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Old 12-30-04, 04:26 PM   #1
Leo C. Driscoll
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http://www.bhsi.org/stats.htm

Some surprises in these stats compiled by the Bike Helmet Safety Institute. "Four states (California, Florida, New York, and Texas) accounted for 47 percent of bicycle deaths in 2002."
Some enigmas- high correlation between death and injury and not wearing a helmet. Yet few states require helmets. Maybe local ordinances are the way to go. What's your take on these stats?


Last edited by Leo C. Driscoll; 12-30-04 at 04:55 PM.
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Old 12-30-04, 04:33 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leo C. Driscoll
http://www.bhsi.org/stats.htm

Some surprises in these stats compiled by the Bike Helmet Safety Institute. CA most dangerous for bikers! Some enigmas- high correlation between death and injury and not wearing a helmet. Yet few states require helmets. Maybe local ordinances are the way to go. What's your take on these stats?

Regarding helmet laws - we have already been through that hassle with motorcycle helmets, and we were able to get the law rescinded here in Florida. Having said that, I choose to wear a helmet, but I believe in free choice. Your idea about local ordinances would be the most confusing legislation imaginable. I can envision entering a county, and strapping your helmet on, and removing it when you leave.

If anyone wants to fight for legitimate legislation, how about the requirement to wear a seat belt in a public conveyance such as a school bus?

In conclusion, I promised myself to stay out of the political BS and stick to cycling so nevermind!
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Old 12-30-04, 05:28 PM   #3
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OK, stir it up!

Here,

http://www.magma.ca/~ocbc/hfaq.html

your answer is question #1
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Old 12-30-04, 06:59 PM   #4
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OK, closetbiker. Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and caldron bubble ;-)

To the authors of this highly biased "FAQ" ( http://www.magma.ca/~ocbc/hfaq.html) I would repeat Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan's axiom, "Everyone is entitled to his [her] own opnion, but not to his [her] own facts."

The following facts are based on analysis of data from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Fatality Analysis Reporting System:

660 bicyclists were killed in crashes with motor vehicles in 2002. This is 9 percent fewer than in 2001 and down 34 percent since 1975.
Bicycle deaths are most likely to occur in summer and fall. Deaths are most likely to occur on Fridays. The peak time is 6-9 pm.
Eighty-five percent of bicyclists killed in 2002 reportedly weren't wearing helmets.
Twenty-three percent of bicyclists killed in 2002 had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or greater

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Old 12-30-04, 07:04 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leo C. Driscoll
OK, closetbiker. Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and caldron bubble ;-)

To the authors of this highly biased "FAQ" ( http://www.magma.ca/~ocbc/hfaq.html) I would repeat Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan's axiom, "Everyone is entitled to his [her] own opnion, but not to his [her] own facts."

The following facts are based on analysis of data from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Fatality Analysis Reporting System:

660 bicyclists were killed in crashes with motor vehicles in 2002. This is 9 percent fewer than in 2001 and down 34 percent since 1975.
Bicycle deaths are most likely to occur in summer and fall. Deaths are most likely to occur on Fridays. The peak time is 6-9 pm.
Eighty-five percent of bicyclists killed in 2002 reportedly weren't wearing helmets.
Twenty-three percent of bicyclists killed in 2002 had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or greater

I guess the only stat that really surprises me is the extent of alcohol involvement - on the part of the bicyclists.
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Old 12-30-04, 07:22 PM   #6
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Regarding 47% of bicyclist deaths in California, Florida, New York, and Texas:
1) I would like to see the breakdown by state and number of bicyclists, because I am guessing that Florida will have a significantly higher death RATE per million cyclists or per million miles cycled than the other three states;
2) I would like to see these percentages compared directly against the comparable stats on motorist and pedestrian deaths, to put things into a more useful perspective.
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Old 12-30-04, 07:29 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leo C. Driscoll
OK, closetbiker. Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and caldron bubble ;-)
Oh, come on now. As if the BHSI isn't highly biased.

Question #1 answers your repeated question. Question #2, under the Canadian fatality trends link, addresses the drop in deaths from 1975 to 2002

For more info, try http://www.pcug.org.au/~psvansch/crag/h-i-mech.htm for what a cycle helmet can't do and what about, the graphic on the first page here: http://www.cyclehelmets.org/

Is it coincidence that the countries with more and safer cycling are where fewest cyclists wear helmets?

and doesn't that first BHSI page quote FARS as showing cycling has half the fatality rate per hour travelled as cars?

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Old 12-30-04, 08:08 PM   #8
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Gee, do you think that the high number of immigrants that don't speak English, don't wear helmets, and break almost every common snese safety rule of cycling have anything to do with the numbers being so high in those four states?
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Old 12-30-04, 08:20 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dchiefransom
Gee, do you think that the high number of immigrants that don't speak English, don't wear helmets, and break almost every common snese safety rule of cycling have anything to do with the numbers being so high in those four states?
YIKES!!! What kind of predudicial comment is that????

Lets keep comment onto the substance of the topic.

Maybe you could say collisions happen when road users (motorists and cyclists alike) take unnessesary risks?
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Old 12-30-04, 08:59 PM   #10
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*Eighty-five percent of bicyclists killed in 2002 reportedly weren't wearing helmets*

That seems like an impressive statistic until you dig a little deeper. First, we don't know how many of those cyclist deaths were the result of a brain injury. Second, we don't know how many of those deaths, if there was a brain injury, could have been prevented by a helmet (getting hit by a speeding car, for example). Further, we don't know what proportion of the group that were killed (age, demographics) normally wear helmets. For instance, if 99% of a certain group never wears a helmet and 85% that were killed were not wearing a helmet, then wearing a helmet is a liability...

By their own estimates, 75% of cyclists don't wear helmets. Assuming that 10% of the reported deaths were not head injuries ro preventible by a helmet (which seems pretty resonable to me) then this organizations own stats do not support helmet use.
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Old 12-30-04, 08:59 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by closetbiker
YIKES!!! What kind of predudicial comment is that????
sounded prejudicial to me

Quote:
Originally Posted by closetbiker
Maybe you could say collisions happen when road users (motorists and cyclists alike) take unnessesary risks?
surely this is a troll no? not all accidents are the result of risks taken by the sufferer, unless you say that riding is inherently risky and therefore the only way to mitigate risk is by not riding at all.

Beside any risk a rider may or may not take, there are many things beyond their control beside major traumo induced by a motor vehicle. There is mechanical failure, poor pavement maintenance, poor pavement design, uncontrolled animals, uncontrolled pedestrians, sudden environmental changes (say oil being brought up after first rain in dry spell - you guys get ice on the pavement dont you?).

the point of wearing a helmet is to mitigate a head injury. has anyone claimed that a helmet can save a brain when its head bounces off a windscreen at 60km/hr?

i dont know if you are saying it, but the document you reference infers that helmets dont save lives. i doubt anyone was killed by wearing a helmet though, and so it would seem pretty good sense to make the small investment and just wear one. But you have freedom of choice; you can do what you like. Here in Melbourne, you'll probably have to pay a fine though.


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Old 12-30-04, 09:00 PM   #12
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By the way, Closetbiker, you rock.
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Old 12-30-04, 09:13 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mars
*Eighty-five percent of bicyclists killed in 2002 reportedly weren't wearing helmets*

That seems like an impressive statistic until you dig a little deeper. First, we don't know how many of those cyclist deaths were the result of a brain injury. Second, we don't know how many of those deaths, if there was a brain injury, could have been prevented by a helmet (getting hit by a speeding car, for example). Further, we don't know what proportion of the group that were killed (age, demographics) normally wear helmets. For instance, if 99% of a certain group never wears a helmet and 85% that were killed were not wearing a helmet, then wearing a helmet is a liability...
You are correct to question the stats.
They say there are lies, damn lies and statistics.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mars
By their own estimates, 75% of cyclists don't wear helmets. Assuming that 10% of the reported deaths were not head injuries ro preventible by a helmet (which seems pretty resonable to me) then this organizations own stats do not support helmet use.
I am a cyclist and I dont wear a helmet when i have a shower - and i estimate that i dont do this 100% of the time!

75%: On which planet mars?
By their own estimates: whose estimates? The cyclists? Survey authors?
Where and when was this published? Which organisation? Can you cite the survey please?

I ride every day to and from work - 2 hour round trip. I very rarely see anyone not wearing a helmet. I haven't counted, but believe i might see 3 or 4 people per week not wearing a helmet while they are riding a bike. and i see a lot more than 5 people per week riding.

Tell you what: I am back at work next Tuesday. I will start counting the number of people i see riding and then count how many dont wear a helmet. I might be surprised.

cheers

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Old 12-30-04, 09:19 PM   #14
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Marty,
Read the link in the original post.

FWIW, I see more than 75% of cyclists with helmets as well.
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Old 12-30-04, 09:27 PM   #15
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By the way, Closetbiker, you rock.
Gee, thanks. I don't know what to say, I'm so used to getting flack, that I don't know how to handle a compliment.
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Old 12-30-04, 09:40 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mars
Marty,
Read the link in the original post.

FWIW, I see more than 75% of cyclists with helmets as well.
oh, that survey:-)

i must be a bit sensitive. hope i wasn't rude as well!

i went down 2 weeks ago early on a very wet morning, and only realised i'd been knocked out after i got to work and started getting flashbacks and suffering the effects of concussion.

i hit the side of my head - at least the side of my helmet is grazed. i expect that i'd have suffered greater injury had i not been wearing a helmet; and no, i am not willing to prove that!

on the other hand, had i not been wearing a helmet then i wouldn't have to shell out for a new one now that this one is busted.

Still, I think i will attempt to count helmets for 1 week, next week. Anyone else up for it?




cheers


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Old 12-30-04, 10:08 PM   #17
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Mars, you're in the correct orbit ;-) The eight-five percent stat and helmet non-usage is just a correlation. It suggests that there is an important connection between bike fatalities and lack of lids.

It does not consider all the variables you mention because it is not a clinical statement.

The following is a clinical report that goes beyond correlation. This is from the Colorado Neurological Institute (CNI). It argues a cause-effect relationship between riding without a helmet and TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury).

http://www.thecni.org/reviews/11-1-p27-levy.htm

Because the CNI report extends to other sports and is long, I'll paste some of the TBI stats.

"Bicycling is an extremely popular recreational activity in Colorado, and the use of bicycles as a mode of transportation is increasing. Each year there are more than 500,000 emergency room visits related to bicycle injuries nationwide; 350,000 of those injured are children.

One-third of all emergency room visits for bicycle related injuries, and two-thirds of all hospital admissions are for head injuries. An estimated 900 people die each year in the US from bicycle accidents; about 200 of those killed are children under 15 years of age. Head injury is the cause of death in 70% to 80% of bicycle related fatalities.

Bicycle helmets have been shown to reduce the risk of head injury by 85%, brain injury by 88%, and severe brain injury by 75%, and were found to be just as effective in preventing injuries involving collisions with motor vehicles as for any other type of accident.

According to a CPSC 1999 bicycle helmet use survey, 50% of riders regularly wear bike helmets; 43% reported wearing a helmet all the time and 7% wear a helmet more than half the time they ride. About 38% of adults reported regular helmet use, and 69% of children wear helmets regularly, according to their parents. This represents a significant increase in helmet use since the CPSC’s last survey in 1991, in which only 18% of riders wore a helmet regularly. Clearly, education and public awareness efforts have paid off with increased helmet use, but there is still significant room for improvement.

From 1990-1999 there were 515 patients admitted to our level I trauma center in Denver with bicycle related injuries (unpublished data). Only 145 (28.2%) were wearing a helmet at the time of the accident. Of those wearing a helmet 62 (42.8%) suffered a TBI, and 3 died, for a mortality rate of 2.1%. Of those not wearing a helmet, 55.3% sustained a TBI and 3.7% died."

I don't like to end this grim communiqué with my signature animation, but anyway....Thanks for joining the
discussion. I 'hope others will also share their views!



Last edited by Leo C. Driscoll; 12-30-04 at 10:23 PM.
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Old 12-31-04, 12:10 AM   #18
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marty and lowenherz:

thanks for your polite responses to an alternative opinion. And marty, glad to hear that you are ok after your fall. Now, to business:

Look at the contradictions in the fugures from Colorado. They claim that 2/3 of hospital admissions from bike accidents are head injuries, but in the Denver figures, they account for 266 out of 515, or 51%. Then, they claim that helmets reduce injury by 85%, 88%, and 75% (how did they get those figures, anyway?) but the denver figures look like this: TBI helmeted 42.8%; non-helmeted 55.3 - for a difference of 12.5%. For death from TBI, helmeted 2.1%; non-helmeted 3.7% - for a difference of 1.6%.

Now, one could argue that a difference of 12.5% for an injury or 1.6% for a death is nothing to dismiss, but, again, we don't know the additional evidence. Were there other differences between the accident victims that might account for these figures? For example, let's assume (for the purposes of making a point) that the helmeted folks were mostly middle class adults commuting to work, while the non-helmeted folks were poor kids who couldn't affrod helmets and lived in a poorer part of town. Factors such as the average speed of impact might change from neighbourhood to neighbourhood, the quickness of abulance response, distance to the hospital, overall health of the victim, and so forth. My point is that there are many variables that may play a role here and a pretty small difference (12.5% and 1.6% to be exact) between the TBI/mortality rate of these two groups.

Now, consider the risk of head injuries in an automobile accident. Or falling on the front step. shouldn't people wear helmets while driving or walking?
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Old 12-31-04, 12:11 AM   #19
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Marty: i will count the people with/without helmets for a week and post the results on this forum.
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Old 12-31-04, 12:46 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leo C. Driscoll
The following is a clinical report that goes beyond correlation. This is from the Colorado Neurological Institute (CNI). It argues a cause-effect relationship between riding without a helmet and TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury).
Read #5
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Old 12-31-04, 12:47 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mars
Now, consider the risk of head injuries in an automobile accident. Or falling on the front step. shouldn't people wear helmets while driving or walking?
Read #8
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Old 12-31-04, 09:37 AM   #22
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Mars, your math is off; you need to divide the statistics, not subtract them. That is, if you have a 3.7% chance of a death by a traumatic brain injury without wearing a helmet and a 2.1% chance while wearing one, you have reduced your risk of TBI death by 43% (1-2.1/3.7) not 1.6% (3.7-2.1). Yes, the risk was already low, but the helmet made it substantially lower. Considering that the thing being lowered is death, this is good.

Regarding the "inconsistencies," much of that is addressed in the article right after the part that Leo quoted. Here is the full paragraph with the previously-excluded text in blue.
Quote:
From 1990-1999 there were 515 patients admitted to our level I trauma center in Denver with bicycle related injuries (unpublished data). Only 145 (28.2%) were wearing a helmet at the time of the accident. Of those wearing a helmet 62 (42.8%) suffered a TBI, and 3 died, for a mortality rate of 2.1%. Of those not wearing a helmet, 55.3% sustained a TBI and 3.7% died. Unfortunately, helmet use was lower among our population than noted in the CPSC survey, and helmets reduced the risk of TBI by only 23%. The severity of brain injury was reduced more dramatically by helmets, with a 62% reduction in craniotomies and a 43% [see, I told you, 43% ] reduction in mortality among those wearing helmets. The apparently low reduction in risk of TBI in this group is likely a result of selection bias in which only patients with a significant injury are referred and admitted to our level I trauma center. The low helmet use rate likely results from a combination of the same admission bias and an overall low helmet use rate in the community surrounding our facility. An informal head count revealed that helmet use in the neighborhood around our hospital is about 25%. This compares with helmet use rates as high as 75% to 90% in other regions of the metro area and in mountain communities. Hopefully with continued widespread public awareness and education efforts, and focused efforts toward communities where helmet use is lowest, we can further increase bicycle helmet use and decrease the incidence and severity of brain injuries.
I was in an accident in October. I was traveling about 25 MPH on a long slight hill. A car made a left across my lane and I went over the hood. My bike was totalled. My right wrist was broken. I had scrapes on my left knee, left shoulder and the left side of my chin. A had a bump on left side of my forehead where my head struck the helmet after the helmet struck the ground. The helmet is dead; I am not. This is good. (My next, and I hope final, appointment with the orthopaedist is Monday.)

I know that "anecdote" is not the singular of "data," even when it's my anecdote. However, there are lots of data that show that wearing helmets reduces injuries and death and little or none that show that it increases them.
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Old 12-31-04, 09:55 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ksb
I know that "anecdote" is not the singular of "data," even when it's my anecdote. However, there are lots of data that show that wearing helmets reduces injuries and death and little or none that show that it increases them.
The only people arguing that going helmetless is safer are the people who don't want to wear helmets for personal reasons. Of course, if you wear a helmet, you are safer, but that doesn't necessarily create the need for a law. Certainly riding a motorcycle puts one @ more risk for injury than driving a car, but motorcycles shouldn't be outlowed for that reason. SUVs flip more easily, but it seems that every other car on the road is an SUV today.

The bottom line is that I could care less if anyone wears a helmet, as it’s not my head; and therfore, it's not my business! I will, however, continue to wear mine.
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Old 12-31-04, 09:56 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ksb
... if you have a 3.7% chance of a death by a traumatic brain injury without wearing a helmet and a 2.1% chance while wearing one, you have reduced your risk of TBI death by 43% (1-2.1/3.7) not 1.6% (3.7-2.1).
Read #1 (including the first link provided on post #7)


Quote:
Originally Posted by ksb
I was in an accident in October. The helmet is dead; I am not. This is good.
Read #3


Quote:
Originally Posted by ksb
there are lots of data that show that wearing helmets reduces injuries
Read #4, 5, 6 & 7
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Old 12-31-04, 10:26 AM   #25
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I think the bike helmets are designed to minimze injury when you fall on your head. That's why I use one when riding.
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