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Old 08-14-14, 03:07 PM
  #8494  
wphamilton
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Originally Posted by 350htrr View Post
Yes but now you are talking the risk of having an accident where the head hits the pavement... I have no problem at all accepting that the risk is small, thus one would be willing to risk not wearing a helmet, just like one risks not wearing a helmet walking, taking a shower, going up or down stairs... But to say a helmet does nothing and may even increase the chance of head bouncing off the pavement is wrong on average, sure there are exceptions but really... Not to wear a helmet because it wont help in every case is not the right reason to not wear one... Again, willing to take the risk is an exeptable reason to me.. Just how I see it.
Exactly right. It only remains to estimate the risk in order to make an informed decision.

There are several ways to go about that. Maybe the most straightforward: we are about 5 times as likely to have an injury accident cycling as in a car. 20% of the cycling accidents involve other vehicles (11% auto, 9% other cyclist). Most of the rest is a fall. When you do have a collision accident, you are 1.6 times as likely to suffer a traumatic brain injury on the bike as you are in a car accident. So, putting them together if I'd wear a helmet driving given 1.6 times greater danger, then it would make sense to wear one biking. If on the other hand that 1.6 times greater risk is acceptable driving, then the same risk is acceptable while cycling.

I left the non-collision cycling injuries separate, since there are a lot of other individual variables there. Basically, if you rule out collisions with bikes and cars what is your risk of a fall and of a resultant head injury? For me, that's a situational decision that can go either way. I am much more concerned about someone forcing me into a situation that overloads my skills than I am about just doing something foolish and taking a spill, so my judgment tends to be skewed towards my evaluation of traffic.

Another more general way is to simply look up statistics of traumatic head injury by cycling in my age tranche, grant that I'm similar to the mythical average rider, and evaluate the risk level. Objectively it's so small that I feel no qualms at all when hopping on the bike for a utility ride, and when I wear one for recreation and training it's more a part of the costume than anything else. But you're right about the bottom line: it all depends on an individual's risk assessment and risk tolerance based on the specific activity.
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