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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 02-11-12, 09:18 AM   #1401
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I see that the poll at the beginning of this thread is holding at 40% for people using helmets every time they ride.

Do the anti helmet trolls hope to reduce this, and why would they want to???? Why do they think they should dicate to anyone else what they are free to do?

Forty percent of the people on the thread have decided to wear helmets, and trying to change their minds is like peeing into the wind. All that the anti helmet trolls are doing is getting wet.
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Old 02-11-12, 10:28 AM   #1402
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I see that the poll at the beginning of this thread is holding at 40% for people using helmets every time they ride.

Do the anti helmet trolls hope to reduce this, and why would they want to???? Why do they think they should dicate to anyone else what they are free to do?

Forty percent of the people on the thread have decided to wear helmets, and trying to change their minds is like peeing into the wind. All that the anti helmet trolls are doing is getting wet.


Man, I've never, ever encountered anyone so completely clueless as you out here on the WWW!
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Old 02-11-12, 11:00 AM   #1403
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I see that the poll at the beginning of this thread is holding at 40% for people using helmets every time they ride.

Do the anti helmet trolls hope to reduce this, and why would they want to???? Why do they think they should dicate to anyone else what they are free to do?

Forty percent of the people on the thread have decided to wear helmets, and trying to change their minds is like peeing into the wind. All that the anti helmet trolls are doing is getting wet.
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all cyclist are in the same boat, and we should be helping one another rather than attacking each other.
...
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Old 02-11-12, 11:02 AM   #1404
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Man, I've never, ever encountered anyone so completely clueless as you out here on the WWW!
Not to say that there have or haven't been clueless posts, but I'm positive that there are things on the interwebs that would beat anything anybody has typed in this thread by a long shot.
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Old 02-11-12, 01:08 PM   #1405
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Not to say that there have or haven't been clueless posts, but I'm positive that there are things on the interwebs that would beat anything anybody has typed in this thread by a long shot.
Well, to tell the truth, I don't get around that much.

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Old 02-12-12, 09:36 AM   #1406
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hagan

Clueless???? Actually the clueless people are the ones that have carried this thread on and on. With all the former threads and this one there must be at least 200 pages of posts.

I am clueless tho to understand why the anti helmet few are so adamant about talking the helmet wearers out of using a helmet.

There is two other points. The anti helmet posters ARE NOT going to talk helmet wearers out of using a helmet. Second probably almost all the anti helmet group probably have a helmet and have to use it if they join organized rides. Have a nice day, ride safe and wear a helmet if you have one!!!!!!!
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Old 02-12-12, 09:39 AM   #1407
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hagen

BTW personal attacks and name calling just because someone doesnt agree with you is uncalled for!!! Also personal attacks and name calling is generally an indication of a loser in a debate.

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Old 02-12-12, 10:39 AM   #1408
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I am clueless tho to understand why the anti helmet few are so adamant about talking the helmet wearers out of using a helmet.

There is two other points. The anti helmet posters ARE NOT going to talk helmet wearers out of using a helmet. Second probably almost all the anti helmet group probably have a helmet and have to use it if they join organized rides. Have a nice day, ride safe and wear a helmet if you have one!!!!!!!
Most 'anti helmet' people are just here to counter the spread of misinformation by well-meaning individuals who don't understand the subject themselves regarding the protective qualities of helmets and so forth. What you see as talking people out of wearing a helmet is usually just a request that the person in question understand what their helmet can and can't do.

As to the second point, I for one posess a cycle helmet, and when I went on an organised charity ride, I wore it, since that was the rule. In a similar way, motorsport drivers will usually wear helmets when racing, since that's the rule. None of them wear a helmet when driving their car on the road, however. It's the same for me cycling.

My position is 'wear a helmet- when the conditions demand it.' Examples are: mountain biking (falls likely due to loose surface, rocks/tree branches etc on the trail) riding on the road in snow and ice (falls likely due to slippery surface) road racing (lots of riders in close formation, therefore falls likely due to collisions) and for novice cyclists and/or children (skills aren't as honed, therefore falls are likely). On a surfaced road in good conditions, with a competent cyclist riding, helmets are not effective or required.
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Old 02-12-12, 11:30 AM   #1409
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hagen

BTW personal attacks and name calling just because someone doesnt agree with you is uncalled for!!! Also personal attacks and name calling is generally an indication of a loser in a debate.
You're either the most talented troll I've ever seen, or just completely oblivious.
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Old 02-13-12, 09:26 AM   #1410
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pete

Most of your post is reasonable. What is not is the part about having helmet wearers "understand" what helmets can and cannot do. Im quite sure most helmet wearers do understand!!!
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Old 02-13-12, 09:52 AM   #1411
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What I mean is the false but widespread conclusion that a cycle helmet will protect you from life-threatening injury in a high-speed collision with a motor vehicle, which is far beyond their design conditions. While it's possible that it may offer some protection, it certainly won't do what a lot of people think it will do. I've heard people say they wear a helmet when on the road, but not when out riding on a rutted trail in the woods. This is based on the logic that there are cars and other high-speed traffic on the roads, and that their helmet will protect them should they get run over.

My stance here is only to correct naive or misinformed assumptions about what helmets can and cannot do, so people can make an informed decision.

I have no problem whatsoever with cyclists making an individual, informed choice to wear a helmet on the road. It's when they, or more likely, uninformed individuals or organisations try to force everyone else to wear a helmet over all other, more effective aspects of safety that I have an issue.
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Old 02-14-12, 07:56 AM   #1412
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Most 'anti helmet' people are just here to counter the spread of misinformation by well-meaning individuals who don't understand the subject themselves regarding the protective qualities of helmets and so forth. What you see as talking people out of wearing a helmet is usually just a request that the person in question understand what their helmet can and can't do.
I don't wish to sound like I'm somehow in rydabent's camp--calling people trolls every single post is in woefully bad taste--but he does have something of a point in that the efforts in this thread by some posters mostly seem to be pointed at undermining arguments or research for helmet use, not for freedom of choice or to repeal any laws. I.e., they're proselytizing under the guise of trying to enlighten the masses. (Where have we heard that before?)

I think one should be careful about assuming the mantle of an expert who knows better than the other guy. Take, for example, the statements here about what a helmet is designed to do. I've seen quite a few pronouncements on that topic in this thread, but rarely backed by any sort of reference to helmet design specs, testing standards, or scientific research. A hunch is not a fact One could, for instance, point to the Cochrane review that says explicitly that helmets can protect "even if it [a bicycle crash] involves motor vehicles." Or you could turn around and quote a tester who says, "Cycle helmets are primarily designed for falls without any other vehicle involved." Not to say either is necessarily right, but nevertheless it's helpful to point to facts or expert opinion before trying to tell some supposedly benighted poster what's really the case
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Old 02-14-12, 12:48 PM   #1413
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... the efforts in this thread by some posters mostly seem to be pointed at undermining arguments or research for helmet use, not for freedom of choice or to repeal any laws...

I think one should be careful about assuming the mantle of an expert who knows better than the other guy...
what I've seen here over the number of years this thread has been alive is many people who are burying their heads in the sand over the fact that there is (and continues to be) active scientific debate going on with no consensus, on whether helmets are useful for cyclists in general, and on whether any benefits are outweighed by their disadvantages.

Further, what I've seen is the refusal of those who insist on the usefulness of helmets, to see the harm that can come from the "dangerization" of cycling that is inherent in promoting helmets.

As a cycling advocate, I hate it when people "dis" cycling, and helmet promotion is thick with this. You have to pick and choose your battles. Helmet promotion plays well into some base emotions. Fear sells, people want simple answers to complex problems, and faith works for those who want to an easy solution.

Believe what you will, but the fact is, active scientific debate goes on with no consensus, on whether helmets are useful for cyclists in general, and on whether any benefits are outweighed by their disadvantages.

Respect for freedom of choice and removal of rights is central to the debate, particularly when there is no clear evidence on a helmets usefulness.
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Old 02-14-12, 01:04 PM   #1414
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Wonderful. I thought for a minute I was on a motorcycle forum and reading ABATE and the rest of the world debate helmets. The arguments get heated and are always lose-lose since, as has been noted, there is no "consensus". I wear a helmet on the motorcycle and bicycle. I've come off each at different times and speeds and feel the benefits out weight the rather fuzzy logic liabilities. Here in FL MC helmets are not required - ABATE won that one and we have many riders killed and crippled each year from head injuries that PROBABLY could have been mitigated if not prevented -- but I'm not trying to argue for or against. You make your own decision regarding your personal safety. As bicycle helmets are not legislated - it's a spurious argument anyway.
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Old 02-14-12, 01:24 PM   #1415
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Further to this point is an opinion piece from Kiwi-land where a new paper on NZs mhl was published in the NZMJ


From the article:

"The helmet law, and the danger culture it springs from may or may not be one of the biggest barriers to cycling adoption we have, and we may not all agree in every respect about this, as CAN policy reflects: it’s clearly a compromise. But enough of who are intimately aware of the dynamics of cycling adoption are very sure a serious review is well overdue...

There’s no joy in my*drawing attention again*to yet another mangling from too many of our purported spokespeople. Frankly I was looking forward to spend some time quietly working on a somewhat more positive little cycling initiative; but I was asked to comment, and to be honest, I’m pretty much done with being a bystander to our never ending misrepresentation in the media.

But while I normally fear to venture near the Herald’s comments section it actually turns out that *that a majority of Kiwi readers, like our Aussie cousins faced with the failures of their expensive bikeshare schemes,*aren’t buying the denial either. The police have little or no enthusiasm to enforce such a miserable and failed law, and while by the numbers about 10% of us are happily lidless, but anecdotally, I’m seeing far more of us bareheaded in my hood...

Yes there many other important elements to successful cycling growth, beyond helmet freedom. Like public bike share for instance. *But even here, bikeshare, while a central part of the recent rapid (700% in five years) growth in Seville, has failed everywhere there is an adult helmet law, including New Zealand. Ireland’s bikeshare has TEN times the takeup of Melbourne’s. If even a fraction of this difference is helmet law related, then it’s a serious issue, that we best not ignore."

http://cyclingauckland.co.nz/general...-your-business
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Old 02-14-12, 01:35 PM   #1416
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Further, what I've seen is the refusal of those who insist on the usefulness of helmets, to see the harm that can come from the "dangerization" of cycling that is inherent in promoting helmets.

As a cycling advocate, I hate it when people "dis" cycling, and helmet promotion is thick with this. You have to pick and choose your battles. Helmet promotion plays well into some base emotions. Fear sells, people want simple answers to complex problems, and faith works for those who want to an easy solution.

Believe what you will, but the fact is, active scientific debate goes on with no consensus, on whether helmets are useful for cyclists in general, and on whether any benefits are outweighed by their disadvantages.

Respect for freedom of choice and removal of rights is central to the debate, particularly when there is no clear evidence on a helmets usefulness.
This exactly.
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Old 02-15-12, 07:55 AM   #1418
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what I've seen here over the number of years this thread has been alive is many people who are burying their heads in the sand over the fact that there is (and continues to be) active scientific debate going on with no consensus, on whether helmets are useful for cyclists in general, and on whether any benefits are outweighed by their disadvantages.

Further, what I've seen is the refusal of those who insist on the usefulness of helmets, to see the harm that can come from the "dangerization" of cycling that is inherent in promoting helmets.

As a cycling advocate, I hate it when people "dis" cycling, and helmet promotion is thick with this. You have to pick and choose your battles. Helmet promotion plays well into some base emotions. Fear sells, people want simple answers to complex problems, and faith works for those who want to an easy solution.

Believe what you will, but the fact is, active scientific debate goes on with no consensus, on whether helmets are useful for cyclists in general, and on whether any benefits are outweighed by their disadvantages.

Respect for freedom of choice and removal of rights is central to the debate, particularly when there is no clear evidence on a helmets usefulness.
The debate indeed does continue in the scientific community, and it's true that there is no overall consensus on helmets' overall benefits. But leaving aside questions of, for example, whether helmet laws might reduce the number of cyclists (and that's ultimately a statement about riders, not helmets--who's making the decision there?), there is in fact rather wide consensus in the research literature that helmets do offer some protection to the head. I can provide links to many studies if you want them. I'm not saying all that research is necessarily right, but it's inaccurate to say there isn't consensus on that front.

I take your point about fear-mongering, which none of us want, but I could point you to many groups who advocate helmet use or helmet laws but do not engage in such fear-mongering. Merely telling someone that "X number of people are injured or killed cycling each year" is just a statement of fact. And cycling is, in fact, to some degree dangerous, with hundreds of thousands injured yearly, and a number of deaths; pretending that it's risk free does no one any service. Any potential cyclist needs to understand that there are variety of dangers involved, dangers that can be mitigated through knowledge, behavior, and gear (including helmets).

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Old 02-15-12, 09:19 AM   #1419
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...there is in fact rather wide consensus in the research literature that helmets do offer some protection to the head...
cycling is, in fact, to some degree dangerous
And here is where discussion of the issue ends; when there is no objective consideration given, and when context is ignored.

Last edited by closetbiker; 02-15-12 at 11:21 AM.
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Old 02-15-12, 11:51 AM   #1420
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The debate indeed does continue in the scientific community, and it's true that there is no overall consensus on helmets' overall benefits. But leaving aside questions of, for example, whether helmet laws might reduce the number of cyclists (and that's ultimately a statement about riders, not helmets--who's making the decision there?), there is in fact rather wide consensus in the research literature that helmets do offer some protection to the head. I can provide links to many studies if you want them. I'm not saying all that research is necessarily right, but it's inaccurate to say there isn't consensus on that front.
Two point here:
  1. Dismissing the discussion as ultimately about riders and not helmets is useless. Helmets do not exist in a vacuum... they are tools to be used by us. So, ultimately, what practical effect they have upon implementation is important. Now, what conclusion exactly one can draw from the lower ridership levels can differ slightly. One could say that it's a case of law, where helmet laws cause people to cycle less out of a PITA factor. But one could also take away from it that the fear is more important. Perhaps the law drives home the fear of danger to people more; "If we need a law to require helmets while cycling, maybe cycling is more dangerous than I thought?". Who knows if that's the case for sure, but it's certainly a possibility and a consideration. A cursory look at least seems to support it... places with strong helmet culture seems to have less ridership. It's at least worth considering, because if that is so that it even fractionally reduces cycling, we've probably crossed the line from beneficial to detrimental. Especially in a place like America, it's unquestionable that even lidless cycling is far more beneficial to societal health than not cycling at all. And if helmets are countering that, is that really a cause we want to Crusade for?
  2. Again, AFAIK, nobody is saying helmets do not offer benefits. No one. The argument is that a) there is no more need to have those benefits while cycling than there is while doing other everyday activities (in most cases), and b) That it may be detrimental to cycling overall because it paints cycling as more dangerous than it really is. Helmets confer danger in nearly all cases... people doing skateboarding tricks, race car drivers, football players... they are there to protect you from something, and people realize that.

Quote:
I take your point about fear-mongering, which none of us want, but I could point you to many groups who advocate helmet use or helmet laws but do not engage in such fear-mongering. Merely telling someone that "X number of people are injured or killed cycling each year" is just a statement of fact. And cycling is, in fact, to some degree dangerous, with hundreds of thousands injured yearly, and a number of deaths; pretending that it's risk free does no one any service. Any potential cyclist needs to understand that there are variety of dangers involved, dangers that can be mitigated through knowledge, behavior, and gear (including helmets).
It is fear-mongering though, plain and simple. They take facts out of context and use that to scare people. If they noted alongside that number how many people die from other everyday activities like walking or, driving, it would take away a lot of the scare shock value and be more honest. But that isn't the goal for any helmet pushing organization I've known. The goal is to get helmets on heads, and they aren't above using fear to do it, misguided as they are. Fast-food safety.

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Old 02-15-12, 12:06 PM   #1421
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...the harm that can come from the "dangerization" of cycling that is inherent in promoting helmets.

...Helmet promotion plays well into some base emotions. Fear sells, people want simple answers to complex problems, and faith works for those who want to an easy solution.
Here's where I see a dichotomy in your thinking: Fear sells, yes; people want simple answers to complex problems, yes. Cycling in English speaking countries is generally seen as dangerous for some reason, not because helmet manufacturers managed to sell it wholesale, but because this perception exists outside of the helmet debate. It's the same thing that fuels 3' passing laws, and bike infrastructure advocacy. So while helmet promotion might play into the dangerization of cycling, it is certainly nowhere hear wholly responsible for it. Shows up in way too many other parts of society, aka nanny state-ism, for it to be only the fault of the pro-helmeteers in cycling.

Right?

So then there's the helmet companies, taking full advantage of this perception that cycling is dangerous. Who is to blame them? And if someone who would not otherwise ride a bike w/o a helmet mistakenly feels protected enough with a helmet to venture out onto the "mean streets," then helmets -- wrongfully seen as a panacea for bike safety -- have encouraged riders...

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Respect for freedom of choice and removal of rights is central to the debate, particularly when there is no clear evidence on a helmets usefulness.
While certain countries, provinces, and localities have passed mandatory helmet laws (MHLs), the vast majority of the planet is free of such nonsense. If this is central to the debate, then it's a weak debate... And the various kinds of posts in this particular thread indicate that it is a very, very low concern even with geeks who like to debate whether angels on the head of a pin should wear helmets.
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Old 02-15-12, 04:44 PM   #1422
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While certain countries, provinces, and localities have passed mandatory helmet laws (MHLs), the vast majority of the planet is free of such nonsense. If this is central to the debate, then it's a weak debate... .
Yup. As far as I know, very few "serious" cyclists support MHL.

Closetbiker keeps conflating the pro-MLH position (pretty-much, a position no one here has) with a pro-helmet one. They aren't the same positions. And, a successful argument against MHL isn't guaranteed to be relevant as an anti-helmet argument.

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Old 02-16-12, 08:29 AM   #1423
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Two point here:[LIST=1][*]Dismissing the discussion as ultimately about riders and not helmets is useless. Helmets do not exist in a vacuum... they are tools to be used by us. So, ultimately, what practical effect they have upon implementation is important. Now, what conclusion exactly one can draw from the lower ridership levels can differ slightly. One could say that it's a case of law, where helmet laws cause people to cycle less out of a PITA factor. But one could also take away from it that the fear is more important. Perhaps the law drives home the fear of danger to people more; "If we need a law to require helmets while cycling, maybe cycling is more dangerous than I thought?". Who knows if that's the case for sure, but it's certainly a possibility and a consideration. A cursory look at least seems to support it... places with strong helmet culture seems to have less ridership. It's at least worth considering, because if that is so that it even fractionally reduces cycling, we've probably crossed the line from beneficial to detrimental. Especially in a place like America, it's unquestionable that even lidless cycling is far more beneficial to societal health than not cycling at all. And if helmets are countering that, is that really a cause we want to Crusade for?
My point is that you need to differentiate clearly between two types of issues. One: do helmets help protect the head or not? Two: do helmet laws or promotional efforts discourage ridership? The latter issue is fundamentally different in kind; it's a psychological/sociological/political issue since it centers on personal choice, not whether a physical device can mitigate impacts. You need to differentiate, too, between whether helmet compulsion or promotion might merely decrease ridership or whether it impacts overall population health: obviously, someone can enjoy other forms of exercise if they choose not to cycle.

Quote:
[*]Again, AFAIK, nobody is saying helmets do not offer benefits. No one. The argument is that a) there is no more need to have those benefits while cycling than there is while doing other everyday activities (in most cases), and b) That it may be detrimental to cycling overall because it paints cycling as more dangerous than it really is. Helmets confer danger in nearly all cases... people doing skateboarding tricks, race car drivers, football players... they are there to protect you from something, and people realize that.
The problem inherent in that line of reasoning is that you say or imply that some groups are portraying cycling as more dangerous than it really is, but they could turn around and say you are portraying it as less dangerous than it really is. Whose perception is right? At the end of the day, it is a simple fact that X number of people are killed or injured cycling every year. Merely stating that, whether you compare it to other activities or not, is not fear-mongering in any sense. The reality is that cyclists can get hurt or killed; they need to know that so they can make an informed decision, just as if they were preparing to undertake any athletic activity or use another type or transport.

You may not want to compare cycling's risk to other activities, anyway:

Quote:
Bicycle crashes rank second only to riding animals as a sports- or recreation-associated cause of serious injury; one study estimated the rate of severe injuries to be 37.4 per 100,000 population in urban areas. Although injuries to mountain bikers of all ages account for only 3.7 percent of bicycle injuries overall, up to 51 percent of recreational and 85 percent of competitive mountain bikers sustain injuries each year.
http://www.aafp.org/afp/2001/0515/p2007.html

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Bicycling and basketball were associated with the largest number of 1998 baby boomer sports injuries treated in hospital emergency rooms.
http://www.cpsc.gov/library/boomer.pdf

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Bicycles continue to be the number one cause of sports-related head injuries.
http://aans.org/en/Media/General%20P...c_database=web

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As a result, bicycle riders who are involved in a crash are exposed to a much higher risk of injury compared to motor vehicle users (with the exception of motorcycle riders).
http://www.ehjournal.net/content/8/1/47

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Our analysis [in New Zealand] showed that cyclists had the second highest rate of traffic injuries resulting in death or hospital inpatient treatment compared to other major road user categories when analysed in relation to time spent travelling.
http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2458/10/655 See Table 1: Annual number of injuries per million hours spent travelling: cycling injury rate far outstrips those of pedestrians and automobile drivers/passengers

etc.
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Old 02-16-12, 09:26 AM   #1424
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Originally Posted by sudo bike View Post
, AFAIK, nobody is saying helmets do not offer benefits. No one.
Wut?!? Are we reading the same posts in this thread???

Quite the contrary, there are plenty here who claim that helmets offer no benefits. "Styrofoam hat," anyone? Beyond that, they claim that helmets can actually be detrimental to safety. Or am I reading wrong posts which claim that helmets cause TBI through rotational/frictional forces, helmet wearers take more risks and ride less safely, drivers pass helmeted riders more closely, and others of this ilk?

Beyond superficial stuff, like "helmets offer a platform for which to mount reflectors and lights," the bare-head brigade regularly claim that helmets offer no benefits and only grudgingly admit otherwise when called out on their BS by the more sane and informed pro-helmeteers. And even then, typically, the response is dissembling and dismissive, with the barehead brigade responder changing the subject, posting tangential data, or failing to respond at all.

There's plenty of fanatics and crazies on both sides of the issue: don't try to fob off the entire bare-head brigade as reasonable and sane where this matter is concerned.
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Old 02-16-12, 09:39 AM   #1425
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Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
Yup. As far as I know, very few "serious" cyclists support MHL.

Closetbiker keeps conflating the pro-MLH position (pretty-much, a position no one here has) with a pro-helmet one. They aren't the same positions. And, a successful argument against MHL isn't guaranteed to be relevant as an anti-helmet argument.
See things as you like but MHLs require people to believe 1) cycling is dangerous and, 2) helmets are effective in eliminating and/or significantly reducing that danger.

When helmet support reaches the point at which the lidded cyclists are disparaging the lidless, MHLs are only a short step away
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