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View Poll Results: Helmet wearing habits?

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  • I've never worn a bike helmet

    178 10.66%
  • I used to wear a helmet, but have stopped

    94 5.63%
  • I've always worn a helmet

    648 38.80%
  • I didn't wear a helmet, but now do

    408 24.43%
  • I sometimes wear a helmet depending on the conditions

    342 20.48%
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  1. #1201
    Senior Member rydabent's Avatar
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    I might remind everyone that this is a cycling forum. We really dont care about what happens to people walking riding horses skiing digging wells or playing tiddley winks.

  2. #1202
    Senior Member Speedo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mconlonx View Post
    I'm still waiting for an explanation of why the death rate of cyclists is so skewed toward the helmetless in the NYCDoT and IIoHS figures posted earlier...
    There is a strong correlation between non-helmet use and fatalities. There is also a strong correlation between alcohol use, wrong way cycling, riding at night without lights, and various other behaviors and fatalities. The question is which of these perceived risky behaviors carries actual risk.

    The population studies of helmet effectiveness in the wake of mandatory helmet laws are useful to help break out actual vs perceived risk. In such cases helmet use has increased substantially without a corresponding decrease in fatalities. So, we know that simply increasing helmet use doesn't have a significant effect on fatalities.

    If you look at the Netherlands, they have low helmet use and still have relatively low (per hour or per mile) fatalities compared to the U.S. Many people balk at such a comparison saying that the Netherlands is special because they have legal protections, facilities, and a strong cycling culture that results in good safe riding practice. That would be correct, but nonetheless, it shows that widespread helmet use is not a precondition for safe cycling. Other factors are more important.

    So, while it is true that in the U.S. not using a helmet is correlated with bicycle fatalities. It doesn't appear to be a causal relationship.

    Speedo

  3. #1203
    Senior Member irishbill76's Avatar
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    My own personal arguement is based on part fact and part personal belief. Fact: A helmet reduces risk of injury or death. I say reduces, not prevents. Anyone who disagrees can look up any number of these facts anywhere on the internet or in written publication. It may be a 1% risk reduction or a 100% reduction in any circumstances, whether you are a cyclist, horse rider, parajumper or whatever. Belief: Its my belief that you cannot put a price on human life. If I spend 20 bucks on a helmet or 200 bucks, it doesnt matter, its a price in my opinion worth paying for that 1% or 100% reduction of possible injury or death.
    None of us can predict whats going to happen a mile or a year down the road and whilst you may be a world class cyclist or a weekly commuter with all the skill of a 2yr old, accidents happen whether its your fault or not. For that reason, Ill spend my money on a helmet over a titanium bolt that saves me 9 grams anyday. Rant over.
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  4. #1204
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stealthammer View Post
    You don't want to wear a helmet thats fine, but don't be an a$$ and blindly claim that the helmet is unwarrented when riding a bicycle. You don't know how or where I ride.
    The flip side, of course, is that no one really knows how anyone else rides either, so any suggestion regarding what kind of protective gear other people should use or ignore is unwarranted.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stealthammer View Post
    If you want to cruise your MUPs without helmets who can argue, but if you want to ride where and how I ride you would be a fool not to wear one.
    Too bad. This sentence largely contravenes the prior one. You really can't know the abilities of other cyclists. Perhaps they are perfectly capable of riding "where and how" you ride without significant risk.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stealthammer View Post
    I've got a collection of helmets (both cycling and motorcycling) that show obvious signs of serious contact with solid objects over the years. They sit on a shelf in my garage to remind me and others that "safety gear" is worn for a reason.
    Great. I don't have any helmets that show signs of "serious contact with solid objects". Should that be a reminder that safety gear is unnecessary?

  5. #1205
    Senior Member Drummerboy1975's Avatar
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    I tell ya what helmet supporters. I don't have a helmet to wear. If someone would like to help me in protecting myself and in spending the word of helmet advocacy, heres what I'll do.

    Send me one size large helmet, cause I have a big head, and not only will I gladly wear it but I will also tell others I know and meet about the importance of wearing a helmet while cycling. Otherwise,I may never buy one.

  6. #1206
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drummerboy1975 View Post
    I tell ya what helmet supporters. I don't have a helmet to wear. If someone would like to help me in protecting myself and in spending the word of helmet advocacy, heres what I'll do.

    Send me one size large helmet, cause I have a big head, and not only will I gladly wear it but I will also tell others I know and meet about the importance of wearing a helmet while cycling. Otherwise,I may never buy one.
    Check with your Health Care plan. Mine provides them, many health care plans do- check the fine print on your plan. If that doesn't work for you and you honestly cannot afford to purchase a helmet check with local bike advocacy groups and clubs, many of them have give away plans as do some municipalities- though usually for children.

  7. #1207
    Senior Member Drummerboy1975's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by buzzman View Post
    Check with your Health Care plan. Mine provides them, many health care plans do- check the fine print on your plan. If that doesn't work for you and you honestly cannot afford to purchase a helmet check with local bike advocacy groups and clubs, many of them have give away plans as do some municipalities- though usually for children.
    I never said I couldn't afford one.

  8. #1208
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    Quote Originally Posted by Speedo View Post
    There is a strong correlation between non-helmet use and fatalities. There is also a strong correlation between alcohol use, wrong way cycling, riding at night without lights, and various other behaviors and fatalities. The question is which of these perceived risky behaviors carries actual risk.

    The population studies of helmet effectiveness in the wake of mandatory helmet laws are useful to help break out actual vs perceived risk. In such cases helmet use has increased substantially without a corresponding decrease in fatalities. So, we know that simply increasing helmet use doesn't have a significant effect on fatalities.

    If you look at the Netherlands, they have low helmet use and still have relatively low (per hour or per mile) fatalities compared to the U.S. Many people balk at such a comparison saying that the Netherlands is special because they have legal protections, facilities, and a strong cycling culture that results in good safe riding practice. That would be correct, but nonetheless, it shows that widespread helmet use is not a precondition for safe cycling. Other factors are more important.

    So, while it is true that in the U.S. not using a helmet is correlated with bicycle fatalities. It doesn't appear to be a causal relationship.

    Speedo
    I guess I'd want to know how many bike crashes they have in the netherlands, and what types of bike crashes the have, compared to the US -- speed of the bike and any other vehicles involved in the crash, specific nature of bodily impacts sustained during the crash -- that sort of thing.

    Otherwise, the correlation may be specious.

  9. #1209
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by irishbill76 View Post
    ... None of us can predict whats going to happen a mile or a year down the road and whilst you may be a world class cyclist or a weekly commuter with all the skill of a 2yr old, accidents happen whether its your fault or not. For that reason, Ill spend my money on a helmet over a titanium bolt that saves me 9 grams anyday. Rant over.
    And you can trip and fall down the stairs too. Why wouldn't you wear a helmet for each use of a stairwell?
    "My two favourite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything" -Peter Golkin
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  10. #1210
    Senior Member Speedo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SPlKE View Post
    I guess I'd want to know how many bike crashes they have in the netherlands, and what types of bike crashes the have, compared to the US -- speed of the bike and any other vehicles involved in the crash, specific nature of bodily impacts sustained during the crash -- that sort of thing.

    Otherwise, the correlation may be specious.
    Well, that's kind of the point. They have all kinds of bike specific facilities, they have laws that are protective of cyclists and pedestrians, both of those things would improve their risk against getting smacked by a car, as a result they have low rates of fatalities relative to us. Places that just run up helmet usage don't seem to have a corresponding improvement in rates of fatalities. Places that do things to actually reduce risk have low rates of fatalities. Focus on what works, not what doesn't.

    Speedo

  11. #1211
    Senior Member irishbill76's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by closetbiker View Post
    And you can trip and fall down the stairs too. Why wouldn't you wear a helmet for each use of a stairwell?
    I live in a 5th floor apartment...I use the elevator
    And based on your logic, would you jump from a plane without a parachute based on that it only reduces the risk of plummeting to the ground rather than prevents it?
    Last edited by irishbill76; 01-24-12 at 11:33 PM.
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  12. #1212
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drummerboy1975 View Post
    I never said I couldn't afford one.
    And I said "if".

  13. #1213
    Senior Member Drummerboy1975's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by buzzman View Post
    And I said "if".

    But you were implying. I'm simply say that if people care so much about my head to tell me what I should do with it then maybe they should send me a helmet.

  14. #1214
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by irishbill76 View Post
    I live in a 5th floor apartment...I use the elevator ...
    as much as I hate helmet/seat belt analogies - here goes...

    if you don't wear a helmet on the stairs, but but do on the bike, it'd be like putting your seat belt on for a drive, taking it off after a block, continuing on with your drive sans-belt for many more blocks, only to put it back on for the last block.

    Does that make a lot of sense?

    Quote Originally Posted by irishbill76 View Post
    .. would you jump from a plane without a parachute based on that it only reduces the risk of plummeting to the ground rather than prevents it?
    if a parachute wasn't reliable enough to prevent hitting the ground without an injury I wasn't willing to accept, I wouldn't jump
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  15. #1215
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    Quote Originally Posted by closetbiker View Post
    Not the leading cause of traumatic brain injury.
    In the US, according to the CDC, falls are the leading cause of traumatic brain injury:

    Falls continued to be the leading cause of TBI (35.2%) in the United States. Falls cause half (50%) of the TBIs among children aged 0 to 14 years and 61% of all TBIs among adults aged 65 years and older.
    http://www.cdc.gov/traumaticbraininjury/causes.html
    http://www.cdc.gov/traumaticbraininj...ernalcause.pdf

    The focus here is on cycling, but that's part of the argument; placing the risk of cycling out of context. Without context, speculation is worthless
    But what speculation? The speculation we're mostly seeing in this thread is vague claims about what helmets are designed to or actually have done: it's either things along the lines of "a helmet prevented a head injury when I fell" or "helmets are only designed for zero-speed crashes like a pedestrian falling." The former can't be scientifically proven without an A/B test--which is obviously not possible or desirable--and the latter has been debunked in detail here by actually referring to the testing standards that state what helmets are designed for and how they are tested.

  16. #1216
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    Quote Originally Posted by SPlKE View Post
    I guess I'd want to know how many bike crashes they have in the netherlands, and what types of bike crashes the have, compared to the US -- speed of the bike and any other vehicles involved in the crash, specific nature of bodily impacts sustained during the crash -- that sort of thing.

    Otherwise, the correlation may be specious.
    From the Dutch Institute for Road Safety Research:

    Dutch cycling casualty statistics and the measures that have affected them:

    http://www.swov.nl/rapport/Factsheet...S_Cyclists.pdf

    and from the same Institute:

    One third (32%) of the seriously injured
    cyclists that are admitted to hospital are diagnosed
    with head or brain injury. Approximately
    three-quarters of the head or brain injuries are
    caused by crashes that do not involve motorized
    traffic...
    Research has shown that a bicycle helmet offers
    protection against sustaining serious head or
    brain injury in crashes. The most reliable estimates
    indicate that at speeds of up to 20 km/h
    helmets reduce the risk of head injury by 42%,
    the risk of brain injury by 53%, and the risk of
    facial injury by 17%, whereas they increase the
    risk of neck injury by 32%. These estimates are
    partly based on research carried out in countries
    like the United States and Australia, where
    standards for bicycle helmets are stricter than
    they are in Europe and can offer protection at
    higher impact speeds.
    http://www.swov.nl/rapport/Ss_RA/RA47.pdf (lots of interesting data and articles contained within this publication, including a bit about external car airbags designed to protect pedestrians hit by cars!)

    and, similarly,

    One third of the cyclists who are admitted to hospital with serious injury after a road crash are diagnosed with head or brain injury. Approximately three-quarters of the head and brain injuries among cyclists are caused by crashes that do not involve motorized traffic; as many as nine out of ten young children who sustain head/brain injury, do so in crashes not involving motor vehicles. These are mostly cyclist-only crashes. This type of crash is difficult to prevent, but it is possible to limit the severity of the head and brain injury by wearing a bicycle helmet. According to the most recent and sound estimate, the risk of sustaining head injury is reduced by as much as 42% when a good bicycle helmet is worn correctly; the risk of sustaining brain injury is then reduced by 53%.
    Research has shown that a bicycle helmet provides protection against serious head and brain injury. The best estimates that are presently available indicate that the use of bicycle helmets decreases the risk proportion of sustaining or not sustaining head injury by 42%, that of sustaining or not sustaining brain injury by 53%, that of sustaining or not sustaining facial injury by17%, whereas the odds ratio for sustaining or not sustaining does on the other hand increase by 32%. These effect estimates are partly based on American and Australian studies, countries that use stricter standards for bicycle helmets than Europe.
    An argument that is often heard against compulsory helmet use is that it would reduce the use of bicycles. International research indicates that this effect sometimes occurs, especially during the first couple of years after the introduction of compulsory helmet use. The long-term effects, as well as the significance of these findings for the Netherlands are unknown.
    All in all, the SWOV concludes that a bicycle helmet is an effective means of protecting cyclists from sustaining head and brain injury in a fall with a bicycle.
    http://www.swov.nl/rapport/Factsheet...le_helmets.pdf

  17. #1217
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    Quote Originally Posted by closetbiker View Post
    as much as I hate helmet/seat belt analogies - here goes...

    if you don't wear a helmet on the stairs, but but do on the bike, it'd be like putting your seat belt on for a drive, taking it off after a block, continuing on with your drive sans-belt for many more blocks, only to put it back on for the last block.

    Does that make a lot of sense?



    if a parachute wasn't reliable enough to prevent hitting the ground without an injury I wasn't willing to accept, I wouldn't jump
    Since there are no motor vehicles zooming up and down my stairs, with distracted cellphonehead drivers behind the wheel, your analogy does not make a lot of sense.

  18. #1218
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    Quote Originally Posted by closetbiker View Post
    And you can trip and fall down the stairs too. Why wouldn't you wear a helmet for each use of a stairwell?
    This thread would benefit from refraining from these diversionary, ad hominem arguments that speak to (or slyly attempt to belittle) a particular person's behavioral choices, and instead keep the focus on bike helmets and cycling. If the stance is pro-choice, why not let the other guy be and not try to alter or undermine his beliefs or practices?

  19. #1219
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Six-Shooter View Post
    In the US, according to the CDC, falls are the leading cause of traumatic brain injury:
    yes, and by definition, a TBI can be "damage to the scalp"

    Lets be clear (and I'm sure you understand my position on this), a helmet can help reduce or mitigate minor injury. I would think a reasonable person would consider "scalp damage" within that definition


    But what speculation? ...
    the speculation of risk.

    Risk is an inescapable fact of life. Managing it is the goal. Key to risk management is placing risk in context.

    It's not that something can happen, it's how likely it is to happen.

    Risks are almost always a matter of probabilities. Unless someone can tell me what level of risk is associated with a given activity, they have no business telling me it is risky. Once I understand the risk in context, then I can determine how I want to manage it.

    Making a risk management decision without an idea of its context can lead to increasing that risk
    Last edited by closetbiker; 01-25-12 at 08:08 AM.
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  20. #1220
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Six-Shooter View Post
    This thread would benefit from refraining from these diversionary, ad hominem arguments ...
    they're hardly diversionary, quite the reverse.
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  21. #1221
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    Quote Originally Posted by closetbiker View Post
    yes, and by definition, a TBI can be "damage to the scalp"
    Not sure how we got to the topic of scalp injury, but here's how the CDC defines TBI:

    A TBI is caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain. Not all blows or jolts to the head result in a TBI. The severity of a TBI may range from “mild,” i.e., a brief change in mental status or consciousness to “severe,” i.e., an extended period of unconsciousness or amnesia after the injury. The majority of TBIs that occur each year are concussions or other forms of mild TBI.
    http://www.cdc.gov/TraumaticBrainInjury/index.html

    i.e., more than a mere scalp laceration, but an injury that adversely affects normal brain function. According to the CDC, the leading cause of these injuries in the US is falls.

    Lets be clear (and I'm sure you understand my position on this), a helmet can help reduce or mitigate minor injury. I would think a reasonable person would consider "scalp damage" can fall within that definition
    The problem is when people imply, contrary to fact (see the quotes and links in my posts over the last few pages), that helmets are only designed to or capable of mitigating minor injury. Both the standards themselves and at least some expert opinion speaks of helmets reducing the chance not merely of minor scrapes, but of "serious head or brain injury" or even death.

    the speculation of risk.

    Risk is an inescapable fact of life. Managing it is the goal. Key to risk management is placing risk in context.

    It's not that something can happen, it's how likely that is to happen. Risks are almost always a matter of probabilities. Unless someone can tell me what level of risk is associated with a given activity, they have no business telling me it is risky. Once I understand the risk in context, then I can determine how I want to manage it.
    Well, there have been countless statistics posted in this thread suggesting levels of risk associated with cycling; it's not exactly terra incognita It's up to you to decide how to proceed. If you want to compare cycling with walking, stairs, bathrooms, etc. before deciding, great, but that's ultimately not the real issue here: viz., what are your chances of hitting your head while cycling, how can a helmet help, what laws should regulate helmets, etc. It's not about whether you or I think we should wear one or about trying to convince someone else that their personal thought process in adopting helmet use is flawed. That is indeed diversionary.
    Last edited by Six-Shooter; 01-25-12 at 08:26 AM.

  22. #1222
    Nobody mconlonx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drummerboy1975 View Post
    I tell ya what helmet supporters. I don't have a helmet to wear. If someone would like to help me in protecting myself and in spending the word of helmet advocacy, heres what I'll do.

    Send me one size large helmet, cause I have a big head, and not only will I gladly wear it but I will also tell others I know and meet about the importance of wearing a helmet while cycling. Otherwise,I may never buy one.
    Please PM me your shipping address.

    PS: reports of the helmet I'll ship to you not helping you on a regular basis will be discounted by my own observations of the times I've not worn a helmet and not died. What's the point of this exercise?
    Last edited by mconlonx; 01-25-12 at 08:53 AM.
    I know next to nothing. I am frequently wrong.

  23. #1223
    Nobody mconlonx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Speedo View Post
    So, while it is true that in the U.S. not using a helmet is correlated with bicycle fatalities. It doesn't appear to be a causal relationship.

    Speedo
    Thanks for taking the time to reply.

    While I'm more than willing to grant your argument credence, by the same logic, why should a study or report regarding helmet use where there is a MHL in a place, half a world and culture away, have any relevance in NYC reportage?
    I know next to nothing. I am frequently wrong.

  24. #1224
    Nobody mconlonx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by closetbiker View Post
    And you can trip and fall down the stairs too. Why wouldn't you wear a helmet for each use of a stairwell?
    No idiot drivers on a stairwell?
    I know next to nothing. I am frequently wrong.

  25. #1225
    Nobody mconlonx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SPlKE View Post
    Since there are no motor vehicles zooming up and down my stairs, with distracted cellphonehead drivers behind the wheel, your analogy does not make a lot of sense.
    How many potholes or other instances of subtandard repair/maintenance caused by motor vehicles that might contribute to a TBI injury do you encounter on stairway? In a shower?
    I know next to nothing. I am frequently wrong.

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