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View Poll Results: Helmet wearing habits?

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  • 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%
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  1. #6351
    Quirky Grifter LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
    Lester

    Excellent bike handlers dont have accidents? Then explain all the accidents you see on the TdeF. The greatest cyclist in the world can have an unexpected accident.
    Riding in a group, at high speed, possibly experiencing hypoxia or bonking can increase your chances of crashing. If you remove those factors from your daily riding regimen then you'll be much safer indeed.
    Last edited by LesterOfPuppets; 12-08-13 at 11:46 PM.
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  2. #6352
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ozonation View Post
    Fair point. However, I won't get into a debate about individual rights and freedoms versus collective society responsibilities. Let's just say that we'll agree to disagree.
    Well, that really is the heart of the debate, IMO. I personally feel that the rights of the individual are paramount and that there really is no "collective society". That's just a name for a bunch of individuals, used primarily by people who think argumentum ad populum is a legitimate appeal and justifies their attempts to make everyone else behave in a particular way.

  3. #6353
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    Quote Originally Posted by 350htrr View Post
    YES, Unfortunately you are right and as long as you don't crash it's your skill that counts the most, but most people's lives are still ruled by "luck"...( you know, s*** just happens) You can do EVERYTHING right and still end up on your head in the gutter, where having a helmet on "could" make a difference to the overall outcome to that particular experience... JMO

    EDIT; Oh, I used the word "unfortunately" because people think that skill is enough to avoid all things that involve a smack to the head...
    And as always, that thinking applies to nearly every activity known to mankind. But most of us don't wear helmets while sleeping, despite the potential "bad luck" that could result in us being struck on the head by poorly attached drywall falling from our bedroom walls.

    So the question should not be "what could possibly happen?" but rather "what could be reasonably foreseen to happen?" You can no more answer that for me than I can for you, which is why we all need to butt out of everyone else's business.

  4. #6354
    Senior Member Ozonation's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Six jours View Post
    Well, that really is the heart of the debate, IMO. I personally feel that the rights of the individual are paramount and that there really is no "collective society". That's just a name for a bunch of individuals, used primarily by people who think argumentum ad populum is a legitimate appeal and justifies their attempts to make everyone else behave in a particular way.
    No... argumentum ad populum is not what I'm referring to. I too believe in individual choice, but I am not so naive to believe that I - or many others - can always make the correct choice, and even if I do, it does not prevent others (e.g., a motorist) from making the wrong choice and harming me. To that end, then I think something like a helmet would be a good and reasonable choice to make. Suppose then, I choose not to wear a helmet, and then I am in an accident in which if I had chosen to wear one, then I would have suffered far less injury. I hear a lot of arguments given that each person's individual choice should be respected - of course! - but then the corollary of that choice is individual responsibility and that you accept and pay the consequences, be they monetary or non-monetary.

    I suppose my opinion is coloured by the medical system we have in Canada. I know I can get treatment for those medical ailments that can and do happen to many people, but I often ask myself why I, as a taxpayer, should subsidize the medical treatment to treat those who choose not to take basic, reasonable decisions to safeguard their own health and safety? I think of my wife, who if she found out that I suffered a debilitating head injury because I did not wear a helmet, would chide me and probably curse me being so selfish to think of my choice, but not the consequence to her and my family. For me, and I suspect many others, I would not want to impose that cost upon anybody else because of the decision I chose to make. I am not against taking risks - life is about risk - but I like to lessen what risks I am exposed to.

    And I seriously doubt half the helmet or other safety laws are passed because some group thinks they are necessarily "better": they're probably passed so that a third party isn't liable and so that somebody does not have to pay! It's always about the money it seems in the end.

    Well, it's been enlightening to hear the various perspectives. I'm not sorry I jumped into this fray, but I can see there is no end in sight to this thread...
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  5. #6355
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ozonation View Post

    .....
    I suppose my opinion is coloured by the medical system we have in Canada. I know I can get treatment for those medical ailments that can and do happen to many people, but I often ask myself why I, as a taxpayer, should subsidize the medical treatment to treat those who choose not to take basic, reasonable decisions to safeguard their own health and safety? .....
    I agree completely, and you've just made the best and most important argument against socialized medicine. Suddenly everybody is looking at others' risky behavior, be it bicycling without a helmet, being over weight, eating too much salt, drinking, participation in dangerous sports, etc. and saying "that no good, irresponsible SOB is running up my tab".

    Of course there are externalities to everything we do, but if we focus on them we'll Balkanize society. Better to arrange things so folks take a greater stake in the consequences of their individual behavior (not saying a total stake, that's unworkable), so we can shift out focus from what others do and worry about what we'll do.
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  6. #6356
    Senior Member Ozonation's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    I agree completely, and you've just made the best and most important argument against socialized medicine. Suddenly everybody is looking at others' risky behavior, be it bicycling without a helmet, being over weight, eating too much salt, drinking, participation in dangerous sports, etc. and saying "that no good, irresponsible SOB is running up my tab".

    Of course there are externalities to everything we do, but if we focus on them we'll Balkanize society. Better to arrange things so folks take a greater stake in the consequences of their individual behavior (not saying a total stake, that's unworkable), so we can shift out focus from what others do and worry about what we'll do.
    Actually, I will defend universal healthcare to the end - make no mistake about it. This might seem contradictory, but on balance, I think we as a society are much better off with universal healthcare than without. As it stands then, I have to accept the bad with the good. However, I would rather know that a low income family can get decent medical treatment, and I will accept with full knowledge that some idiot drunk driver will get treated as well. I know many Americans are aghast at the idea of universal healthcare, but many Canadians cannot conceive of how the US does not have universal healthcare. (And you know, healthcare is not entirely free up here either nor is it perfect... we can still pay a lot depending on what the situation is.)

    Given all that, I would still rather see people make better decisions for themselves: universal "anything" should not be an excuse to do anything one wants without consequence.
    Last edited by Ozonation; 12-09-13 at 06:13 AM.
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  7. #6357
    Senior Member rydabent's Avatar
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    lester

    The point still remains that the "greatest bike handler" WILL still meet the unexpected. On an unfamiliar road, he might meet up with sand or gravel in a turn and go down. A stone not seen may cause an instant blowout.

    The bottom line here is you are talking about the .0001% of the worlds greatest bike handlers. Those of us that support wearing helmets are talking about the 99.0099% of the rest of cyclist. To put it simply, try to argue with the phrase--------------"schidt happents"!!!!!!!

  8. #6358
    Cycle Dallas MMACH 5's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ozonation View Post
    ...
    I think of my wife, who if she found out that I suffered a debilitating head injury because I did not wear a helmet, would chide me and probably curse me being so selfish to think of my choice, but not the consequence to her and my family.
    ...
    Devil's advocate time.
    What if you suffered a debilitating head injury while wearing a helmet? Would she curse you being so selfish to get on a bike at all?
    That's gonna leave a mark.

  9. #6359
    Senior Member Ozonation's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MMACH 5 View Post
    Devil's advocate time.
    What if you suffered a debilitating head injury while wearing a helmet? Would she curse you being so selfish to get on a bike at all?
    No. She would not.
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  10. #6360
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    I don't wear helmets because I don't feel the risks warrant it. That said, I agree that there is no valid anti-helmet argument.
    First, read this: http://cyclehelmets.org/1249.html (de Jong P., The health impact of mandatory bicycle helmet laws, Risk Analysis, 2012.)

    You can see that under most conditions, mandatory helmet laws kill people.

    I propose that peer pressure isn't that different from a mandatory helmet law--you've all seen the pro-helmet crowd try to shame those who don't share their mythology, and it seems likely that some of the reasons through which helmet laws interfere with cycling (increasing the perception that cycling is dangerous, and thus reducing the amount of cycling; creating an environment receptive to helmet mythology) would work through peer pressure as well (I can't be the only one who feels pressure even without legislation, from cyclists _and_ from trained professionals who ought to know better).

    It may be inferred from the linked paper that pushing helmets on people kills people. Wearing a helmet probably does push people, even if only a little. I haven't done the math yet to find out what the range is, but there will be some range of values for peer-pressure effects in which my wearing a helmet does hurt the average person.
    Last edited by fugue137; 12-09-13 at 11:29 AM. Reason: someone thought the link didn't work

  11. #6361
    pro in someone's theory prooftheory's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fugue137 View Post
    Your link doesn't seem to work.

  12. #6362
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    Your link doesn't seem to work.
    What error do you see?

  13. #6363
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    Quote Originally Posted by fugue137 View Post

    You can see that under most conditions, mandatory helmet laws kill people.

    .
    We have to separate the possible benefits of helmets for their wearers from the societal impact from mandatory helmet laws.

    As I said in the quote you cited, I don't feel the injury risk warrants wearing a helmet (personal decision), I don't challenge that helmets will mitigate head injuries.

    My only concern about helmet boosters is that it could lead to mandatory use laws, which I agree is bad policy for a variety of reasons. I also fear that the helmet argument, coupled with advocacy for segregated bicycle facilities reinforces the notion that bicycling is unsafe, and if this becomes generally accepted (true or not) it will lead to restrictions --- for our own good.
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  14. #6364
    Quirky Grifter LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
    lester

    The point still remains that the "greatest bike handler" WILL still meet the unexpected. On an unfamiliar road, he might meet up with sand or gravel in a turn and go down. A stone not seen may cause an instant blowout.
    Surprises can happen to anyone. Adjust your helmet-wearing needs to meed the frequency with which you think surprises that are apt to cause scalp damage occur in your life. Not many auto enthusiasts wear helmets for every car ride. No trail runners I know of wear them for running. Not many ice skaters wear them for skating...

    Quote Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
    The bottom line here is you are talking about the .0001% of the worlds greatest bike handlers. Those of us that support wearing helmets are talking about the 99.0099% of the rest of cyclist. To put it simply, try to argue with the phrase--------------"schidt happents"!!!!!!!
    As of late I'm now once again an every-ride helmet wearer. I suffered a bad ocular migraine coming home the other night. I was so out of it my situational awareness and bike handling were both compromised. So now even for a mellow ride, the chance of loss of control has greatly increased.

    I wore one all through my 20s - probably good since I usually rode like a maniac. For the past several years only for snow days, races and group rides but now I'm back to full time wearing.

    I still don't feel that many safe-riding, well-seasoned bicycle riders need to wear a helmet for all bike rides.

    YMMV.

    People that don't ride with helmets for all rides aren't stupid. Aren't gonna increase your healthcare costs. Aren't gonna win a Darwin award. Aren't gonna save lives with the organs. Aren't gonna do any other silly thing that helmet purists claim they're gonna do.
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  15. #6365
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    We have to separate the possible benefits of helmets for their wearers from the societal impact from mandatory helmet laws.
    What I want to make a stab at is separating the societal impact of increased pressure to wear helmets from the mechanism by which that pressure is applied. My observation is that peer pressure functions similarly to law (we could go into governmentality theory here ), although it will probably (maybe? possibly? what about religion or bigotry or musical taste?) be less chilling. It looks trivial to compute the ranges of "compliance with the mechanism" over which de Jong's model still shows societal costs, but the slope (change in compliance) / (change in one rider's choice) is a dynamic network reminiscent of epidemiology. I know neither how sensitive it will be to system parameters nor how to put an approximate value on those parameters from real-world data.

    Wait--do I have the honour of speaking with Piet de Jong?

  16. #6366
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    Quote Originally Posted by fugue137 View Post
    What I want to make a stab at is separating the societal impact of increased pressure to wear helmets from the mechanism by which that pressure is applied....
    The societal impact studies are based on the notion that perception of bicycling as dangerous discourages participation. I don't know that peer pressure on already active cyclists has the same effect. It might, but probably not to the same extent.

    However the negative of bicycling as dangerous projected by self-styles advocates is a serious issue, not only because it discourages participation but because it invites (and in some cases actually demands) government intervention.
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  17. #6367
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    Quote Originally Posted by fugue137 View Post
    What I want to make a stab at is separating the societal impact of increased pressure to wear helmets from the mechanism by which that pressure is applied. My observation is that peer pressure functions similarly to law (we could go into governmentality theory here ), although it will probably (maybe? possibly? what about religion or bigotry or musical taste?) be less chilling. It looks trivial to compute the ranges of "compliance with the mechanism" over which de Jong's model still shows societal costs, but the slope (change in compliance) / (change in one rider's choice) is a dynamic network reminiscent of epidemiology. I know neither how sensitive it will be to system parameters nor how to put an approximate value on those parameters from real-world data.

    Wait--do I have the honour of speaking with Piet de Jong?
    Well that settles that, eh?

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    I don't know that peer pressure on already active cyclists has the same effect. It might, but probably not to the same extent.
    I suspect you're right. Presumably any effect would be due to choking the influx of new cyclists while doing nothing about the old ones, which would probably just alter the timescale of the effect...? That'd make it harder to measure.

    Actually, I still think that there are plenty of cyclists who are "in transition"--light recreational users who don't yet identify as Cyclists, who might go either way based on perceptions of risk/benefit, and who still make a significant contribution to any system dynamics that might be caused by the presence or absence of foam on everybody's head.
    Last edited by fugue137; 12-09-13 at 11:49 AM.

  19. #6369
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    fugue137, your insinuation that wearing a helmet indirectly "peer-pressures" others is basically eliminating free choice from the equation. By wearing a helmet, I'm giving the impression that cycling is a dangerous activity. This impression is discouraging new cyclists. This reduces the number of cyclists, thus making cycling more dangerous.

    So individual choice is no longer about the individual. My wearing a helmet endangers all other cyclists. For the greater good, your logic would make mandatory non-helmet laws seem reasonable.
    That's gonna leave a mark.

  20. #6370
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    So individual choice is no longer about the individual.
    It never was. When you come into contact with other people, your actions affect them. It's a cost--and a benefit--of being part of a society, and it's been true ever since some species evolved the ability to learn from experience with others.

    My wearing a helmet endangers all other cyclists. For the greater good, your logic would make mandatory non-helmet laws seem reasonable.
    Exactly. I'm putting forth an anti-helmet argument. That is what I was looking for, after all.

    I don't know you, so I can't tell, but you sound like you don't like these conclusions? Just remember that they depend on some assumptions and some math, and if those don't pan out I'll be the first to dismiss my argument.

  21. #6371
    Cycle Dallas MMACH 5's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fugue137 View Post
    It never was. When you come into contact with other people, your actions affect them. It's a cost--and a benefit--of being part of a society, and it's been true ever since some species evolved the ability to learn from experience with others.
    ...
    This doesn't mean that every action a person takes becomes peer pressure to coerce others to follow suit.

    Quote Originally Posted by fugue137 View Post
    ...
    Quote Originally Posted by MMACH 5 View Post
    ...
    My wearing a helmet endangers all other cyclists. For the greater good, your logic would make mandatory non-helmet laws seem reasonable.
    Exactly. I'm putting forth an anti-helmet argument. That is what I was looking for, after all.
    ...
    I don't know if I was completely clear. I didn't mean that your logic counters mandatory helmet law reasoning. I meant that your logic makes room for making helmets illegal. Are you arguing that it would be reasonable to ticket people who decide to wear helmets?
    That's gonna leave a mark.

  22. #6372
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    This doesn't mean that every action a person takes becomes peer pressure to coerce others to follow suit.
    I'm not so sure. People do tend to respond to each other, to follow the herd, to be susceptible to bandwagon devices, to listen to "opinion makers", to dress more or less the same, to eat as much as their friends eat, to conform to gender roles, and to generally do what everyone else is doing. It's not technically coercion (although there's plenty of that as well for just about all of the examples above including helmets), but the precise mechanism is less important, epidemiologically speaking, than the effect on society. It's the latter whose relevance I want to understand.

    I meant that your logic makes room for making helmets illegal. Are you arguing that it would be reasonable to ticket people who decide to wear helmets?
    I see. I think that's a fascinating question. When behaviour harms society, then society benefits from banning it. But the choice to wear a helmet is presumably no different than the choice to show that one believes in any other harmful lie (I'm mostly thinking of pick-your-favourite-religion or homeopathy, but there are a million more examples). In the USA, public demonstrations of support for stupidity are generally protected by the First Amendment. Many other countries handle the legality of potentially harmful speech differently--for example, most take exception to hate speech on the grounds that some particular kinds of speech that harm society should be illegal.

    Honestly, I'm not sure what I think of this. I'm no expert on the ramifications of free speech law; perhaps I should have educated myself further before responding, but for now I'll leave it at I don't know yet. What do you think? Is the USA's free speech law the Correct One? Should it protect your right to wear a helmet?

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    Quote Originally Posted by fugue137 View Post
    ...
    What do you think? Is the USA's free speech law the Correct One? Should it protect your right to wear a helmet?
    I think we should absolutely have the choice to either wear a helmet or not wear a helmet. It is an interesting angle to discuss helmets as a free speech issue.
    That's gonna leave a mark.

  24. #6374
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ozonation View Post
    I would actually argue that helmets can prevent severe injury in many situations.
    Please do. You're up against many studies by serious people who make it their life's work, who have found different. Bicycle helmets as currently marketed do not do a great job at protecting against severe injury. If you have data to the contrary, by all means post it.
    I know next to nothing. I am frequently wrong.

  25. #6375
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    League of American Bicyclists lists five contributors to riding safely. Wearing a helmet is #5 , last on the list.

    Before there should be mandatory helmet laws, there should very obviously be mandatory bicycle riding operation and safety courses, which includes vehicle law regarding public road use.

    Just like you need to be educated to drive a car, motorcycle, or moped, a bicycle rider should also face mandatory training in order to operate their bicycle in a safe manner on public roads.

    As soon as the mandatory helmet use law ninnies fall into line with actual safety practice, I will get on board with them. But MHLs as some kind of safety-theater are not to be tolerated.

    When it comes to actual bicycle safety, helmet laws are the least effective.
    I know next to nothing. I am frequently wrong.

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