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View Poll Results: Helmet wearing habits?

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  • I've never worn a bike helmet

    163 10.40%
  • I used to wear a helmet, but have stopped

    88 5.62%
  • I've always worn a helmet

    608 38.80%
  • I didn't wear a helmet, but now do

    389 24.82%
  • I sometimes wear a helmet depending on the conditions

    319 20.36%
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  1. #7901
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    Yes, but there's a big difference in saying, I am willing to risk not wearing a helmet as compared to saying, I don't wear a helmet because I do all the right things to prevent an accident thus I don't believe I need to wear a helmet...
    He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts...for support rather than illumination. I do like my beer, so sometimes I do end up leaning on the lamp-post...

  2. #7902
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    Quote Originally Posted by 350htrr View Post
    Yes, but there's a big difference in saying, I am willing to risk not wearing a helmet as compared to saying, I don't wear a helmet because I do all the right things to prevent an accident thus I don't believe I need to wear a helmet...
    What is this "shrink speak"? So those who don't believe the level of risk doesn't warrant wearing a helmet, have to say they're in denial. The only way to get past this is to say, it's dangerous not to wear a helmet, but I choose to thumb my nose at fate and not wear one anyway?

    I believe that Torquemada required similar statements some time back, but thought we'd moved past that.

    OK so here it is YES, I am willing to assume the risk. That should have been obvious all along. BUT, I'm willing to assume that risk for the very fundamental reason that I don't believe it's greater than the other risks I accept in daily life.

    Sorry, you only get half a loaf here.
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    Quote Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
    I have a question. How many people here that argue against helmets are under 50?

    Is this thread proof that we get too soon old and too late smart?
    Around here, the modal age for wearing a bicycle helmet is 6 or so, and at that age a minority of mommies make a whopping 2-5% of toddlers or so wear one, so YMMV between societies. Typically cyclists don't wear bicycle helmets, btw, and helmet-mongering is a rather unique obsession in a couple of cultures. And as far as I can tell popularity of bicycle helmets is a good way to recognize a failed bicycle culture that does a p!ss-poor job to ensure real bicycle safety.

  4. #7904
    Senior Member rekmeyata's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CarinusMalmari View Post
    Around here, the modal age for wearing a bicycle helmet is 6 or so, and at that age a minority of mommies make a whopping 2-5% of toddlers or so wear one, so YMMV between societies. Typically cyclists don't wear bicycle helmets, btw, and helmet-mongering is a rather unique obsession in a couple of cultures. And as far as I can tell popularity of bicycle helmets is a good way to recognize a failed bicycle culture that does a p!ss-poor job to ensure real bicycle safety.
    First off there is no such thing as "real safety" in anything we do. However, you are correct in that education of people about bicycle awareness is indeed "piss poor". The education needs to start in elementary schools with how to ride a bike safely and work it's way right on up to drivers education with teachings about bike awareness in driver education. But even our driver education schools do a piss poor job on how to teach future car drivers how to drive correctly, then once their on the street driving OR especially a bicycle rider, the law enforcement does another piss poor job of making sure that traffic laws are obeyed. I find a lot more bicycle riders disobeying every form of traffic law there is and cops will see a cyclist act like a moron and do nothing, the only real time a cyclist gets into trouble legally is when they're involved in an accident then the cops responding to the scene will put the cyclist at fault.

    But regardless of all the above safety is never a guaranteed event, this is why seat belts are required, why you must wear one on takeoff and landing on aircraft, why you must wear a life preserver on a small boat, why there are all sorts of safety do and don'ts listed on just about everything you buy, etc, etc; and thus because safety is not guaranteed no matter how safe you are one should wear a helmet just in case...no matter if the helmet only provides even a 10% chance of reducing injury or death. Personally I think helmets should be required by law for both cyclists and motorcyclists.

    Statistics speak for themselves: Bicycle Helmet Statistics
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NF4MIEkIBZs

  5. #7905
    Senior Member rydabent's Avatar
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    I agree in the vein of Schidt Happens that wearing a bike helmet does not assure that nothing will ever happen to you. That would be as dumb and saying since I am such a super cyclist nothing will ever happen to me. However in the same vein wearing a helmet and being prepared can and has mitigated injury as it did for me, and others. You can argue against this but you are just peeing into the wind.

  6. #7906
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    Quote Originally Posted by rekmeyata View Post
    Personally I think helmets should be required by law for both cyclists and motorcyclists.
    Well who wudda thunk it? An A&S helmeteer comes out of the closet. At least he is honest.

  7. #7907
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    First off there is no such thing as "real safety" in anything we do.
    Real bicycle safety would be accident prevention. It's 100% effective every time. Now I agree that you can't guarantee that you prevent all accidents from happening, but you can decimate those statistics, even without resorting to expensive measures like hoovering cycling roundabouts, etc. Anyway you already mentioned a couple of them.

    there are all sorts of safety do and don'ts listed on just about everything you buy, etc, etc;
    Funny; around here bicycle helmets are generally not on any do or don't list. What makes you think the American do/don't list about cycling is superior to ours?

    and thus because safety is not guaranteed no matter how safe you are one should wear a helmet just in case...no matter if the helmet only provides even a 10% chance of reducing injury or death.
    How about nope? There are types of cycling that are safe enough that bothering with any type of safety gear is nonsensical, let alone with crappy safety gear like bicycle helmets.

    Personally I think helmets should be required by law for both cyclists and motorcyclists.
    You can pry a bicycle helmet on my cold dead skull.

    Statistics speak for themselves:
    Actually, these particular statistics speak for the cause of a known helmeteer institution. I personally favor the view of the Dutch Cycling Union, which boils down to: Helmeth Not Even Once.
    Last edited by CarinusMalmari; 06-11-14 at 09:10 AM.

  8. #7908
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    Quote Originally Posted by rekmeyata View Post
    ...
    Personally I think helmets should be required by law for both cyclists and motorcyclists.
    ...
    Ummmm. Yikes.
    That's gonna leave a mark.

  9. #7909
    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
    I agree in the vein of Schidt Happens that wearing a bike helmet does not assure that nothing will ever happen to you. That would be as dumb and saying since I am such a super cyclist nothing will ever happen to me. However in the same vein wearing a helmet and being prepared can and has mitigated injury as it did for me, and others. You can argue against this but you are just peeing into the wind.
    I agree completely with being prepared and mitigating injury. Let me ask you a direct question. Who is more prepared and safer, the cyclist without a helmet who doesn't hit his head on the ground even when in an accident, or the cyclist wearing a helmet who does hit his head on the ground because he doesn't know how not to?

    For those advocating helmet laws, I think that before requiring a helmet we should require the more effective measures. Every cyclist should be required to attend a cycling safety training course, and also be required to learn basic break-falls and rolls. After the more effective measures are taken, then talk about whether the helmets should be required.

    I'd never advocate this of course, but it makes more sense than requiring helmets.
    Last edited by wphamilton; 06-11-14 at 09:44 AM.

  10. #7910
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    Quote Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
    I agree completely with being prepared and mitigating injury. Let me ask you a direct question. Who is more prepared and safer, the cyclist without a helmet who doesn't hit his head on the ground even when in an accident, or the cyclist wearing a helmet who does hit his head on the ground because he doesn't know how not to?

    For those advocating helmet laws, I think that before requiring a helmet we should require the more effective measures. Every cyclist should be required to attend a cycling safety training course, and also be required to learn basic break-falls and rolls. After the more effective measures are taken, then talk about whether the helmets should be required.

    I'd never advocate this of course, but it makes more sense than requiring helmets.
    Yes, there are much more sensible approaches than mandating helmets, but helmet believers would counter that all those would help, but helmets should still be worn as a back up safety measure, because as they say "stuff happens"

    There is no counter to the "stuff happens" or "even if only life is saved...." arguments, because not matter how safe bicycling is, it, like everything else, will never be absolutely safe.

    The question simply boils down to how safe bicycling really is. Some, including myself, believe it safe. We're backed up by data that life insurers gather that support the notion that bicycling is safer than not bicycling.

    What I find interesting is the line in the sand logic of helmet zealots (this is a small subset of helmet wearers). In their mind, bicycling on one side of that line is unreasonably dangerous, and on the other it's reasonably safe. I find this to be fairly arbitrary and illusory. Risk represents a large spectrum, and the band of protection helmets offer is relatively narrow (but real), so why put the line at helmets, why not draw the line at riding in traffic, or differing conditions.

    In other words, if riding with a helmet is safer than riding without (a point I gladly concede) maybe riding helmeted is still too dangerous, or if not, maybe riding without isn't that dangerous after all?

    Among the most sensible approaches is that of Lester of Puppets, whereby the helmet decision is based on the type of riding. He knows how to operate in a world of gray scale vs. the black and white world of others here. I apply similar logic but with a different twist, simply avoiding the type or riding where the risks are high enough to call for a helmet. Years ago I stopped riding with a group with a high accident rate, others continued riding the same way, but now wear helmets.
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  11. #7911
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    Yes, there are much more sensible approaches than mandating helmets, but helmet believers would counter that all those would help, but helmets should still be worn as a back up safety measure, because as they say "stuff happens"

    There is no counter to the "stuff happens" or "even if only life is saved...." arguments, because not matter how safe bicycling is, it, like everything else, will never be absolutely safe.

    The question simply boils down to how safe bicycling really is. Some, including myself, believe it safe. We're backed up by data that life insurers gather that support the notion that bicycling is safer than not bicycling.

    What I find interesting is the line in the sand logic of helmet zealots (this is a small subset of helmet wearers). In their mind, bicycling on one side of that line is unreasonably dangerous, and on the other it's reasonably safe. I find this to be fairly arbitrary and illusory. Risk represents a large spectrum, and the band of protection helmets offer is relatively narrow (but real), so why put the line at helmets, why not draw the line at riding in traffic, or differing conditions.

    In other words, if riding with a helmet is safer than riding without (a point I gladly concede) maybe riding helmeted is still too dangerous, or if not, maybe riding without isn't that dangerous after all?

    Among the most sensible approaches is that of Lester of Puppets, whereby the helmet decision is based on the type of riding. He knows how to operate in a world of gray scale vs. the black and white world of others here. I apply similar logic but with a different twist, simply avoiding the type or riding where the risks are high enough to call for a helmet. Years ago I stopped riding with a group with a high accident rate, others continued riding the same way, but now wear helmets.
    But what if you are bicycling by a golf course and what if a TW slices his tee shot and what if the ball goes way off course and what if it hits you on your helmetless noggin?

    Solution.....DON"T RIDE BY GOLF COURSES!

  12. #7912
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    Quote Originally Posted by MMACH 5 View Post
    Ummmm. Yikes.
    Are you really surprised that an outspoken A&S Helmet True Believer is also firmly in the MHL camp? The only surprise to me is that an outspoken A&S Helmet Apostle is honest on MHL proposals with himself as well as on-line.

    The numerous denials of having MHL tendencies from the sanctimonious A&S Helmet True Believers strike me as just so much hypocrisy if not worse.

  13. #7913
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    Are you really surprised that an outspoken A&S Helmet True Believer is also firmly in the MHL camp? The only surprise to me is that an outspoken A&S Helmet Apostle is honest on MHL proposals with himself as well as on-line.

    The numerous denials of having MHL tendencies from the sanctimonious A&S Helmet True Believers strike me as just so much hypocrisy if not worse.
    I'm a bit more generous about helmet how true believers feel about MHLs. I accept their stated opposition at face value, and believe them when they say they don't support them or wouldn't advocate for them. However, I believe that many are passively in favor of MHLs, and deep down wouldn't be sad if they were passed. In any case I wouldn't count on them for support in opposition to MHLs because they're not in a position to honestly argue against the stated intent of these laws.
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  14. #7914
    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    ..
    Among the most sensible approaches is that of Lester of Puppets, whereby the helmet decision is based on the type of riding. ...
    Me too, but also based on external exigencies. For example my commutes are 99+% wearing a helmet the last two years, and probably around 50% for my commutes since I began. These are primarily for reasons other than safety. If I'm on a 1 to 3 mile errand, no helmet even though it's the same type of riding. On the other hand at reduced speeds on a dangerous MUP, or fast down a gravel hill the helmet's a good idea so I'm also in line with that.
    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    .
    There is no counter to the "stuff happens" or "even if only life is saved...." arguments, because not matter how safe bicycling is, it, like everything else, will never be absolutely safe.

    The question simply boils down to how safe bicycling really is. Some, including myself, believe it safe. We're backed up by data that life insurers gather that support the notion that bicycling is safer than not bicycling.
    The counter is basically what you boil the question down to. The probability of a head injury cycling accident, the chances that the helmet would prevent or mitigate the injury and the extent of mitigation. Multiply them all together and you get a number, which you can compare to the risks of other routine activities to decide if the additional measures such as protective equipment is indicated. That's a little abstract for most people though.

    There's something else that I find curious. The most common and effective mitigation from a helmet is in preventing cuts and abrasions, in addition to minor jarring. Yet road rash is ubiquitous among reports of bicycle accidents, and often there are contusions and joint damage from the jarring impact. It makes little sense, logically, to subsequently become adamant about the helmet but dismissive of other protective gear that would mitigate the same types of injuries on other parts of the body. Why the former and not the latter, when objectively the latter injuries are more likely and of similar severity?

  15. #7915
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    Quote Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
    ..... Why the former and not the latter, when objectively the latter injuries are more likely and of similar severity?
    I can understand that. Most people consider road rash, and even some bone breaks as acceptable risk. But they fear death or incapacitation from TBI, and so try to prevent that. That the actual risk of TBI is low, and that it can be managed lower doesn't matter, they feel it's unacceptable.

    I suspect that part or the problem, is that various forces have made TBI the new cancer, so it's high on the radar these days. Actual risk is secondary in people's minds to perceived risk. Numerous studies have shown that general perceptions of comparative risks are highly skewed and people's fears are not well aligned with the actual risks they face daily.

    But I'm not invested in what others think or do, as long as they leave me alone.

    IMO- the core difference between helmet true believers and heretics, is the true believers feel a need to enlighten others, and heretics don't care either way. To go back to my religion analogy, we have Jehovah's Witnesses who feel obligated to knock on doors and spread The Word, but we don't see atheists doing the same.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    I'm a bit more generous about helmet how true believers feel about MHLs. I accept their stated opposition at face value, and believe them when they say they don't support them or wouldn't advocate for them.
    I suspect a good lot of the anti-MHL helmet fans have a far more extreme stance. Usually revolving around arguing for health insurance related financial ruin for those who ride without helmets. Also the fact that they often seem particularly gleeful about the idea of helmet free brain splattering doesn't bode well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CarinusMalmari View Post
    I suspect a good lot of the anti-MHL helmet fans have a far more extreme stance. Usually revolving around arguing for health insurance related financial ruin for those who ride without helmets. Also the fact that they often seem particularly gleeful about the idea of helmet free brain splattering doesn't bode well.
    I suspect that it's a character flaw in me, but I take people at face value and expect good faith, until/unless I have reason to suspect otherwise.

    I'm like Horton, I say what I mean and I mean what I say, and expect the same from others.
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  18. #7918
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    I can understand that. Most people consider road rash, and even some bone breaks as acceptable risk. But they fear death or incapacitation from TBI, and so try to prevent that. That the actual risk of TBI is low, and that it can be managed lower doesn't matter, they feel it's unacceptable.

    I suspect that part or the problem, is that various forces have made TBI the new cancer, so it's high on the radar these days. Actual risk is secondary in people's minds to perceived risk. Numerous studies have shown that general perceptions of comparative risks are highly skewed and people's fears are not well aligned with the actual risks they face daily.

    But I'm not invested in what others think or do, as long as they leave me alone.

    IMO- the core difference between helmet true believers and heretics, is the true believers feel a need to enlighten others, and heretics don't care either way. To go back to my religion analogy, we have Jehovah's Witnesses who feel obligated to knock on doors and spread The Word, but we don't see atheists doing the same.
    Don't be too confident in them leaving you alone. In this survey, even though half of the cyclists surveyed did not wear a helmet, 49% of them favored mandatory helmet laws for adults. Presumably few if any of that 49% wanting MHL were the among cyclists who never wore helmets (half of all US cyclists). So virtually all of the helmet-wearing cyclists, if you ask them anonymously in a poll, want a law requiring you to wear one. The survey found 62% of the general public supporting a law.

  19. #7919
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    Quote Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
    Don't be too confident in them leaving you alone. In this survey, even though half of the cyclists surveyed did not wear a helmet, 49% of them favored mandatory helmet laws for adults. Presumably few if any of that 49% wanting MHL were the among cyclists who never wore helmets (half of all US cyclists). So virtually all of the helmet-wearing cyclists, if you ask them anonymously in a poll, want a law requiring you to wear one. The survey found 60% of the general public supporting a law.
    If I were confident that helmet advocates would leave me alone, I wouldn't bother posting here, or speaking out about helmet use (or non-use). I have zero issue with those who choose to wear a helmet, but feel a need to maintain a counter argument in the face of strong pressure from the safety-first folks, including well funded efforts by those who support MHLs.
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  20. #7920
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    Quote Originally Posted by rekmeyata View Post
    ...
    Personally I think helmets should be required by law for both cyclists and motorcyclists.
    ...
    Quote Originally Posted by MMACH 5 View Post
    Ummmm. Yikes.
    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    Are you really surprised that an outspoken A&S Helmet True Believer is also firmly in the MHL camp? The only surprise to me is that an outspoken A&S Helmet Apostle is honest on MHL proposals with himself as well as on-line.
    ...
    I've stated numerous times that the debate here is not about MHLs. It's not in the thread title or the poll at the top. Whether they wear helmets or not, the number of cyclist supporting MHLs is miniscule, so there would be no debate and the thread would die.
    So, is "surprised" really the word I'd use to describe my reaction? I'm not sure. He's just one person posting in the thread, so it doesn't exactly counter my initial assertion. However, rekmeyata is one of the more active and outspoken Helmeteers in the thread, so that makes it more disconcerting.

    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    ...The numerous denials of having MHL tendencies from the sanctimonious A&S Helmet True Believers strike me as just so much hypocrisy if not worse.
    I also oppose restricting lawful gvn ownership, but I don't own a gvn, nor do I want to. I don't smoke, but I hate that there are sin taxes on cigarettes. I'm not gay but I oppose laws keeping them from marrying.
    My point in all of these is that none of them have any direct effect on me, but I do oppose them. From the same angle, I wear a helmet every time I ride a bicycle, so MHLs won't change how I go about my riding. However, laws making helmets mandatory are overreaching and counterproductive.
    If that is hypocrisy then I'm probably slinging it in most parts of my life.

    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    I'm a bit more generous about helmet how true believers feel about MHLs. I accept their stated opposition at face value, and believe them when they say they don't support them or wouldn't advocate for them. However, I believe that many are passively in favor of MHLs, and deep down wouldn't be sad if they were passed. In any case I wouldn't count on them for support in opposition to MHLs because they're not in a position to honestly argue against the stated intent of these laws.
    I've spoken out against MHLs at numerous bicycle committee and city council meetings. I rode my bicycle to each one and spoke with my helmet in my hand. I don't think my position is disingenuous or dishonest.
    That's gonna leave a mark.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    I suspect that it's a character flaw in me, but I take people at face value and expect good faith, until/unless I have reason to suspect otherwise.

    I'm like Horton, I say what I mean and I mean what I say, and expect the same from others.
    Not much of a character flaw IMO. But since the comparison with religion keeps popping up. It's the difference between genuinely wanting to safe people from hell, and claiming to not care, but secretly or even openly enjoying the idea of people burning in hell.
    Last edited by CarinusMalmari; 06-11-14 at 12:36 PM.

  22. #7922
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    Quote Originally Posted by MMACH 5 View Post
    ....I also oppose restricting lawful gvn ownership, but I don't own a gvn, nor do I want to. I don't smoke, but I hate that there are sin taxes on cigarettes. I'm not gay but I oppose laws keeping them from marrying.

    My point in all of these is that none of them have any direct effect on me, but I do oppose them. From the same angle, I wear a helmet every time I ride a bicycle, so MHLs won't change how I go about my riding. However, laws making helmets mandatory are overreaching and counterproductive.

    I've spoken out against MHLs at numerous bicycle committee and city council meetings. I rode my bicycle to each one and spoke with my helmet in my hand. I don't think my position is disingenuous or dishonest.
    You and I are aligned on the political issues, and I don't think that speaking out against laws that don't affect you is hypocritical. However, when you speak out at public hearings with your helmet in view, there's the risk that the audience will respond to the the helmet more than your words. In their minds question may not be "will this law save lives?", but instead "do helmets save lives?" and they'll see your helmet as an affirmation of that.

    The leap between the two questions is often too high for legislators who want to be on record as "doing the right thing". Despite Ben Franklin's warning, freedom has a poor win/lose record when up against safety.
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  23. #7923
    Cycle Dallas MMACH 5's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    You and I are aligned on the political issues, and I don't think that speaking out against laws that don't affect you is hypocritical. However, when you speak out at public hearings with your helmet in view, there's the risk that the audience will respond to the the helmet more than your words. In their minds question may not be "will this law save lives?", but instead "do helmets save lives?" and they'll see your helmet as an affirmation of that.

    The leap between the two questions is often too high for legislators who want to be on record as "doing the right thing". Despite Ben Franklin's warning, freedom has a poor win/lose record when up against safety.
    I don't absolutely disagree with your analysis of speaking with my helmet in hand. However, from my side, it was sort of a "I see what you were trying to accomplish with this law. I wore my helmet to get here. However, this law need to be repealed..." (Not quoting my statement, but just the concept.) It was all for naught. I think wphamilton's posted survey kind tells the tale of how I got nowhere with it. I'm going to post another message regarding the Dallas MHL.
    That's gonna leave a mark.

  24. #7924
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    If I were confident that helmet advocates would leave me alone, I wouldn't bother posting here, or speaking out about helmet use (or non-use). I have zero issue with those who choose to wear a helmet, but feel a need to maintain a counter argument in the face of strong pressure from the safety-first folks, including well funded efforts by those who support MHLs.
    Probability and the clash of studies doesn't seem to hold general sway over the general debate of this issue. What we really need is to put it on more personal terms that apply to everyone, also with consequences for everyone. A comparable issue.

    Something like this. The hospital data is from Iowa but could likely be generalized. Of victims of vehicle accidents, a passenger in a car has 67% of the chance of traumatic brain injury as does the cyclist. This is the same sort of data that is utilized to support mandatory helmet laws.

    But even though the cyclist is 1.5 times as likely to suffer TBI (which isn't so much difference, is it?), there are many more car passengers than cyclists, and many more car accidents than those involving cyclists. So the issue of protecting passengers is far more important by almost every measure. So let's save even more health care and insurance costs, save even more innocent lives, prevent even more pain and suffering by applying the exact same solution to passengers in motorized vehicles! If it makes sense for one, it makes sense for the other.

    If only an enterprising individual of the cycling community could start a nationwide lobbying campaign for Auto Passenger Safety, demanding that passengers and drivers should always wear helmets, every time it's shot down we cyclists could shelter under the umbrella. At the very least, agitate to include auto passengers every time a MHL comes up.

    BTW, the CDC has estimated that TBI costs $37 Billion per year in hospital and care costs. Injuries from cycling is just a small fraction of that.
    Last edited by wphamilton; 06-11-14 at 01:06 PM.

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    Cycle Dallas MMACH 5's Avatar
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    As I sat here at work, posting in the helmet thread this morning, Dallas' city council FINALLY voted to repeal the adult MHL! Over the years, there was no argument that could be made to sway them (and I tried). What it took was our sister city of Fort Worth having a successful bike-share program. Any hopes of starting a similar program here in Dallas were dashed by the city ordinance dictating that all cyclists, regardless of age were required to wear a helmet.

    City of Dallas drops bike helmet law for adults - CultureMap Dallas
    That's gonna leave a mark.

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