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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 11-12-12, 01:08 PM   #4126
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Originally Posted by John C. Ratliff View Post
Mconlox,

Actually, it does have something to do with helmets. But if you look at the article, they use engineering design principals to separate traffic from bicycles too. Here is what one study states about bicycle helmets in Sweden:

What is happening is that the science is progressing. Yes, there are some studies which discuss risk compensation:

But what has happened in this thread (and the preceding ones on this topic, which goes back some seven years) is that the same old studies are being used to justify current thinking. My response is that as the science progresses, you need to keep up with the new studies. People also have to be able to change their views based upon the new science to maintain scientific credibility.

John
John, just so you know, I pretty much always ride with a helmet. The bare-head brigade acknowledges me as a helmeteer even though I an far, far from a helmet evangelist.

Regarding the post I am responding to, the Swedish study is about kids, and while that's good data to have, really doesn't translate to adult helmet use and crash analysis. That second study about risk compensation has already been posted. The funny part is that it was posted by the helmet-skeptic crowd...

My statement about Europe is based on the fact that most report infrequent or pretty much no helmet use by transportation cyclists. So if helmet use is non-existent or negligible, lower crash/injury/death rates are due to something else. Infrastructure design, driver laws and education, etc. If helmet use was the deciding factor, then surely the the US/Canada, and especially Australia should show lower rates of death and injury. Since they don't, what are we to make of that...?
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Old 11-12-12, 01:20 PM   #4127
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I know my limits. Come do a 50+ downhill with me and lets see who hits the brakes first. I'll be wearing a helmet.
Does your helmet take the place of safe speed, appropriate braking, and give you extra courage, all in one package? Who wudda thunk it possible?
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Old 11-12-12, 01:52 PM   #4128
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Originally Posted by mconlonx View Post
John, just so you know, I pretty much always ride with a helmet. The bare-head brigade acknowledges me as a helmeteer even though I an far, far from a helmet evangelist.

Regarding the post I am responding to, the Swedish study is about kids, and while that's good data to have, really doesn't translate to adult helmet use and crash analysis. That second study about risk compensation has already been posted. The funny part is that it was posted by the helmet-skeptic crowd...

My statement about Europe is based on the fact that most report infrequent or pretty much no helmet use by transportation cyclists. So if helmet use is non-existent or negligible, lower crash/injury/death rates are due to something else. Infrastructure design, driver laws and education, etc. If helmet use was the deciding factor, then surely the the US/Canada, and especially Australia should show lower rates of death and injury. Since they don't, what are we to make of that...?
That's good to know. Thanks.

Yes, there are infrastructure changes which do make a big difference. We see this in Portland, and I'm looking at it in Beaverton (Oregon) too. In the Hierarchy of Controls, Engineering is better than PPE (personal protective equipment), but both are used in the workplace to prevent injuries. For instance, in chemical usage, it is best to double contain hazardous chemicals and its piping. But there are times when even double containment is breached, and PPE is necessary. It is similar for bicycling.

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Old 11-12-12, 03:06 PM   #4129
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That's good to know. Thanks.

Yes, there are infrastructure changes which do make a big difference. We see this in Portland, and I'm looking at it in Beaverton (Oregon) too. In the Hierarchy of Controls, Engineering is better than PPE (personal protective equipment), but both are used in the workplace to prevent injuries. For instance, in chemical usage, it is best to double contain hazardous chemicals and its piping. But there are times when even double containment is breached, and PPE is necessary. It is similar for bicycling.

John
That's exactly what the non-helmet crowd is doing. IMO They are eliminating the last line of defence because they have come to the conclusion that the other lines of defence will do the job, thus no need for that hair-messing, sweat accumulating, basically useless extra gear... (well until you do actually bounce the head off the pavement)

Last edited by 350htrr; 11-12-12 at 03:50 PM.
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Old 11-12-12, 03:57 PM   #4130
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Here's LAB word on safe riding. Where's "Wear a helmet"? Way down the list...:

http://www.bikeleague.org/resources/.../roadrules.php

Rules of the Road

The League's six Rules of the Road will prepare you for a safe and fun bike commute no matter where you are riding. For more educational resources, sign up for a Smart Cycling class.

1. Follow the law.

Your safety and the image of bicyclists depend on you. You have the same rights and duties as drivers. Obey traffic signals and stop signs. Ride with traffic; use the rightmost lane headed in the direction you are going.

2. Be predictable.

Make your intentions clear to motorists and other road users. Ride in a straight line and don’t swerve between parked cars. Signal turns, and check behind you well before turning or changing lanes.

3. Be conspicuous.

Ride where drivers can see you; wear bright clothing. Use a front white light and red rear light and reflectors at night or when visibility is poor. Make eye contact with drivers. Don’t ride on sidewalks.

4. Think ahead.

Anticipate what drivers, pedestrians, and other bicyclists will do next. Watch for turning vehicles and ride outside the door zone of parked cars. Look out for debris, potholes, and utility covers. Cross railroad tracks at right angles.

5. Ride Ready.

Check your tires have sufficient air, brakes are working, chain runs smoothly, and quick release wheel levers are closed. Carry repair and emergency supplies appropriate for your ride. Wear a helmet.

6. Keep your cool.

Road rage benefits no-one and always makes a bad situation worse.
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Old 11-12-12, 05:17 PM   #4131
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
Does your helmet take the place of safe speed, appropriate braking, and give you extra courage, all in one package? Who wudda thunk it possible?
Kind of thought you guys were going to create a worthy bash gaurd. I keep adjusted bearings, new tires and better brakes on my bikes. I'd not fault a helmet if something happens at that speed. That it doesn't provide any protection in an accident is'nt what I see on an everyday basis. The only human subjects you get here are telling what they experienced. A life jacket wouldn't be any help either if you didn't wear it...
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Old 11-12-12, 05:18 PM   #4132
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I wear a life jacket 24/7 on cruise ships, just in case. Even in the shower.
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Old 11-12-12, 05:33 PM   #4133
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I wear a life jacket 24/7 on cruise ships, just in case. Even in the shower.
I wear one when cycling in the rain, ya never know. Better to be safe then sorry. And why not?
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Old 11-12-12, 05:52 PM   #4134
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Some people I know actually go swimming without a life jacket. Talk about Darwin awards!
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Old 11-12-12, 06:32 PM   #4135
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I understand, same reason I don't wear a helmet when I'm riding my Raliegh 3 speed or Schwiin cruiser. I'm not going to take them on any serious rides.
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Old 11-12-12, 07:11 PM   #4136
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PFD is a great idea if you're in a kayak or canoe...
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Old 11-12-12, 07:17 PM   #4137
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I've taken to wearing them on sailboats while up top, but usually remove it while below deck for more than a minute or two. Although a helmet might help on sailboats I've never worn one while sailing.

Boat rides are like bike rides. Personal Protection needed runs the gamut from nudity to full body armour.
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Old 11-12-12, 07:35 PM   #4138
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PFD is a great idea if you're in a kayak or canoe...
Ba, humbug... You don't NEED one till you ACTUALLY fall IN the water, or the boat sinks... Even then, if you can swim it's not a MUST have... There must be a study out there some-where that concludes, that most of the people who fall into the water survive, even if they don't have a PDF, I'm sure there is...

Last edited by 350htrr; 11-12-12 at 09:28 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 11-12-12, 07:46 PM   #4139
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I'd say in water temps below 60 F they're a pretty good idea for anyone but I don't think they should be required by law. Even a good swimmer can cramp up and be unable to swim in cold water.

As a general rule, the smaller the craft, the better idea it is to wear PFD at all times since capsizing or man overboard situations can often happen much more quickly on small vessels.
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Old 11-12-12, 10:03 PM   #4140
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just make sure if you dont wear a helmet that you sign your organ doner cards, thats what a lot of ER docs and nurses refer to brain dead bike riders and motorcycle riders as organ doners, think wearing a helmet is stupid? ask some of them, or ask the paramedics who regularly scrap people off of the pavement. I know plenty of them who will tell you the same thing, but it's your life, I'm through with this thread
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Old 11-12-12, 10:10 PM   #4141
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just make sure if you dont wear a helmet that you sign your organ doner cards, thats what a lot of ER docs and nurses refer to brain dead bike riders and motorcycle riders as organ doners, think wearing a helmet is stupid? ask some of them, or ask the paramedics who regularly scrap people off of the pavement. I know plenty of them who will tell you the same thing, but it's your life, I'm through with this thread
But what will we do without you?
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Old 11-13-12, 05:37 AM   #4142
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That's exactly what the non-helmet crowd is doing. IMO They are eliminating the last line of defence because they have come to the conclusion that the other lines of defence will do the job, thus no need for that hair-messing, sweat accumulating, basically useless extra gear... (well until you do actually bounce the head off the pavement)
Just like all pedestrians. The risk of head injury per mile travelled is similar for cyclists and pedestrians. So your argument applies equally to both. Why don't you don a "last line of defence" while crossing the road?

And, of course, the principal cause of brain damage to both cyclists and pedestrians is being hit by motor vehicles, which is exactly the sort of accident in which those who manufacture and test helmets admit a helmet cannot save you because it is overwhelmed by the forces involved.

My chances of suffering a serious head injury during non-competitive cycling are extremely remote. And in the event that I have a collision with a car, the chances that a helmet will make a significant difference are also remote. All things considered, the helmet will at best make a tiny difference to what are already extremely long odds.
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Old 11-13-12, 06:58 AM   #4143
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just make sure if you dont wear a helmet that you sign your organ doner cards, thats what a lot of ER docs and nurses refer to brain dead bike riders and motorcycle riders as organ doners, think wearing a helmet is stupid? ask some of them, or ask the paramedics who regularly scrap people off of the pavement. I know plenty of them who will tell you the same thing, but it's your life, I'm through with this thread
Regardless of helmet use, are you registered as an organ donor...?
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Old 11-13-12, 07:04 AM   #4144
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Just like all pedestrians. The risk of head injury per mile travelled is similar for cyclists and pedestrians. So your argument applies equally to both. Why don't you don a "last line of defence" while crossing the road?

And, of course, the principal cause of brain damage to both cyclists and pedestrians is being hit by motor vehicles, which is exactly the sort of accident in which those who manufacture and test helmets admit a helmet cannot save you because it is overwhelmed by the forces involved.

My chances of suffering a serious head injury during non-competitive cycling are extremely remote. And in the event that I have a collision with a car, the chances that a helmet will make a significant difference are also remote. All things considered, the helmet will at best make a tiny difference to what are already extremely long odds.
I actually agree with your last two paragraphs. Not that it will stop me from wearing a helmet, but those views are essentially correct.

First paragraph, however? Regarding pedestrians? Let it go, man, it makes no sense to draw parallels--pedestrians don't suffer the frequency or severity of less than serious head injury that cyclists do.
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Old 11-13-12, 08:36 AM   #4145
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I've actually gone the other direction and now wear an Urge Downomatic full face helmet. Why is it that helmets and body armor work for and function in the offroad and downhill courses to protect riders, but fail to function in an urban/suburban traffic environment? Just sayin'.

As for pedestrians needing helmets or not, tell the guy I hit 2 weeks ago, walking in the road with the direction of traffic with dark clothing at 0dark30. Nailed him at 25 mph probably, (posted speed limit), and we took a huge spill no surprise and he had a concussion and a 3" cut on the top of his skull. He was wearing a hooded Carhartt jacket too.

It's ok. We both feel the other is just as idiotic doing what they're doing, so it cancels out.
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Old 11-13-12, 09:54 AM   #4146
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Just like all pedestrians. The risk of head injury per mile travelled is similar for cyclists and pedestrians. So your argument applies equally to both. Why don't you don a "last line of defence" while crossing the road?

And, of course, the principal cause of brain damage to both cyclists and pedestrians is being hit by motor vehicles, which is exactly the sort of accident in which those who manufacture and test helmets admit a helmet cannot save you because it is overwhelmed by the forces involved.

My chances of suffering a serious head injury during non-competitive cycling are extremely remote. And in the event that I have a collision with a car, the chances that a helmet will make a significant difference are also remote. All things considered, the helmet will at best make a tiny difference to what are already extremely long odds.
There are a lot of other types of crashes not just cars hitting you, how do you explain that there are more than 4.5 X more bicyclists not wearing a helmet that die as compared to cyclists that wear helmets? And that's the best ratio, some of these years it was 40.8 X more... The chance of it happening,(head injuries) may be remote but they do happen. http://www.helmets.org/stats.htm
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Old 11-13-12, 10:19 AM   #4147
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There are a lot of other types of crashes not just cars hitting you, how do you explain that there are more than 4.5 X more bicyclists not wearing a helmet that die as compared to cyclists that wear helmets? And that's the best ratio, some of these years it was 40.8 X more... The chance of it happening,(head injuries) may be remote but they do happen. http://www.helmets.org/stats.htm
Your stats are bogus, as are many of the stats quoted on that helmet-promoting site. For example, the research claiming that helmets reduce injuries by 85% has been discredited for years, having been based on assumptions about effectiveness. And I know from my past life (I used to manage hospitals) that the records of who was and was not wearing a helmet are hopeless, often depending on data input from people such as ER nurses who were not present at the accident and have better things to do than make the accuracy of that data a priority. If a helmet doesn't accompany the casuality to hospital, it is quite likely that the cyclist will be recorded as not having worn a helmet whether they were or not.

If it were really true that helmeted cyclists were 4 times (or 40times!!) less likely to die than those without helmets, then inevitably there would have been a dramatic reduction in fatalities as helmet use increased. That has not happened. Not in the USA, not in the UK, not in New Zealand, not in British Columbia, not in Australia. In every case, increasing the percentage of cyclists wearing helmets appears to have made little or no impact on the long-term trends in respect of death and serious injury.

If you read further in the article you linked, you will find that it admits that nearly all cyclist fatalities are the result of cyclists being hit by vehicles. And the Snell Foundation admits that bicycle helmets are too flimsy to be effective in such circumstances.

But hey, wear one by all means. It's unlikely to save you, just as my not wearing one is unlikely to kill me. The good news is, with or without one, in this country I would have to cycle more than twenty million miles to give myself an even chance of being killed while riding a bike. Even at my very high mileages, that's about 2000 lifetimes-worth. I routinely take much bigger risks than that off the bike, and I don't wear a helmet for those activities either.

Last edited by chasm54; 11-13-12 at 10:26 AM.
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Old 11-13-12, 11:10 AM   #4148
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I'm through with this thread
Dude, you're just going about it wrong. The point of this thread is not to convince anybody. That's utterly beyond hope. The point is to observe a classic species of crackpot in its natural environment: pointless debate on teh interwebs. People who deny that helmets provide protection from head injury in accidents are a rare and delightful mix somewhere on the spectrum between global warming denialists and people who obsessively write letters to the editor about the threat to freedom posed by compact fluorescent light bulbs.

Enjoy!
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Old 11-13-12, 12:06 PM   #4149
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Warning: Anecdotal Content

This post contains no statistics, study results, or crash analysis figures... just opinion and a story about a crash.

I've always been pretty ambivalent about helmet use. If you want to wear one... fine. If not... that's fine too. And that is still how I feel. I'm neither a helmet evangelist nor a bare headed zealot. I wear a helmet probably 80% of the time that I'm on the bike. But I think that now I'll go to 100%.

Here's what changed my mind:

I went last week to see my doctor, who is an avid cyclist and triathlete. I knew that he'd been out of work for a few weeks, but I didn't know why. When I asked about his situation, he revealed that he'd been hit by a car while cycling. He was out on a remote highway here in Georgia, and a 90 year old driver hit him from behind at highway speed. Fortunately the driver didn't hit him full on, but the van's mirror scraped him off of his bicycle and he was slammed to the pavement. The impact broke his arm and broke his pelvis in two places. The driver never even stopped. The only reason that they caught the man was because one of Doc's riding partners saw the van parked in his small town (complete with smashed mirror) three days later and called the police. The man stated that he thought that maybe he had hit something... but didn't think that it was important and didn't stop.

The point that changed my mind: My doc said thank God he was wearing his helmet that day. He said that he knew that a direct hit by a car (and specifically that van moving at 60 MPH) would have crushed his skull with or without a helmet. But his accident sent him flipping and skidding across the pavement. He said that the helmet certainly prevented a lot of scalp damage and almost certainly prevented a concussion.

So you never know. Just sayin'...
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Old 11-13-12, 12:08 PM   #4150
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Your stats are bogus, as are many of the stats quoted on that helmet-promoting site. For example, the research claiming that helmets reduce injuries by 85% has been discredited for years, having been based on assumptions about effectiveness. And I know from my past life (I used to manage hospitals) that the records of who was and was not wearing a helmet are hopeless, often depending on data input from people such as ER nurses who were not present at the accident and have better things to do than make the accuracy of that data a priority. If a helmet doesn't accompany the casuality to hospital, it is quite likely that the cyclist will be recorded as not having worn a helmet whether they were or not.

If it were really true that helmeted cyclists were 4 times (or 40times!!) less likely to die than those without helmets, then inevitably there would have been a dramatic reduction in fatalities as helmet use increased. That has not happened. Not in the USA, not in the UK, not in New Zealand, not in British Columbia, not in Australia. In every case, increasing the percentage of cyclists wearing helmets appears to have made little or no impact on the long-term trends in respect of death and serious injury.

If you read further in the article you linked, you will find that it admits that nearly all cyclist fatalities are the result of cyclists being hit by vehicles. And the Snell Foundation admits that bicycle helmets are too flimsy to be effective in such circumstances.

But hey, wear one by all means. It's unlikely to save you, just as my not wearing one is unlikely to kill me. The good news is, with or without one, in this country I would have to cycle more than twenty million miles to give myself an even chance of being killed while riding a bike. Even at my very high mileages, that's about 2000 lifetimes-worth. I routinely take much bigger risks than that off the bike, and I don't wear a helmet for those activities either.
Well this is just off the top of my head but if there are more and more people wearing helmets and less and less people not wearing helmets, isn't the death/injury number going to go up for people wearing helmets and the number of deaths/injury from not wearing helmets go down as that group gets smaller ...? Which is what it looks like in the study that I quoted, basically every year less and less people not wearing helmets died and more and more people wearing helmets died... But that doesn't necessarily mean helmet use is getting more dangerous and non helmet use is safer, what it means to me is there are less people not wearing helmets today than back in the 1994 so more people, when they die wore helmets, but the group wearing helmets is now way bigger... And you are talking about your chance if getting in an accident I am talking of what happens/can happen when you are actually IN an accident two different things...

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