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Advocacy & Safety Cyclists should expect and demand safe accommodation on every public road, just as do all other users. Discuss your bicycle advocacy and safety concerns here.

View Poll Results: Helmet wearing habits?
I've never worn a bike helmet 178 10.66%
I used to wear a helmet, but have stopped 94 5.63%
I've always worn a helmet 648 38.80%
I didn't wear a helmet, but now do 408 24.43%
I sometimes wear a helmet depending on the conditions 342 20.48%
Voters: 1670. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 11-22-11, 08:19 AM   #751
tony_merlino
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
It seems as tho the anti helmet crowd doesnt want to answer the question posed in my reply 736. Are they afraid to admit that they put on their hated helmet and ride with the rest of us. Or are they so unbending in their position and so anti social they just set at home? Their unwillingness to answer only discredits their position. Or maybe they dont want to admit to the other anti helmet posters that they could be seen riding with a helmet.
The problem with this discussion is that people are treating it as a debate, with "winners" and "losers". Is it possible to accept that different people have different priorities, and that they interpret and weigh evidence differently?
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Old 11-22-11, 08:44 AM   #752
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The problem with this discussion is that people are treating it as a debate, with "winners" and "losers". Is it possible to accept that different people have different priorities, and that they interpret and weigh evidence differently?
don't bring logic and reason into an A&S thread...especially when responding to the village...err...hammock jockey.
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Old 11-22-11, 08:53 AM   #753
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chip

The very comfortable and logical hammock jockey I might add.

BTW care to answer the question or are you going to deflect it by name calling?

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Old 11-22-11, 09:05 AM   #754
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I wear a helmet; your comment was insulting to me. I believe that I've been courteous and respectful without exception here. You have not. I have never referred to your choice as stupid, or moronic or anything derogatory. You are the one who has chosen to label everyone who has looked at the data and come to a different conclusion from yours as "people that have irrational thought processes". If you look at my posts, I have been very clear in saying that each of us has a different set of criteria by which we judge whether or not the potential gains of helmet wearing outweigh the possible downsides.
Do you deny using the words "silly" and "absurd" when referring to beliefs which you don't hold. I suggest you review your own posts before attempting to portray yourself as some naf who has innocently wandered into a war-zone.
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I will not take responsibility for any of the remarks made by anyone but me. You sound like my teenagers, "I called you a jerk because HE called me a name!"
Funny, I was thinking the same thing about you! Except you remind me more of my 3 year old! I responded to Shifty, not you, explaining that unlike him, my predjudices tended to place helmet-wearing with a certain group of other irrational beliefs. I thought s/he might be interested.
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I am not a "pro-helmet" fanatic. You are clearly an anti-helmet fanatic, and can't abide the thought that anyone could examine the evidence and come to a different conclusion than you have. Now - which one of us sounds "religious"?
As I've said before, I don't care what you do with your helmet. Really. I do however make judgements about the capacity for analyzing data of someone that I see wearing one.
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Old 11-22-11, 09:10 AM   #755
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chip

The very comfortable and logical hammock jockey I might add.

BTW care to answer the question or are you going to deflect it by name calling?
What question...if I wear a helmet when racing or for events that require them? Yes...it's hardly a secret, all you had to do was read countless posts I have made on the subject. Maybe you need to get the helmet out of your eyes?

Do you refuse to ride in events where helmets are optional?
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Old 11-22-11, 09:30 AM   #756
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I don't have a "position", and haven't presented an "argument". I came here asking questions. I got answers. I was referred to various sources and I read them. My conclusions from the data were different from yours.

Why didn't I react to insults from Shifty? Because his insults weren't directed at or referring to me. You guys can take care of yourselves.
Fair enough


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As far as new light still coming from the discussion, I haven't seen any. There are a few studies, all of which have been referenced. Now it's a matter of each person reviewing the data in light of his own priorities. I don't "dislike" anyone's opinions - I don't really care. Whether or not you decide to wear a helmet has absolutely nothing to do with what I'll do, and I have absolutely no stake in what you decide.
After having given an opinion and data that led to it, I'm curious as to why you come to a different conclusion. You don't have to do this of course, but it would help discussion and understanding.

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On the other hand, as I've said before, it seems that the anti-helmet zealots will not be happy until everyone is converted to their view. I honestly don't know or care about the history of this thread - I came into it a week ago. If I wandered into some kind of private war, I'm sorry. It isn't my war.
OK now, hold on there. Who are you calling anti-helmet? I think very few here are against helmets, most just want a more complete understanding of them.

Pointing out limitations and problems does not mean people are against helmets. Posting that isn't just inaccurate, it's an insult.
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Old 11-22-11, 09:55 AM   #757
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For suggesting readers consult actual experts in the area of brain trauma and sports injury and not base their decisions on what someone says in a forum on the internet?

Yikes. I'll take my check, too. And no tip. The service in this thread is almost as bad as the information.

This thread is best left to the skeptics to wax on and on and on and on...

Ciao!
Coming from someone who has repeatedly posted on how personal experience and not expert opinion is what matters, that's pretty rich
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Old 11-22-11, 10:01 AM   #758
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... I responded to Shifty, not you, explaining that unlike him, my predjudices tended to place helmet-wearing with a certain group of other irrational beliefs. I thought s/he might be interested.e.
After looking back, you're right. Tony gives a free pass to an insult because it wasn't directed at him, but takes exception to another that wasn't directed at him either
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Old 11-22-11, 10:22 AM   #759
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After looking back, you're right. Tony gives a free pass to an insult because it wasn't directed at him, but takes exception to another that wasn't directed at him either
Thank you. I can understand why Tony is irritated, but I think his claim of innocence is misplaced or mistaken.

Tony is completely correct that there is no slam-dunk data to suggest that helmets actually cause injuries, there are merely some suggestive results which lean that way.

The only thing that's clear is that there is:
1. No correlation between high levels of helmet wearing and low levels of serious head injury
2. A correlation between high levels of helmet wearing and low numbers of cyclists.
3. No acceptable reason to tell anyone else to put on or take off a helmet

Anyone claiming to be "pro-choice" vis-a-vis helmets will surely welcome and support the repeal of existing helmet laws as an unwarranted intrusion on the same rights which they exercize when they decide to wear a helmet.
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Old 11-22-11, 10:35 AM   #760
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After having given an opinion and data that led to it, I'm curious as to why you come to a different conclusion. You don't have to do this of course, but it would help discussion and understanding.
OK - this is how I see the question right now:

1) Injury statistics: A bunch of studies with conflicting conclusions. What they have in common is, of course, that they deal with the kinds of injuries that get reported in a setting that gets tracked. I'm assuming that means police reports, emergency room records, etc. Another thing they have in common is that they're not "scientific" - there is no control group, the studies are historically longitudinal, so it's difficult to set a baseline, there's no real way to correct for confounding factors. So, the best they can do is give a flavor. And the flavor they give is more of potpourri than a single, inescapable conclusion.

However, I'm willing to accept that a helmet will not prevent serious injury in a higher speed collision. There does seem to be a consensus that it will prevent road rash on the head and face, though, if you happen to be in the kind of crash that would cause that sort of injury. I don't like road rash anywhere on my body, but will tolerate the risk of it on my arms and legs because taking steps to prevent it would seriously contribute to my discomfort and might cause me to ride a lot less. Road rash on my face and head are a different story - FOR ME. Putting on a helmet, FOR ME, is now second-nature, and I don't see it as anything other than a minor inconvenience. It's worth that minor inconvenience to protect against road-rash on my head and face - TO ME. YMMV.

2) Increased risk of rotational injuries as a result of increasing the radius of the skull: Only plausibility arguments have been made to support this assertion. I don't believe I've seen any hard data in what has been referenced.

3) Risk equivalent to other common activities, like walking around. This has been asserted a number of times, and statistics have been offered to support this view (though the metrics compared are questionable, in my view). In any case, it contradicts my own experience - I've crashed more than once on my bike, but haven't toppled over and fallen on my face while walking around. I've had MANY more close calls on my bike than I've ever had just walking around.

But let's say that the risks are equivalent. An easy, commonly accepted way exists to protect against face/head road rash when riding a bicycle. Adopting that way, i.e. putting on a helmet when riding, doesn't cost ME much at all. On the other hand, it's definitely not socially acceptable to walk around wearing a helmet, so a commonly accepted means to avoid facial/head road rash while walking doesn't exist. It would cost me more (in terms of embarrassment, etc) to adopt protective garb while walking than the risk justifies. FOR ME.

4) Impact of my decision to wear a helmet on someone else's perception of the safety of cycling: I couldn't care less. They will have to come to their own conclusions, just as I did. Besides, I'm not sure I accept the argument at all. Has the practice of wearing seat belts by some (most) drivers reduced the number of drivers?

5) The psychological effect of wearing a helmet on drivers, i.e. the Walker Effect: I'm sorry, I don't find this data compelling at all. Walker's "study" looked at one rider on one bicycle - not exactly statistically overwhelming. And the FDOT study that is often cited as confirming, or at least being consistent with, Walker's findings, didn't actually study helmet use at all. It concluded that cyclists dressing in "athletic attire" were likely to be passed more closely than cyclists dressed in "casual attire". It wasn't specified that the casual cyclists were helmetless, or that the athletically dressed cyclists wore helmets. If anything, it would support avoiding wearing Fredish attire while riding on the street.

6) The psychological effect on the cyclist, i.e the feeling of invullnerability: While the concept sounds plausible, once again, it runs counter to my own experience. (And I'm not trying to come up with a universal answer to the question, "Are helmets a good idea". Just an answer for myself, based on my own riding experience and observations about my own environment.)

In fact, my observations contradict these notions. Most of the time, if I see someone salmoning, riding on the sidewalk, going through red lights or stop-signs, taking crazy chances, ... that rider is almost invariably NOT wearing a helmet. (Which would be consistent with a person with a higher risk-tolerance in general.) My experience of people who wear helmets is that they're usually safety conscious, somewhat risk-averse, and tend to follow rules - including the rules of the road.

I think that about covers it. I'm sorry if I insulted you - that wasn't intended. You've been very civil and helpful in answering questions and providing references.
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Old 11-22-11, 10:37 AM   #761
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Thank you. I can understand why Tony is irritated, but I think his claim of innocence is misplaced or mistaken.


Anyone claiming to be "pro-choice" vis-a-vis helmets will surely welcome and support the repeal of existing helmet laws as an unwarranted intrusion on the same rights which they exercize when they decide to wear a helmet.
I think I've said repeatedly that I'm not in favor of helmet laws, and would support their repeal. My choice applies to me, and to me only.
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Old 11-22-11, 11:12 AM   #762
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It seems as tho none of the anti helmet crowd here wants to answer the question I posed in reply 736. Why not. Are you afraid to admit that you wear a helmet just like all of the rest of us? Or as a group are you just that anti social? Ignoring hard questions does not improve your position.
Since you insist, I guess it's my sad duty to inform you that your question is grotesquely silly. You're reasoning on a kindergarten level. You contribute absolutely nothing of value by acting this way.
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Old 11-22-11, 11:24 AM   #763
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Again, I'm asking from the point of view of an urban cyclist. Does it make sense for an urban cyclist to wear a helmet to prevent or mitigate injury? Even minor injury? ...For just tooling around city or almost city streets, is wearing a helmet better than not wearing it?
I can say, without qualification, reservation, or mental evasion, that the answer to this is a definite "maybe."
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Old 11-22-11, 11:24 AM   #764
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OK - this is how I see the question right now:
1) Injury statistics: A bunch of studies with conflicting conclusions may be how you see it, but others have made career in understanding them. The cycle helmets website I directed you to has people who have done this. If you take some time to read it and think about it, the issue may become more clear

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I'm willing to accept that a helmet will not prevent serious injury in a higher speed collision. There does seem to be a consensUus that it will prevent road rash on the head and face,
A consensus may exist for road rash under the area of coverage of the helmet but I don't know about consensus that it does the same for areas that do have any coverage of the helmet

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2) Increased risk of rotational injuries as a result of increasing the radius of the skull: Only plausibility arguments have been made to support this assertion. I don't believe I've seen any hard data in what has been referenced.
I've provided that link many times. You may want to look for it. I can't give it now because I'm at work tapping this out on an iTouch


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3) Risk equivalent to other common activities, like walking around... it contradicts my own experience -
It may, but the general argument is one of what happens to everyone in general and not anyone in specific

Quote:
But let's say that the risks are equivalent...
So what you're saying is fitting in is more important than safety?

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4) Impact of my decision to wear a helmet on someone else's perception of the safety of cycling: I couldn't care less.
You don't have to, but you might want to because it could affect your safety on the road. It could even lead to other measures that are even worse

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5&6) The psychological effect of wearing a helmet on drivers, and cyclists...I'm sorry, I don't find this data compelling at all.
OK but you want to take note that this from a whole field of behavioral science that is legitimate

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I think that about covers it. I'm sorry if I insulted you - that wasn't intended. You've been very civil and helpful in answering questions and providing references.
No problem and thanks for the acknowledgement. Try and not call anyone anti something when they haven't been and we'll be all good

Last edited by closetbiker; 11-22-11 at 02:12 PM.
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Old 11-22-11, 11:38 AM   #765
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I see the issue as one with 2 points.

1, is cycling risky enough to require helmet use and,

2, does a helmet provide the protection I am looking for

On both counts for me, the answer is no
Counterpoint:

1. Is cycling an activity where I can get away with wearing a helmet in public?

2. Does a helmet provide me with perceived benefits vs. not riding with one?

On both counts for me, the answer is yes.
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Old 11-22-11, 11:40 AM   #766
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You are careful to avoid the fact that there *are* MHLs, and that by and large these were presented as being necessary in order to address the problem of serious head injuries in the cycling population.
Then y'all didn't do a good enough job when it counted...
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Old 11-22-11, 11:49 AM   #767
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So what do all you hairy chested invincible anti helmet types do when there is a race, ride, or rally that it is stated that helmets are mandantory? Do you just stay home and pout and whine Im right and they are wrong---I would rather eat worms than be seen in a helmet?

...post about it on an internet forum...?
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Old 11-22-11, 12:00 PM   #768
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Counterpoint:

1. Is cycling an activity where I can get away with wearing a helmet in public?

2. Does a helmet provide me with perceived benefits vs. not riding with one?

On both counts for me, the answer is yes.
And that is why I'd never call someone wearing a helmet an idiot, moron, or airhead.

I'd also oppose any legislation that would force helmets off heads
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Old 11-22-11, 02:21 PM   #769
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And that is why I'd never call someone wearing a helmet an idiot, moron, or airhead.

I'd also oppose any legislation that would force helmets off heads
I don't insult anyone who chooses not to wear a helmet and I oppose any MHL legislation that comes along.

-------------------------

Without an MHL in place, if someone chooses to wear a helmet, are you (non-helmet wearer) less safe because of their choice...?
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Old 11-22-11, 02:50 PM   #770
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... Without an MHL in place, if someone chooses to wear a helmet, are you (non-helmet wearer) less safe because of their choice...?
Of course it's impossible to know, but I'd doubt it.

I remember back in the day when you'd see the odd guy in a Bell Biker. I'd think it was a bit odd, but no big deal.

When the helmet evangelists started to appear, that was a different story because they placed the value of a helmet over behavior as a better way to reduce injury.

Next thing I knew, a suburban mom was pushing for a law because her son didn't want to wear a helmet as he rode to school on a busy road.

She kept at it for 10 years and finally got her way.

Things became worse for cycling after that
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Old 11-22-11, 05:00 PM   #771
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OK - this is how I see the question right now:

1) Injury statistics: A bunch of studies with conflicting conclusions. What they have in common is, of course, that they deal with the kinds of injuries that get reported in a setting that gets tracked. I'm assuming that means police reports, emergency room records, etc. Another thing they have in common is that they're not "scientific" - there is no control group, the studies are historically longitudinal, so it's difficult to set a baseline, there's no real way to correct for confounding factors. So, the best they can do is give a flavor. And the flavor they give is more of potpourri than a single, inescapable conclusion.
Hmmm...

http://heapro.oxfordjournals.org/content/22/3/191.full

"...data from the Swedish National Hospital Discharge Register concerning all bicycle-related injuries from 1987 to 1996, which presented 49 758 reported in-patient care...
...The head injuries in children decreased both in collisions with motor vehicles and in other accidents. Similarly, the IR of concussion and skull fracture decreased. For non-head injuries, there were no significant changes for children."

Up 'till now, I've been mostly semi anti-helmet, but I'm kinda moving to the pro side now.
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Old 11-22-11, 07:51 PM   #772
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Hmmm...

http://heapro.oxfordjournals.org/content/22/3/191.full

"...data from the Swedish National Hospital Discharge Register concerning all bicycle-related injuries from 1987 to 1996, which presented 49 758 reported in-patient care...
...The head injuries in children decreased both in collisions with motor vehicles and in other accidents. Similarly, the IR of concussion and skull fracture decreased. For non-head injuries, there were no significant changes for children."

Up 'till now, I've been mostly semi anti-helmet, but I'm kinda moving to the pro side now.

In your opinion does this study control sufficiently for exposure, or should it have used different denominators? Does their use of LisRel include the same assumptions about normal distributions as the Sobel test? I could never really understand what they were doing because I've rarely come across this method.
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Old 11-22-11, 09:16 PM   #773
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there's a lot of information that's elusive. For instance, the abstract says observational studies show that helmet use increased in all categories of cyclists, but it doesn't say by how much or what the rate of use was. It also says the incidence of head injuries for adults increased. The study even says it couldn't be sure the drop of injuries to children was due to helmets.

I think the issue is not that they're aren't studies that suggest helmets have caused a drop in injuries, there are - it's more that there are other studies that show they don't.

After years of research, the efficacy of helmet use is unclear and inconclusive.

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Old 11-23-11, 02:58 AM   #774
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No matter how you look at methology, the bare facts speak for themselves: "The head injuries in children decreased both in collisions with motor vehicles and in other accidents. Similarly, the IR of concussion and skull fracture decreased. For non-head injuries, there were no significant changes for children."

Look at the tables and figures. It's quite clear, really. There are other, legitimate reasons for helmet skepticism, but in themselves, helmets seem to work.
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Old 11-23-11, 03:29 AM   #775
hagen2456
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Originally Posted by closetbiker View Post
there's a lot of information that's elusive. For instance, the abstract says observational studies show that helmet use increased in all categories of cyclists, but it doesn't say by how much or what the rate of use was.
No, but "These studies show that from 1988 to 1996 helmet use increased in all categories of cyclists. Helmet wearing increased from ∼20 to 35% among children (≦10 years) riding bikes in their leisure time, ∼5–33% among school children and ∼2–14% in adults.

In a previous study, we discovered that most pre-school children (80%) used a bicycle helmet, but a clear majority of the children stopped wearing them during their school years. Only 3% of the children aged 14–15 years used helmets and as few as 2% of the adults".

...those last numbers being from 2001. In other words: children aged 0-15 became for the most part helmet wearers, but grown-ups didn't.

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The study even says it couldn't be sure the drop of injuries to children was due to helmets.
No, but it says that it's indicated by the study. I agree.

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I think the issue is not that they're aren't studies that suggest helmets have caused a drop in injuries, there are - it's more that there are other studies that show they don't.

After years of research, the efficacy of helmet use is unclear and inconclusive.
I don't actually think so. Reasearch that has, like the Swedish one, been able to keep confounding factors out, are quite clear. What seems to be at work in a lot of research are other, perhaps more important factors that may have a strong effect. In some places it's changes in safety in numbers (or lack of same), in other places infrastructure, and sometimes perhaps both (or even other, unknown factors, but that seems doubtfull).

Those "confounders" are exactly why I'm not absolutely pro-helmet. Infrastructure, and probably also safety in numbers, seem to be more important to safety. As is, of course, education. Helmet campaigns are, judging by the roles of official safety agencies, largely seen by politicians as more important than those factors. I guess it's because a campaign is a lot cheaper than decent infrastructure...

Last edited by hagen2456; 11-23-11 at 03:34 AM.
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