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View Poll Results: Helmet wearing habits?

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  • I've never worn a bike helmet

    173 10.59%
  • I used to wear a helmet, but have stopped

    93 5.69%
  • I've always worn a helmet

    638 39.05%
  • I didn't wear a helmet, but now do

    397 24.30%
  • I sometimes wear a helmet depending on the conditions

    333 20.38%
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  1. #4151
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    Quote Originally Posted by 350htrr View Post
    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
    Look around at the people who are riding without helmets in the USA. Who are they? Majority are working poor, unemployed poor, DUI riders, etc. I.e. Those without a lot of experience on bikes, those who can't afford or can't justify the expense of a helmet, perhaps those unfamiliar with US traffic law. I'd bet a good percentage of those who die or are seriously head injured are wrong-way cyclists.

    The bare-headers in this thread are very much an outlier minority in the US--experienced riders who consciously choose to not wear a helmet.

    To that end, inexperienced cyclists probably make up the bulk of those who die or suffer serious head injury. They happen to be a subset of cyclists with disproportionately lower incidence of helmet use.

    So figures indicating whatever-times the death and serious injury rate compared to helmeted riders is perhaps less about the protective capabilities of helmets and more about rider inexperience and social issues.
    Last edited by mconlonx; 11-13-12 at 11:51 AM.

  2. #4152
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    Quote Originally Posted by mconlonx View Post
    Look around at the people who are riding without helmets in the USA. Who are they? Majority are working poor, unemployed poor, DUI riders, etc. I.e. Those without a lot of experience on bikes, those who can't afford or can't justify the expense of a helmet, perhaps those unfamiliar with US traffic law. I'd bet a good percentage of those who die or are seriously head injured are wrong-way cyclists.

    The bare-headers in this thread are very much an outlier minority in the US--experienced riders who consciously choose to not wear a helmet.

    To that end, inexperienced cyclists probably make up the bulk of those who die or suffer serious head injury. They happen to be a subset of cyclists with disproportionately lower incidence of helmet use.

    So figures indicating whatever-times the death and serious injury rate compared to helmeted riders is perhaps less about the protective capabilities of helmets and more about rider inexperience and social issues.
    Well I can't disagree with what kind of riders get into most accidents, but I'm not talking the chances of getting into an accident, yes a more experienced rider can certainly reduce the chance of getting into an accident but those numbers represent the actual numbers of people getting killed because of head injuries, while riding, not the chance of getting into the accident... The only thing it says about chance is that it's at least 4.5/1 more non helmet users were killed in an accident because off head injuries... That is what I get out of those statistics... Now what is the margin of error? who knows, but a 4.5/1 ratio is huge, so IF you do get in an accident involving head injuries you will have a 4.5/1 bigger chance of dieing irregardless of skill if you don't wear a helmet...
    Last edited by 350htrr; 11-13-12 at 01:10 PM.
    He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts...for support rather than illumination. I do like my beer, so sometimes I do end up leaning on the lamp-post...

  3. #4153
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    Quote Originally Posted by 350htrr View Post
    so IF you do get in an accident involving head injuries you will have a 4.5/1 bigger chance of dieing irregardless of skill if you don't wear a helmet...
    Ah. You have the same kind of reading comprehension issues many of the bare-headers suffer from. Got it. Good luck with that...

  4. #4154
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 350htrr View Post
    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...
    Sorry, but you haven't understood either the statistics, or my argument. I am not trying to provide an analysis of how many helmeted vs unhelmeted cyclists get killed or injured. The data is too poor for such an analysis to be reliable, imo. What I am saying is that if helmets saved lives or prevented serious injury, then as the proportion of the cycling population who wear helmets increases, the incidence of death or serious injury within the cycling population should decrease. But that does not appear to have happened. So at the very least, one has to be sceptical about claims that helmets are making much difference.

  5. #4155
    Senior Member John C. Ratliff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    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.
    First, the argument about pedestrians. The risk for pedestrians and head injuries is highly tied to auto accidents too:

    http://crosleylawfirm.com/2012/06/ag...-brain-injury/

    Falls do cause head injuries for pedestrians, but usually for the elderly on uneven surfaces such as stairs. So it isn't "all pedestrians" that are at risk, but a distinct sub-population of older or those involved with auto accidents.

    Bicyclists, on the other hand have a higher risk of head injury from both motor vehicle accidents and from anything happening to the bike itself (slip on railroad surface, flat tire, hit bump or rut, etc.). Many urban bicyclists use drop handlebars and a stooped-over posture too, so anything happening puts them down immediately on their head. Concerning a collision with a car, usually that is not a direct hit, but a bump, a hit putting the person into the windshield, or a clip that throws a person off to the side. In these cases, the helmet will most likely meet the demands of the fall, in that it will be a simple fall to the surface (car's or ground). In the rare case where a bicyclist is hit at 45+ mph, all bets on the helmet are off. But most of the cases (and all three of mine, incidentally) involving the head are contact with the ground or with parts of the car at relatively low speed.

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  6. #4156
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    Quote Originally Posted by John C. Ratliff View Post
    First, the argument about pedestrians. The risk for pedestrians and head injuries is highly tied to auto accidents too:

    http://crosleylawfirm.com/2012/06/ag...-brain-injury/

    Falls do cause head injuries for pedestrians, but usually for the elderly on uneven surfaces such as stairs. So it isn't "all pedestrians" that are at risk, but a distinct sub-population of older or those involved with auto accidents.

    Bicyclists, on the other hand have a higher risk of head injury from both motor vehicle accidents and from anything happening to the bike itself (slip on railroad surface, flat tire, hit bump or rut, etc.). Many urban bicyclists use drop handlebars and a stooped-over posture too, so anything happening puts them down immediately on their head.
    I also think walking is not a fair comparison to cycling. More like jogging, I think, on a per-mile basis. However, even trail-runners (the jogging equivalent to MTB) almost never wear helmets, I've yet to see a single one with a lid.

    The most common type of single vehicle bicycle crash for me is laying it down. Doesn't matter if I'm on drop bars or flat bars. I'm gonna contact @ knee/hip/elbow. Increased head slam likelihood on drop bars is difficult for me to fathom and I ride a lot of miles on drop bars, flat bars, townie bars and cruiser bars.
    1980ish Free Spirit Sunbird fixed * 1996 Mongoose IBOC Zero-G * 1997 KHS Comp * 1990-ish Scapin * Lemond Buenos Aires Triple

  7. #4157
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John C. Ratliff View Post
    First, the argument about pedestrians. The risk for pedestrians and head injuries is highly tied to auto accidents too:

    http://crosleylawfirm.com/2012/06/ag...-brain-injury/

    Falls do cause head injuries for pedestrians, but usually for the elderly on uneven surfaces such as stairs. So it isn't "all pedestrians" that are at risk, but a distinct sub-population of older or those involved with auto accidents.
    The elderly are at greater risk in all sorts of circumstances - on the bike, on foot, walking down stairs - but the "distinct sub-population" of pedestrians (or cyclists) who are involved in auto accidents can be identified only after the fact. So everyone is at some varying degree of risk, not just that distinct sub-population.

    Many urban bicyclists use drop handlebars and a stooped-over posture too, so anything happening puts them down immediately on their head.
    Please. Riding with dropped handlebars does not mean that in the event of a fall one inevitably hits one's head. I almost always ride with dropped handlebars. If I come off, which is rare, hitting my head is even rarer.


    Concerning a collision with a car, usually that is not a direct hit, but a bump, a hit putting the person into the windshield, or a clip that throws a person off to the side. In these cases, the helmet will most likely meet the demands of the fall, in that it will be a simple fall to the surface (car's or ground). In the rare case where a bicyclist is hit at 45+ mph, all bets on the helmet are off. But most of the cases (and all three of mine, incidentally) involving the head are contact with the ground or with parts of the car at relatively low speed.
    Well, I broadly agree but my conclusions are different. On two occasions I have hit or been hit by a vehicle. On the first occasion my unhelmeted head hit the side of a van at about 15 mph. On the seond, more recent occasion, my still-unhelmeted head struck the ground a glancing blow at similar speed. On neither occasion did I suffer serious injury. No doubt a helmet would have "met the demands of the fall", but so did my skull.

    I remain of the opinion that a helmet is most likely to mitigate minor injuries to scalp or skull, but unlikely to save one from death or serious injury. And the failure of increasing helmet use to make the expected impact on the casualty statistics seems to me to support that judgment.

  8. #4158
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    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    Sorry, but you haven't understood either the statistics, or my argument. I am not trying to provide an analysis of how many helmeted vs unhelmeted cyclists get killed or injured. The data is too poor for such an analysis to be reliable, imo. What I am saying is that if helmets saved lives or prevented serious injury, then as the proportion of the cycling population who wear helmets increases, the incidence of death or serious injury within the cycling population should decrease. But that does not appear to have happened. So at the very least, one has to be sceptical about claims that helmets are making much difference.
    But the numbers of head injury deaths ARE decreasing... Look at the total number for each year a steady drop probably because more and more people are using helmets, 1,003 in '75, 796 in '94 and 616 in'10... http://www.helmets.org/stats.htm

    EDIT; This is just an assumption but around my area it seems the bicycle riders have doubled in the last 10+ years, if that's true in all of N America, then it's even more impressive that these head injury deaths have been dropping... JMO
    Last edited by 350htrr; 11-13-12 at 05:07 PM.
    He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts...for support rather than illumination. I do like my beer, so sometimes I do end up leaning on the lamp-post...

  9. #4159
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    I can't believe I'm reading and responding to this thread. I can't imagine any of us saying anything new. Anyway, my approach:

    I always wear a helmet. It may not be rational, but it's what I choose.

    When someone rides without a helmet, I do not try to convince them. It's what they choose, and I can't claim to know what's right for them. They've probably thought it out already anyway.
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

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  10. #4160
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    Quote Originally Posted by mconlonx View Post
    That helmets don't protect against major injuries? Yes, I accept this -- you don't?!? That his doctors say he would have suffered major injuries without a helmet? Of course not.
    Go read beezaur's posts again. In his own words: "You've been badly misled."

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    yes, if I die they aren't going to do me any good, so maby they can save someone else, I dont drink or smoke or any of that junk, so I hope I can help someone continue to live after I die, the way people drive today, I need to start wearing a helmet crossing the street on foot, I was nearly mowed down twice in 15 minutes, crossing on a walk signal people flying around the corner making right turns, whats a "yield to pedestrian?"

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    Quote Originally Posted by RazrSkutr View Post
    Go read beezaur's posts again. In his own words: "You've been badly misled."
    In case you didn't notice, I'm essentially agreeing with you. Don't let that stop you, though -- it certainly hasn't in the past.

    Bottom line: I don't think he or his doctor is right; I don't think he would have suffered a serious head injury if he wasn't wearing a helmet. I think he would have received a light to moderate head injury if he wasn't wearing his helmet, but the helmet worked as intended and mitigated that lesser level of injury.

  13. #4163
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    Quote Originally Posted by mconlonx View Post
    Ah. You have the same kind of reading comprehension issues many of the bare-headers suffer from. Got it. Good luck with that...
    Bwaa, But I was essentially agreeing with you... People with more experience can avoid many "accidents"... What I went on to saying was that "IF" they don't and they get into an accident then they too, can suffer the same statistics as the average bicyclist, witch seems to be about 4.5/1 at best, against the non-helmet wearer...
    He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts...for support rather than illumination. I do like my beer, so sometimes I do end up leaning on the lamp-post...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Leo H. View Post
    I've actually gone the other direction and now wear an Urge Downomatic full face helmet.
    If a person is serious about protecting his head while cycling, this is the only sensible approach. Of course, the typical helmeteer won't be interested, because a full-face helmet would cramp his style.

  15. #4165
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    Quote Originally Posted by mconlonx View Post
    The bare-headers in this thread are very much an outlier minority in the US--experienced riders who consciously choose to not wear a helmet.
    I think this is very close to the truth. And also goes a long way toward explaining why helmetless riders often get pretty uptight about being lectured: if you've been doing this for 40 years, you don't appreciate some low-mile A-hole telling you how to do it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Six jours View Post
    I think this is very close to the truth. And also goes a long way toward explaining why helmetless riders often get pretty uptight about being lectured: if you've been doing this for 40 years, you don't appreciate some low-mile A-hole telling you how to do it.
    40+years... Tic, tock, tic, tock...
    He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts...for support rather than illumination. I do like my beer, so sometimes I do end up leaning on the lamp-post...

  17. #4167
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    No I don't appreciate anyone telling me my personal choice is any one's but my decision. My take on helmets is that they great and probably do reduce the severity of some injuries, the actual number of those is pretty unknown. At the same time, a helmut will not help much in a car/bike incident, or any accident at speed. Bike helmets are designed for low speed impact protection. Knowing this, I am way more diligent when I am going to be on a MUP then when I am out riding on rural roads, figuring id some butt wipe is gonna take me out at 60, I am gone anyway.
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  18. #4168
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    Quote Originally Posted by 350htrr View Post
    40+years... Tic, tock, tic, tock...
    If crashing and landing on your head hard enough to cause brain damage is an inevitability for you, then you need to find an activity at which you don't suck so much - and leave the rest of us the hell alone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Six jours View Post
    If crashing and landing on your head hard enough to cause brain damage is an inevitability for you, then you need to find an activity at which you don't suck so much - and leave the rest of us the hell alone.
    Never said it was an inevitability, just that the chance of it IS ALWYS there... No matter how good you think you are... Or others aren't... Trying to reduce the odds of bad things happening is what wearing a helmet is all about... JMO calling people A holes just because they think different than you, doesn't really change things in reality...
    He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts...for support rather than illumination. I do like my beer, so sometimes I do end up leaning on the lamp-post...

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    Quote Originally Posted by 350htrr View Post
    Never said it was an inevitability, just that the chance of it IS ALWYS there... No matter how good you think you are... Or others aren't... Trying to reduce the odds of bad things happening is what wearing a helmet is all about...
    If you truly believed that you'd wear a helmet 24/7.

    Quote Originally Posted by 350htrr View Post
    JMO calling people A holes just because they think different than you, doesn't really change things in reality...
    I don't call them A-holes because they think differently. I call them A-holes because they're A-holes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Six jours View Post
    If you truly believed that you'd wear a helmet 24/7


    I don't call them A-holes because they think differently. I call them A-holes because they're A-holes.
    Oh no, are we back to wearing a helmet in the shower? wearing a helmet while walking?
    Well there's always two sides to any story... So.. Mayhaps the A-hole part can also represent you...
    He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts...for support rather than illumination. I do like my beer, so sometimes I do end up leaning on the lamp-post...

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    Quote Originally Posted by 350htrr View Post
    Bwaa, But I was essentially agreeing with you... People with more experience can avoid many "accidents"... What I went on to saying was that "IF" they don't and they get into an accident then they too, can suffer the same statistics as the average bicyclist, witch seems to be about 4.5/1 at best, against the non-helmet wearer...
    You seriously don't get how more people crashing without helmets (due to inexperience or stupidity) would skew the helmet/non-helmet wearing ratio you're quoting?

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    Quote Originally Posted by mconlonx View Post
    You seriously don't get how more people crashing without helmets (due to inexperience or stupidity) would skew the helmet/non-helmet wearing ratio you're quoting?
    No, because that's not the point, It doesn't matter what "caused the accident", (inexperience or stupidity) the point is what happens when you have an accident with or without a helmet, the death rate is 4.5 times higher without a helmet when you have an accident than with a helmet. There were 616 deaths attributed to head injuries and 429 didn't wear helmets, 94 wore helmets, 93 unknown... to me it says that unhelmeted bicyclists died 4.5 times more than helmeted bicyclist's, the unknown don't count... As to what caused the accidents who cares, I thought the discussion here was whether helmets saved lives or actually caused more damage when in an accident, not what the "chances" are in getting into an accident if you are a fantastic rider or a beginner...
    He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts...for support rather than illumination. I do like my beer, so sometimes I do end up leaning on the lamp-post...

  24. #4174
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    For those of you who don't want to wear a helmet, and don't want to mess up your hair, there is now an alternative.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/0...n_1784264.html

    I was googling "Swedish bicycle helmet" when I found out about this. Now, if people in Sweden did not think there was a problem with bicycle head injuries, why in the world would they finance developing an "invisible helmet." So now when you look at those videos of people in Sweden bicycling bare-headed, look closely to see whether they are wearing something around their neck.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 350htrr View Post
    No, because that's not the point, It doesn't matter what "caused the accident", (inexperience or stupidity) the point is what happens when you have an accident with or without a helmet, the death rate is 4.5 times higher without a helmet when you have an accident than with a helmet. There were 616 deaths attributed to head injuries and 429 didn't wear helmets, 94 wore helmets, 93 unknown... to me it says that unhelmeted bicyclists died 4.5 times more than helmeted bicyclist's, the unknown don't count... As to what caused the accidents who cares, I thought the discussion here was whether helmets saved lives or actually caused more damage when in an accident, not what the "chances" are in getting into an accident if you are a fantastic rider or a beginner...
    Got it. In that case, please refer to the quote which shows up beneath all your posts.

    If accidents skew toward those who don't wear helmets because of their inexperience, of course reportage will indicate such.

    In order for that statistic to be true, helmeted riders would have to crash at the same rate as unhelmeted riders. Do you know that this is the case? Because if you don't, that statistic does not mean what you think it does...

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