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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 01-25-12, 09:03 AM   #1226
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Originally Posted by mconlonx View Post
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?
The shower could use some caulk in spots.
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Old 01-25-12, 09:54 AM   #1227
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Originally Posted by mconlonx View Post
No idiot drivers on a stairwell?
I'm sure you can see that answer adresses two of the most glaring problems with the perceptions on helmets; that relative risk isn't considered, and that helmets are effective protection in collisions with motor vehicles.

Because some would have others believe helmets are made to withstand such forces, simple falls commonly result in brain injury, and a helmet is not just as means to end, but the end itself, people will continue to suffer injuries they otherwise may have avoided just as they have in countries that have mandated, and enforced universal helmet use.
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Old 01-25-12, 10:00 AM   #1228
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Originally Posted by Six-Shooter View Post
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?
Just thought I'd point out, that is not an ad hominem. That's making a correlation between the two and questioning the logic of choosing one vs the other. Ad hominem is an attack on the character as an attempt to discredit the argument of the person. He's attempting to discredit your argument that a helmet is necessary for one and not the other. Two different things.
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Old 01-25-12, 10:08 AM   #1229
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Some more data that may be of interest:

A detailed statistical breakdown of cycling injuries and deaths in the US from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, classed by age, gender, and state:

http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/pubs/811156.pdf

They also state:

Quote:
All bicyclists should wear properly fitted bicycle helmets every time they ride. A helmet is the single most effective way to prevent head injury resulting from a bicycle crash.
Unfortunately, they don't provide stats regarding helmet use. But the IIHS, working with data from the US DOT, does:

Quote:
Bicyclist deaths by helmet use, 1994-2009
No helmet use Helmet use
Year Num % Num % Total Num
1994 776 97 19 2 796
1995 783 95 34 4 828
1996 731 96 27 4 761
1997 785 97 23 3 811
1998 741 98 16 2 757
1999 698 93 42 6 750
2000 622 90 50 7 689
2001 616 84 60 8 729
2002 589 89 54 8 663
2003 535 85 58 9 626
2004 602 83 87 12 722
2005 676 86 77 10 784
2006 730 95 37 5 769
2007 646 92 50 7 699
2008 654 91 59 8 716
2009 574 91 53 8 630
*Total includes other and/or unknowns
http://www.iihs.org/research/fatalit.../bicycles.html
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Old 01-25-12, 10:24 AM   #1230
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I'm sure you can see that answer adresses two of the most glaring problems with the perceptions on helmets; that relative risk isn't considered, and that helmets are effective protection in collisions with motor vehicles.
You say this like you assume that relative risk isn't considered when people decide to wear helmets, and that every single accident which involves motor vehicles don't include situations where the forces involved do not exceed a helmet's design parameters or incidental protective capacity.
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Old 01-25-12, 10:26 AM   #1231
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Just thought I'd point out, that is not an ad hominem. That's making a correlation between the two and questioning the logic of choosing one vs the other. Ad hominem is an attack on the character as an attempt to discredit the argument of the person. He's attempting to discredit your argument that a helmet is necessary for one and not the other. Two different things.
Granted, but those sorts of posts go "to the man," being aimed (quite gratuitously in the case in point) at a particular poster instead of considering that issue in the abstract. And indeed, that has been an unfortunate pattern of this thread: someone will post their personal beliefs for wearing a helmet only to be ganged up on by two or three posters who try to undermine those beliefs and then disingenuously claim they believe in freedom of choice.
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Old 01-25-12, 10:36 AM   #1232
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All bicyclists should wear properly fitted bicycle helmets every time they ride. A helmet is the single most effective way to prevent head injury resulting from a bicycle crash.
Here we have a fundamental problem.

It isn't failure fo yeild right of way, wrong way cycling, absence of lighting, it's a lack of helmet that is the single most important factor.

If this is true, how is it in the Netherlands where almost no one wears helmets, cyclists have the least injuries relative to exposure?
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Old 01-25-12, 10:37 AM   #1233
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Originally Posted by Six-Shooter View Post
Granted, but those sorts of posts go "to the man," being aimed (quite gratuitously in the case in point) at a particular poster instead of considering that issue in the abstract. And indeed, that has been an unfortunate pattern of this thread: someone will post their personal beliefs for wearing a helmet only to be ganged up on by two or three posters who try to undermine those beliefs and then disingenuously claim they believe in freedom of choice.
So, let me get this straight. Is your post an ad hominem attack?

For my part, I try to keep posts to an issue, or an argument, than directed at a persons character

Last edited by closetbiker; 01-25-12 at 12:04 PM.
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Old 01-25-12, 12:35 PM   #1234
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Originally Posted by closetbiker View Post
For my part, I try to keep posts to an issue, or an argument, than directed at a persons character
Except when issues raised don't conform to your subjective views on the subject. Then you tend to drop the argument or not engage.
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Old 01-25-12, 12:46 PM   #1235
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You say this like you assume that relative risk isn't considered when people decide to wear helmets, and that every single accident which involves motor vehicles don't include situations where the forces involved do not exceed a helmet's design parameters or incidental protective capacity.
How is a comparison of relative risk across activities even relevant to what a bike helmet can or can't do during cycling? Whether cycling is or isn't more dangerous than other activities doesn't tell someone who wants to protect their head while cycling whether a helmet can help. Rather it speaks to a method of personal risk assessment, which is neither here nor there.
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Old 01-25-12, 01:09 PM   #1236
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Here we have a fundamental problem.

It isn't failure fo yeild right of way, wrong way cycling, absence of lighting, it's a lack of helmet that is the single most important factor.

If this is true, how is it in the Netherlands where almost no one wears helmets, cyclists have the least injuries relative to exposure?
I think you perhaps misread what they said: not that a helmet prevents crashes (as the suggestions you offer might), but rather that "A helmet is the single most effective way to prevent head injury resulting from a bicycle crash"--a major difference. Either way, as I'm researching this issue, I do find it striking that one government and safety agency after another, from various countries, seems to recommend helmets.

As for the Netherlands, do we have sound data for that? A link would be appreciated. Re: the Netherlands, I don't know if you saw my earlier post, but there's lots of interesting, detailed info here regarding Dutch cycling casualties and helmets:

http://www.swov.nl/rapport/Factsheet...S_Cyclists.pdf
http://www.swov.nl/rapport/Ss_RA/RA47.pdf
http://www.swov.nl/rapport/Factsheet...le_helmets.pdf

including, in the first link, a comparison of hospitalizations from crashes with and without motor vehicle involvement (the latter far outstrips the former) and, from the last,

Quote:
One third of the cyclists who are admitted to hospital with serious injury after a traffic crash are diagnosed with head/brain injury. Approximately three-quarters of these cyclists sustain this head/brain injury in crashes not involving a motor vehicle. As many as nine out of ten young children who sustain head/brain injury, do so in crashes not involving a motor vehicle. In the majority of cases these are bicycle-only crashes.
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%.
...
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.

Last edited by Six-Shooter; 01-25-12 at 01:24 PM.
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Old 01-25-12, 01:16 PM   #1237
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Six-Shooter View Post
How is a comparison of relative risk across activities even relevant to what a bike helmet can or can't do during cycling? Whether cycling is or isn't more dangerous than other activities doesn't tell someone who wants to protect their head while cycling whether a helmet can help. Rather it speaks to a method of personal risk assessment, which is neither here nor there.
Personal experience regarding helmet use in other endeavors, such as motorcycling, where there is also rabid helmet debate, informs personal decision.

If I'm an All The Gear, All The Time (ATGATT) type of motorcyclist, chances are I'm going to carry that over to bicycling. My experience; my choice; my decision.

Regardless of hypotheses indicating that helmet use is not necessary in either situation.

Personal judgment of relative risk assessment surely informs personal risk assessment when considering bicycle helmet use. There might not be some kind of direct correlative, but it certainly is relevant in the decision-making process of some who choose to wear helmets.
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Old 01-25-12, 01:23 PM   #1238
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Originally Posted by mconlonx View Post
Personal experience regarding helmet use in other endeavors, such as motorcycling, where there is also rabid helmet debate
informs personal decision.

If I'm an All The Gear, All The Time (ATGATT) type of motorcyclist, chances are I'm going to carry that over to bicycling. My experience; my choice, my decision.

Regardless of hypotheses indicating that helmet use is not necessary in either situation.
Sure. My point is that some people are conflating two different issues: what a helmet can or can't do while cycling and how/why someone chooses to wear one. You can investigate the former issue with facts; the latter issue falls in the arena of personal choice.
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Old 01-25-12, 01:29 PM   #1239
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More data for those interested, this time from Queensland University's Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety. Some relevant excerpts:

Quote:
Each year, an average of 35 cyclists are
killed and over 2,500 are seriously injured on
Australian public roads.
Quote:
There are approximately 6,000
emergency department
presentations and almost 10 deaths
each year from bicycle-related injury
in Queensland.
Quote:
Australia was the first country to
introduce compulsory cycle helmet
legislation in 1991. It was a major safety
improvement. The Cochrane review of
bicycle helmet effectiveness10 found
that helmets provide a 63-88%
reduction in the risk of head, brain and
severe brain injury for cyclists of all
ages. An examination of admitted
patients suffering a bicycle-related
injury at Brisbane’s Mater Children’s
Hospital, shows that in the two years
preceding the introduction of
compulsory helmet wearing in
Queensland, head injuries made up 34%
of admitted bicycle injuries, whilst in
the 10 years following, the percentage
fell to 17%.
http://www.carrsq.qut.edu.au/publica..._safety_fs.pdf
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Old 01-25-12, 02:41 PM   #1240
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Sure. My point is that some people are conflating two different issues: what a helmet can or can't do while cycling and how/why someone chooses to wear one. You can investigate the former issue with facts; the latter issue falls in the arena of personal choice.
Meh. I'm not willing to say the non-immediately-relevant experience I bring to the issue regarding my use of specific safety gear in a non-relevant safety situation (motorcycling) is any different than someone's equally personal experience in another non-relevant personal experience like walking. Or showering.

Dood, don't wear a helmet if you prefer, I'll continue to wear mine.
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Old 01-25-12, 04:22 PM   #1241
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Originally Posted by Six-Shooter View Post
They also state:
Quote:
All bicyclists should wear properly fitted bicycle helmets every time they ride. A helmet is the single most effective way to prevent head injury resulting from a bicycle crash.
The problem is that it's stated with no support. hey appear to be merely echoing the "conventional wisdom". It's not clear that it's true.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Six-Shooter View Post
Unfortunately, they don't provide stats regarding helmet use. But the IIHS, working with data from the US DOT, does:
Many cycle deaths are associated with not using lights at night (and being drunk!). Helmet users might be more safety conscious overall and either use lights or not ride at night. Is it the helmet reducing the fatalities?

The problem is that there really isn't good data. And it's quite likely that there won't ever be good data.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Six-Shooter View Post
I do find it striking that one government and safety agency after another, from various countries, seems to recommend helmets.
It seems "obvious" that there would be a benefit to wearing helmets and there's no down-side to agencies in recommending them.

A recommendation isn't really evidence that they have a real overall positive value.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Six-Shooter View Post
Quote:
in the two years preceding the introduction of compulsory helmet wearing in Queensland, head injuries made up 34% of admitted bicycle injuries, whilst in the 10 years following, the percentage fell to 17%.
http://www.carrsq.qut.edu.au/publica..._safety_fs.pdf
Interesting. There's some notion that MHL reduce the number of cyclists. If it's casual (less skilled) cyclists dropping-out, the drop head-injuries might not be due to helmets.

Last edited by njkayaker; 01-25-12 at 04:49 PM.
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Old 01-25-12, 04:26 PM   #1242
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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?
You might be surprised just how urban Australia is. The population of the country as a whole is 22.33 million. The population of the top five cities is 13.60 million. Of the big cities I've only been to Sydney, and it's no sleepy backwater. I'm from New York, so I know the city fairly well. Would I say that the meanest mean streets of New York compare to the meanest mean streets of Sydney? No, but not that far off, and most of New York City is not mean streets.

I don't know if MHL studies are in for Vancouver. Their MHL law is somewhat newer there than in Australia and New Zealand. That's not half a world away, but you could complain that as the subjects are Canadians those results would reflect a politeness not to be expected in New York.

Unfortunately MHL studies are the best evidence out there for what happens when helmet use becomes nearly universal. If the 85% effectiveness claim for helmets were true then, going from 30ish percent helmet use to 95% helmet use should have a dramatic effect on fatalities and injuries. The effect should be so dramatic that you wouldn't have to appeal to cultural differences between Australians, Canadians and New Yorkers. Totally ignoring those results would be dishonest, and as Mr. Pedantic, I'm sure you don't want that.

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Old 01-25-12, 04:26 PM   #1243
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Originally Posted by mconlonx View Post
You say this like you assume that relative risk isn't considered when people decide to wear helmets, and that every single accident which involves motor vehicles don't include situations where the forces involved do not exceed a helmet's design parameters or incidental protective capacity.
One of his and meanwhile's basic assumptions is that every motor vehicle collision exceeds the "design parameters" of helmets.
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Old 01-25-12, 04:38 PM   #1244
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Originally Posted by closetbiker View Post
Quote:
All bicyclists should wear properly fitted bicycle helmets every time they ride. A helmet is the single most effective way to prevent head injury resulting from a bicycle crash.
Here we have a fundamental problem.

It isn't failure fo yeild right of way, wrong way cycling, absence of lighting, it's a lack of helmet that is the single most important factor.
The "fundamental problem" is your lack of reading comprehension. This quote isn't saying what you think it does.
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Old 01-25-12, 04:51 PM   #1245
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I think the main issue is all the energy spent in promoting helmet use, that would be much better spent on supporting safe cycling- 'a helmet is the single most important piece of safety equipment' etc (it's not.) You can be a safe cyclist or an unsafe one, helmet or not. If all the effort that was put into pushing for greater helmet use was redirected towards good road sense, using lights at night etc, it would probably have a much greater effect on cycling fatalities than any helmet.

njkayaker made a good point: while helmeted cyclists tend to be injured less, it's more likely because they're generally more safety conscious and so more likely to ride in a safe manner. This is only because there are so many 'people on bikes' (not cyclists) who ride in the wrong direction, don't use lights, ride when drunk etc etc distorting the stats for bare-headed riders. It's the mindset of the person riding the bike that makes the difference, not necessarily the helmet.
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Old 01-25-12, 05:00 PM   #1246
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I think the main issue is all the energy spent in promoting helmet use, that would be much better spent on supporting safe cycling. You can be a safe cyclist or an unsafe one, helmet or not. If all the effort that was put into pushing for greater helmet use was redirected towards good road sense, using lights at night etc, it would probably have a much greater effect on cycling fatalities than any helmet.
The advantage of promoting helmet use is that it's "simple" and "obvious" and "non-controversial". The recommendation is binary and easy to detect: use a helmet (versus not using one).

There are also PSA type things for "safe cycling" and there's not reason one can't easily do both (which is commonly done anyway).

A real effect might result in requiring people to take cycling classes but that's expensive and hard (and won't be well liked).
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Old 01-25-12, 05:35 PM   #1247
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...I don't know if MHL studies are in for Vancouver. Their MHL law is somewhat newer there than in Australia and New Zealand.
Our MHL came into effect in June of 1996, not that long after Aus and NZ passed theirs.

The evidence examined post law showed that despite a dramatic rise in helmet use, the proportion of head injuries did not change with the helmet law.

In 2010, the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles admitted that fatalities had not fallen since introduction of the helmet law, but still claimed that helmets saved lives.

Controlled surveys of cycle use before and after the law were not carried out. However a survey to measure helmet use in 1999 suggested that the cyclist profile had changed, with around 30% fewer cyclists aged 16 to 30 years, a similar reduction in road cycles and a smaller reduction in the proportion of females cycling. For cyclists of all ages, total cyclist injuries from police attended collisions ( i.e. involving a motor vehicle) declined by 35% from 1995 to 1997 (31% by 1999) (ICBC).



http://cyclehelmets.org/1103.html

Quote:
... Unfortunately MHL studies are the best evidence out there for what happens when helmet use becomes nearly universal. If the 85% effectiveness claim for helmets were true then, going from 30ish percent helmet use to 95% helmet use should have a dramatic effect on fatalities and injuries. The effect should be so dramatic that you wouldn't have to appeal to cultural differences between Australians, Canadians and New Yorkers. Totally ignoring those results would be dishonest, and as Mr. Pedantic, I'm sure you don't want that.

Speedo

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Old 01-25-12, 06:20 PM   #1248
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Totally ignoring those results would be dishonest, and as Mr. Pedantic, I'm sure you don't want that.

Speedo
Thing is, I don't have a problem with people not wearing helmets, but as someone who was gifted the nickname "Mr. Pedantic" in a helmet thread, I do have a problem with internal logic inconsistencies. Like: helmet laws discourage ridership, but in places like NYC where there aren't MHLs and bike riding is on the increase, where safety should also be benefit, there's still an outsize portion of the riding populace who die while not wearing a helmet. I'm not basing my helmet use on such, but it is a compelling argument...
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Old 01-25-12, 06:42 PM   #1249
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I think the main issue is all the energy spent in promoting helmet use, that would be much better spent on supporting safe cycling- 'a helmet is the single most important piece of safety equipment' etc (it's not.) You can be a safe cyclist or an unsafe one, helmet or not. If all the effort that was put into pushing for greater helmet use was redirected towards good road sense, using lights at night etc, it would probably have a much greater effect on cycling fatalities than any helmet.
Dang, like in an earlier post, where you potrayed bare-headers as universally reasonable and benign, where they're not, you come off as perfectly sensible. As someone in the bike industry, I do take issue with your assertion that as much or more energy is wasted on helmet use vs. safe riding. In the LAB safety course, which instructs bike riders regarding safety issues, helmet use, while mandatory, is not unduly stressed and represents a minority of instructional time.

Also, in the shop while selling accessories incident to a bike purchase, I can personally attest to the fact that helmets are not sold any harder than any other bike add-on like a water bottle cage or flat repair kit.
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Old 01-25-12, 07:04 PM   #1250
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Thing is, I don't have a problem with people not wearing helmets, but as someone who was gifted the nickname "Mr. Pedantic" in a helmet thread, I do have a problem with internal logic inconsistencies. Like: helmet laws discourage ridership, but in places like NYC where there aren't MHLs and bike riding is on the increase, where safety should also be benefit, there's still an outsize portion of the riding populace who die while not wearing a helmet. I'm not basing my helmet use on such, but it is a compelling argument...
Please specify the proportion of the population that wears a helmet in NYC. After that please control for the proportion of helmet non-wearers that are risk-takers in other respects and show that the resulting bare-headed, but otherwise cautious cyclists are an "outsize" portion.
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