I agree with the OP. I always wear a bike helmet.
I agree with the OP. I always wear a bike helmet.
And it is within your rights not to wear a helmet if you don't want to. Unless you are one of the poor saps under a MHL. But don't pretend you are doing this out of some higher purpose or some ultimate tradeoff or justification that makes the scales balance. You are being selfish when you make that choice. It is within the rules (for most people), and it is selfish.
We do all sorts of things that are selfish and not in the best interests of other people. Most people drive too fast, including me. Most cyclists are put in a position, at some point or another, to waste another person's time by taking the lane. It's not a lot but it adds up. The correct response is not to try to justify a selfish act with some self-justifying tradeoff, but to respond to attempts to curtail your rights by pointing out that this is what you do, others do things you don't like, and dealing with it is part of being in a society.
The point in all of this is we are not outside society. We are not even rightly called a minority that should be endowed by rights. We are an interest group with selfish interests. When we ride in the lane in front of a car forcing her from 40mph down to 15, we are being selfish. When we forgo a helmet and then incur the cost of head trauma with insurance, we are being selfish. We are part of society. We ride the same roads that all our neighbors helped pay to build. We are protected by those same cops who we love to hate on because those cops ensure that nobody simply run us down from behind. Step out from this curtain of righteousness for a bit and realize we are simply one interest group amongst many, and there are other stakeholders other than just cyclists when it comes to helmet laws and the like.
So I'll turn this question around and ask how you select those people who should take your nonsensical pledge.
OTOH, I scuba dive, and pay out of pocket for dive accident insurance, so if I have a dive accident I don't pay out of pocket, nor do your costs go up. If it were offered at a price reflecing the risk I'd gladly pay separately for bicycle accident insurance.
If it helps you figure the impact, consider life insurance actuaries look at bicycling. I carried a decently large life ins. policy because of my business. I qualified for the lowest preferred rate. To qualify for this, I not only had to be in the upper percentiles health wise, they also had lifestyle questions. Factored were things like how often I flew commercially, (private aircraft was banned for 3 years) what sports I participated in, and a ling laundry list of similar questions. Bicycling wasn't factored (no helmet question either), but scuba diving was, and I needed to get an opinion and special exemption, based on frequency of dives (no commercial, no technical diving). I would have had to limit dives for a few years, but I scored high enough on other risk factors that they waived the restriction.
The plain truth is that active bicyclists, are a much lower drain on healthcare costs than the general population, EVEN IF THEY RIDE WITHOUT A HELMET. So before we discuss a pay out of pocket pledge, maybe we should discuss a serious discount, since we're already paying more than our fair share.
BTW- don't ask for more details or explanation, I've asaid all I need to say on the subject.
my experience with hitting my head and requiring an ER visit for stitches is that they will insist on keeping you overnight for observation. And for good reason. So you are talking a hefty bill, possibly $30k in the U.S. Of course, this might still be called for if you wear a helmet and are knocked out. But stitches are incredibly expensive too, just saw an article saying that they can cost $800 a stitch. You probably get a quantity discount in cases like mine, 26 stitches at $800 apiece is probably more than they would have the guts to charge.
Do people seriously have trouble with the concept of separating out costs?
To put a cost on forgoing a helmet does not mean I must simultaneously price slipping in the shower, driving, cycling in general, racing, walking up stairs, diet, gun ownership, exercise, and everything else that affects society in this world!
I didn't stick my nose in pro or con on helmets, as I wear one and don't care what others do. If helmets are legally required, then the law should be rigorously enforced. Much like cell phone and texting bans should be rigorously enforced.
But Brian, you cannot conduct a "thought experiment" without:
1) allowing potentially parallel analogies to be explored.
2) being open to other thoughts.
Usually the "parallel analogies" are more of a I-dontwanna-look-at-this-why-not-look-at-that-instead variety. I have not seen one parallel analogy which seek to answer the question I am exploring; only cries about relative magnitudes and attempts to justify not exploring what I'm looking to explore.
Also, I can certainly choose not to be open to other thoughts if those thoughts are not compelling to me. It is an exploration. To open another thought, one must make a compelling argument. There have been some here, but in general the ones making the most noise are the ones trying to get me to look elsewhere. Such as bathrooms, driving, skiing, swimming, diet, etc. I am not interested in the costs of any of those things. I am interested in the costs of not wearing a helmet. I think I've caused some people to think a bit, even if these people are probably not the loudest of the bunch.
Most of the hue and cry has been people trying to make me NOT explore this territory; the ones who are a little afraid of what there is to find, I suppose. The problem with politics (and this is what the helmet debate amounts to), is it forces people to choose sides and state positions. Half of the replies to my posts have been mere position statements, like you'd find in politics with a press release. You've even fallen into this trap by preemptively declaring your "side". And then after that, it forces each word to be metered, each question asked and each question answered, to be carefully vetted to ensure it doesn't "weaken" their side and inadvertently provide "fodder" for the "other side".
I don't care very much about politics. Like those who refuse the principled stand to allow actions to go with rhetoric, I am selfish in that way. I don't really care if my arguments are used for a pro or con side in the great helmet debates. My personal belief is that these things work themselves out in time, and the fastest way to get to good policy is not by tricky politics and repetitious policy position statements, but simply quantifying rhetoric and letting the pieces fall where they may.
You are trying to make some moral argument and to put an obligation on people who make a lifestyle choice to ride without helmets. We have no universal morals in this country, nor should we. We have laws. If the law allows a behavior, then no defense of it is needed, nor should people be discriminated against for legal behavior. If insurance could disqualify people for not wearing helmets, don't you think they would? If the losses are significant, wouldn't they lobby for a law to require helmets, and therefore get themselves grounds to disallow unhelmeted head injuries?
The candy bar has an inherent value... the price is what the market is willing to pay, compared to other similar and dissimilar products. In a highly inflated economy (such as the sudden shortage of candy bars) the price will go up.
I have no "inherent value" for what you propose. What is the price of wind in my hair?
I wear a helmet 99.9% of the time, but I have no confidence that it will play a major role in any riding incident that I experience. I wear it because it feels right, allows me to mount a mirror and a rear light, and it just may be helpful in the rare case that I land on my head. Why in the heck should I pay a premium for subjectively perceived risky behaviour when others all around me do things that are really risky.
Let's ask for premiums from:
Anyone that drinks alcohol
Anyone that operates power machinery
Anyone that uses a ladder
Anyone with an electronic communications device
Anyone who participates in recreational sports
Anyone who smokes
Anyone on the water without a PFD
Anyone who owns a firearm
Anyone who does not own a firearm
Anyone who eats raw shellfish
Anyone who takes a shower - more likely to have a head injury there than on a bike
Everyone who sucks the medical system dry because they refuse to take care of themselves
Any pedestrian that trusts cars to yield in crosswalks
I could go on but you get the idea.
So, why guess $10? You are trying to make the point that you are pulling this out of your ass, but what of my guess? Some reasonable assumption might be that a "serious" cyclist might land on her/his head on average once every 24 years, riding a regular commute route.
A high side fall onto flat ground at speed will put the back quarter of one's head in direct impact on the ground (ask me how I know... ;)). With a helmet, if you get a concussion, you'll probably get a ride to the ER (not an ambulance usually), and they'll give you a CT scan and keep you there for a couple hours. Cost: ~$4000.
A similar fall without a helmet will probably result in an ambulance ride (onlookers will likely call 911 if they see a face-full of blood) and an overnight stay in the hospital for observation. Cost: ~$40k (per unterhausen's experience + ambulance).
The decision to not wear a helmet, in this situation, cost someone $36k. I can buy a BMW for $36k. Assuming this happens once every 24 years (100-200k miles for your average commute cyclist), this comes to $125/mo (not assuming interest). I can buy a nice jacket for $125. With this calculation, the decision to not wear a helmet amounts to about one jacket per month per person. Someone pays this. Either you, out of pocket (the origins of this thread), or society through socialized/insured medicine.
Here is where it gets tricky. We know in our model that the cost is ~$125/month for your helmet decision. What is the price you are willing to pay to keep the wind in your hair?Quote:
... What is the price of wind in my hair?
Your cost is based on "A high side fall onto flat ground at speed." A condition I am unlikely to encounter when I chose to not wear a helmet while "cruising the boardwalk or MUP as I stated in my post."
So what are the costs I am liable to incur should I fall off my bike at 6-10 MPH... I might need a bandaid. Perhaps an icepack. So my choice of when to wear a helmet already defeats the cost structure you laid out.
Oh and oddly you could not provide a figure until you "compared it to the cost of the other items in the store..." interesting.
It is like asking a child what they would pay for a candy bar... "a million dollars..." just as silly and illogical.