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-   -   The helmet thread (http://www.bikeforums.net/advocacy-safety/771371-helmet-thread.html)

sudo bike 10-08-11 01:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mconlonx (Post 13334148)
1. Anyone who posts in this thread is a <WWSNS> <WWSNS>.

Why? Why did you even post at all? Doesn't this make you part of the problem? Did you think this post would stop anyone from posting? :confused:

Quote:

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?
It's been done a billion times, and probably there is a lack of will to post it again and again every few pages. If you insist...
Head injuries and bicycle helmet laws

D. L. Robinson

AGBU, University of New England, Armidale, NSW 2351, Australia
Accepted 6 February 1996. ; Available online 26 February 1999.
Abstract

The first year of the mandatory bicycle helmet laws in Australia saw increased helmet wearing from 31% to 75% of cyclists in Victoria and from 31% of children and 26% of adults in New South Wales (NSW) to 76% and 85%. However, the two major surveys using matched before and after samples in Melbourne (Finch et al. 1993; Report No. 45, Monash Univ. Accident Research Centre) and throughout NSW (Smith and Milthorpe 1993; Roads and Traffic Authority) observed reductions in numbers of child cyclists 15 and 2.2 times greater than the increase in numbers of children wearing helmets. This suggests the greatest effect of the helmet law was not to encourage cyclists to wear helmets, but to discourage cycling. In contrast, despite increases to at least 75% helmet wearing, the proportion of head injuries in cyclists admitted or treated at hospital declined by an average of only 13%. The percentage of cyclists with head injuries after collisions with motor vehicles in Victoria declined by more, but the proportion of head injured pedestrians also declined; the two followed a very similar trend. These trends may have been caused by major road safety initiatives introduced at the same time as the helmet law and directed at both speeding and drink-driving. The initiatives seem to have been remarkably effective in reducing road trauma for all road users, perhaps affecting the proportions of victims suffering head injuries as well as total injuries. The benefits of cycling, even without a helmet, have been estimated to outweigh the hazards by a factor of 20 to 1 (Hillman 1993; Cycle helmets—the case for and against. Policy Studies Institute, London). Consequently, a helmet law, whose most notable effect was to reduce cycling, may have generated a net loss of health benefits to the nation. Despite the risk of dying from head injury per hour being similar for unhelmeted cyclists and motor vehicle occupants, cyclists alone have been required to wear head protection. Helmets for motor vehicle occupants are now being marketed and a mandatory helmet law for these road users has the potential to save 17 times as many people from death by head injury as a helmet law for cyclists without the adverse effects of discouraging a healthy and pollution free mode of transport.

Author Keywords: Bicycle; Head injury; Helmet; Legislation

buzzman 10-08-11 09:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sudo bike (Post 13335463)
We all snipe occasionally. Accepted and forgotten. :)...

Sudo Bike, thank you so much for this exchange.

I still hold with my point of view about helmets- that they make enough of a difference to wear one every time I ride (and that doesn't mean every one, every where in the world needs to wear one) and I really question the value of constant diatribes about the shortcomings of helmets and the need to convince people they are unnecessary adornments, magic hats, talismans or amulets. I just don't think those discussions save lives, make people any more safe or increase ridership.

Regardless, I respect your style and your point of view and if you think you are spreading the good word and doing good (admittedly not necessarily "saving lives") but informing people then I say, "more power to you.".

For the googally challenged. By that I mean those who cannot do any research for information on their own and require threads like this to provide them statistics, data and often, biased, hyperbolic interpretation then I would suggest going to this site, which provides objectively collected data, some pro-helmet interpretations and links to sites which counter their views:

http://www.bhsi.org

For researched rational responses to many of the negatives about helmets I would suggest this site:

http://www.bhsi.org/negativs.htm

closetbiker 10-08-11 10:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by buzzman (Post 13336169)
...I would suggest going to this site, which provides objectively collected data, some pro-helmet interpretations and links to sites which counter their views:

http://www.bhsi.org

For researched rational responses to many of the negatives about helmets I would suggest this site:

http://www.bhsi.org/negativs.htm

You're kidding right?

Didn't you say, "I'll give far more weight to my personal experience than the tons of questionable, biased and often outdated "studies", inadequate "statistics"?

Now you're suggesting a site that provides what you have questioned?

Randy (the bhsi guy) has his position. He wants to pass helmet laws for everyone while contradicting himself by admitting it's crashes with cars that kill cyclists and admitting that those crashes are beyond a helmets limits.

A far more realistic site that addresses the helmet issue is the first one I provided on this new version of the thread,

http://bicyclesafe.com

where it says,

Quote:

Focusing on helmets distracts people from what's more likely to actually save their lives: Learning how to ride safely. It's not that I'm against helmets, I'm against all the attention placed on helmets at the expense of safe riding skills. Helmets are not the most important aspect of bike safety. Not by a long shot
If one is interested in studies and analysis, far more qualified anaylsis and opinions than Randys can be found at http://cyclehelmets.org/

Mithrandir 10-08-11 11:28 AM

Started cycling in 2004, stayed entirely on bike paths and did not wear a helmet.

Moved out into the country in 2005 and no longer lived near bike paths, so I had to ride on country roads. Due to the numerous reckless drivers going 20-30mph over the speed limit, I decided it was prudent to buy a helmet, so I did. Went with a cheap $40 Giro. It was annoying at first. Heavy, and low ventilation, so I was hotter than I was used to. A month later, for reasons unrelated to the helmet, I gave up on cycling.

Took up cycling again in May of this year, and wore the helmet from the very beginning. It did not annoy me at all this time. I have not yet been in a crash, but I still think it saved my life. Roughly a month ago, cycling down a country road, a large truck flew by me and ran over a rock, which its wheels picked up and flung directly at me. Since I had my head down it hit my helmet squarely on the top. I shudder to think what would have happened to my head without the helmet.

Used that as an excuse to buy a new, better, lighter, brighter colored (and matching my bike!) helmet, with more ventilation and a sun visor.

You won't ever find me riding helmetless again.

closetbiker 10-08-11 12:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mithrandir (Post 13336453)
... [the helmet] did not annoy me at all this time. I have not yet been in a crash, but I still think it saved my life. Roughly a month ago, cycling down a country road, a large truck flew by me and ran over a rock, which its wheels picked up and flung directly at me. Since I had my head down it hit my helmet squarely on the top. I shudder to think what would have happened to my head without the helmet...

a lot of people who have a preconception, look for evidence (however shaky) that validates their preconception.

There's no possible way for you to know what exactly what would have happened had you not worn a helmet during this incident, but if we look at what has happened when cyclists have died, we could form a reasonable guess to the likelyhood of what would have happenned.

It's like when someone who has fallen claims their life was saved by a helmet. Very, very, few cyclists die from a simple fall. There's no way to be 100% certain the fall wouldn't have resulted in death, but it's very unlikely, yet the claim that it had is fully believed by the convinced.

This has also happened in my province that instituted an all ages helmet law. Since the law passed, it's very common for believers to claim their helmet saved their life, but the actual result was that despite an instant doubling of helmet use overnight, and a 30% drop in cycling, deaths increased.

Mithrandir 10-08-11 01:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by closetbiker (Post 13336615)
a lot of people who have a preconception, look for evidence (however shaky) that validates their preconception.

There's no possible way for you to know what exactly what would have happened had you not worn a helmet during this incident, but if we look at what has happened when cyclists have died, we could form a reasonable guess to the likelyhood of what would have happenned.

It's like when someone who has fallen claims their life was saved by a helmet. Very, very, few cyclists die from a simple fall. There's no way to be 100% certain the fall wouldn't have resulted in death, but it's very unlikely, yet the claim that it had is fully believed by the convinced.

This has also happened in my province that instituted an all ages helmet law. Since the law passed, it's very common for believers to claim their helmet saved their life, but the actual result was that despite an instant doubling of helmet use overnight, and a 30% drop in cycling, deaths increased.

Wish I hadn't thrown the helmet out right now. It had a big dent in it.

I would have been bleeding or had a concussion for sure. While I can't say for sure that I would have died, nevertheless it saved me from a significant trauma. Go right ahead and pretend that it didn't, but it did.

closetbiker 10-08-11 02:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mithrandir (Post 13336721)
Wish I hadn't thrown the helmet out right now. It had a big dent in it.

I would have been bleeding or had a concussion for sure. While I can't say for sure that I would have died, nevertheless it saved me from a significant trauma. Go right ahead and pretend that it didn't, but it did.

I wouldn't say I'm pretending about anything. I'd say you're speculating in an unreasonable manner. Could your next claim be that I'm saying helmets are completely useless?

I don't doubt the helmet provided some protection and comfort, but I would doubt as to whether it saved your life, significant trauma, or concussion because evidence contradicts those claims

buzzman 10-08-11 06:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by closetbiker (Post 13336380)
You're kidding right?

Didn't you say, "I'll give far more weight to my personal experience than the tons of questionable, biased and often outdated "studies", inadequate "statistics"?

Now you're suggesting a site that provides what you have questioned?...

Thanks for providing an alternative site. I don't necessarily agree with every conclusion on the BHSI site. Particularly with regards mandated helmet laws. But I do think it provides plenty of information to balance some of the other sites referenced. If you don't like the BHSI site take it up with them.

With regard personal experience I do still hold that foremost in what shapes my decision making around helmets. For example Sudo Bike referenced the "risk compensation" behavioral psychology studies as evidence that people wearing bike helmets are more likely to take risks than non-helmet wearing cyclists. I question the application of that theory to helmet wearing because I have not seen it borne out in my personal experience or observation.

This evening I put it to an informal, non-scientific, non-vetted, totally subjective test. But, for what it's worth, I'll share to demonstrate what I mean about personal experience.

Today I rode into downtown Boston to see a 3 pm matinee of a play my wife was doing. It was a sunny warm October day and the bike path was crowded on the way into town. A testament to the success of the new Hub Bike Share program was how many of the riders on the path were on the Bike Share bikes. I began to take notice of how many helmeted and non-helmeted riders and to make distinctions as to their behavior while riding. It ended up to be too much data. I couldn't keep track because there were so many riders. But one thing was obvious the Bike Share riders were by far the most discourteous, distracted, dangerous riders on the path and none of them wore helmets.

The quick conclusion here would be no helmet/bad rider but the Bike Share program doesn't provide helmets (it might be less popular if it did and if it required them even less so) and the Bike Share riders tend to be tourists, traveling in groups, on vacation, out for fun and in unfamiliar territory. The helmeted riders looked like the usual bike commuting/recreational crowd, who use the bike path regularly. So I don't think helmet or not helmet really changed anyone's behavior it just was what it was. So I threw out that study as inconclusive.

But the ride home was a different story. It was now night time. Fewer riders and I had one risky behavior as a constant- the use of lights. I also observed other behaviors, which I'll detail, but primarily I looked for the lights no lights/helmet no helmet combinations. Once again the bike share program skewed the results- this time in the non-helmeted riders favor. The Bike Share bikes have built in lighting systems.

I saw a total of 29 riders on my ride home.

15 were not wearing helmets.

14 were wearing helmets.

6 were on Bike Share bikes and all of them were not wearing helmets but they had, by default, lights.

12 of the helmeted riders had lights and some had supplemental reflective gear.

2 helmeted riders had no lights.

Of the 9 non-helmeted riders on other than Bike Share bikes, 0 (zero) had lights.

I did see one classic ninja cyclist, which I would never have seen except he was briefly silhouetted against the Boston sky line. I chased him down and there he was ahead of me, wearing a tight black t-shirt on a black single speed with hacksawed narrow upright bars, the stubby kryptonite lock jammed in the back pocket of his black skinny jeans. He was fast and smooth on the bike and I was pretty convinced as I approached he had on the coolest black helmet I'd ever seen but as I jammed up close to him approaching Harvard Square I could see in the glow of the streetlight a full head of jet black curly hair- no helmet. I caught him but he ran the red light and off he went right along with any faith I might have had in risk compensation theory.

RazrSkutr 10-08-11 07:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by buzzman (Post 13337737)
Thanks for providing an alternative site. I don't necessarily agree with every conclusion on the BHSI site. Particularly with regards mandated helmet laws. But I do think it provides plenty of information to balance some of the other sites referenced. If you don't like the BHSI site take it up with them.

But you're the one posting the BHSI site as an example of reasonable information. It's deceitful of you to post it and then refuse to defend it. Surely you've conducted a painstaking examination of the BHSI site (from the standpoint of your extensive statistical training) with an eye to being able to point out the particularly choice bits ... like their support for TRT's 85% for example?

Just out of curiosity ... are you still doing 45mph downhill into deer?

closetbiker 10-08-11 08:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RazrSkutr (Post 13337902)
But you're the one posting the BHSI site as an example of reasonable information. It's deceitful of you to post it and then refuse to defend it.

yes, and I was pointing out how both buzz and the bhsi contradict themselves. something both turn a blind eye to

Quote:

Originally Posted by RazrSkutr (Post 13337902)
Surely you've conducted a painstaking examination of the BHSI site (from the standpoint of your extensive statistical training) with an eye to being able to point out the particularly choice bits ... like their support for TRT's 85% for example?

that's another fib Randy tells. He admits the 85% figure is wrong and has been admitted to be so by the authors, but he continues to perpetrate it.

Can you trust someone like that?

buzzman 10-08-11 09:02 PM

I'll repeat it:

Quote:

Originally Posted by Buzzman
I don't necessarily agree with every conclusion on the BHSI site. Particularly with regards mandated helmet laws. But I do think it provides plenty of information to balance some of the other sites referenced. If you don't like the BHSI site take it up with them.


sudo bike 10-09-11 01:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by buzzman (Post 13336169)
Sudo Bike, thank you so much for this exchange.

I still hold with my point of view about helmets- that they make enough of a difference to wear one every time I ride (and that doesn't mean every one, every where in the world needs to wear one) and I really question the value of constant diatribes about the shortcomings of helmets and the need to convince people they are unnecessary adornments, magic hats, talismans or amulets. I just don't think those discussions save lives, make people any more safe or increase ridership.

Regardless, I respect your style and your point of view and if you think you are spreading the good word and doing good (admittedly not necessarily "saving lives") but informing people then I say, "more power to you.".

For the googally challenged. By that I mean those who cannot do any research for information on their own and require threads like this to provide them statistics, data and often, biased, hyperbolic interpretation then I would suggest going to this site, which provides objectively collected data, some pro-helmet interpretations and links to sites which counter their views:

http://www.bhsi.org

For researched rational responses to many of the negatives about helmets I would suggest this site:

http://www.bhsi.org/negativs.htm

Absolutely fair enough.

I appreciate the discussion as well. It was nice to hear the other side without mindless yelling (er... "yelling"). :)

I-Like-To-Bike 10-09-11 05:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by buzzman (Post 13337737)
Thanks for providing an alternative site. I don't necessarily agree with every conclusion on the BHSI site. Particularly with regards mandated helmet laws. But I do think it provides plenty of information to balance some of the other sites referenced. If you don't like the BHSI site take it up with them.[SNIP]

I would take it up with any poster who recommends the BHSI site as a credible source of information about the value of bicycle helmets in reducing cycling risk. Especially one who should know better.

closetbiker 10-09-11 10:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by buzzman (Post 13338259)
I'll repeat it:

and I'll repeat:

why would someone who stated he values personal experience over sites providing questionable studies recommend a site that provides questionable studies?

That seems to me to be contradictory. Certainly, it's curious.

buzzman 10-09-11 02:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by closetbiker (Post 13339625)
and I'll repeat:

why would someone who stated he values personal experience over sites providing questionable studies recommend a site that provides questionable studies?

That seems to me to be contradictory. Certainly, it's curious.

I suffer under no illusions that anyone reading my posts will take anything I say as "gospel". I encourage anyone reading anything in these threads to do so with a good dose of open minded skepticism. If you think the "helmet issue" can be easily painted as "black and white" or "pro or anti" then my posting the link to BHSI will seem "contradictory" as opposed to an attempt to offer alternative perspectives to the sites you posted.

I heartily endorse the questioning and challenging of anything I post. I may not choose to defend it but you certainly have the right to question it.

I-Like-To-Bike 10-09-11 05:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by buzzman (Post 13340378)
I heartily endorse the questioning and challenging of anything I post. I may not choose to defend it but you certainly have the right to question it.

Thank you. I do question and am skeptical of all your posts on the positive value of bicycle helmets for anybody but yourself.

RazrSkutr 10-09-11 07:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by buzzman (Post 13338259)
I'll repeat it:

OK, seeing as you're too shy to come out with it for yourself, let's see if we can aid you in your thinking process. Which points made by the site you referenced do you agree with?

Six jours 10-09-11 08:27 PM

I once crashed without a helmet and was fine. Which proves that helmets are useless.

I knew someone who drowned in a swimming pool. So anyone who doesn't wear a life jacket in the pool is a stupid idiot.

Once upon a time, "everyone knew" that the world was flat. So obviously it used to be, even though it isn't anymore.

Everyone should wear a helmet in the car, because if it saves even a single life, it's worth it.

All of which illustrates why the helmet debate is so pointless.

closetbiker 10-10-11 09:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by buzzman (Post 13340378)
...I heartily endorse the questioning and challenging of anything I post. I may not choose to defend it but you certainly have the right to question it.

that's good to hear because while one individuals experience may be relevant to that one person, it can't be said that it it is relevant to another.

I'm interested to what happens to the "average" person on a bike, even if there is no such thing, because I believe it's important to establish a baseline of understanding rather than assume what happens to one will happen to another.

corvuscorvax 10-11-11 07:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike (Post 13322304)
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.

Well, we agree about something, at least.

buzzman 10-11-11 04:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike (Post 13340847)
Thank you. I do question and am skeptical of all your posts on the positive value of bicycle helmets for anybody but yourself.

I would expect nothing less of you. :thumb:

You know I'm depending on you to keep me in line. :p

I-Like-To-Bike 10-11-11 05:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by buzzman (Post 13350535)
I would expect nothing less of you. :thumb:

You know I'm depending on you to keep me in line. :p

I am surprised you are "in line" with the thought process of a character like Rydabent. Not as strident but in line none the less.

AlmostTrick 10-11-11 09:49 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by chipcom (Post 13322059)
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. :lol:


That reminds me, I never did get to thank you properly. Your suggestion provided me with excellent protection... up until my wife went to make soup, that is...

Daves_Not_Here 10-11-11 11:07 PM

What's the story behind BHSI? According to their site, they are funded by "consumer donations" but I wonder who these consumers are. They claim not to have helmet industry backing, but it's hard for me to believe that an ordinary citizen would contribute to such an organization, even if they favored helmet use.

Someone affiliated with BHSI is motivated and has been so for years -- does anyone know what that motivation is?

closetbiker 10-12-11 05:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Daves_Not_Here (Post 13352515)
What's the story behind BHSI? According to their site, they are funded by "consumer donations" but I wonder who these consumers are. They claim not to have helmet industry backing, but it's hard for me to believe that an ordinary citizen would contribute to such an organization, even if they favored helmet use.

Someone affiliated with BHSI is motivated and has been so for years -- does anyone know what that motivation is?

I can't understand why Randy wants to prevent someone from riding a bicycle if they want to do so without a helmet


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