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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 05-18-12, 01:22 PM   #2226
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this thread is why you should wear a helmet.
Helmets can protect you from external impacts to the head...but can't help when your head explodes from within.
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Old 05-18-12, 01:43 PM   #2227
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Funny about helmets, motorcyclists for years have lobbied to repeal helmet laws because they show stats that helmets while riding a motorcycle do nothing to protect the brain, yet year after year motorcyclists die due to not wearing a helmet and the EMT and the med staff will say that most could have survived had they been wearing a helmet. What's really funny is I remember when seat belts were required, there were many drivers doing the same thing, showing stats that seat belts caused more deaths then not wearing them.

It's all kind of silly the things we believe.
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Old 05-18-12, 01:45 PM   #2228
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Funny about helmets, motorcyclists for years have lobbied to repeal helmet laws because they show stats that helmets while riding a motorcycle do nothing to protect the brain, yet year after year motorcyclists die due to not wearing a helmet and the EMT and the med staff will say that most could have survived had they been wearing a helmet. What's really funny is I remember when seat belts were required, there were many drivers doing the same thing, showing stats that seat belts caused more deaths then not wearing them.

It's all kind of silly the things we believe.
Like EMTs believing that they know what a result shoulda/woulda/coulda been had only the subject done X.
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Old 05-18-12, 01:50 PM   #2229
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Like EMTs believing that they know what a result shoulda/woulda/coulda been had only the subject done X.
You would have said the same thing 50 years ago when seat belts were required and this same subject came up about those. Sorry, but I'll take what they know about this sort of thing then you.
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Old 05-18-12, 05:45 PM   #2230
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You would have said the same thing 50 years ago when seat belts were required and this same subject came up about those. Sorry, but I'll take what they know about this sort of thing then you.
Why stop there? Why take their word over those who actually deal with engineering these things? Test them? Why take the opinion of an EMT who's been told helmets help by somebody else, over the opinion of those who figured out whether or not it really did? And why are the voices there not so clear on the answer?
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Old 05-18-12, 06:18 PM   #2231
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You would have said the same thing 50 years ago when seat belts were required and this same subject came up about those. Sorry, but I'll take what they know about this sort of thing then you.
Motorcycle helmets do save quite a few lives. The statistics are really quite clear about that. Seat belts too, but in that case there's a bit more to it, as they also seem to encourage risk compensation, which means that the number of accidents increased. Those hurt in the accidents were just to a larger extent outside the cars...

The perhaps most interesting about the available statistics about bike helmets is that the newer they are, the less advantage there seems to be in wearing a helmet. It also seems that with refined methods, it's possible to tell that, yes, some groups do benefit from wearing a helmet, namely children and elderly. Not the 85% found by the much-quoted paper, but still a slight benefit.

I wonder if you'll read, not to speak of understand what I'm saying.
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Old 05-18-12, 06:30 PM   #2232
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Simple: for these sorts of sociological studies, the putative health effects of cycling can't be known with any sort of accuracy. Tweak a few parameters, select the right markers, and you can get all sorts of results. That you aren't aware of this is scary.

And, all cyclists don't derive the same health benefits from cycling (many don't ride enough for to have any measurable effect). It's quite possible that the cyclists that are discouraged from riding are mostly from this group (we just don't know).

What's really bizarre is that every pro-helmet study is always flawed, and every anti-helmet study is perfect.

If you have to argue against helmets by arguing against helmet laws, then you anti-helmet argument is pretty weak.


This is a really stupid comment. You and others make these sorts of claims against pro-helmet studies all the time.
There's at least two reasons to have more faith in the helmet-skeptical papers than the pro-helmet ditto: The first pro were funded by the helmet industry, and since then, we've probably seen quite a bit of bias in a lot of the research, bias that couldn't be detected by the authors themselves because the beneficial effect of helmets seem so intuitively self-evident. It takes a bit more of an independent attitude to go against that trend.
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Old 05-18-12, 11:19 PM   #2233
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Funny about helmets, motorcyclists for years have lobbied to repeal helmet laws because they show stats that helmets while riding a motorcycle do nothing to protect the brain, yet year after year motorcyclists die due to not wearing a helmet and the EMT and the med staff will say that most could have survived had they been wearing a helmet. What's really funny is I remember when seat belts were required, there were many drivers doing the same thing, showing stats that seat belts caused more deaths then not wearing them.

It's all kind of silly the things we believe.
I was an EMT. I also went through paramedic school and nursing school. I was never taught a single thing about helmets. None of my textbooks say anything about helmets. To the best of my knowledge, EMTs, paramedics, and nurses know nothing more about helmets than does the average person on the street.

Now, that fact didn't stop me from occasionally telling people that their helmets saved their lives. It's embarrassing in hindsight, but frankly, you feel kind of cool when you say that to somebody, and everybody has a little shiver. Doubtless those patients went home and told everybody that "The paramedic said if I hadn't been wearing my helmet I would have died!!!" Maybe some of them even post to that effect on the internet. My bad.
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Old 05-19-12, 02:54 AM   #2234
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Motorcycle helmets do save quite a few lives. The statistics are really quite clear about that. Seat belts too, but in that case there's a bit more to it, as they also seem to encourage risk compensation, which means that the number of accidents increased. Those hurt in the accidents were just to a larger extent outside the cars...

The perhaps most interesting about the available statistics about bike helmets is that the newer they are, the less advantage there seems to be in wearing a helmet. It also seems that with refined methods, it's possible to tell that, yes, some groups do benefit from wearing a helmet, namely children and elderly. Not the 85% found by the much-quoted paper, but still a slight benefit.

I wonder if you'll read, not to speak of understand what I'm saying.
I wonder if you even understand, I'm having my doubts. So knock off with the silly childish insults.

Sorry, but there are advocates in the motorcycle industry that can prove helmets don't work, here's one such example: http://www.forbes.com/forbes-life-ma.../0503/041.html Nor am I saying their right, just saying that for many years people proved with false evidence that seat belts caused more harm then good, then the same with MC helmets, and now bicycle helmets, next will be snow skiing...you see, that's the next helmet frontier due to rising head injuries and thus will come the doubters with their proof proving skiing with helmets won't work.

The same facts you quote that MC helmets save lives are the same facts that say quite clearly state that bicycle helmets save lives, yet bicycle forums like this one always have those who don't believe the facts if those facts are against their own special interest.

You can always find evidence with the miracle of the internet to support any position you want to take just as I did with MC helmets.
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Old 05-19-12, 04:15 AM   #2235
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... And the conclusion you draw, therefore, is that only the evidence supporting helmets is valid? That's a two-way street if you really want to be so distrusting of evidence, you know.

Playing the ol' game of "my facts count, yours don't" doesn't take the discussion anywhere further and sort of poisons the well. No point in even participating anymore if no amount of evidence can get you to change your mind.
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Old 05-19-12, 05:11 AM   #2236
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There's at least two reasons to have more faith in the helmet-skeptical papers than the pro-helmet ditto: The first pro were funded by the helmet industry, and since then, we've probably seen quite a bit of bias in a lot of the research, bias that couldn't be detected by the authors themselves because the beneficial effect of helmets seem so intuitively self-evident. It takes a bit more of an independent attitude to go against that trend.
You might be able to argue this but it isn't what is going on.

Actually, anti-helmet have complete-faith in anti-helmet "studies" and no-faith in pro-helmet studies.

And certain kinds of studies (regardless of the position they support) have certain typical problems. For the anti-helmet camp, these typical problems magically disappear.

And when someone criticizes an anti-helmet study for the same sort of problems the anti-helmet people find in pro-helmet studies (and reasonably criticize them for), you get irrational spews (like skye's).

And, of course, there's bias on the anti-helmet side as well (the anti-helmet camp just doesn't see it).

The basic problem is that the "skepticism" is one sided.

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It takes a bit more of an independent attitude to go against that trend.
No, all it takes is a bug up your ass (the "birthers" are an example of that).

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Old 05-19-12, 05:19 AM   #2237
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... And the conclusion you draw, therefore, is that only the evidence supporting helmets is valid? That's a two-way street if you really want to be so distrusting of evidence, you know.

Playing the ol' game of "my facts count, yours don't" doesn't take the discussion anywhere further and sort of poisons the well. No point in even participating anymore if no amount of evidence can get you to change your mind.
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Old 05-19-12, 05:23 AM   #2238
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The perhaps most interesting about the available statistics about bike helmets is that the newer they are, the less advantage there seems to be in wearing a helmet. It also seems that with refined methods, it's possible to tell that, yes, some groups do benefit from wearing a helmet, namely children and elderly. Not the 85% found by the much-quoted paper, but still a slight benefit.
I'm not sure if there will ever be enough data to tell. The events are rare and data about them is poorly collected. It's this basic thing that makes being overly certain about what studies support (one way or the other) suspect.
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Old 05-19-12, 06:12 AM   #2239
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Old 05-19-12, 09:03 AM   #2240
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Funny about helmets, motorcyclists for years have lobbied to repeal helmet laws because they show stats that helmets while riding a motorcycle do nothing to protect the brain, yet year after year motorcyclists die due to not wearing a helmet and the EMT and the med staff will say that most could have survived had they been wearing a helmet. What's really funny is I remember when seat belts were required, there were many drivers doing the same thing, showing stats that seat belts caused more deaths then not wearing them.

It's all kind of silly the things we believe.
This is an excellent example of Why Many People Aren't Smart Enough To Think For Themselves: the efficacy of cycling helmets and motorcycle helmets are completed unrelated. Yes, they're both called "helmets" - but one device will absorb something like 20x the impact energy of the other. Lab tests and real world statistics say that motorcycle helmets save lives, but cycling helmets don't. But to Joe IQ 80: "Ugh! Called helmet - must be same! Also: Turkey best place in world to have Thanksgiving Dinner and Greece has highest level of cholesterol poisoning!"
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Old 05-19-12, 09:08 AM   #2241
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It also seems that with refined methods, it's possible to tell that, yes, some groups do benefit from wearing a helmet, namely children and elderly. Not the 85% found by the much-quoted paper, but still a slight benefit.
One English charity did a study of outcomes in children and found that the number of lives saved was approximately cancelled out by choking deaths due to helmet straps...

However, these figures might have changed if parents had bought correctly fitting helmets (which means regular replacements) and children had worn them correctly (which means being even less comfortable - very few adults wear their helmets right.)
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Old 05-19-12, 09:16 AM   #2242
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You might be able to argue this but it isn't what is going on.

Actually, anti-helmet have complete-faith in anti-helmet "studies" and no-faith in pro-helmet studies.
The antis have great scepticism about pro-helmet studies because so many are bad - note that ALL the scientifically trained people posting on this issue are anti's. In particular, the famous 85% benefit study was so poorly conducted that the careers of the researchers would literally have been over if they were physicists or biologists. Yet this study is still widely quoted in "meta-analyses" that purport to show helmet benefits. Non-junk pro-helmet studies are pretty much non-existent.

And, in general, arguing that people have to be prejudiced because they think the evidence on one side of an argument is stronger than the other, frankly, extremely silly. Lots of arguments are such that the sanity rests entirely with one side: neither Barak Obama or George Bush is not an alien, perpetual motion machines don't work, the Holocaust really happened - and a beer cooler hat won't protect you if a ton of metal hits you at 30mph. (However, one of the new - and very expensive - anti-rotational designs MIGHT have a measurable benefit if it has a strong enough shell.)

As I've said before, when I started researching this issue I expected the best helmets to be reasonably effective - I didn't set out with the urge to prove that it was pointless to wear a helmet at all, just to find out which helmet to buy. Any bias I had was pro-helmet, but the evidence shows that for general use they make little to no contribution to safety.

Last edited by meanwhile; 05-19-12 at 04:04 PM.
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Old 05-19-12, 09:46 AM   #2243
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For reasons I cannot fathom the anti helmet clik keeps plugging away at anyone that has come forward and said a helmet saved them from injury. Why I dont know. They in effect are calling these people liars.

As I have pointed out before there are several other safety aspects of a helmet. How do they discount them. First of all they are allowed to ride in organized rides that require them. Helmets provide sun and glare protection. Helmets provide a place to mount mirrors, lights, and video cameras.

I still say the anti helmet people must have been tramatize by a turtle at a very young age.
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Old 05-19-12, 11:06 AM   #2244
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For reasons I cannot fathom the anti helmet clik keeps plugging away at anyone that has come forward and said a helmet saved them from injury. Why I dont know. They in effect are calling these people liars.
That is simply not true. What IS true is that the statement "a helmet saved my life" is dubious, and that has been pointed out by the skeptics.

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... Helmets provide sun and glare protection. Helmets provide a place to mount mirrors, lights, and video cameras.
Yeah. What the helmet cam crowd don't realize is that anything you mount on a helmet will pretty much cancel its positive effects
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Old 05-19-12, 11:08 AM   #2245
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I'm not sure if there will ever be enough data to tell. The events are rare and data about them is poorly collected. It's this basic thing that makes being overly certain about what studies support (one way or the other) suspect.
You don't seem to understand the advantage of meta-studies.
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Old 05-19-12, 11:43 AM   #2246
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As I have pointed out before there are several other safety aspects of a helmet. How do they discount them. First of all they are allowed to ride in organized rides that require them. Helmets provide sun and glare protection. Helmets provide a place to mount mirrors, lights, and video cameras.
Those are not really added safety aspects, other than the visor to block the sun from impacting a riders vision. And for the visor safety, a ball cap provides as much protection. The only advantage of the helmet in this case is the greater air flow over ones head and some helmets have adjustable visors that are nice.

Mounting lights or a camera to a helmet adds weight in an unbalanced location which adds significant rotational forces on ones neck in an accident, making the weighted helmet much less safe than a ball cap.

So it is good that you have come to terms that a bicycle helmet has the same safety as a ball cap if the user does not attach any weighted objects to the helmet, thus making it less safe than a ball cap.
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Old 05-19-12, 03:48 PM   #2247
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For reasons I cannot fathom the anti helmet clik keeps plugging away at anyone that has come forward and said a helmet saved them from injury. Why I dont know. They in effect are calling these people liars.
I accept that you're stupid enough to believe this, but no.

In reality, someone who is in accident and who doesn't incur serious brain damage, and who then ASSUMES that the helmet was responsible, is in fact merely silly and a tinge hysterical, NOT a liar. The reasoning being that such injury is in fact an incredibly rare outcome, so a lack of it is what you should be expecting, with or without a helmet. Lack of intelligence, knowledge and common sense are too blame, not (as poor 'bent assumes) deliberate deception.

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Old 05-19-12, 03:53 PM   #2248
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As I have pointed out before there are several other safety aspects of a helmet. How do they discount them. First of all they are allowed to ride in organized rides that require them.
Well, yes: if was you I'd want someone else to organize me too.

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Helmets provide sun and glare protection.
You've made this point before and people tried to explain to you this crazy new invention called a "hat".

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Helmets provide a place to mount mirrors, lights, and video cameras.
Yes: no one could possibly mount a video camera on their bicycle. The Gods would curse them!
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Old 05-19-12, 04:01 PM   #2249
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Those are not really added safety aspects, other than the visor to block the sun from impacting a riders vision. And for the visor safety, a ball cap provides as much protection. The only advantage of the helmet in this case is the greater air flow over ones head and some helmets have adjustable visors that are nice.

Mounting lights or a camera to a helmet adds weight in an unbalanced location which adds significant rotational forces on ones neck in an accident, making the weighted helmet much less safe than a ball cap.
Anyone who has read these threads and who believes helmets work and who still rides with stuff attached is rather silly. The key to getting a helmet to work is maintaining shell integrity during liner compression. This is a lot more likely if the helmet impacts a flat surface and the impact is widely spread. Having objects attached which can hit the ground before the helmet and concentrate the impact at a small point really completely invalidates helmet design. Rydabent is being especially silly as he claims to have been trained in safety, ***but is advocating that a safety device be used in a way that invalidates its certification.*** This is something a competent professional would never do.

Plus, yes, the rotation. Although I'd hope the attachable gizmo makers ensure these things break away relatively easily under a glancing hit.
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Old 05-19-12, 05:21 PM   #2250
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In reality, someone who is in accident and who doesn't incur serious brain damage, and who then ASSUMES that the helmet was responsible, is in fact merely silly and a tinge hysterical, NOT a liar.
Indeed, those who claim such are silly and hysterical... but so are those who claim that the specific helmet in question in any particular accidnent did not prevent or mitigate head injury.
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