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View Poll Results: Helmet wearing habits?

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  • I've never worn a bike helmet

    164 10.45%
  • I used to wear a helmet, but have stopped

    88 5.61%
  • I've always worn a helmet

    609 38.79%
  • I didn't wear a helmet, but now do

    389 24.78%
  • I sometimes wear a helmet depending on the conditions

    320 20.38%
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  1. #1276
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    Quote Originally Posted by buzzman View Post
    Interesting that you make this point since your posts draw attention to what I see as a flaw in the helmet skeptical argument.

    On one hand, it is argued by helmet skeptics that wearing a helmet gives a rider an unrealistic sense of invulnerability thereby more risk taking- the "magic hat" theory.

    On the other hand, you say that a reduction in injury on the part of helmet wearing cyclists may be due to the more cautious riding of helmeted riders.

    Which is it guys? I bring this up only because "if you are arguing for a particular side, you should be interested in what the vulnerabilities of that argument are!"
    Feel free to point out flaws where ever you see them.

    A cyclist might only choose to ride on the road only with a helmet ("risk compensating") and still be more careful riding than some one who would ride without a helmet (who might be less safety conscious overall).

    The anti-helmet group argues that the "risk compensation" induces the rider to ride like a crazy person (who would get into more accidents and be relying on the "magic hat" to keep them safe).
    Last edited by njkayaker; 01-26-12 at 04:07 PM.

  2. #1277
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    Quote Originally Posted by mconlonx View Post
    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...
    I'm a little confused, what internal logic consistencies? In you're response you are connecting a few dots that I didn't connect. Is that what you think? Is that what you think I think?

    It has been a while since I looked at that NYC report. This discussion prompted me to re-read it. A variety of things struck me. One was how similar the accident stats in NYC are to the rest of the country. Right down to the fact that it is middle aged male proto-geezers (such as myself) that are the most likely victims. Most of the fatalities (92%) were due to accidents involving motor vehicles. Again, that's typical, it's easier to survive fall down go boom injuries. Of the accidents involving motor vehicles 32% where with large vehicle. While 74% involved a head injury, 51% involved other injuries as well. 26% involved no head injury at all. No specific cross reference of helmet wearing with injuries. No mention of what the fatal injury was in the case of mixed injuries. Only 3% of the fatal crashes had no factors listed. These things don't just happen. There are reasons. 78% involved some kind of error on the part of the bicyclist (some of those had motor vehicle factors as well). That's pretty impressive.

    So, 78% had some bicyclist causal relationship to the fact that there was a crash at all; as a group those fatalities demonstrated that they were not safe riders. 92% involved crashes with motor vehicles. 32% with large motor vehicles. 26% involved no head injury at all, given the stats there had to be helmet-less riders among that group. Not having a helmet did them no harm. The report lists injuries, not cause of death, 51% had injuries other than head injuries; we don't know how many of those died of their other injuries. Given the large percentage of motor vehicle crashes 32% large ones) we don't know how many of those crashes would not have been survivable even had a helmet been worn.

    It's not simple.

    Speedo

  3. #1278
    Senior Member rydabent's Avatar
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    The posts Im waiting to read is a personal expierence by a cyclist that said he was saved from injury by NOT wearing a helmet. Reports and studies are basically meaningless as so many have an agenda. Also "report" by the usual aniti helmet trolls are meaningless!!!!

  4. #1279
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    Quote Originally Posted by Speedo View Post
    I'm a little confused, what internal logic consistencies? In you're response you are connecting a few dots that I didn't connect. Is that what you think? Is that what you think I think?

    It has been a while since I looked at that NYC report. This discussion prompted me to re-read it. A variety of things struck me. One was how similar the accident stats in NYC are to the rest of the country. Right down to the fact that it is middle aged male proto-geezers (sUuch as myself) that are the most likely victims. Most of the fatalities (92%) were due to accidents involving motor vehicles. Again, that's typical, it's easier to survive fall down go boom injuries. Of the accidents involving motor vehicles 32% where with large vehicle. While 74% involved a head injury, 51% involved other injuries as well. 26% involved no head injury at all. No specific cross reference of helmet wearing with injuries. No mention of what the fatal injury was in the case of mixed injuries. Only 3% of the fatal crashes had no factors listed. These things don't just happen. There are reasons. 78% involved some kind of error on the part of the bicyclist (some of those had motor vehicle factors as well). That's pretty impressive.

    So, 78% had some bicyclist causal relationship to the fact that there was a crash at all; as a group those fatalities demonstrated that they were not safe riders. 92% involved crashes with motor vehicles. 32% with large motor vehicles. 26% involved no head injury at all, given the stats there had to be helmet-less riders among that group. Not having a helmet did them no harm. The report lists injuries, not cause of death, 51% had injuries other than head injuries; we don't know how many of those died of their other injuries. Given the large percentage of motor vehicle crashes 32% large ones) we don't know how many of those crashes would not have been survivable even had a helmet been worn.

    It's not simple.

    Speedo
    I don't have the stats for comparison but I would imagine if one were to break down the fatalities and injuries to soldiers in combat there would be somewhat similar ratios of body injury in combination with head injury, fatal body injury without head injury certainly a lot of times when having a helmet did them absolutely no good.

    I am by no means drawing a comparison between the dangers and threats of being in a war zone with bicycling but I am asking the question of whether or not that same statistical evidence, that having a helmet would not prevent the lion's share of injuries and fatalities, would be a reason not to wear one at all.

    Aren't most of us who do wear helmets wearing them with the full knowledge that it is but one factor in a variety of strategies to avoid, prevent or mitigate injury?

  5. #1280
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    Quote Originally Posted by buzzman View Post
    Aren't most of us who do wear helmets wearing them with the full knowledge that it is but one factor in a variety of strategies to avoid, prevent or mitigate injury?
    According to the antihelmet group, helmets keep you from riding and cause you to ride carelessly/recklessly!

  6. #1281
    Bicikli Huszár sudo bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
    The anti-helmet group argues that the "risk compensation" induces the rider to ride like a crazy person (who would get into more accidents and be relying on the "magic hat" to keep them safe).
    We know the effect of risk compensation is real, we just don't know how much that applies to wearing a helmet. Also, I don't think anyone think it "induces the rider to ride like a crazy person". I think the effects are supposed to be far more subtle; not something you'd really notice unless you went to the trouble of looking. That's usually the case with risk compensation.

    EDIT: For example, look at studies concerning anti-lock brakes. There are at least three I'm aware of that all show that their adoption actually had almost no effect on road safety, because people drove measurably faster and followed closer, presumably because the balance of risk vs reward changed; risk compensation.
    Last edited by sudo bike; 01-27-12 at 09:31 AM.
    "The bicycle is the noblest invention of mankind. I love the bicycle. I always have. I can think of no sincere, decent human being, male or female, young or old, saint or sinner, who can resist the bicycle."

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  7. #1282
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    Quote Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
    It's not "interesting". It's predictable. Since it appears to be only echoing conventional wisdom, it doesn't add information (but is intended to look like it does). It's lazy.
    What's interesting are the political ramifications. Be that as it may, your characterization is incorrect. The agencies and organizations to which I refer that support helmet use are doing so in the context of studies or statistics. You may disagree with their data or conclusions, but you can't rightly imply that they are merely "echoing conventional wisdom" with some sort of decontextualized pronouncement. Some examples with links so you can see the recommendations in their original contexts:

    A Joint Report from the New York City Departments of Health and Mental Hygiene, Parks and Recreation, Transportation, and the New York City Police Department
    http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/download...fatalities.pdf
    These data suggest that helmet use is a critically important protection for all bicyclists.
    Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety -- Queensland
    http://www.carrsq.qut.edu.au/publica..._safety_fs.pdf
    TIPS FOR STAYING SAFE
    • Wear a standards approved and
    properly fitted bicycle helmet.
    Institute for Road Safety Research, Netherlands
    http://www.swov.nl/rapport/Factsheet...le_helmets.pdf
    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.
    Chairman, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Regarding Commission Vote on Bike Helmet Rule February 5, 1998
    http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml98/98062.html
    There is no safety rule more important than making sure you wear a helmet every time you ride a bike. It is the one important action you can take to protect yourself in a crash.
    British Medical Association
    http://www.bma.org.uk/health_promoti...5#.TyLxMvn4IqY
    As part of its policy to improve the safety of cyclists, the DfT conducted an independent critique of evidence on the efficacy of cycle helmets. [reference 14] It concludes that:
    • bicycle helmets have been found to be effective at reducing the incidence and severity of head, brain and upper facial injury
    • bicycle helmets have been found to be effective in reducing head injury for users of all ages, though particularly for children.
    American Medical Association
    http://www.ama-assn.org/ad-com/polfind/Hlth-Ethics.pdf in conjunction with their other documents like http://www.ama-assn.org/resources/do...le-helmets.pdf
    It is the policy of the AMA (1) to actively support bicycle helmet use and encourage physicians to educate their patients about the importance of bicycle helmet use
    US CDC
    http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/pdf/rr/rr4401.pdf
    Recommendation 1: Bicycle helmets should be worn by all persons (i.e., bicycle operators
    and passengers) at any age when bicycling.
    Recommendation 2: Bicycle riders should wear helmets whenever and wherever they
    ride a bicycle.
    etc.

    But you know this isn't true! While they don't avoid all of them, skilled drivers have fewer accidents.
    One needs to differentiate between skill (unquantifiable, I would think) or experience (quantifiable) and behavioral choices. Someone may have lots of experience but take foolish risks that counteract any gains from their experience.
    Last edited by Six-Shooter; 01-27-12 at 12:43 PM.

  8. #1283
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    Quote Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
    The posts Im waiting to read is a personal expierence by a cyclist that said he was saved from injury by NOT wearing a helmet. Reports and studies are basically meaningless as so many have an agenda. Also "report" by the usual aniti helmet trolls are meaningless!!!!
    Pfft, if you weren't such a noob you'd remember the countless times I have shared my story of endoing head first into the rear of a motor home at 15mph because I was too busy ogling a jiggly-boobed jogger instead of paying attention to what I was doing. I usually only recount that story when someone just "knows" that a helmet saved their life, because I just "know" not having a helmet saved my life in that incident. Neither belief is knowable.
    "Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey

  9. #1284
    Bicikli Huszár sudo bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Six-Shooter View Post
    What's interesting are the political ramifications. Be that as it may, your characterization is incorrect. The agencies and organizations to which I refer that support helmet use are doing so in the context of studies or statistics. You may disagree with their data or conclusions, but you can't rightly imply that they are merely "echoing conventional wisdom" with some sort of decontextualized pronouncement.
    Sure he can. It's completely valid to point out that it's more "safe" from criticism to push helmets rather than come out and say, "Gee, you know what, helmets may not be so hot after all". Governmental organizations are not free from these pressures. In fact, I'd say they are far more vulnerable to them.

    Again, with the data we have on injury rates, different conclusions can be drawn from that data. Is it all that unlikely that societal norms might just push them a little closer to one conclusion over another?

    Not really taking a position on this particular tangent, just noting that it's a valid concern he's raising.
    "The bicycle is the noblest invention of mankind. I love the bicycle. I always have. I can think of no sincere, decent human being, male or female, young or old, saint or sinner, who can resist the bicycle."

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  10. #1285
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    Quote Originally Posted by sudo bike View Post
    We know the effect of risk compensation is real, we just don't know how much that applies to wearing a helmet. Also, I don't think anyone think(s) it "induces the rider to ride like a crazy person". I think the effects are supposed to be far more subtle; not something you'd really notice unless you went to the trouble of looking. That's usually the case with risk compensation.
    I'm sorry but is this as lame an argument as it seems to be? If this is the best you can do then why not just pull the whole "risk compensation" theory out of the equation?

  11. #1286
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    Quote Originally Posted by sudo bike View Post
    We know the effect of risk compensation is real, we just don't know how much that applies to wearing a helmet.
    There you go!

    And we don't know that, if helmets are the norm, that a difference in behavior isn't due to a risk decompensation (people being overcareful).

    Quote Originally Posted by sudo bike View Post
    Also, I don't think anyone think it "induces the rider to ride like a crazy person".
    I'm exaggerating (it's called hyperbole).

    Quote Originally Posted by sudo bike View Post
    EDIT: For example, look at studies concerning anti-lock brakes. There are at least three I'm aware of that all show that their adoption actually had almost no effect on road safety, because people drove measurably faster and followed closer, presumably because the balance of risk vs reward changed; risk compensation.
    I'm aware of one study that compared drivers of cabs with/without ABS in some German city, which didn't show a difference in accident rates (if I recall correctly). In this case, I suspect that the real reason is that ABS helps in situations that comprise a small percentage of accidents OR people don't know how to use them. That is, people extrapolated the benefits of ABS from idealized/research conditions that don't represent the real world.
    Last edited by njkayaker; 01-27-12 at 07:15 PM.

  12. #1287
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    Quote Originally Posted by Six-Shooter View Post
    <lots of links>
    You'd have to dig a bit deeper in many of them to see what real data they are using.

    It's possible that they are not all independent. Some of them might be using the same statistics (which goes towards my "echoing" comment).

    Quote Originally Posted by Six-Shooter View Post
    A Joint Report from the New York City Departments of Health and Mental Hygiene, Parks and Recreation, Transportation, and the New York City Police Department
    http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/download...fatalities.pdf
    26% of fatalities with documented injuries had no head injuries.
    74% of fatalities with documented injuries had head (sometimes other) injuries. (for some of these the head injury might have been irrelevant).
    3% of fatalities with docmented helmet use were wearing helmets.

    Something doesn't quite add up. Maybe, it's the non-helmet wearers in NYC that are displaying the risky behavior.

    If you only look at the last statistic, helmets would seem to provide a huge benefit. If you also look at the first two statistics, the effect is nowhere near as large. And the data is incomplete (only in about half of the fatalities was helmet use known or injuries known).

    Quote Originally Posted by Six-Shooter View Post
    One needs to differentiate between skill (unquantifiable, I would think) or experience (quantifiable) and behavioral choices. Someone may have lots of experience but take foolish risks that counteract any gains from their experience.
    This doesn't appear to be true for drivers generally (supported by insurance rates). It doesn't appear to be true of cyclists either.

    In a large enough population, its easy to find "someone" as an example of anything.
    Last edited by njkayaker; 01-27-12 at 07:48 PM.

  13. #1288
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    Quote Originally Posted by buzzman View Post
    I'm sorry but is this as lame an argument as it seems to be? If this is the best you can do then why not just pull the whole "risk compensation" theory out of the equation?
    Closetbiker's favorite word is "may".

  14. #1289
    Senior Member skye's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
    Closetbiker's favorite word is "may".
    That's because science's favorite word is "may." Because science has far more rigorous standards than you do, njkayaker, about making absolute statements. You'll believe any old piece of **** so long as it agrees with your preconceived notions. However, those of us who value reason in making important decisions regarding our personal safety, are generally unlikely to make unequivocal statements about things (did you see what I did there?)

    Or you can just abandon reason and follow the crowd. That works for a lot of people.

  15. #1290
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    Quote Originally Posted by skye View Post
    That's because science's favorite word is "may." Because science has far more rigorous standards than you do, njkayaker, about making absolute statements. You'll believe any old piece of **** so long as it agrees with your preconceived notions. However, those of us who value reason in making important decisions regarding our personal safety, are generally unlikely to make unequivocal statements about things (did you see what I did there?)

    skye may be a pedophile!



    Did you see what I did there?





    If people are using the word "may" in claims to support strongly held opinions (eg, "helmets are bad"), they are blowing smoke up your butt.
    Last edited by njkayaker; 01-30-12 at 07:25 AM.

  16. #1291
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    Quote Originally Posted by skye View Post
    That's because science's favorite word is "may." Because science has far more rigorous standards than you do, njkayaker, about making absolute statements. You'll believe any old piece of **** so long as it agrees with your preconceived notions. However, those of us who value reason in making important decisions regarding our personal safety, are generally unlikely to make unequivocal statements about things (did you see what I did there?)

    Or you can just abandon reason and follow the crowd. That works for a lot of people.
    Wow. Do you really believe that there is even the remotest amount of evidence to apply "risk compensation" theory to bicycle helmet wearing?- I mean enough to qualify as good science?

    I've seen studies that demonstrate exactly the opposite. In other words, that helmet wearing cyclists take fewer risks. Mind you not enough evidence that I would label it as absolutely conclusive but certainly enough to support my own personal observations that lead me to believe that the probability is that the greater percentage of safely riding cyclists also wear helmets.
    Last edited by buzzman; 01-27-12 at 09:09 PM.

  17. #1292
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    Quote Originally Posted by buzzman View Post
    I'm sorry but is this as lame an argument as it seems to be? If this is the best you can do then why not just pull the whole "risk compensation" theory out of the equation?
    If you'll go back and look rather than apply others' arguments to me, you'll see I've never pushed the risk compensation argument very hard because of exactly what I said here; there just isn't reliable data as to how it applies to cycling.

    What I do take objection to is, 1) Saying or implying risk compensation isn't a factor. It obviously is, and this is measurable. To what extent, I don't know and I don't think a general conclusion can be made from such little data (I could be wrong). 2) That because we don't know, we should ignore it and "remove it from the equation". Doing either of these things is a mistake and shoddy science. As I said, risk compensation is real and measurable (see ABS systems in cars); this is not disputable and so not really able to be ignored. As such, I'm not sure how one could assume cycling is somehow immune to this effect?

    Quote Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
    There you go!

    And we don't know that, if helmets are the norm, that a difference in behavior isn't due to a risk decompensation (people being overcareful).
    I'm not sure what exactly you're driving at here.

    EDIT: If I understand you correctly, that would actually be a desired effect, regardless of the norm. It doesn't matter whether you look at it from one point of view and see an increase in riskier behavior or another point of view and see that people outside that group are engaging in less risky behavior. Either way, the point is that one group is being less risky than the other. What the norm is has no bearing on anything, in terms of effects of helmet use on risk.

    I'm exaggerating (it's called hyperbole).
    Indeed, and it's undesirable; it leads to defensiveness and a hostile environment.

    I'm aware of one study that compared drivers of cabs with/without ABS in some German city, which didn't show a difference in accident rates (if I recall correctly). In this case, I suspect that the real reason is that ABS helps in situations that comprise a small percentage of accidents OR people don't know how to use them. That is, people extrapolated the benefits of ABS from idealized/research conditions that don't represent the real world.
    Check the Wikipedia article on risk compensation; it has 3 studies cited covering Canada, Denmark, and Germany.

    "There are at least three studies which show that drivers' response to antilock brakes is to drive faster, follow closer and brake later, accounting for the failure of ABS to result in any measurable improvement in road safety."

    -----

    Again, please don't mistake my admission that we don't know very well what effect risk compensation has in relation to cycling with an admission that it is unimportant. Again, we know this must be a factor because it's always a factor with safety equipment; we just don't know how much it is in this particular case. That's not cause to brush aside the argument as an invention of wacky science or as unable to be brought up in the helmet discussion.

    And there is even at least one study showing it has a measurable undesirable effect; I just don't think that's really enough to conclusively say "This is the effect helmets have on risky behavior" with a degree of certainty.

    Myself, I think the detriment of risk compensation is acceptable providing the device actually gives enough tangible benefit. From my own assessment, this is not the case in most everyday riding by predictable, safe cyclists; I believe these people stand to benefit the least from helmet use, to the point of being negligible. Now, there are exceptions to that, and plenty of other categories where there probably is more benefit: Small children, novice riders, people who actively engage in riskier behavior (stunts/cross or trail riding), poor weather conditions; people who are more likely to be involved in a solo or otherwise low speed crash.
    Last edited by sudo bike; 01-28-12 at 06:44 AM.
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  18. #1293
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    Quote Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
    You'd have to dig a bit deeper in many of them to see what real data they are using.
    As I said, "You may disagree with their data or conclusions," but these are nevertheless professionals in the fields of medicine, safety, traffic, statistics, etc., issuing these recommendations in the context of data. They are not merely Some Guy on the Internet spouting off personal opinion, without qualifications in the relevant fields, which was my point.

    It's possible that they are not all independent. Some of them might be using the same statistics (which goes towards my "echoing" comment).
    That goes without saying and is why I provided links instead of merely quotes out of context. Indeed, some of these people may have biases that override their objective assessment, some may have financial or political interests that skew their findings, etc. But, that is all strictly in the realm of worst-case hypotheticals. Without evidence to support such accusations, I will err on the side of assuming they are well-meaning and honest professionals taking the matter seriously--not infallible but at least qualified to make an educated recommendation based on study.

    I should add that using the same statistics is not inherently bad if there is broad expert consensus asserting their validity.

    This doesn't appear to be true for drivers generally (supported by insurance rates). It doesn't appear to be true of cyclists either.

    In a large enough population, its easy to find "someone" as an example of anything.
    But in the context of this discussion, you could argue it is not merely possible but common: many experienced cyclists choosing not to wear helmets
    Last edited by Six-Shooter; 01-28-12 at 06:49 AM.

  19. #1294
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    Quote Originally Posted by Six-Shooter View Post
    As I said, "You may disagree with their data or conclusions," but these are nevertheless professionals in the fields of medicine, safety, traffic, statistics, etc., issuing these recommendations in the context of data. They are not merely Some Guy on the Internet spouting off personal opinion, without qualifications in the relevant fields, which was my point.
    It isn't just about "disagreeing with their data or conclusions" though; it's about pointing out that the de facto position that helmets are effective is a "safer" option to forward for any organization, especially one connected with government, which faces greater public scrutiny.

    As a tangent, a study I recently learned about: It was a study to see how people reacted in groups where a clear "norm" was established, and likelihood to go against that norm. They set up a series of groups, each drawing something on the whiteboard; in one case 3 lines, all the same length. Everyone but a few in the group, sometimes only one, sometimes more, were told to give the answer that all the lines were of different lengths. Sure enough, when it got to the people being tested, what answer did they give? Afraid to be met with confrontation and ridicule they went with the group answer of "different lengths" even though they were obviously the same length. This happened pretty consistently. Different drawings and tweakings in amount of people tested in a group, etc, but same idea.

    Now, there are obviously different group dynamics going on in this situation, but I think it's at least partially applicable. It demonstrates that being the first few to overturn a widely accepted idea is difficult and there isn't much will to do it. The fear of ridicule in opposing an accepted idea can overcome opposition, even when there is evidence to warrant it.
    Last edited by sudo bike; 01-28-12 at 07:06 AM.
    "The bicycle is the noblest invention of mankind. I love the bicycle. I always have. I can think of no sincere, decent human being, male or female, young or old, saint or sinner, who can resist the bicycle."

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    Mister Bleak! mconlonx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hagen2456 View Post
    Riding without a helmet saved my life.

    It's actually quite plausible, given the way I crashed and hit the tarmac. Had I worn a helmet, I would probably have broken my neck.
    Wow.

    That's exactly as bad as those helmet wearers who claim a helmet saved their life.

    Might be plausible to state such, but not with the conviction of your first sentence, or even the qualification of your last sentence.

    So little text; so much fail.
    Quote Originally Posted by Nicodemus regarding mconlonx View Post
    You, I don't generally think of you as clueless. You're kind of ok.
    I know next to nothing. I am frequently wrong.

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    Mister Bleak! mconlonx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Speedo View Post
    I'm a little confused, what internal logic consistencies? In you're response you are connecting a few dots that I didn't connect. Is that what you think? Is that what you think I think?
    Internal logic consistencies within this thread. It's not necessarily what I think, but a lot of it is what I think others think. I do not think you think that way. I hope you don't think I think you think that way.

    Thanks for breaking down the NYC numbers.

    Quote Originally Posted by Speedo View Post
    It's not simple.
    No kidding...
    Quote Originally Posted by Nicodemus regarding mconlonx View Post
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    I know next to nothing. I am frequently wrong.

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    Mister Bleak! mconlonx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sudo bike View Post
    Also, I don't think anyone think it "induces the rider to ride like a crazy person".
    Closetbiker has posted links to support his claim that it does...
    Quote Originally Posted by Nicodemus regarding mconlonx View Post
    You, I don't generally think of you as clueless. You're kind of ok.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sudo bike View Post
    It isn't just about "disagreeing with their data or conclusions" though; it's about pointing out that the de facto position that helmets are effective is a "safer" option to forward for any organization, especially one connected with government, which faces greater public scrutiny.
    The problem with that hypothesis is that it assumes it to be the safer position of proffering conventional, palatable wisdom. Take for instance the Dutch Institute for Road Safety Research I quoted earlier. They note

    In general, Dutch cyclists do not wear helmets. If a helmet is indeed worn, this is usually done by recreational cyclists, mountain bikers and young children. There is no public support in the Netherlands to make the bicycle helmet compulsory (Kemler et al., 2009). ... Bicycle helmets are not a familiar sight in the Netherlands, although there has been a slight increase in use during recent decades.
    So how are they making a politically safe recommendation or merely echoing a conventional wisdom that is not, in fact, conventional in their nation?

    Even in the US, this survey shows only an estimated 50% of cyclists wear helmets regularly, not some overwhelming majority. http://www.cpsc.gov/library/helmet.html And given the prominent American cultural streak of individualism and distrusting and disliking government intervention in private matters, I'm not sure recommending helmets is necessarily the easy route to take. They could just as easily remain silent on the issue.
    Last edited by Six-Shooter; 01-28-12 at 07:28 AM.

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    Bicikli Huszár sudo bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Six-Shooter View Post
    The problem with that hypothesis is that it assumes it to be the safer position of proffering conventional, palatable wisdom. Take for instance the Dutch Institute for Road Safety Research I quoted earlier. They note
    [snip]
    So how are they making a politically safe recommendation or merely echoing a conventional wisdom that is not, in fact, conventional in their nation?
    Very honestly, I don't know about the Dutch either as a cycling culture or otherwise to feel I can make an informed comment. What I will say is that there are plenty of Dutch who take an opposing view that helmets aren't necessary.

    Even in the US, this survey shows only an estimated 50% of cyclists wear helmets regularly. http://www.cpsc.gov/library/helmet.html And given the prominent American cultural streak of individualism and distrusting and disliking government intervention in private matters, I'm not sure recommending helmets is necessarily the easy route to take. They could just as easily remain silent on the issue.
    Not wearing helmets doesn't mean people believe they aren't effective. Plenty of people don't put on a seatbelt for a short drive, but I'm sure they don't think they are ineffective (there does seem to be a very tiny percentage of people that are afraid of being trapped in the car, but I think this is a very insignificant number, even among people who don't wear a seatbelt every time they drive). The point is that saying "helmets aren't effective" is a much more controversial position (could even lead to liability in our litigious society). Repeating the mantra of "wear a helmet", in this fast food society that wants quick and easy answers, is met with praise from everyone from firefighters to teachers. Surely you must see this? We see it all the time... it's become a PR machine for many groups.

    EDIT: All I'm saying is that it's fair to point out that there is a bias towards one answer over another in terms of societal pressures. That doesn't invalidate them, but it's a consideration when looking at their conclusions.
    Last edited by sudo bike; 01-28-12 at 07:41 AM.
    "The bicycle is the noblest invention of mankind. I love the bicycle. I always have. I can think of no sincere, decent human being, male or female, young or old, saint or sinner, who can resist the bicycle."

    - William Saroyan

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    Bicikli Huszár sudo bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mconlonx View Post
    Closetbiker has posted links to support his claim that it does...
    I think "engages in riskier behavior" != "ride like a crazy person".
    "The bicycle is the noblest invention of mankind. I love the bicycle. I always have. I can think of no sincere, decent human being, male or female, young or old, saint or sinner, who can resist the bicycle."

    - William Saroyan

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