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    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
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    NYT: Cycling is top sport for head injuries.


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    24-Speed Machine Chris516's Avatar
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    I don't trust bike lanes. I agree with wearing a bike helmet. But I don't trust bike lanes.

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    Somehow the news article decided that when there is any head injury and a death, then that is a head trauma death. Less than half of the deaths with known injuries involved only head injuries. When your torso is crushed, the state of your head isn't really important anymore. It's also interesting that almost half of the head injuries involving cyclists are to children. It's not a surprise; it's kind of like what one would expect of novice tight-rope walkers when no net is strung.

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    vol
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    The author appears to have total confusion in his logic (if he has any):

    "In addition to wearing a helmet, another helpful precaution is using a marked bike lane: Streets that have them have 40 percent fewer crashes ending in death or serious injury."

    Wearing helmet and using marked bike lane are two entirely different types of safety measures. Helmet prevents/reduces head injury after accident has occurred; marked bike lane may help prevent accidents from happening. If the author were to list the "helpful precautions" "in addition to wearing a helmet", he should also include using headlights and taillights, reflectors, mirrors, obeying traffic rules, etc.

    (Maybe he has a relative working in the helmet industry?)
    Last edited by vol; 06-21-13 at 11:14 AM. Reason: misspelling

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    Powerful-Ugly Creature Greyryder's Avatar
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    "In New York City, 75 percent of all fatal bike accidents involve a head injury."

    Reminds me of:
    Mad Scientist: "I am dying."

    Atomic Robo: "It's the massive plutonium leak in the forty ton bomb that's crushing your lower torso."
    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Burton
    When some wild eyed eight foot tall maniac grabs you by the throat and taps the back of your favorite head head against the barroom wall, and he looks crooked in the eye, and he ask you if ya paid your dues, you just stare that big sucker right back in the eye, and you remember what ol' Jack Burton always says at a time like that: "Have ya paid your dues, Jack?" "Yessir, the check is in the mail."

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    Senior Member zandoval's Avatar
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    Oh I wish I had the guts to ride without my helmet...

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    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vol View Post
    ...Wearing helmet and using market bike lane are two entirely different types of safety measures. Helmet prevents/reduces head injury after accident has occurred; marked bike lane may help prevent accidents from happening. If the author were to list the "helpful precautions" "in addition to wearing a helmet", he should also include using headlights and taillights, reflectors, mirrors, obeying traffic rules, etc...
    I'm not agreeing or disagreeing with the author, but I don't get your objection. Per the article, riding in the bike lane makes having an accident less likely, and wearing a helmet makes death from an accdient less likely, so combined there is a lesser chance of dying than with either alone. There is no illogic there.

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    Nobody mconlonx's Avatar
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    My issue with the article is lumping all cycling together as "sport," especially in context of talking urban bike lanes and traffic safety.

    Because of course if we were looking at head injury as a share of transport or even head injuries in general, 2% of head injuries by cyclists pales in comparison to head injuries suffered by those in motor vehicles.
    I know next to nothing. I am frequently wrong.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mconlonx View Post
    ...Because of course if we were looking at head injury as a share of transport or even head injuries in general, 2% of head injuries by cyclists pales in comparison to head injuries suffered by those in motor vehicles.

    How are you making this comparison? Bicycling accounts for such a small share of transportation in the US it wouldn't make sense to me to simply compare how many cyclists get head injuries while biking for transport to the number of people receiving head injuries while involved in auto collisions. And wouldn't auto collisions also include passengers?

    I think the only legitimate comparison would be to correlate the data based on miles traveled or hours in transit and factoring in the difference in numbers of persons engaged in the activity and separating driver and passenger injuries. I'm not sure the data exists (or has been collected) to make any accurate comparisons.

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    Quote Originally Posted by buzzman View Post
    I think the only legitimate comparison would be to correlate the data based on miles traveled or hours in transit and factoring in the difference in numbers of persons engaged in the activity and separating driver and passenger injuries. I'm not sure the data exists (or has been collected) to make any accurate comparisons.
    One would also need to consider only transportation based cycling. Recreational cycling, such as mountain biking or road racing, has different injury risks. It isn't good science to include all cycling injury data when comparing the risks associated with transport by car versus transport by bike. Only data associated with cycling for transportation is relevant.

    Driver and passenger data need not be separated if we make a per passenger mile comparison.

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    Nobody mconlonx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by buzzman View Post
    How are you making this comparison? Bicycling accounts for such a small share of transportation in the US it wouldn't make sense to me to simply compare how many cyclists get head injuries while biking for transport to the number of people receiving head injuries while involved in auto collisions. And wouldn't auto collisions also include passengers?

    I think the only legitimate comparison would be to correlate the data based on miles traveled or hours in transit and factoring in the difference in numbers of persons engaged in the activity and separating driver and passenger injuries. I'm not sure the data exists (or has been collected) to make any accurate comparisons.
    So you agree with the way this is presented in the original article, that cycling is the top sport for head injury and then not actually include any examples of cycling sport in the supporting piece? Instead, providing examples of typically transportation cycling? If the data doesn't exist, doesn't it mean that the original piece cited is just as much nonsense?

    Do you refute the statement that motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of head injuries in the USA?
    I know next to nothing. I am frequently wrong.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaywalk3r View Post
    One would also need to consider only transportation based cycling. Recreational cycling, such as mountain biking or road racing, has different injury risks. It isn't good science to include all cycling injury data when comparing the risks associated with transport by car versus transport by bike. Only data associated with cycling for transportation is relevant.

    Driver and passenger data need not be separated if we make a per passenger mile comparison.
    But then we have to take the recreational driving out of the motorist head injury count, and I don't even know how to begin deciding which motoring trips are recreational and which are transportational.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Looigi View Post
    I'm not agreeing or disagreeing with the author, but I don't get your objection. Per the article, riding in the bike lane makes having an accident less likely, and wearing a helmet makes death from an accdient less likely, so combined there is a lesser chance of dying than with either alone. There is no illogic there.
    I'm not so sure this is proven or even reasonable considering the design parameters of a bike helmet and the momentum transfers of a collision involving a motor vehicle. Head injuries are certainly involved in many cyclist deaths, as the article pointed out. Whether bike helmets would change those numbers is not shown in the article.

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    Quote Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
    But then we have to take the recreational driving out of the motorist head injury count, and I don't even know how to begin deciding which motoring trips are recreational and which are transportational.
    That's easy. We don't count NASCAR, F1, etc. incidents.

    Recreational driving accounts for a tiny proportion of car related injuries. Recreational cycling accounts for a large proportion of cycling injuries.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaywalk3r View Post
    That's easy. We don't count NASCAR, F1, etc. incidents.

    Recreational driving accounts for a tiny proportion of car related injuries. Recreational cycling accounts for a large proportion of cycling injuries.
    I'm not so sure. Look at the graphs towards the bottom of this link. It looks like recreational trips by car are pretty significant. Add in family/personal trips and we're talking about a large majority of all trips by car.
    http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policyinform...8/chapter4.cfm

    I do accept, rightly or not, that recreational cycling accounts for a disproportionate share of cycling injuries. However, that's only partly based on a perception of adult behavior and is more influenced by the likelihood that the riding done by children is recreational, since very few of them are allowed to ride to school or to the store anymore. (We rode up hill both ways through the snow to school back when I was young)

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    Quote Originally Posted by mconlonx View Post
    ... If the data doesn't exist, doesn't it mean that the original piece cited is just as much nonsense?
    Well, since you put it that way, yeah, two wrongs don't make a right. It does seem, however, that your extrapolation requires even more mental gymnastics to work around the lack of supporting data.

    Quote Originally Posted by mconlonx View Post
    Do you refute the statement that motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of head injuries in the USA?
    Not really, no, I'll take your word for it. But given the extensive use of automotive travel in this country it doesn't surprise me in the least. I would, in fact, be surprised if it were through some other cause.

    EDIT Well, surprise, surprise. I should have heeded your disclaimer of being "frequently wrong." I'll know better than to take your word for it from now on. . I do refute "the statement that motor vehicles accidents are the leading cause of head injuries in the USA"! Something just didn't seem right in that statement so I checked.

    According to the CDC FALLS are the leading cause of head injuries, followed by unknown causes and third is motor vehicle accidents. However, in all fairness, motor vehicle accidents do result in the largest share of deaths due to head injury.
    Last edited by buzzman; 06-22-13 at 11:42 AM. Reason: New Info

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    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
    I'm not so sure this is proven or even reasonable considering the design parameters of a bike helmet and the momentum transfers of a collision involving a motor vehicle. Head injuries are certainly involved in many cyclist deaths, as the article pointed out. Whether bike helmets would change those numbers is not shown in the article.
    The statement in the article is self consistent and logical. Whether the data are accurate is a different question.

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    Senior Member dynodonn's Avatar
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    Dumb article, far more people ride bicycles than play football or baseball.

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    The author is using a bunch of raw data apparently form different sources. This leads to some strange math. For example, a one point he says that almost half of head injuries are to children (most data agree there) then further on down say that the majority of men who die in bike accidents not wearing helmets are middle aged men. Unless men are more likely to die of injuries than any other category, there isn't much room for anyone else after subtracting the nearly half that are children.

    In any case, it isn't the total numbers that matter, but the rate. Any activity with a large participation base will also have larger numbers of injuries and even deaths. When we look at the actual risk of head injury we find that the numbers for adults, with or without helmets is fairly low.

    Is here a risk? Of course there is. Do helmets reduce the risk of head injury? Yes, but most data show that the reduction is not as much as folks tend to believe.
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    Senior Member kmv2's Avatar
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    If commuting by bike was a sport, then commuting by car is like auto racing, right?
    So I'd say by that logic, auto racing is the most dangerous sport!

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    All cycling isn't sport as mentioned above.

    Another thing is that a lot of brain injuries in sports like football are not reported and the players are never trated properly. Some coaches are aware of head injuries now, but still there are probably a lot who will send a player back into a game after he had his bell rung. The effect of these injuries might not show up for years.

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    Quote Originally Posted by buzzman View Post

    According to the CDC FALLS are the leading cause of head injuries, followed by unknown causes and third is motor vehicle accidents. However, in all fairness, motor vehicle accidents do result in the largest share of deaths due to head injury.
    Oh great. Now I have a reason to fear the unknown.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    ...For example, a one point he says that almost half of head injuries are to children (most data agree there) then further on down say that the majority of men who die in bike accidents not wearing helmets are middle aged men. Unless men are more likely to die of injuries than any other category, there isn't much room for anyone else after subtracting the nearly half that are children...
    First case is head total injuries, which I assume includes with and without helmets.

    Second case is deaths among those not wearing helmets.

    Within this, I don't see the numbers as inconsistent.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Looigi View Post
    First case is head total injuries, which I assume includes with and without helmets.

    Second case is deaths among those not wearing helmets.

    Within this, I don't see the numbers as inconsistent.
    The numbers indicate a large skew in the proportion of deaths by category vs the general pool of all injuries. If the data is consistent then it would indicate that middle aged men are more likely to have fatal vs non fatal head injuries than the general population.

    Of course there could be differences in how the data were collected, and what criteria were used, but the fact is that head injury and fatality data do not make the case that head injury is a serious risk for casual cyclists. I won't debate whether helmets reduce the rate of injuries or make a difference is the severity, and I certainly have no basis to object if anyone chooses to wear a helmet for cycling or any other activity. That's a personal choice. All I ask is that the true believers do what they feel is best for them, and give others the courtesy of accepting their decision to do differently.
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  25. #25
    Senior Member volosong's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zandoval View Post
    Oh I wish I had the guts to ride without my helmet...
    Yeah. Most of the other posters talk like they don't wear helmets.
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