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Why helmets are the last thing we should be worrying about

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Why helmets are the last thing we should be worrying about

Old 05-14-16, 07:15 AM
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skye
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Why helmets are the last thing we should be worrying about

Why bike helmets are the last thing we should be worrying about : TreeHugger
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Old 05-14-16, 09:02 AM
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Good article. This graphic sums it up well:



There's a reason that people in the U.S. who wear helmets are 9 to 13 times as likely to be killed riding a bicycle as those in The Netherlands, Denmark, and many other countries who do not wear helmets. We focus on the wrong things. They built infrastructure, we promoted vehicular cycling, bicycle driving, and helmets.
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Old 05-14-16, 09:04 AM
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True, but how does one get that vast motor vehicle centric society to pull it's collective head out of it's collective behind?

From drivers to law makers, the focus is always on "make cars move faster and make more of them go..."

Hence the very expensive projects like the Boston Big Dig, and the Seattle Tunnel... all of which only marginally modify the traffic load... meanwhile very very little is done for "the implementation of inherently safer systems, where the risk of illness or injury has been substantially reduced." Lines of paint are not much in the order of "inherently safer systems."
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Old 05-14-16, 09:10 AM
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Things are improving though and at an increasingly faster pace. Cities and counties are installing fairly good protected bikeways. As more miles of these are built and as more of them are connected we're seeing more and more people riding who otherwise wouldn't. This then feeds a cycle of demands for even more good bikeways and better connectivity.

Retailers are also consistently seeing that a protected bikeway out front instead of parking either has no negative impact on business or results in increased business.
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Old 05-14-16, 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by CrankyOne View Post
Good article. This graphic sums it up well:



There's a reason that people in the U.S. who wear helmets are 9 to 13 times as likely to be killed riding a bicycle as those in The Netherlands, Denmark, and many other countries who do not wear helmets. We focus on the wrong things. They built infrastructure, we promoted vehicular cycling, bicycle driving, and helmets.
Common sense.

My rules:
1. Ride where there are no cars
2. If 1 is not possible, ride where there are fewer cars
3. If 1 & 2 are not possible, be alert as hell and quickly find a way to get to 1 or 2
4. Wear eye protection, helmet and keep ears free of plugs, buds or phone gadgets.
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Old 05-14-16, 03:29 PM
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My rule: get home alive, but dont worry; it aint up to you
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Old 05-15-16, 05:25 AM
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I've managed to smack my head and get a few concussions while bike riding and none were caused by cars or lack of infrastructure. In those instances I'm pretty sure wearing a helmet mitigated the severity.
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Old 05-15-16, 06:47 AM
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Of course, most of the time helmets help has nothing to do with collisions with cars. For all those times, helmets are the best protection.
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Old 05-15-16, 07:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Hokiedad4 View Post
Of course, most of the time helmets help has nothing to do with collisions with cars. For all those times, helmets are the best protection.
Yep. That's why I wear one...along with full wrap safety glasses. Bugs, stones, low tree branches---hell, I once had a walnut pod fall on my head---are all part of the hazards one needs to expect.
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Old 05-16-16, 09:37 AM
  #10  
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What baron von trail said (#5), plus one: wear bright clothing.

I look like a clown when I ride; bright shirt, bright green helmet, very bright and blinking tail light, bright head light, reflectors and so on.
I cannot count the number of times folks have 'looked again' in their hurry to get to work or their kids to school because I stand out like a sore thumb. Bright clothing works; it is my most effective safety measure.

Joe

Last edited by Joe Minton; 05-16-16 at 12:42 PM.
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Old 05-16-16, 03:12 PM
  #11  
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Old 05-16-16, 07:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Joe Minton View Post
What baron von trail said (#5), plus one: wear bright clothing.

I look like a clown when I ride; bright shirt, bright green helmet, very bright and blinking tail light, bright head light, reflectors and so on.
I cannot count the number of times folks have 'looked again' in their hurry to get to work or their kids to school because I stand out like a sore thumb. Bright clothing works; it is my most effective safety measure.

Joe
Bight colors are definitely a plus.
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Old 05-16-16, 08:10 PM
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Originally Posted by baron von trail View Post
Yep. That's why I wear one... I once had a walnut pod fall on my head---are all part of the hazards one needs to expect.
I have nuts fall on me with some regularity in the later part of the year. Some of them sound like they would have really hurt.
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Old 05-16-16, 08:38 PM
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I had a bike wreck when I was something like 10 years old. Happened back around 1981, so nobody at all wore bicycle helmets then.* I was running at pretty good speed down a hill on a paved road when my handlebars started shaking and my bike went out from under me. Ended up hitting my face on the pavement and ended up needing stitches on my upper lip and chin. I'm not saying a helmet would have prevented that but I very easily could have pounded my noggin on the asphalt if I had fallen the right way.

My 6-year-old son got a helmet from school for bike week last year, so he wears it every time we ride. Of course I always wear mine, too. I figure better safe than sorry.



*I'm sure if I remember hard enough many of the cross-country bicyclists who rode through town wore them, but none of us kids riding around town ever had them.

Last edited by Milton Keynes; 05-17-16 at 02:31 PM.
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Old 05-16-16, 09:00 PM
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My single bicycle "incident" did not involve a car, and my helmet struck the ground with such force that my sunglasses flew the width of a 2-lane street. Without a helmet, I would have probably been in rehab for a month or two to learn how to do arithmetic again.

I don't wear a helmet because there are cars on the road, or because I ride on the ride with said cars. I wear a helmet because it goes on my head, and that's where my brain lives. I've gotten to witness firsthand the effects of TBI. Helmets are not for road safety. They're for that one unpredictable moment when you go from riding a bike to bouncing your braincase off the ground-- whether hit by a car, slipping on some leaves, or just having a tire go out from under you.

A helmet is not something you need to worry about. A helmet gives you one less thing to worry about. As someone here on BF said, "You never need a helmet until you do."
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Old 05-17-16, 12:43 AM
  #16  
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
My single bicycle "incident" did not involve a car, and my helmet struck the ground with such force that my sunglasses flew the width of a 2-lane street. Without a helmet, I would have probably been in rehab for a month or two to learn how to do arithmetic again.

I don't wear a helmet because there are cars on the road, or because I ride on the ride with said cars. I wear a helmet because it goes on my head, and that's where my brain lives. I've gotten to witness firsthand the effects of TBI. Helmets are not for road safety. They're for that one unpredictable moment when you go from riding a bike to bouncing your braincase off the ground-- whether hit by a car, slipping on some leaves, or just having a tire go out from under you.

A helmet is not something you need to worry about. A helmet gives you one less thing to worry about. As someone here on BF said, "You never need a helmet until you do."
I've worn a helmet as insurance for most of my adult bicycling life. Back in 2010 I was riding at speed and moving to the left on a road when my wheels hit a longitudinal ridge that caused both wheels to fly out to the right and I was dumped on my head and shoulder. A fellow on a bicycle who was coming up behind me saw my spill and stopped to see if I was okay. He said he was positive he'd be calling for an ambulance. I had hit my head on the asphalt so hard that my head bounced twice that he could see. He said it had look like something hd grabbed the bottoms of my two wheels and yanked them up into the air. My shoulder was quite scraped and bruised and my helmet had a deep dent in it where it'd struck the pavement probably on the second strike where the foam was already compressed but I was able to get on the bike and continue my ride. That's the ONLY time in about 40 years of riding whilst wearing a helmet that I remember hitting my head hard.

A helmet will NOT protect from every injury but they do help.

Cheers
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Old 05-17-16, 07:21 AM
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Old 05-17-16, 07:35 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
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Old 05-17-16, 07:37 AM
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I believe in choice. If someone chooses to ride recklessly in traffic and gets himself killed, I really don't care, except maybe to take a minute to hand him the Darwin award.

Helmets, wearing them or not, is clearly something that needs to be a choice. Canada mandates them, and I hated that because even when I was just riding up the street for a minute, some cop hassled me for not wearing it. I'm like, "You've got to be kidding?" He's like, "Nope. It's the law." smh
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Old 05-17-16, 07:53 AM
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Originally Posted by baron von trail View Post
I believe in choice. If someone chooses to ride recklessly in traffic and gets himself killed, I really don't care, except maybe to take a minute to hand him the Darwin award.

Helmets, wearing them or not, is clearly something that needs to be a choice. Canada mandates them, and I hated that because even when I was just riding up the street for a minute, some cop hassled me for not wearing it. I'm like, "You've got to be kidding?" He's like, "Nope. It's the law." smh
Whereabouts in Canada is there a mandatory helmet use law for adults? I know there is NOT one in Ontario, Canada.

Cheers
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Old 05-17-16, 08:17 AM
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Why is it the last thing we should be worrying about?

Just because it may prevent only the least-likely injury (according to some graphic), doesn't mean that something so easily preventable shouldn't be properly precautioned and prevented.

Just because house fires are rare, we shouldn't have a fire extinguisher?
Just because home break-ins while the occupants are home, we shouldn't have a gun?
Just because crashing your car is rare, we shouldn't wear safety belts?

--

It's a choice -- and I don't feel like falling from where I am right now (in my chair) and landing on my head...I certainly don't feel like hitting my head at 30 mph from atop a bicycle.
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Old 05-17-16, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Miele Man View Post
Whereabouts in Canada is there a mandatory helmet use law for adults? I know there is NOT one in Ontario, Canada.

Cheers
This was in Nova Scotia.
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Old 05-17-16, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by deapee View Post
Why is it the last thing we should be worrying about?

Just because it may prevent only the least-likely injury (according to some graphic), doesn't mean that something so easily preventable shouldn't be properly precautioned and prevented.

Just because house fires are rare, we shouldn't have a fire extinguisher?
Just because home break-ins while the occupants are home, we shouldn't have a gun?
Just because crashing your car is rare, we shouldn't wear safety belts?

--

It's a choice -- and I don't feel like falling from where I am right now (in my chair) and landing on my head...I certainly don't feel like hitting my head at 30 mph from atop a bicycle.
Do you wear a helmet while crossing a busy street? Driving? Same logic applies.

Another point I haven't seen anyone bring up is the fact that cyclists wearing helmets both tend to subconsciously take more risks (false sense of security), and are subconsciously perceived by drivers to be less vulnerable (false sense of protection and competence). Both of these factors undoubtedly increase your risk of being in a serious accident. The least likely person to be injured in a cycling accident is a girl wearing a skirt/dress, sandals and no helmet, riding at 6-7 km/h.
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Old 05-17-16, 12:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Quiet Time View Post
Do you wear a helmet while crossing a busy street? Driving? Same logic applies.
Do you bring your fire extinguisher with you when you check your mail? Take out the trash? Same logic applies.

Don't be ignorant. Helmets save lives...and many accept them as an inconvenience that they are willing to ride with. Keep your "helmet while crossing a street" stuff to yourself. You're not talking to kindergartners, you're talking to grown, logical, and intelligent adults here.
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Old 05-17-16, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by deapee View Post
Do you bring your fire extinguisher with you when you check your mail? Take out the trash? Same logic applies.

Don't be ignorant. Helmets save lives...and many accept them as an inconvenience that they are willing to ride with. Keep your "helmet while crossing a street" stuff to yourself. You're not talking to kindergartners, you're talking to grown, logical, and intelligent adults here.
It's not the same logic. Your chance of encountering a life threatening fire while taking out the trash is about zero. Taking out the trash and checking mail is effectively a zero-risk activity; people don't normally die while doing these things. However your chances of sustaining a head injury while driving a car is probably similar to that while riding a bike. Pedestrians also face non-trivial risks to their safety; pedestrians get killed every day. If everyone wore a helmet while driving and walking around, lives would undeniably be saved, even if they looked a little silly.

Explain to me the logic in wearing a helmet while cycling but not while driving.

I'm not trying to convince anyone to stop wearing a helmet. All I'm saying is that your reasoning is inconsistent.

Last edited by Quiet Time; 05-17-16 at 12:34 PM.
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