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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 05-22-12, 09:20 AM   #2326
Paramount1973 
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Originally Posted by sudo bike View Post
I sincerely hope for the sake of the last shreds of faith in humanity I have left that this post is the result of a thread transfer by a mod. Otherwise, I think I'm going to need a helmet to help mitigate the injury from multiple collisions with my desk.
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If you are going to throw people into a pit full of crocodiles, maybe you should warn them first.

I think it would have been better to lock the thread and redirect them to the crocodile pit (which they could, then, enter into willingly).
Yes, lock the thread next time and give people a choice. This was like being thrown into a global warming thread. I had no idea that this was such a divisive topic, I rarely see roadies or mountain bikers around here without a helmet. Down on the University of Delaware campus, I see a lot of helmetless riders but they have a pretty good infrastructure for bikes and most of them are going less than a mile or so.

Here is a fairly balanced article on helmet laws with some good links. Another interesting one. In the end, it is a personal choice for adults in the US since none of the states that mandate bicycle helmet use do so for adults.
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Old 05-22-12, 12:01 PM   #2327
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It's revealing that you think an article illustrated with a picture of a helmet which split, rather than crushed and which starts off quoting Thomson, Rivara and Thomson 1989 (85% reduction) is "fairly balanced". I would summarize the treehugger article as relatively biased and ignorant and would suggest that anyone doubting this should take a long, hard look at that first citation.
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I'd agree this is of the same quality as the first, but disagree that it's interesting. Anyone actually interested in learning about the subject would be better off going to look at some of the scholarly debate on the subject ... I think a reasonable adult will conclude that it's anything but obvious that bicycle helmets are effective in reducing serious head injuries. Unfortunately the debate is a little more complicated than the level of the treehugger article, but it's worth the time if you're actually going to bother to hold an opinion on the subject and take the trouble to express it publicly.

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In the end, it is a personal choice for adults in the US since none of the states that mandate bicycle helmet use do so for adults.
None of the states in the USA do so yet. However in Canada, Australia and New Zealand they do in many provinces and territories ... and in some provinces , e.g. Quebec[1], you can read the explicit intention of the government to soft-pedal helmet promotion until it reaches a certain level and then move to helmet compulsion.

It's a pity that some people, e.g. yourself, can't recognize that this personal choice should be left as something which can be made without obnoxious, ill-informed commentary:
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I'm keeping mine strapped on, the rest of you can do what you want. Just keep your organ donor cards on you, there aren't enough hearts, kidneys and livers to go around.
1. Transports Québec «Politique sur le vélo» http://www.mtq.gouv.qc.ca/portal/pag...4400144F0104BD p.16 (en ligne) 22 May 2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by TransportsQuébec
La Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec suit de près
l’évolution du port du casque à vélo au Québec. Après une
stagnation du taux de port du casque chez les cyclistes autour
de 25 % de 1996 à 2000, les trois dernières enquêtes ont révélé
des hausses successives. Le taux est ainsi passé de 25,4 % en
2000 à 37,2 % en 2006. Si les prochaines enquêtes révélaient
des résultats avoisinant les 40 %, la Société pourrait envisager de
proposer au ministre des Transports de légiférer afin de rendre
obligatoire le port du casque.
Translation: The Québec Automobile Insurance Association is following the progress of helmet use in Québec. After a plateau of 25% in the rate of helmet-wearing by cyclists between 1996 and 2000, the next three studies revealed successive increases. The rate increased from 25.4% in 2000 to 37.2% in 2006. If the next studies reveal results approaching 40% the Québec Automobile Insurance Association intends to propose to the minister of Transport to legislate so as to make helmet wearing obligatory.

Worth noting as a strategy. First, they come for the children (and they've just done that in Québec, making it illegal to use a bike if you're under 18 years old and have no helmet), then they come for the rest of us .... all based on fear-mongering, ignorance and petty control-freakery.

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Old 05-22-12, 06:50 PM   #2328
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I think a reasonable adult will conclude that it's anything but obvious that bicycle helmets are effective in reducing serious head injuries. Unfortunately the debate is a little more complicated than the level of the treehugger article, but it's worth the time if you're actually going to bother to hold an opinion on the subject and take the trouble to express it publicly.
I think a reasonable adult could come to an entirely different conclusion based on the preponderance of evidence. For example, this is rather sobering. But I don't think slapping the anti-helmet crowd in the face with statistics like this will change the closed minds here one single bit as long as there are a few contrarian studies to cling to. Much like climate-change deniers.
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Old 05-22-12, 07:13 PM   #2329
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I think a reasonable adult could come to an entirely different conclusion based on the preponderance of evidence. For example, this is rather sobering. But I don't think slapping the anti-helmet crowd in the face with statistics like this will change the closed minds here one single bit as long as there are a few contrarian studies to cling to. Much like climate-change deniers.
I'm probably wasting electrons on you,, but a reasonable adult needs to show some evidence that a magic hat would have changed the results of a certain proportion of those deaths. I can assert that Randy Swartz's sobering statistics have omitted one telling fact: 100% of the dead cyclists were wearing underwear! I hope I can count on your support for my No Briefs Chief! (tm) campaign? Surely someone such as yourself that has such strong opinions on what other people wear can be counted on to toss out his opinion?

You should also note that a reasonable adult would have gone back and done some background research on this thread and seen that for many of us helmet promoters are equivalent to climate change deniers: zealots that refuse to admit that there is a preponderance of evidence that casts doubt on their non-scientific worldview. Actually, let me take that back, helmet pushers are more like tupperware ladies, part of a marketing enterprise yoking gullibility, enthusiasm and self-interest.

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Old 05-22-12, 08:43 PM   #2330
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I think a reasonable adult could come to an entirely different conclusion based on the preponderance of evidence. For example, this is rather sobering. But I don't think slapping the anti-helmet crowd in the face with statistics like this will change the closed minds here one single bit as long as there are a few contrarian studies to cling to. Much like climate-change deniers.
There is no "anti-helmet crowd". There are people who get offended when ignorant jerks call them "organ donors" for nothing more than going for a bicycle ride, however.
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Old 05-22-12, 11:50 PM   #2331
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There is no "anti-helmet crowd". There are people who get offended when ignorant jerks call them "organ donors" for nothing more than going for a bicycle ride, however.
"Nothing more than riding a bicycle"?! What, can't you tell how wildly dangerous this activity is?!?!



She could become an organ donor at any moment! Danger lurks behind every corner in America, after all. Bubble-wrap society.
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Old 05-22-12, 11:59 PM   #2332
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I think a reasonable adult could come to an entirely different conclusion based on the preponderance of evidence. For example, this is rather sobering. But I don't think slapping the anti-helmet crowd in the face with statistics like this will change the closed minds here one single bit as long as there are a few contrarian studies to cling to. Much like climate-change deniers.
Pedestrians have a high percentage of fatalities in collisions. Furthermore, pedestrians are generally going at speeds helmets are more likely to be effective. Do you advocate for pedestrian helmets as well? If not, why not? Why the departure from logical consistency (again)?

Why would a reasonable adult reach the conclusion that a helmet is more necessary in a situation where a) you are likely to be going faster than they are tested for in the first place, and b) the case that you are most likely to die is a motor vehicle collision, a type of collision helmets are least likely to do anything in and are most definitely not designed to mitigate? This as opposed to a situation where speeds are well within the designed parameters (though still not designed to withstand vehicular impacts)? Further, as bicycle helmets aren't designed to withstand motor vehicle collision forces, and collisions with motor vehicles make up the most cycling fatalities, is wearing a helmet really going to do anything? And doesn't it seem in those situations where statistics show no strong decrease in injury/fatalities when mandatory use laws are implemented that this thought is reinforced?

I think these are all valid questions a reasonable person might have.

But no, I'm the closed-minded one. Not you, surely.

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Old 05-23-12, 12:15 AM   #2333
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I'm probably wasting electrons on you,, but a reasonable adult needs to show some evidence that a magic hat would have changed the results of a certain proportion of those deaths.
How is that even possible? We keep hearing this same argument from the anti-helmet crowd of requiring evidence that a death or injury could have been different with or without a helmet. Unfortunately we cannot recreate the exact same situation to test whether or not the outcome would be different depending the if the rider was wearing a helmet or not so why are you even asking this? This degree of evidence is impossible to satisfy and it would be unreasonable to expect this.
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Old 05-23-12, 12:27 AM   #2334
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How is that even possible? We keep hearing this same argument from the anti-helmet crowd of requiring evidence that a death or injury could have been different with or without a helmet. Unfortunately we cannot recreate the exact same situation to test whether or not the outcome would be different depending the if the rider was wearing a helmet or not so why are you even asking this? This degree of evidence is impossible to satisfy and it would be unreasonable to expect this.
I think that's the point: pointing out that it is absolutely silly for people to say "a helmet saved my life", while having no evidence this is so. Considering statistics don't seem to bear out all those anecdotes of life-saving events, it seems dubious to suggest helmets will save your life and are vitally important pieces of cycling equipment. They are designed for mitigating relatively minor injury at relatively low speeds in a solo crash (or at least non-motor-vehicle crash). Nothing more, nothing less.
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Old 05-23-12, 05:57 AM   #2335
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<helmets> are designed for mitigating relatively minor injury at relatively low speeds in a solo crash (or at least non-motor-vehicle crash).
It's funny that the anti-helmet camp assume that cyclists (with or without helmets) always die in collisions with motor vehicles!
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Old 05-23-12, 07:41 AM   #2336
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Six

Do you take your donor card with you each time you ride????
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Old 05-23-12, 09:33 AM   #2337
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It's funny that the anti-helmet camp assume that cyclists (with or without helmets) always die in collisions with motor vehicles!
I don't need to assume it. The statistics bear out that the vast majority of fatalities are due to vehicle crashes.

It is rare for your average adult to crash solo and die. That probability seems to go up when intoxicated (shocker), but the chance of a sober adult dying on their bike without the "help" of a car are really slim. So slim you may as well don body armor and other equipment that has only an off-chance of doing anything to help you.
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Old 05-23-12, 11:37 AM   #2338
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I'm probably wasting electrons on you,, but a reasonable adult needs to show some evidence that a magic hat would have changed the results of a certain proportion of those deaths.
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How is that even possible? We keep hearing this same argument from the anti-helmet crowd of requiring evidence that a death or injury could have been different with or without a helmet. Unfortunately we cannot recreate the exact same situation to test whether or not the outcome would be different depending the if the rider was wearing a helmet or not so why are you even asking this? This degree of evidence is impossible to satisfy and it would be unreasonable to expect this.
Look, it's like a population-level treatment. Epidemiologists would expect to be able, by various measures, to show that application of the treatment to the population resulted in diminution of the malady. Take for example vaccines: there's a modelled expectation of what a population-level vaccination program can achieve given the measured effectiveness of the vaccine in laboratory test subjects. In this case, the disease (severe head injury resulting from bicycle use is vanishingly rare) and the vaccine, when applied to the population through MHLs, does not show a measurable diminution of the disease.

If you can show me a massive sample set (similar to the population of Australia) in which the treatment results in a measurable diminution then I'll accept that there's probable cause to argue that helmets are useful. It would also go some way to convince me if you could get one of the helmet manufacturers to publically declare that their helmet will prevent concussions and other TBI.

Failing that, I feel that helmets are on the same level as homeopathy and healing crystals, with the added obnoxiousness that people feel entitled to scream the equivalent of "your chakras need burnishing!" and pass laws forcing me to wear special religious headgear every time I dice with death by riding the terror machine (called a bicycle) in the wild apocalyptic conglomeration of murderous motorists (called the sleepy little town in which I live). If someone else gets pleasure or comfort out of using dubious medical devices or procedures I don't care: it doesn't affect me. When they start legislating that I, in my vastly superior understanding, have to also follow them down the twisty, little path of quackery then I get very angry.

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Old 05-23-12, 01:31 PM   #2339
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I don't need to assume it. The statistics bear out that the vast majority of fatalities are due to vehicle crashes.
There are a lot of collisions with vehicles that are not fatalities. You have no idea whether helmets would be beneficial in some of those crashes! You have no idea whether some of the survivors would have been fatalities if they had not been wearing helmets!

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It is rare for your average adult to crash solo and die. That probability seems to go up when intoxicated (shocker), but the chance of a sober adult dying on their bike without the "help" of a car are really slim. So slim you may as well don body armor and other equipment that has only an off-chance of doing anything to help you.
As I said, you are assuming that a collision with a vehicle will always lead to a fatality. You should know that isn't true!

Clearly, people die in car accidents while wearing seatbelts. By your flawed logic, people shouldn't be using them!

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Old 05-23-12, 01:34 PM   #2340
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It's funny that the anti-helmet camp assume that cyclists (with or without helmets) always die in collisions with motor vehicles!
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I don't need to assume it. The statistics bear out that the vast majority of fatalities are due to vehicle crashes.
Sudo, either your lack of reading comprehension or the willful dissembling you present in your reply is astounding.

While the vast majority of bike rider fatalities may be due to collisions involving motor vehicles, does the majority of collisions involving motor vehicles result in fatalities?
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Old 05-23-12, 02:30 PM   #2341
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It's revealing that you think an article illustrated with a picture of a helmet which split, rather than crushed and which starts off quoting Thomson, Rivara and Thomson 1989 (85% reduction) is "fairly balanced". I would summarize the treehugger article as relatively biased and ignorant and would suggest that anyone doubting this should take a long, hard look at that first citation.
This is a definitively bad study: the researchers, sponsored by a helmet maker, took a population of middle class kids riding supervised in parks with helmets, and a population of helmetless kids riding on inner city streets and concluded that EVERY difference in injury rate was due to the Magic Helmets! Even when the injuries weren't to the head! This is the sort of thing which end a career in physics or biochemistry - it's a very crude and obvious attempt to fake a conclusion. Is anyone surprised that children watched by adults in parks are injured less than kids riding on busy streets alone?

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Old 05-23-12, 02:43 PM   #2342
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I think a reasonable adult could come to an entirely different conclusion based on the preponderance of evidence. For example, this is rather sobering.
Unfortunately, while it make might you sober, it can't make you smarter...

Unlike you, I checked the NYC report your link butchers:

1.It's NOT true that "Nearly all bicyclists who died (97%) were not wearing a helmet": if a helmet isn't recovered, a rider is marked as helmetless; it doesn't mean that he was NOT wearing a helmet! It actually means they don't know. So the stats are actually junk.

A this point there's no need to say more, but I will anyway...

2. Nearly all the dead riders (90%) were male. Females go helmetless at the same rate as males, so if helmets were the deciding factor you wouldn't see this. In fact, possessing breasts had a stronger correlation with not dying than wearing a helmet. If the stats really measured the effectiveness of safety devices rather how several different groups behaved then one would have to include that male cyclists would be better served by wearing falsies while riding than helmets! (To be fair to your source, it does mention the lack of dead women - you just weren't smart enough to see the obvious conclusion.)

3. Nearly all the accidents were associated with either alcohol or being an ******* - riding the wrong way at night without lights etc. People who wear helmets don't tend to do this. As the saying goes "correlation isn't causation." (And as another saying goes, "You can prove anything you like with statistics - but only if the victim isn't very smart.")

As to your silly reference to global warming: almost all the professional opinion is AGAINST the effectiveness of helmets! So not a terribly bright comparison.

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Old 05-23-12, 02:49 PM   #2343
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Sudo, either your lack of reading comprehension or the willful dissembling you present in your reply is astounding.

While the vast majority of bike rider fatalities may be due to collisions involving motor vehicles, does the majority of collisions involving motor vehicles result in fatalities?
I hate to ruin your self perceived moment of glory, but:

It's funny that the anti-helmet camp assume that cyclists (with or without helmets) always die in collisions with motor vehicles!


..is rather ambiguous. Taken in the sense that you now seem to believe it should be taken, it becomes utterly moronic. The antis do NOT say that collisions with cars have a 100% death rate - in fact people have repeated said the opposite - I've made a point of saying that the couriers I worked with when I was a kid almost never worse helmets, there were certainly collisions, but no serious injuries.

What we have said is that the KE involved in the sort of hit that is likely to be fatal is far past the level where a helmet shell will fail, so the helmet will have no benefit at all. On behalf of the antis, I apologize for Sudo's assumption that you (or who ever else wrote that appallingly stupid claim) were less silly than you actually are. In future when you say something ambiguous, we will assume that you always mean the stupidest thing possible. In fact, I feel embarrassed that we didn't!

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Old 05-23-12, 02:58 PM   #2344
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How is that even possible? We keep hearing this same argument from the anti-helmet crowd of requiring evidence that a death or injury could have been different with or without a helmet. Unfortunately we cannot recreate the exact same situation to test whether or not the outcome would be different depending the if the rider was wearing a helmet or not so why are you even asking this? This degree of evidence is impossible to satisfy and it would be unreasonable to expect this.
Actually, it's extremely easy if you're not extremely stupid. Almost all deaths through head injury while cycling involve levels of kinetic energy far beyond those at which helmets fail "catastrophically". (Catastrophic failure meaning that the helmet fails without providing any benefit first.) At this point the argument is, for an intelligent person, over. If you assume, as you do, that a helmet that can absorb 100J when tested in the lab in ideal circumstances will absorb 500,000J in a real collision then you're just being very, very silly. If the bullet from a .45 will go through a sheet of paper in the lab, then betting that the same sheet of foolscap will stop an artillery shell in real life is just a way to look silly in the afterlife.

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Old 05-23-12, 03:03 PM   #2345
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sudo bike It is rare for your average adult to crash solo and die. That probability seems to go up when intoxicated (shocker), but the chance of a sober adult dying on their bike without the "help" of a car are really slim. So slim you may as well don body armor and other equipment that has only an off-chance of doing anything to help you.


nijaker:
Clearly, people die in car accidents while wearing seatbelts. By your flawed logic, people shouldn't be using them!

me
This is deeply silly. Sudo's logic is that helmet's aren't worth more worth wearing than body armour because there is no measurably greater benefit for the helmet. NOT because the helmet doesn't have a 100% success rate! Seatbelts have a very high success rate; cycling helmets have an approximately zero % success rate in a serious crashes. Not the same. Not even nearly the same thing. In fact, about exactly the opposite thing.

And really, if you can't be less silly and cognitively illiterate than this, please don't waste people's time posting.

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Old 05-23-12, 03:07 PM   #2346
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Six

Do you take your donor card with you each time you ride????
'bent - do you think that if you took yours to the hospital they might give you your missing cerebral tissue back?
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Old 05-23-12, 03:14 PM   #2347
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There are a lot of collisions with vehicles that are not fatalities. You have no idea whether helmets would be beneficial in some of those crashes!
Not unless you're an amazing genius capable of reading the actual helmet spec that helmets are constructed to... But, gosh, that would be hard! LIke... high school maths class hard, even! So why I am I taunting you?

To give an idea of how inadequate helmets are, simply prevented a concussion would require a helmet with FOUR INCHES OF FOAM. Not to mention a shell several times stronger than current ones. Really: you're being silly. Worse than that, you're being unfair and dishonest. If you're not smart enough to work out for yourself if a helmet can provide a certain capability, then at least specify that what you hope and for and ASK whether it might be possible. Adopting the attitude that people have to disprove some claim you haven't even clearly specified is unfair. (Fortunately in this case it's easy to answer anyway - because current helmets are so very, very poor.

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Old 05-23-12, 03:30 PM   #2348
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Originally Posted by Paramount1973 View Post
Yeah, imagine my surprise when I found the thread I posted in had been transferred and tacked onto this one. I did read a few pages back and all I saw was a couple of iffy epidemiology studies. Checking the author of the NZ study, it's pretty clear that he is not an epidemiologist as his other papers are not in that area. Probably pissed at having to strap on a helmet and cobbled something together. The majority of papers I have read that actually collate ER visits and attempt to control for variables show that wearing a helmet reduces head injuries. I'm keeping mine strapped on, the rest of you can do what you want. Just keep your organ donor cards on you, there aren't enough hearts, kidneys and livers to go around.
Realistically: you haven't read ANY papers. All your cites have been to blogs that claim to summarize paper, and then in every case it has been possible to show that either the blog was a crude mis-statement or that the paper was fraudulent or incompetent.
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Old 05-23-12, 03:33 PM   #2349
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Originally Posted by mconlonx View Post
It's just as likely the shell broke after the liner compressed, while absorbing impact.
I smell "I know nothing at all about a subject so I can imagine anything I want."

If you bothered to do any research you'd know this isn't true. When a shell fails, it fails before liner compression. See the articles by the helmet engineer at www.cyclehelmets.org/
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Old 05-23-12, 05:22 PM   #2350
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Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
There are a lot of collisions with vehicles that are not fatalities. You have no idea whether helmets would be beneficial in some of those crashes! You have no idea whether some of the survivors would have been fatalities if they had not been wearing helmets!


As I said, you are assuming that a collision with a vehicle will always lead to a fatality. You should know that isn't true!

Clearly, people die in car accidents while wearing seatbelts. By your flawed logic, people shouldn't be using them!
Of course it isn't a 100% lethal situation. But it is the most common cause of cycling fatalities, far and away. Therefore, why would one wear a helmet in that situation, when they are obviously not designed to be effective in that situation? Which the stats bear out, as cyclists still are dying at similar rates when the rate of usage goes up, such as in the case of mandatory law enactment.

The point is not that helmets can never help in any vehicular situation; only that those collisions that are likely to cause serious injury or death are not within the scope of what helmets were designed for. You're engaging in a strawman by changing my argument to something that covers more than what I really said. I do, in fact, think helmets can be effective in mitigating minor injuries, and effective in protecting a child's undeveloped skull (because these situations: solo crashes at low-speed, are ones that kids are more likely to get into).

But you cannot seriously argue, given the way helmets are tested and even based on what the helmet manufacturers say, that helmets will be effective in protecting you from serious or fatal injury in a motor vehicle crash, the situation you are most likely to die in as a cyclist. That is what I'm saying, no more, no less. Wearing a helmet because you believe it will help you in those situations is purely a faith-based, not an evidence based point-of-view, and expecting it to do more than it really will is a dangerous situation with safety equipment.

Imagine a rock climber using a caribeener he believe is rated for 250 lbs as opposed to one he is really using that is rated for 100 lbs. Can you see a problem occurring here? Oh wait, I forgot, that basic logical exercise is apparently just witch-doctor risk compensation. My bad. Let's forgo the actual engineering behind what helmets are designed and tested for and replace it with our "common-sense" assumption (oh common-sense... the foe of intellectual debate. You gave us the flat earth and so, so much more! ).

"I reject your reality and substitute it with my own" is getting to be a rather typical point-of-view for those claiming helmets save lives.

Last edited by sudo bike; 05-23-12 at 05:47 PM.
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