer measurements under shock loads, destructive material tests, and things like that. I've also spent years on the analysis side, including using finite element analysis (writing my own code too).

Reading about the helmet tests, looking at the results of my crash, and my own experience with similar testing tied it all together. Anyone with a similar background probably would have the same experience.

My helmet was sitting in the corner and I was almost afraid to look at it, to tell you the truth. In the course of figuring out what to buy I worked up the courage to look. There was definitely an "oh gawd" moment the first time I took a careful look at the damage.

But anyway . . .

In the general case, helmets don't start major deformation until about 200 gs or so. By the time a human head reaches that kind of deceleration, you are looking at a concussion. The brain itself is not exposed to those high gs - it keeps moving and decelerates slower within your skull. So the actual forces and accelerations are tough to nail down and would require a fairly sophisticated analysis.

One unfortunate fact about helmets, which I think is a major source of confusion, is that you basically have to choose whether you want to have protection against minor injuries, or major injuries. The US standard is major injuries. So helmets in the US cannot protect against minor ones very well.

When claims are made that helmets don't protect you, that is what they're talking about - minor injuries. What they don't mention is that the reason is that they do protect against major injuries.

Verified by my doctors, that is exactly how my helmet worked.

I had a good concussion, but avoided permanent brain damage. It's not like I'm happy about being injured, but it prevented something far worse. The physical damage to my helmet looks almost exactly like a tested helmet. So I am pretty satisfied that my helmet's deformation was pretty much the same as those destroyed in testing.

That said, there are issues that could have caused my helmet to behave differently. There could have been a major sliding component to my landing, which is not tested for. The impact could have been in one of the more shaped regions of my helmet, which might have changed things. In tests, they have to duct tape the helmets down really well to even get them to stay on the apparatus.

When I learned about risks associated with non-round shapes and large vent holes, that was the end of that for me. I found out that MTB/skate style helmets were much safer. Here is a photo of the winter helmet I have on the way:



It's also certified as a ski helmet (not that I care) which means it has some features that make it probably good for winter riding: pluggable vents, detachable ear covers, and generally warmer construction. There were some runners-up that were pretty inexpensive, in the $40-$50 range.

I'm not saying helmets with aerodynamic shaping and massive vents are bad, but there are safer helmets out there.

Last edited by beezaur; 11-05-12 at 10:07 PM.
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Old 11-05-12, 09:45 PM   #4004
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Razor, he doesn't have time for us ignorami. We'll just have to trust him - he's edumacated.
What I meant by that was I am not going to attempt to "prove" anyone's study's validity. You would need a year of math for that, and I'm not even going to attempt.

The way I look at things, making a de facto public statement about safety, I have a basic obligation to know what I'm talking about. Obviously not everyone agrees - they expect to be able to say whatever they want, and it is the duty of people who disagree with them to show where the error is.

Lots of bogus claims about statistics are made on this site. There is no way I could possibly educate those making such claims about why they are wrong. They don't want to know anyway. No matter what I would say it would be rejected.
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Old 11-05-12, 09:53 PM   #4005
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What I meant by that was I am not going to attempt to "prove" anyone's study's validity. You would need a year of math for that, and I'm not even going to attempt.

The way I look at things, making a de facto public statement about safety, I have a basic obligation to know what I'm talking about. Obviously not everyone agrees - they expect to be able to say whatever they want, and it is the duty of people who disagree with them to show where the error is.

Lots of bogus claims about statistics are made on this site. There is no way I could possibly educate those making such claims about why they are wrong. They don't want to know anyway. No matter what I would say it would be rejected.
It's obvious that you think you alone have a handle on all the facts, and that if the rest of us were as "educated" as you we'd agree with your conclusions. This is a fairly basic logical fallacy - but you're obviously too smart to accept that kind of observation from the likes of me.

I would, though, be interested in hearing from you how many years of math and physics each of your interlocutors on this thread has had - never mind how you deduced that just by reading our posts.
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Old 11-06-12, 12:12 AM   #4006
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It's obvious that you think you alone have a handle on all the facts, and that if the rest of us were as "educated" as you we'd agree with your conclusions. This is a fairly basic logical fallacy - but you're obviously too smart to accept that kind of observation from the likes of me.

I would, though, be interested in hearing from you how many years of math and physics each of your interlocutors on this thread has had - never mind how you deduced that just by reading our posts.
I have the benefit of extensive special training. I can identify bogus math right away. Likewise for structural and dynamical aspects of these kinds of physical systems.

You won't have to be an engineer to make sense of it though. You just have to be willing to learn and be willing to put your political views aside. That's one reason I don't want to get into the gory details of the technical side - it's really pretty common sense stuff.

If you start going through the actual studies, here for example, it will become pretty clear which side is telling the truth. Generally well over 90% of dead cyclists were not wearing helmets. That should give you a clue that something is wrong with claims that helmets cause injuries.

If you go through that stuff, it will take more effort, but you will come to the same conclusion that people used to statistics have come to. But really: anyone who is willing to put in the time can understand it pretty well. I would seriously encourage anyone who is interested to go to that site and dive in.

This is a good page if you are coming from the anti-helmet world or would like to understand it: http://www.helmets.org/shouldi.htm

Here is a page on that site that is more relevant to this particular thread: Our Response to Some Negative Views on Helmets

Last edited by beezaur; 11-06-12 at 12:29 AM.
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Old 11-06-12, 04:14 AM   #4007
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.
Sweet. Backcountry Receptor. Are you getting the MIPS version?

Thanks for your personal and professional insight on the whole helmet debate.

Wishing you a speedy recovery.
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Old 11-06-12, 07:02 AM   #4008
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bezaur

As a fellow engineer, I respect your logical conclusion in your accident. I hope you completely recover. I have tried in vain to introduce common sense and logic into this thread, but the anti helmet cult is not swayed by such real world things.

Please notice however your position is IMMEDIATELY attacked by a well know member of the anti helmet cult in this forum. He, and they seem to feel the need to try to discredit anyone that has benefited by the use of a helmet in the real world, myself included. Some how they seem to think "studies" and theory trump actual accidents.

Last edited by rydabent; 11-06-12 at 07:07 AM.
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Old 11-06-12, 08:48 AM   #4009
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It's obvious that you think you alone have a handle on all the facts, and that if the rest of us were as "educated" as you we'd agree with your conclusions. This is a fairly basic logical fallacy - but you're obviously too smart to accept that kind of observation from the likes of me.
Based on reading what you have posted (repeately) and what has been posted by the edumacated gentlemen whom you are criticizing, I would say that his point of view is entirely accurate and justified.

And as long as we're all waving our dicks around about credentials, PhD in physics here. I make a living doing data analysis.
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Old 11-06-12, 11:32 AM   #4010
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Sweet. Backcountry Receptor. Are you getting the MIPS version?
I saw that one, but couldn't get info on whether it was CPSC 1203 (US bicycle helmet) certified. I went with the plain old Receptor +.

Given my current point of view on the subject, I'm sure helmet use will be an iterative process. I've used two, one for winter and one for summer. At this point I probably will end up with more. I could use a hot, dry weather helmet for sure, but there is a lot of weather difference between 95 F and a rainy 35 F (i.e., the Receptor +). I'm sensing an in-between helmet too.

It's really nice that they are starting to use design features that address helmet rotation. Hopefully that will spread.
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Old 11-06-12, 06:07 PM   #4011
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I have the benefit of extensive special training. I can identify bogus math right away. Likewise for structural and dynamical aspects of these kinds of physical systems.

You won't have to be an engineer to make sense of it though. You just have to be willing to learn and be willing to put your political views aside. That's one reason I don't want to get into the gory details of the technical side - it's really pretty common sense stuff.

If you start going through the actual studies, here for example, it will become pretty clear which side is telling the truth. Generally well over 90% of dead cyclists were not wearing helmets. That should give you a clue that something is wrong with claims that helmets cause injuries.

If you go through that stuff, it will take more effort, but you will come to the same conclusion that people used to statistics have come to. But really: anyone who is willing to put in the time can understand it pretty well. I would seriously encourage anyone who is interested to go to that site and dive in.

This is a good page if you are coming from the anti-helmet world or would like to understand it: http://www.helmets.org/shouldi.htm

Here is a page on that site that is more relevant to this particular thread: Our Response to Some Negative Views on Helmets
More of the same: "I know more about it than you do, therefore any time your opinions do not match mine they are wrong. Now here's a link to helmets.org". Yawn.
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Old 11-06-12, 06:08 PM   #4012
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One unfortunate fact about helmets, which I think is a major source of confusion, is that you basically have to choose whether you want to have protection against minor injuries, or major injuries. The US standard is major injuries. So helmets in the US cannot protect against minor ones very well.
You are absolutely, 180 degrees incorrect in that statement. Please provide your proof, in the form of manufacturer statements or studies.

You are evidencing the symptoms of many an engineer who presumes a knowledge of biomechanics where none exists.
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Old 11-06-12, 06:16 PM   #4013
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You are absolutely, 180 degrees incorrect in that statement. Please provide your proof, in the form of manufacturer statements or studies.
Will you consider it "proof" if the poster ignores all comments and replies and comes back every Monday to repeat the same statement or something equally silly?
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Old 11-06-12, 06:28 PM   #4014
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I reviewed numerous test standards, especially the one used in the US. I also studied up on the actual materials in my helmet. There is a lot of information I looked through on tests that actually were done too, including damage to helmets that actually were tested.

Measurements (rough ones) on my helmet were of deflection both on the inside and the outside. The full thickness of the foam was compressed somewhat. There are cracks too.

The damage to my helmet is "consistent with" actual damage from tested helmets. That is to say, it is roughly the same extent and type of damage. As it was, there was no evidence of major sliding in my crash.

I have experience doing accelerometer measurements under shock loads, destructive material tests, and things like that. I've also spent years on the analysis side, including using finite element analysis (writing my own code too).

Reading about the helmet tests, looking at the results of my crash, and my own experience with similar testing tied it all together. Anyone with a similar background probably would have the same experience.

My helmet was sitting in the corner and I was almost afraid to look at it, to tell you the truth. In the course of figuring out what to buy I worked up the courage to look. There was definitely an "oh gawd" moment the first time I took a careful look at the damage.

But anyway . . .

In the general case, helmets don't start major deformation until about 200 gs or so. By the time a human head reaches that kind of deceleration, you are looking at a concussion. The brain itself is not exposed to those high gs - it keeps moving and decelerates slower within your skull. So the actual forces and accelerations are tough to nail down and would require a fairly sophisticated analysis.

One unfortunate fact about helmets, which I think is a major source of confusion, is that you basically have to choose whether you want to have protection against minor injuries, or major injuries. The US standard is major injuries. So helmets in the US cannot protect against minor ones very well.

When claims are made that helmets don't protect you, that is what they're talking about - minor injuries. What they don't mention is that the reason is that they do protect against major injuries.

Verified by my doctors, that is exactly how my helmet worked.

I had a good concussion, but avoided permanent brain damage. It's not like I'm happy about being injured, but it prevented something far worse. The physical damage to my helmet looks almost exactly like a tested helmet. So I am pretty satisfied that my helmet's deformation was pretty much the same as those destroyed in testing.

That said, there are issues that could have caused my helmet to behave differently. There could have been a major sliding component to my landing, which is not tested for. The impact could have been in one of the more shaped regions of my helmet, which might have changed things. In tests, they have to duct tape the helmets down really well to even get them to stay on the apparatus.

When I learned about risks associated with non-round shapes and large vent holes, that was the end of that for me. I found out that MTB/skate style helmets were much safer. Here is a photo of the winter helmet I have on the way:



It's also certified as a ski helmet (not that I care) which means it has some features that make it probably good for winter riding: pluggable vents, detachable ear covers, and generally warmer construction. There were some runners-up that were pretty inexpensive, in the $40-$50 range.

I'm not saying helmets with aerodynamic shaping and massive vents are bad, but there are safer helmets out there.
Thank you for your answer. It's not a response to the questions I posed to you though: what specific measurements, assumptions and calculations did you use to reach the 2/3 figure which you posited earlier?

Also, as an engineer and a certified ski-instructor, do you have any idea why, when helmet usage is high, serious brain injury does not decrease?
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Old 11-06-12, 08:14 PM   #4015
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Thank you for your answer. It's not a response to the questions I posed to you though: what specific measurements, assumptions and calculations did you use to reach the 2/3 figure which you posited earlier?

Also, as an engineer and a certified ski-instructor, do you have any idea why, when helmet usage is high, serious brain injury does not decrease?
I never claimed to be a certified ski anything.

The 2/3 figure comes from long experience in doing similar materials testing and analysis. Do you have any experience with energy calculations and integration over volumes? Any materials lab experience at all? I'm not going to get into a technical debate with someone who is neither interested in paying attention or knowing what they are talking about.

When helmet usage is high, there is a tremendous reduction in injury, about 75% according to most sources. The assertion that injury does not decrease is absurd.

People who make claims like that use logic like this: I had a brain injury despite my helmet, therefore my helmet did not protect me.

The reality is that my helmet kept me from getting a broken skull and either dying or receiving severe permanent brain damage. If I did not end up as a quadriplegic in diapers I probably would have been killed. I would then be among the greater than 90% of dead cyclists who did not wear a helmet.
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Old 11-06-12, 08:24 PM   #4016
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You are absolutely, 180 degrees incorrect in that statement. Please provide your proof, in the form of manufacturer statements or studies. . . .
Go look up the information in the links I provided. There are dozens and dozens of studies there.

To reiterate, here is the fact of the matter about helmet foam:

Some helmets use softer foam and do protect well against (relatively) minor injuries. Knock your head a little, and the material gives. Knock your head a lot and the material gives a lot - to the point that your head will hit the shell and come to a hard stop against whatever you are impacting.

That is broken skull time.

To prevent that, bicycle helmets in the US use a relatively stiff foam. So if you get into a hard impact, it doesn't bottom out and you save yourself from a broken skull. The down side is that foam that strong still applies a large load to your head.

So in US helmets you still get a concussion but save yourself from permanent, severe brain damage.

You can (and should) read about it here: http://www.helmets.org/liners.htm <- that's a link I already provided earlier which you obviously did not bother with.

Your misinformed insistence borders on unethical. People read things like your claims and get hurt as a result.

I'm getting sick of this site again . . . entirely too bad what could be good discussion is so degraded by activists.
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Old 11-06-12, 08:36 PM   #4017
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The 2/3 figure comes from long experience in doing similar materials testing and analysis. Do you have any experience with energy calculations and integration over volumes? Any materials lab experience at all? I'm not going to get into a technical debate with someone who is neither interested in paying attention or knowing what they are talking about.
At this stage you could have answered the question. I'm really interested in how you calculated this figure.

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When helmet usage is high, there is a tremendous reduction in injury, about 75% according to most sources. The assertion that injury does not decrease is absurd.
What would be absurd would be to: 1) make an assertion without providing a reference -- where do you get this 75% figure from? ; 2) answer a different question than was asked. Here's my specific question again: "do you have any idea why, when helmet usage is high, serious brain injury does not decrease?"

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I would then be among the greater than 90% of dead cyclists who did not wear a helmet.
During your education as an accident reconstruction specialist, engineer, materials scientist specialist, etc did you ever have the opportunity to take a stats class? If so, would you be so kind as to share your relative risk ratios for helmeted/non-helmeted cyclist deaths, if you can spare the time and stoop to our level -- seeing as you're here now? This time it would be lovely to have some of the basic details which an engineer would sully their hands with: measurements, assumptions, calculations.
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Old 11-06-12, 08:38 PM   #4018
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So in US helmets you still get a concussion but save yourself from permanent, severe brain damage.
Please point to a specific source for this information. I can't find this on the link that you referenced.
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Old 11-06-12, 09:19 PM   #4019
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did you ever have the opportunity to take a stats class? . . . .
Right . . .

This kind of stuff is why I'm not going to get into a technical discussion on this site. If you want to go fight with someone over stuff that is totally foreign to you, go find someone else.

I have about 6 years worth of math training, counting only training specifically for math. That includes some pretty advanced probability and statistics training. In addition I've used it professionally for years.

You can take "a" stats class and still not be up to speed with the kind of stuff that is used in these studies. That's why I suggested a year is what you'd need. Even with a year of statistics, you would be able to help, not actually do the study.
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Old 11-06-12, 09:49 PM   #4020
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What's awesome about all this is the bare-head brigade trying to call someone out on the same kind of tactics they routinely use... except the someone actually haz some k-nowledge, not just regurgitated tangents of studies.

Also, this is just a rehash of: Helmet saved my life! Nuh-uhh! Did so! Did not! where both sides are equally correct and wrong at the same time. Just with a higher level of language, bluster, and vehemence.

By all means, continue...

:
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Old 11-06-12, 10:49 PM   #4021
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No, mconlox, this is nothing more than someone claiming special knowledge held by no one but himself, and that because of his special knowledge (supported, oddly enough, by the same tired, discredited studies which have been tossed about for years on this site) we should all stop disagreeing and simply elect him Thread King.

So far, beezaur has done nothing different from the rest of the helmet brigade other than claiming expert status - and responding to every request for specifics with "I'm not going to discuss it - you're not smart enough to understand me if I did".

If someone can point out where he's actually added something new to the thread, I'd be surprised. Until then, I claim double expert status, which makes me right.
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Old 11-07-12, 06:33 AM   #4022
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Right . . .

This kind of stuff is why I'm not going to get into a technical discussion
Again, I'm really interested in what measurements you took, the assumptions and models you made and the calculations you used. I'd also like a cite for the 75% figure above and a justification of your use of the 90% figure above.

Absence of these is revealing.
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Old 11-07-12, 06:41 AM   #4023
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... except the someone actually haz some k-nowledge,
Knowledge is great. Where is it?

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Originally Posted by mconlonx View Post
.
Also, this is just a rehash of: Helmet saved my life! Nuh-uhh! Did so! Did not! where both sides are equally correct and wrong at the same time. Just with a higher level of language, bluster, and vehemence.

By all means, continue...

:

How are you capable of judging that both sides are correct? Apart from that I'd agree with the above, although I suspect for different reasons than you.

It's interesting that you are happy with: "I'm an expert (on the internet), and I say X", but that you discount the keystone of reasoned argument: referring to the information on which one relies. I see this as one of the biggest differences between those that believe that helmets save their lives and those that don't.
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Old 11-07-12, 07:19 AM   #4024
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When "research" and "statistics" collide with real world happenings, they simply fail. Too many people, myself included have had real world accidents that were mitigated by a helmet to believe all the fog and fuss of the anti helmet cult.

Say tuned for more personal attacks on me.
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Old 11-07-12, 12:12 PM   #4025
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Knowledge is great. Where is it?

How are you capable of judging that both sides are correct? Apart from that I'd agree with the above, although I suspect for different reasons than you.

It's interesting that you are happy with: "I'm an expert (on the internet), and I say X", but that you discount the keystone of reasoned argument: referring to the information on which one relies. I see this as one of the biggest differences between those that believe that helmets save their lives and those that don't.
Well, I give him as much credit as anyone else, including you, so when he says he's got a handle on the physics/math, I believe him. Maybe not all of what he has to say, but on that end, sure. He says his helmet deformed in accordance to the way it's supposed to, I accept that more than the usual, "My helmet cracked, so see? it saved my life!", because he knows what to look for and the forces involved with the material better than your average bear. Most of the people you bash here have no idea how to measure 3d deformation or that they should be looking for it in the first place.

We're still dealing with politics here, so yes, both sides are as correct as they are wrong. Just depends on your POV on this political issue. The studies both sides post don't do anything to clear up the issue because both sides use studies out of context, creating this confusing political divide for anyone coming into this for information.

In the end, despite his claims, I don't think a helmet will protect me any more than I did a few days ago before his post; a helmet won't protect me any less; but I will continue to wear one.. ...And you obviously aren't going to suddenly don a helmet because of what he says.

Again, it's the same tired "Helmet saved me!" "Did not!" bickering, just with bigger words. Do you know that his helmet didn't save his life just as he asserts? No. Does he know that it did? No. Just dealing in politics and probablities based on inconclusive studies, personal anecdote and experience. Again.
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