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  1. #1
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    Dutch hate to wear cycling helmets

    Front page story in today's Wall St. Journal blew my mind when I read it.

    "Grown men wear helmets and fluorescent jackets, and it looks dangerous." The statistics were even more discouraging. The Dutch Cyclists Union pushes hard against use of helmets.

    Here in Pennsylvania we have a mandatory bicycle helmet law for riders under 12 years old. Never enforced but not a bad idea in my mind.

    Here is a link to the article: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000...616160146.html

    For me I never leave the driveway without a helmet. Maybe the Dutch drivers are all really considerate to cyclists but here in the good ole USA not so much.

  2. #2
    thompsonpost
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    Helmets protect you when you bump your head on things. They do not stop cars from crushing your head.

  3. #3
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    Make your own choice. I choose to wear a helmet when I ride.

    Mine protected my head when I bumped it on a car.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  4. #4
    Senior Member MinnMan's Avatar
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    Please let's not start this debate again....

  5. #5
    thompsonpost
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    Quote Originally Posted by BluesDawg View Post
    Make your own choice. I choose to wear a helmet when I ride.

    Mine protected my head when I bumped it on a car.
    I never ride without one, either.

  6. #6
    thompsonpost
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    Quote Originally Posted by minnman View Post
    please let's not start this debate again....
    Ok.

  7. #7
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Heck - everyone knows how hard-headed the Dutch are!!
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  8. #8
    Banned. The Weak Link's Avatar
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    What makes the Dutch the final arbiters of bicycle safety?

  9. #9
    LET'S ROLL 1nterceptor's Avatar
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    I've been to the Netherlands a few times, most of their bike path networks
    are seperate from car traffic. I think this gives the Dutch a huge sense of
    safety, maybe that's why they don't wear helmets. And I believe there is a
    rule that in a bike with car accidents, the car is assumed guilty right away.
    Again adding another sense of security for the Dutch people.

  10. #10
    You gonna eat that? Doohickie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
    Please let's not start this debate again....
    Why not?
    I stop for people / whose right of way I honor / but not for no one.



    Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."

  11. #11
    Yen
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    In the past year alone, three members of our group sustained serious head injuries when they fell (in separate incidents) and bumped their head. At the ER, all of them were told that their helmet saved their life. One of them was knocked unconscious and air-lifted to the hospital. Another sustained multiple injuries and still has residual brain damage --- recovery for him has been much slower. In any case, there is no doubt that the helmet saved their lives. True, it won't stop a car from rolling over our head but it will protect us from injury (or death) in most cases of one's head meeting a hard object.
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  12. #12
    Council of the Elders billydonn's Avatar
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    The Euro-socialist nations are notorious for their respect of personal liber.... oh, never mind.

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    to old age and infirmity. You first.
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  13. #13
    Badger Biker ctyler's Avatar
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    I never wear a helmet when riding a bike trail. But always do when riding the road.
    It's a good day to ride.
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  14. #14
    You gonna eat that? Doohickie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yen View Post
    In the past year alone, three members of our group sustained serious head injuries when they fell (in separate incidents) and bumped their head. At the ER, all of them were told that their helmet saved their life. One of them was knocked unconscious and air-lifted to the hospital. Another sustained multiple injuries and still has residual brain damage --- recovery for him has been much slower. In any case, there is no doubt that the helmet saved their lives. True, it won't stop a car from rolling over our head but it will protect us from injury (or death) in most cases of one's head meeting a hard object.
    Well, if you ride a bike in a position such that your head is hanging over the handlebars, this is a very real risk. Dutch transportation cycling usually involves a much more upright seating position and relatively slow speeds. Not all cycling styles are equally risky.
    I stop for people / whose right of way I honor / but not for no one.



    Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."

  15. #15
    Senior Member slorollin's Avatar
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    I love the Dutch. They invented licorice candy too. We Americans, however have a tendency to try to save one another for our own damned good.
    We oughta' go over there and bust some heads before they start wearing helmets.
    The great Confucius said that he would
    rather be a profound political economist than chief of police.

  16. #16
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    I wear helmets all the time, but you have to understand that US infrastructure is not the most biker-friendly... The heart of Amsterdam consists of roads that mostly bikers use. It's more of a hassle to drive there than ride a bike. My point is that their city structure makes it so accidents and injuries in general are not as prevalent as they are here in the US. Helmets undoubtedly save lives, but it's more of an issue here to wear them because there is a higher risk of injury every time we mount our bikes.

  17. #17
    Dirt Bomb sknhgy's Avatar
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    They also wear wooden shoes. Does that mean we have to?

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yen View Post
    In the past year alone, three members of our group sustained serious head injuries when they fell (in separate incidents) and bumped their head. At the ER, all of them were told that their helmet saved their life. One of them was knocked unconscious and air-lifted to the hospital. Another sustained multiple injuries and still has residual brain damage --- recovery for him has been much slower. In any case, there is no doubt that the helmet saved their lives.
    Why would there be no doubt? ER doctors aren't trained in accident reconstruction - nor are they in a position to gather data that would be needed for that. They are good at fixing the injuries that occur, but have no special expertise in determining what injuries would have been sustained in the absence of a helmet. Those of us who cycled long before helmets became popular did not observe greater numbers of serious head injuries or fatalities back then compared to today. Certainly it would have been noticed and had a chilling influence on the sport if multiple members of a single cycling club died in one year due to separate incidents.

    "... but it will protect us from injury (or death) in most cases of one's head meeting a hard object."

    If this were true then countries such as Australia where enforced helmet laws have sharply increased the helmet usage (to over 80%) should show dramatic reductions in the serious injury and fatality rates. But instead the number of hospitalizations and fatalites have only been reduced slightly - and traffic counts of cyclists show somewhat greater reductions. So the rate of serious injuries and fatalities has not been improved at all - the main impact of the law has been to discourage cycling.

  19. #19
    Humvee of bikes =Worksman Nightshade's Avatar
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    I fell awhile back while airing my tires. When I gathered my senses I looked around to see if I was hurt and saw the stations building curb , with metal wear edge!, not 3" from my head!! If my head had struck that curb with no helmet I would not be here now. Scared me straight to always wear my helmet !!!
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  20. #20
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    Helmets look dorky, they're uncomfortable, they're too expensive, and I don't like them... but i wear one anyway.

  21. #21
    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Weak Link View Post
    What makes the Dutch the final arbiters of bicycle safety?
    Did you read the article? It certainly didn't come across as the Dutch believing they are the final arbiters of bicycle safety to me. In fact, it seems very similar to the "conversations" around helmet use on these forums.
    A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. - S. Wright

  22. #22
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    On my commute into work I see two types of riders. Without exception- all the commuters on the roads wear helmets. Think the message has got through to the "Regular" cyclists at long last. Associated with these are the cyclists I see on the roads out on "Training" rides. Most of these wear helmets as they weave in and out of the traffic on the coast road riding the rollers that abound along here.

    But the exception are those using the Cycle path along the seafront. Any regular cyclist would not use these paths as they are also used by runners- skateboards- Dogs and the occasional car. It will take twice as long to get to work using the cycle path as when using the road where traffic is at a standstill so no danger to anyone. I rarely see a rider with a helmet on the Seafront- but then they don't go fast enough to have an accident- fall off - even have a Tombay. Just like the Dutch
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  23. #23
    Pedaled too far. Artkansas's Avatar
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    When I cycled from Vlissingen to Amsterdam in 1978 I encountered a group of school children beside the bike path that ran alongside a canal. The sight of the helmet on my head caused them to all break out in spontaneous laughter.
    Last edited by Artkansas; 11-02-10 at 12:59 PM.
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  24. #24
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    Wooden Shoe know it. Now we wanna tell the Dutch how to behave!!

    Better put warning signs around those windmills while we're at it!!

  25. #25
    Senior Member donheff's Avatar
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    I always wear a helmet - probably because it is the thing to do here. In Amsterdam no one wears a helmet and I would not wear one there either - it would be like wearing a helmet in your car here (possibly safer but you would look like an idiot). Who knows what the reality about accidents is. The Australians just published a graph showing the number of head injuries to cyclists. It goes down decade by decade (possibly as bikes on the road became common and drivers became aware of them) and then leveled off. Then the Aussies passed a mandatory helmet law. The graph stayed right where it was - low but no lower.

    I suspect helmets are unusual in the Netherlands because of history. The Dutch have been biking forever - young, old and in between. Bikes were probably ubiquitous back in the 50s and 60s before helmets became popular. Given a bike culture with no helmets why would people change? On the other hand, when I was riding in rural areas of the Netherlands last month I noticed that a lot of roadies wore helmets. The rule seemed to be if lycra and speed, then helmets.
    Every man is, or hopes to be, an Idler. -- Samuel Johnson

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