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View Poll Results: Helmet wearing habits?

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1580. You may not vote on this poll
  • I've never worn a bike helmet

    164 10.38%
  • I used to wear a helmet, but have stopped

    88 5.57%
  • I've always worn a helmet

    613 38.80%
  • I didn't wear a helmet, but now do

    393 24.87%
  • I sometimes wear a helmet depending on the conditions

    322 20.38%
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  1. #51
    Senior Member rydabent's Avatar
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    chasm

    But the question is "free and properly informed" by who?? By the anti helmet trolls?
    Why try to dictate to everyone? Let people make their own mind up.

    And yes it is either pro helmet or anti helmet. You either wear a helmet or not.

  2. #52
    Icantre Member stonefree's Avatar
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    We already know they aren't anti cycling but just let the negative role models reject their helmets. That just means more helmets for the rest of us and maybe the prices will come down. Don't wanna pay more for the helmet than the bike. Excuse me for being selfish.

    Anyway sometimes helmets are just not appropriate fashion statements on short rides and we all know vanity is king. Our kids will understand...right.
    "If we don't change direction, we will end up exactly where we are headed."

  3. #53
    your nightmare gal chipcom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
    I see that this new thread has been pounced on by the usual hand full of anti helment trolls. They seem totally unable to let people decide if they want to wear a helmet or not. They need to give it a rest.
    specifics, please. Who are the "usual hand full of anti helment trolls" and what, again specifically, have they said that seems to be forcing their views on anyone?

    If you can't answer with some specifics...the troll is probably in your mirror.
    "Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey

  4. #54
    Yabba-Dabba-Doo! AlmostTrick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
    And yes it is either pro helmet or anti helmet. You either wear a helmet or not.
    Actually there is quite a bit of ground between the two extreme ends of the issue. While there certainly are exceptions, most do not rabidly promote helmets, and even less try to discourage or obstruct anyone from wearing one. Plus, many do wear a helmet sometimes but not all the time. So much for your "Pro/Anti", "Helmet or Not" stance.

    The biggest issue isn’t that some don’t care to wear a helmet, it’s that too many put way too much faith in them. It appears that these threads and the posters you erroneously call “anti helmet” have helped in that regard by giving people some information beyond the common misconceptions. Pedal On!
    Have Bike, Will Travel

  5. #55
    Bicikli Huszár sudo bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stonefree View Post
    We already know they aren't anti cycling but just let the negative role models reject their helmets. That just means more helmets for the rest of us and maybe the prices will come down. Don't wanna pay more for the helmet than the bike. Excuse me for being selfish.
    Trolling.

    Anyway sometimes helmets are just not appropriate fashion statements on short rides and we all know vanity is king. Our kids will understand...right.
    "The bicycle is the noblest invention of mankind. I love the bicycle. I always have. I can think of no sincere, decent human being, male or female, young or old, saint or sinner, who can resist the bicycle."

    - William Saroyan

  6. #56
    ---- buzzman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlmostTrick View Post
    Actually there is quite a bit of ground between the two extreme ends of the issue. While there certainly are exceptions, most do not rabidly promote helmets, and even less try to discourage or obstruct anyone from wearing one. Plus, many do wear a helmet sometimes but not all the time. So much for your "Pro/Anti", "Helmet or Not" stance.

    The biggest issue isn’t that some don’t care to wear a helmet, it’s that too many put way too much faith in them. It appears that these threads and the posters you erroneously call “anti helmet” have helped in that regard by giving people some information beyond the common misconceptions. Pedal On!
    If

    *"most do not rabidly promote helmets"

    and

    * "many do wear a helmet sometimes but not all the time"

    then how is this also true?:

    * "too many put way too much faith in them."

    I agree with your first two statements but think that one of the biggest fallacies in this thread and others like it is the latter statement.

    It's an assumption. An opinion. And based on what? A survey? If so, please provide a link.

    And what is "too many"? What percentage of helmet wearing cyclists are you talking about?

    And how do you measure "faith"? And who is the "judge" of that faith?

    And why should someone who chooses not to wear a helmet have any more right to make that judgement call about someone who chooses to wear a helmet than vice versa?

  7. #57
    Bicikli Huszár sudo bike's Avatar
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    I think the sheer number of times we've had people step in talking about how helmets save lives, and the general prevailing attitude that you must pop on a helmet before riding in the same manner you must buckle up, is general evidence that people over-estimate their capabilities. If you don't wear a helmet, it becomes evident soon from all the misinformed folks who start harping on you that they think it does something that it doesn't do. I can't think of a single person in my circle that I didn't have to explain my reasoning to; they were all convinced that "helmet's just work". I was one of them.

    Do you contend society is actually well-informed about the efficacy of helmets?
    "The bicycle is the noblest invention of mankind. I love the bicycle. I always have. I can think of no sincere, decent human being, male or female, young or old, saint or sinner, who can resist the bicycle."

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  8. #58
    ---- buzzman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rydabent View Post

    ...And yes it is either pro helmet or anti helmet. You either wear a helmet or not.
    I think when we use the "pro" or "anti" prepositions we feed the inflamed arguments that seem to get these threads no where. There is a lot of gray matter in between (pun intended).

    If there is anything that seems to be a pro/anti stance it is whether helmet use should be mandated. I believe that the vast majority of bicyclists (both helmet and non-helmet wearing) do NOT support such legislation. I think laws like that are passed by non-cyclists. The recently aired Ken Burn's documentary on "Prohibition" exemplifies that do-good laws can have a negative effect on behavior.

    When helmet wearing cyclists post in these threads they become a target of that resistance and resentment- regardless of their actual stance on mandated helmet wearing. If we don't paint it in black and white and sling our assumptions at those who choose not to wear a helmet maybe, just maybe, they will see fit to do the same.

  9. #59
    your nightmare gal chipcom's Avatar
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    I'm such an anti-helmet troll that I give helmet recommendations to people who ask for them in other threads. I'm an evil genius like that.
    "Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey

  10. #60
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Buzzman, I think you're missing the point. These threads have not been full of posters telling people they are stupid for wearing a helmet. They have, from time to time, been full of posters claiming that anyone who does wear a helmet is a candidate for a Darwin award, should be refused medical insurance, is too stupid to be allowed to ride on the public roads, etc.

    It's impossible to hold these extreme and judgemental views without holding a sincere belief that helmets offer meaningful protection against the sorts of accidents that are most likely to cause severe brain injury or death. And we are often told this explicitly, by posters who stress the importance of wearing helmets in traffic. But no objective consideration of the available evidence, as far as I can see, can lead to such a conclusion. Helemts simply haven't made much difference to the - thankfully, small - numbers of dead and seriously injured cyclists. So I think AlmostTrick and sudobike are being perfectly fair in pointing out that many people who post here extolling helmets' virtues are ill-informed and overestimate the helmet's protective capabilities.

    But of course, they are welcome to wear one. And so are you. I don't even think it is an unintelligent choice, since I certainly believe that a helmet may save some people some injuries. It's just not a choice I would make.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  11. #61
    ---- buzzman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sudo bike View Post
    I think the sheer number of times we've had people step in talking about how helmets save lives, and the general prevailing attitude that you must pop on a helmet before riding in the same manner you must buckle up, is general evidence that people over-estimate their capabilities.
    Basing anything on the kinds of hyperbole and false posturing from either side of the issue done in these helmet threads is not something I'd advise. Though, I admit, I use my helmet with exactly the same kind of regularity as I do my seat belt. However, I don't think my use of a helmet or a seat belt is evidence that I over-estimate either of their capabilities.

    Quote Originally Posted by sudo bike View Post
    If you don't wear a helmet, it becomes evident soon from all the misinformed folks who start harping on you that they think it does something that it doesn't do. I can't think of a single person in my circle that I didn't have to explain my reasoning to; they were all convinced that "helmet's just work". I was one of them.
    This is a really good point. If this thread serves cyclists in any way it is a reminder to let people make their own decision about whether or not to wear a helmet. Pushing it on someone just doesn't work.

    It's hard to convince people that a helmet won't do any good in a crash because, and I don't mean to be argumentative here, but it defies commonsense. People know that if you have a helmet on your head and you drop a brick on it from let's say 3' and then you do the same without the helmet it's going to hurt a lot more without it than with. I'm just being honest here, but that's what you're up against- simplicity. The bigger, more complex picture of how safe cycling is, the incidence of head injury, concussion data, helmet efficacy in catastrophic crashes etc. is way too much information for the general public.

    As you can see from rydabent's comment "you either wear a helmet or not". That's what most people want to boil it down to- they don't want to over think it. And, when it comes down to it, they're probably right. The statistics and data is debatable and if people have to think that much over a simple decision of helmet or no helmet they'll make the simplest choice that makes sense. And many will decide that even if the helmet won't do any good it won't do any harm either and choose to wear it.

    Quote Originally Posted by sudo bike View Post
    Do you contend society is actually well-informed about the efficacy of helmets?
    No, I don't.

    Nor do I think they are well informed about the efficacy of life preservers or seat belts or airbags or smoke detectors or aspirin or anti-biotics or a million other things they come in contact with during their busy lives. And often they are woefully uninformed about their proper use.

    A question for you (and a cool video)- do you think these guys are over-estimating the capabilities of their helmets? And do you think they'd be better off with a helmet or without?

    http://youtu.be/X-hp7R1tQSQ

  12. #62
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by buzzman View Post
    As you can see from rydabent's comment "you either wear a helmet or not". That's what most people want to boil it down to- they don't want to over think it. And, when it comes down to it, they're probably right. The statistics and data is debatable ...
    You are right about the people who obviously choose not to think too hard before posting on this and previous threads about the value of bicycle helmets.

    The conclusions that can be logically drawn from the available "statistics and data" about helmet capabilities/efficacy for risk reduction are ONLY "debatable" by people who don't want to (or are incapable of) logical thinking on the issue.

  13. #63
    de oranje Jan Feetz's Avatar
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    This thread is dumb. Its my choice whether I wear a helmet or not

  14. #64
    ---- buzzman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    Buzzman, I think you're missing the point. These threads have not been full of posters telling people they are stupid for wearing a helmet...


    Quote Originally Posted by RazrSkutr
    No one is forcing you to take of(f) your symbol of credulous stupidity.
    Not that this kind of nonsense doesn't swing both ways.

    But I think you're missing the point. Or you're not reading the threads or you're suffering from "willful blindness".

  15. #65
    Bicikli Huszár sudo bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by buzzman View Post
    Basing anything on the kinds of hyperbole and false posturing from either side of the issue done in these helmet threads is not something I'd advise. Though, I admit, I use my helmet with exactly the same kind of regularity as I do my seat belt. However, I don't think my use of a helmet or a seat belt is evidence that I over-estimate either of their capabilities.
    I'm not even talking about the overplayed hyperbole a la rydabent, but the folks who step in (usually newbies) with actual good intentions (seemingly) talking about how they are convinced the helmet saved their lives when 1) they describe a situation it probably did not save their life and 2) they make this assumption based on the terrible correlation equals causation fallacy of a) I crashed b) I was wearing a helmet c) I didn't die d) therefore the helmet saved my life.

    I should think it's actually fairly non-controversial that people believe helmets prevent brain damage and save lives on a regular basis, something that is patently not true (with debate surrounding whether they do so at all).

    This is a really good point. If this thread serves cyclists in any way it is a reminder to let people make their own decision about whether or not to wear a helmet. Pushing it on someone just doesn't work.
    I agree absolutely. My hope for this thread is to act as a source pointing to information that people can use to make their own assessment. That's what it did for me.

    It's hard to convince people that a helmet won't do any good in a crash because, and I don't mean to be argumentative here, but it defies commonsense. People know that if you have a helmet on your head and you drop a brick on it from let's say 3' and then you do the same without the helmet it's going to hurt a lot more without it than with. I'm just being honest here, but that's what you're up against- simplicity. The bigger, more complex picture of how safe cycling is, the incidence of head injury, concussion data, helmet efficacy in catastrophic crashes etc. is way too much information for the general public.
    This is true, to a point. If people wear a helmet thinking it will hurt less if they fall, they are probably right, and there's not much wrong with this simplicity. My fear is that people go out thinking it will save their life in a situation where it probably won't. That sort of simplicity is dangerous; relying on a device you expect to save your life that will inevitably fail at doing so can lead to bad situations. That's all I'm looking for: Not for people to necessarily stop wearing helmets (I think most don't need to, but if they choose to I don't care), but to know what they are and are not capable of.

    As you can see from rydabent's comment "you either wear a helmet or not". That's what most people want to boil it down to- they don't want to over think it. And, when it comes down to it, they're probably right. The statistics and data is debatable and if people have to think that much over a simple decision of helmet or no helmet they'll make the simplest choice that makes sense. And many will decide that even if the helmet won't do any good it won't do any harm either and choose to wear it.
    This is true, and there's nothing wrong with that. But there are many folks who feel pressured into wearing a helmet because everyone says they need one, or worse, forgo cycling altogether due to the inconvenience of a helmet. You wouldn't think it's that big of a deal, but the sheer drop in cycling after mandatory use laws are enacted shows otherwise. It's a big enough deal to get some people to stop if they feel helmets are necessary. Seeing as this is an advocacy forum, I'm guessing that's not what any of us want.

    No, I don't.

    Nor do I think they are well informed about the efficacy of life preservers or seat belts or airbags or smoke detectors or aspirin or anti-biotics or a million other things they come in contact with during their busy lives. And often they are woefully uninformed about their proper use.
    I think people are actually decently informed about seat belts, life preservers, smoke detectors, etc. But you know what? Some of the things you listed people are uninformed about, and there is a big movement to try and get people to understand them, aspirin and anti-biotics come to mind. There's a very big push to get people and doctors to understand why pushing anti-biotics can be a very dangerous thing, same with aspirin. So I think these are very fair comparisons: They are useful tools that people's lack of knowledge about have lead to dangerous situations, and now there is a push to inform people, not stop their use. I feel exactly the same way about helmets.

    A question for you (and a cool video)- do you think these guys are over-estimating the capabilities of their helmets? And do you think they'd be better off with a helmet or without?

    http://youtu.be/X-hp7R1tQSQ
    Firstly, I don't think they are better off without a helmet because their likelihood of a fall is obviously higher, and helmets do serve some use in a crash. As to whether they overestimate, it seems some of them are not wearing standard bicycle helmets, so I don't know of their ability. The ones that are wearing standard bicycle helmets, I guess it depends if they think it will save their life if they drop head first down a 200 ft cliff, or if they think it might help mitigate relatively minor wounds such as a nasty gash on the head.
    "The bicycle is the noblest invention of mankind. I love the bicycle. I always have. I can think of no sincere, decent human being, male or female, young or old, saint or sinner, who can resist the bicycle."

    - William Saroyan

  16. #66
    ---- buzzman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sudo bike
    My fear is that people go out thinking it will save their life in a situation where it probably won't.
    What exactly are you imagining people are going to do with the helmet on than without it?And why does this make any difference to you at all? Unless it drastically changes the way people ride, and I doubt very much it does, what business is that of yours?

    I see people do stupid things on their bikes all the time. They do stupid things with helmets on and without helmets on. I definitely observe non-helmeted riders do outrageously stupid things- no light ninjas, salmon riders, sidewalk riders in busy areas. Are you honestly telling me that you observe helmeted riders doing stupid things at a noticeably greater rate?

    If cycling is such a relatively safe activity do you think bicyclists will die at a higher rate because they wear helmets and believe it will save their lives in circumstances in which it may not? In the 1970's, when most riders were riding without helmets, cycling deaths were over 1000/year in the US. Now I'm not saying it's because of helmets but cyclist deaths are now about 650/year. If the introduction of helmets were going to cause more cyclists to take risks that would lead to death or serious injury wouldn't we see that in the statistics?

    Please don't tell me you ascribe to this "risk aversion" theory. I mean if you guys are supposedly into the "data" and the "studies" and the "statistics" please show me the vetted, peer reviewed study of bicyclists with helmets and bicyclists without helmets and the difference in their behavior in terms of risks taken. Until you can demonstrate some hard facts to support this "theory" as it specifically relates to bike riders I really can't buy this argument.

    This is where I'll hold my personal experience against a lot of what I see written in these threads. I cycled many years and many miles without a bike helmet. I can recall descending an incredibly steep hill in Pennsylvania with my nose two inches above my front wheel in order to see if I could hit 60 mph or descending the Blue Ridge Parkway in a snowstorm-these are just two of thousands of ridiculous risks I took at at time when I absolutely refused to put on a helmet.

    You say you used to wear a bike helmet and now you don't. You obviously survived your risky, wild helmet wearing days- do you ride more safely now because you don't wear a helmet? Or do you ride more safely now because you are a more experienced rider? What kinds of risks did you take as a helmeted rider that you don't take now?

  17. #67
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Buzzman, as far as simple numbers of deaths are concerned, they don't tell us much. I'm more familiar with the UK data, and the position here is complicated both by variations in the numbers of people cycling - until recently cycling was in long-term decline as a mode of transportation - and by trends in road safety overall. Road safety has been improving for many years for all road users, despite increases in the numbers of vehicles, because of other initiatives. Some of these are technological - ABS etc.,- and some are behavioural, notably a clampdown on drunk driving. All one can say about the increasingly widespread use of helmets is that it appears to have made little difference to an already- established trend. So the picture is complicated. In your own country, as people started to wear helmets, head injuries to cyclists rose, despite a decrease in the numbers who were cycling. I wouldn't wish to claim that this correlation implies causation, but it is a remarkable statistic if, in fact, helmets work.

    As for risk-compensation, the point about it is that people do not do it consciously. If I could tell that I was behaving more dangerously because I felt secure, I wouldn't do it. But in various fields of activity there have been studies showing that when they feel protected people do indeed take greater risks without making any conscious decision to do so. Whether this is a material factor in the rate of injury to cyclists, I can't say. But something has to account for the fact that increased use of helmets seems to have made so little difference.

    Apart from the countries in which helmets are mandatory, the USA has the highest rates of helmet use in the world. Yet it also has the highest numbers of deaths and injuries to cyclists relative to the number of journeys made by bike. This may or may not tell us much about helmet effectiveness. I think it certainly tells us that there are many factors influencing cyclists' safety that are much more important than whether or not they wear a helmet.

    Do it, don't do it, I don't much care as long as you don't try to make me do it too. My major objection to the promotion of helmets is that it presents cycling as dangerous, when it is not, and therefore deters people from cycling and parents from letting their kids do something that is fun, good for their health and environmentally and economically beneficial. And those that do allow it, frequently think that it is more important to buy little Johnny a helmet than to teach him how to ride a bike safely. They are dangerously mistaken.
    Last edited by chasm54; 10-06-11 at 11:17 PM.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  18. #68
    Bicikli Huszár sudo bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by buzzman View Post
    What exactly are you imagining people are going to do with the helmet on than without it?And why does this make any difference to you at all? Unless it drastically changes the way people ride, and I doubt very much it does, what business is that of yours?
    It isn't my business what people choose - I'm simply trying to provide sources of information so that people can make their own choice, and forwarding my situation and what choices I've made and why.

    I see people do stupid things on their bikes all the time. They do stupid things with helmets on and without helmets on. I definitely observe non-helmeted riders do outrageously stupid things- no light ninjas, salmon riders, sidewalk riders in busy areas. Are you honestly telling me that you observe helmeted riders doing stupid things at a noticeably greater rate?
    Not necessarily. Look, as someone who has participated in a number of activities where knowing your equipment is terribly important, I know it's a very dangerous thing to be misinformed about the capabilities of your equipment. As a fencer, when you are dealing with pieces of forged steel being thrust at you, and likewise to others, you need to know what the equipment is able to handle and what it can't, and what to do when it fails. It would be terribly dangerous to fence thinking a mask will stop the steel all or almost all of the time (they do, in reality) when they only stop incidental face hits (which was so in the past). Can you see how this would greatly affect how you fence? Obviously, if both fencers know the limitation (which used to really exist and this was a real scenario), you make a concerted effort not to put your face in danger or the opponent's, because the mask is only meant to stop incidental hits some of the time. If you think it will stop full on face shots, it can lead to tragedy, since they have fenced more aggressively under the impression the mask will protect them 99.99% of the time (which is the case today). If tomorrow masks became ineffective and nobody knew about it, it could lead to some pretty tragic cases.

    This is a slightly extreme example, but it's one I'm quite familiar with and I think it demonstrates the importance of knowing your equipment's ability in a way most people can readily understand.

    How hard can you thrust before the sword breaks? What do you do if it does? How much safety equipment do you need to wear, and what is it capable of stopping? These are all very important things to know.

    Ask any rock climber, or really anyone who relies on safety equipment. You need to know the limitations of your equipment in order to properly assess when to use it, and what your actions will be. I'm not sure why this seems such a controversial idea?

    If cycling is such a relatively safe activity do you think bicyclists will die at a higher rate because they wear helmets and believe it will save their lives in circumstances in which it may not? In the 1970's, when most riders were riding without helmets, cycling deaths were over 1000/year in the US. Now I'm not saying it's because of helmets but cyclist deaths are now about 650/year. If the introduction of helmets were going to cause more cyclists to take risks that would lead to death or serious injury wouldn't we see that in the statistics?
    Not necessarily, as we've seen a lot of changes aside from just helmet use.

    Please don't tell me you ascribe to this "risk aversion" theory. I mean if you guys are supposedly into the "data" and the "studies" and the "statistics" please show me the vetted, peer reviewed study of bicyclists with helmets and bicyclists without helmets and the difference in their behavior in terms of risks taken. Until you can demonstrate some hard facts to support this "theory" as it specifically relates to bike riders I really can't buy this argument.
    How can you not buy it, at least to a point? Take the extreme; if people could wear an amulet that they know would stop all harm from coming to them, do you think they might be more reckless? Or worse, that others might be more reckless around them? Do you think the consequence of dying doesn't effect people's risk assessment? Come on, this isn't revolutionary thought here... the consequence of dying greatly affects people's decision making (it's one reason I've decided against being a base-jumper ), and something that makes them think they are reducing that risk while not actually doing so (or at least doing so to a far less degree than they thought) can pervert their decision horribly.

    It should be obvious why people ascribing more ability to a piece of safety equipment than it really has is a dangerous thing. Anybody who relies on such equipment can tell you why. If you're counting on it to do something it doesn't, you don't see how this can be a bad thing and bad things happening as a result? You don't think it's important people should at least know of these limitations?

    This is where I'll hold my personal experience against a lot of what I see written in these threads. I cycled many years and many miles without a bike helmet. I can recall descending an incredibly steep hill in Pennsylvania with my nose two inches above my front wheel in order to see if I could hit 60 mph or descending the Blue Ridge Parkway in a snowstorm-these are just two of thousands of ridiculous risks I took at at time when I absolutely refused to put on a helmet.
    Again, it is not an end-all-be-all thing. People can be stupid with or without a helmet, and donning one does not instantly make a person more unsafe or an idiot. But surely you must be able to see why overestimating the ability of a piece of safety equipment is a bad idea?

    You say you used to wear a bike helmet and now you don't. You obviously survived your risky, wild helmet wearing days- do you ride more safely now because you don't wear a helmet? Or do you ride more safely now because you are a more experienced rider? What kinds of risks did you take as a helmeted rider that you don't take now?
    In short, I don't know. I'm probably a bit more conservative, somewhat out of experience and somewhat out of the shock of finding out how little a helmet really does and how vulnerable we still are with or without it (something I foolishly hadn't really given much thought to). As I said, I do still wear one sometimes (bad weather), with the knowledge that it may help me mitigate nasty gashes or other painful injuries that I have a higher chance of incurring.
    Last edited by sudo bike; 10-07-11 at 01:26 AM. Reason: Took out old analogy for a better one
    "The bicycle is the noblest invention of mankind. I love the bicycle. I always have. I can think of no sincere, decent human being, male or female, young or old, saint or sinner, who can resist the bicycle."

    - William Saroyan

  19. #69
    ---- buzzman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sudo bike View Post
    It isn't my business what people choose - I'm simply trying to provide sources of information so that people can make their own choice, and forwarding my situation and what choices I've made and why...


    ...Again, it is not an end-all-be-all thing. People can be stupid with or without a helmet, and donning one does not instantly make a person more unsafe or an idiot. But surely you must be able to see why overestimating the ability of a piece of safety equipment is a bad idea?

    In short, I don't know. I'm probably a bit more conservative, somewhat out of experience and somewhat out of the shock of finding out how little a helmet really does and how vulnerable we still are with or without it (something I foolishly hadn't really given much thought to). As I said, I do still wear one sometimes (bad weather), with the knowledge that it may help me mitigate nasty gashes or other painful injuries that I have a higher chance of incurring.
    Thank you so much for the time you have taken to address my questions.

    Here's what I'm getting:

    *You are concerned that people will wear helmets and ride about not knowing that they will not protect them in certain catastrophic circumstances.

    *You believe bicycling is safe and that most of these people don't need to wear helmets, so they will, in all likelihood, never find themselves in these catastrophic circumstances in any case.

    *Even though you don't think that putting on a helmet automatically makes someone an "idiot" or engage in unsafe cycling practices you fear that some people might. Yet you have no solid evidence that they do. You can provide no data clearly demonstrating that wearing a helmet and risky behavior are in any way related. You agree that since the 1970's accidental deaths while bicycling in the US have decreased so the introduction of bicycle helmets to the general public has not coincided with in any spike in the death rate.

    *That the encouragement of helmets can result in people thinking that bicycling is unsafe and decide not to bicycle.

    *That telling bicyclists that the helmet they are wearing will probably do them no good in a catastrophic situation, that they will probably never encounter anyway, is important and will make them feel more safe and encourage bicycling.

    I don't know. It seems like your fears are unfounded. And how do you intend to educate all these uninformed helmet wearers? Pass out flyers? Stop them on bike paths?

    God forbid they should ride around on bicycles wearing a helmet their entire lives only to discover they never needed it- perhaps you will spare them from dying of embarrassment. Definitely a cause worth fighting for!
    Last edited by buzzman; 10-07-11 at 08:07 AM.

  20. #70
    Bicikli Huszár sudo bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by buzzman View Post
    Thank you so much for the time you have taken to address my questions.

    Here's what I'm getting:

    *You are concerned that people will wear helmets and ride about not knowing that they will not protect them in certain catastrophic circumstances.
    Most catastrophic circumstances, but yes.

    *You believe bicycling is safe and that most of these people don't need to wear helmets, so they will, in all likelihood, never find themselves in these catastrophic circumstances in any case.
    Generally, yes.

    *Even though you don't think that putting on a helmet automatically makes someone an "idiot" or engage in unsafe cycling practices you fear that some people might. Yet you have no solid evidence that they do. You can provide no data clearly demonstrating that wearing a helmet and risky behavior are in any way related. You agree that since the 1970's accidental deaths while bicycling in the US have decreased so the introduction of bicycle helmets to the general public has not coincided with in any spike in the death rate.
    Not that they will act like idiots, but that they will ride in a manner consistent with what they expect their protection will provide. Did you read my analogy? Do you get why this might be an issue with a more visible comparison like that? I'm really shocked that you don't place such importance on knowing such limitations, and seem to be OK with misinformation to the people who are making these risk assessments, to be honest.

    *That the encouragement of helmets can result in people thinking that bicycling is unsafe and decide not to bicycle.
    Actually, I haven't really advanced this position too much. I think it exists to an extent, but I'm not sure how much.

    My point was more that if people feel a helmet is a requirement for cycling, some may choose to just forgo cycling due to the inconvenience. This is witnessed by decreases in cycling rates after mandatory laws are enacted.

    *That telling bicyclists that the helmet they are wearing will probably do them no good in a catastrophic situation, that they will probably never encounter anyway, is important and will make them feel more safe and encourage bicycling.
    No, it is important so they can make knowledgeable choices and don't overestimate what their helmet can do.

    In the case of the video posted, for the sake of argument let's say they are performing these stunts knowing a helmet will save their life, but in fact they are incapable of doing so. Might this pervert their choice to do it or how they go about it? Do you think this same concept applies outside of stunts?

    As you pointed out, look at how misinformation about effectiveness of anti-biotics has worked out: It's lead to people getting more sick, contributed to deaths, and lead to resistances. Knowledge is important.

    I don't know. It seems like your fears are unfounded. And how do you intend to educate all these uninformed helmet wearers? Pass out flyers? Stop them on bike paths?
    *shrug* We all do what we can. Others are more involved than I... I play the small part of educating those I know, which has been pretty successful. Some still wear them, some don't, but they all were surprised at the information, and it made everyone stop and think. That can't be a bad thing.

    God forbid they should ride around on bicycles wearing a helmet their entire lives only to discover they never needed it- perhaps you will spare them from dying of embarrassment. Definitely a cause worth fighting for!
    There's really no need to be patronizing... I've been nothing but civil .

    I think snapping people out of a delusion that a helmet will save their life is a good thing; possibly life-saving. And maybe encouraging more people to bike because they realize that cycling isn't dangerous and that they don't really need to burden themselves with the inconvenience of a helmet if they so choose. That, to me, is an important piece of advocacy that I'll continue with, whether or not you see it as important. I do, and I've seen the fruits of that, so I'm happy.
    Last edited by sudo bike; 10-07-11 at 09:32 AM.
    "The bicycle is the noblest invention of mankind. I love the bicycle. I always have. I can think of no sincere, decent human being, male or female, young or old, saint or sinner, who can resist the bicycle."

    - William Saroyan

  21. #71
    ---- buzzman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sudo bike View Post



    There's really no need to be patronizing... I've been nothing but civil .

    I think snapping people out of a delusion that a helmet will save their life is a good thing; possibly life-saving. And maybe encouraging more people to bike because they realize that cycling isn't dangerous and that they don't really need to burden themselves with the inconvenience of a helmet if they so choose. That, to me, is an important piece of advocacy that I'll continue with...

    You're right you've been very civil and I appreciate it. I apologize for my sarcasm- sometimes it's irresistible.

    Now you've said how outrageous it is for people to come into a thread and claim "My helmet saved my life!" Do you really think it's any less outrageous a claim that you are actually "saving lives" by telling people their helmet might not do them any good?

    And if we require evidence and proof that ia helmet saved their life where is the proof for your claim?

    If I tell someone that if a car hits them head on at 40 mph or if they hit a brick wall after screaming downhill at 35 mph their helmet may not save them I wouldn't expect them to say, "Thank God you told me! 'Cause that's exactly what I was planning to do now that I have a bike helmet." Again what difference will it make in telling them? How will it be reflected in their behavior?

    Do you think those guys in the video link I posted read reams of statistical data and pages of arguments in BF's before they chose to put on a helmet? Or do you think they just looked at the circumstances, looked at the helmet, applied what they knew from their own experience and made a decision as to whether to wear a helmet or not?

    Bicycle helmets are made of plastic and foam. These are materials that most of us are very familiar with- we are pretty aware of their limitations. We put the helmet on our heads and I think most of us are aware that they're not going to keep us from a broken arm or leg or internal injuries. And for the few who can't grasp those simple concepts would be just as stupid without a helmet as they are with one.

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    Mister Bleak! mconlonx's Avatar
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    1. Anyone who posts in this thread is a <WWSNS> <WWSNS>.

    2. How 'bout something actually useful instead of the usual sausage fencing: a list of links to studies on both sides of the issue(s) with a cliff note summary of relevance... I mean, page three and nothing except a lot of the usual bickering...? F'real?

    3. Free Slim! (entertainment that good is rare)
    Quote Originally Posted by Nicodemus regarding mconlonx View Post
    You, I don't generally think of you as clueless. You're kind of ok.
    I know next to nothing. I am frequently wrong.

  23. #73
    Tawp Dawg GriddleCakes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mconlonx View Post
    1. Anyone who posts in this thread is a <WWSNS> <WWSNS>.
    What Would Sexy Nixon Say? Wanton Waste of SuperNumerary Saliva? When Will the Seahawks Not Suck? Why Wear Shoes N' Socks?

    2. How 'bout something actually useful instead of the usual sausage fencing: a list of links to studies on both sides of the issue(s) with a cliff note summary of relevance... I mean, page three and nothing except a lot of the usual bickering...? F'real?
    Sometimes, if you want a thing done...

    For what it's worth, I think that the back and forth between between buzzman and sudo bike has been unusually civil for a helmet thread (as opposed to "sausage fencing"), although they have been re-hashing the same stuff that's already been discussed to death in previous threads. The debate has been around long enough (as long as I've been alive, I think) that, without new evidence, there isn't anywhere for it to go. Take any 15 pages of the last thread, and you have the helmet issue in a nutshell. Wash, rinse, and repeat. I do like the addition of a poll, though.

    3. Free Slim! (entertainment that good is rare)
    Head over to the General Cycling forum if you want more of his "entertainment". That's where he usually posts.

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    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mconlonx View Post

    2. How 'bout something actually useful instead of the usual sausage fencing: a list of links to studies on both sides of the issue(s) with a cliff note summary of relevance... I mean, page three and nothing except a lot of the usual bickering...? F'real?
    Have you tried this? I know many will not regard it as neutral because it is very clear about the flaws in the pro-helmet position, but it does offer a fairly dispassionate analysis of the available evidence.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

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    Bicikli Huszár sudo bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by buzzman View Post
    You're right you've been very civil and I appreciate it. I apologize for my sarcasm- sometimes it's irresistible.
    We all snipe occasionally. Accepted and forgotten.

    Now you've said how outrageous it is for people to come into a thread and claim "My helmet saved my life!" Do you really think it's any less outrageous a claim that you are actually "saving lives" by telling people their helmet might not do them any good?
    Well, I did say "possibly", and have said in the past "at best", and I do believe there are scenarios that this can be life-saving, but fair enough; it was a touch of hyperbole.

    And if we require evidence and proof that ia helmet saved their life where is the proof for your claim?
    Studies have been posted about risk compensation, and I stand by that this does occur to an extent, but am willing to admit I don't know how much.

    If I tell someone that if a car hits them head on at 40 mph or if they hit a brick wall after screaming downhill at 35 mph their helmet may not save them I wouldn't expect them to say, "Thank God you told me! 'Cause that's exactly what I was planning to do now that I have a bike helmet." Again what difference will it make in telling them? How will it be reflected in their behavior?
    In that extreme, likely no, I wouldn't expect people to know; I'd also note I'm not sure that people are consciously making the choice to engage in riskier behavior "knowing" that a helmet will save their life. I think what most of us advancing this point are saying (and, I believe, what most studies point to) is that people subconsciously factor this in to their decision making. As I said, whether or not you know it, you are probably more likely to engage in riskier behavior if you're wearing a device that is supposed to save your life in a catastrophic accident. Closetbiker has posted some of these studies in the past. I agree they aren't concrete in all cases, but it's a starting point, and surely enough to maybe make us stop and think if perhaps there's something to it.

    This has been asserted in cars as well; with the advent of airbags, seatbelts, etc, people are more willing to drive faster and more dangerously (probably not purposefully), since they perceive it as more "safe". The risk vs reward assessment changes; the risk (death) is seemingly reduced, while keeping the same reward. That skews the decision. We make these decisions every day so often that we are mostly unaware when we make them. From everything to crossing the street, deciding whether you can make that yellow light, etc; you're always making these choices, whether or not you know it. Constantly and subconsciously assessing our situation is a good piece of evolution that has helped us survive this long.

    EDIT: There was actually an article in the recent National Geographic: How Teens' Brains Work article that is somewhat applicable, and I'll see if I can dig it up (or at least post the relevant text). The gist was that the reason teens act recklessly is because their risk/reward assessment is different at that age, in this case the opposite of what we're talking about; it's not that teens don't gauge risk correctly, in fact they do so quite well. The problem is they put greater value on reward than adults do, which skews their decision and makes them more likely to engage in riskier behavior, completely subconsciously (they go on to explain that this is an evolutionary feature, not a bug, and why, but that's beyond the scope of this thread and not relevant to the point at hand). Can you see how this might apply to other skews in that decision-making process?

    Do you think those guys in the video link I posted read reams of statistical data and pages of arguments in BF's before they chose to put on a helmet? Or do you think they just looked at the circumstances, looked at the helmet, applied what they knew from their own experience and made a decision as to whether to wear a helmet or not?
    I don't know, but I don't think it's very improbable that a lot of them are under the prevailing impression that helmets save lives, and so decided to wear one thinking it will do so (at the very least sometimes). Perhaps some of them are aware they don't and wear them anyway (I would, in that case), perhaps some would decide not to do it at all, perhaps some would be a little more conservative. Who's to say? The problem is, we don't know if they don't know.

    Bicycle helmets are made of plastic and foam. These are materials that most of us are very familiar with- we are pretty aware of their limitations. We put the helmet on our heads and I think most of us are aware that they're not going to keep us from a broken arm or leg or internal injuries. And for the few who can't grasp those simple concepts would be just as stupid without a helmet as they are with one.
    I think they are aware of those limitations, yes; my experience has shown me most people are not aware of their limitations in protecting the head. Not that I blame them, I wasn't either.
    Last edited by sudo bike; 10-08-11 at 01:32 AM.
    "The bicycle is the noblest invention of mankind. I love the bicycle. I always have. I can think of no sincere, decent human being, male or female, young or old, saint or sinner, who can resist the bicycle."

    - William Saroyan

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