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The helmet thread

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View Poll Results: Helmet wearing habits?
I've never worn a bike helmet
178
10.66%
I used to wear a helmet, but have stopped
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5.63%
I've always worn a helmet
648
38.80%
I didn't wear a helmet, but now do
408
24.43%
I sometimes wear a helmet depending on the conditions
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20.48%
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The helmet thread

Old 02-02-13, 09:48 AM
  #4601  
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Originally Posted by rydabent
Groucho has a good point. Lets have specific reports on how a helmet has killed someone. Names places and hospital reports.
My other point is that all forms of reasoning not based on rigorous quantitative laboratory research are obviously "meaningless."

The saddest part is that I "claim to understand" quantitative research methods, and yet I fail to acknowledge the manifest uselessness of all other modes of deliberation.

As Boromir might have said, one does not simply think with one's brain.

You and I exemplify that benighted, superstitious faction of society who dares reason outside the bounds of the peer-reviewed journal literature.

Last edited by GrouchoWretch; 02-02-13 at 10:14 AM.
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Old 02-02-13, 09:51 AM
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Originally Posted by rideorglide
Helmets didn't exist when I started riding back when I had rubber bones.

But when I returned to riding 30 years later (after moving out to the burbs from living in big cities with rapid transit), I got one, for sure.
The roads here, it's the least one can do to provide a little protection against the unexpected.
Your reasoning is qualitative and subjective and therefore utterly without merit.

Just kidding. Makes sense to me.
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Old 02-02-13, 12:11 PM
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Yeah, Groucho, the "I'm right because I use big words and obscure references" routine isn't really very effective, because even us troglodytes can see that "daring to reason outside the bounds of the peer-reviewed journal literature" is the just the college-educated version of the same old self-delusion we're all engaged in: "I'm going to believe the way I want, grasping at whatever tends to support me, while ignoring or belittling anything that doesn't."
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Old 02-02-13, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Six jours
Yeah, Groucho, the "I'm right because I use big words and obscure references" routine isn't really very effective, because even us troglodytes can see that "daring to reason outside the bounds of the peer-reviewed journal literature" is the just the college-educated version of the same old self-delusion we're all engaged in: "I'm going to believe the way I want, grasping at whatever tends to support me, while ignoring or belittling anything that doesn't."
Seems like you're the one who struck up a conversation with me by belittling me and my anecdotes, about which I made no claims other than that I find them personally compelling.

I don't care if you wear a dumb looking Styrofoam bowl on your head. I can't even tell you with scientific confidence that failing to do so increases your risk of hurting your brain. I'm just articulating the thoughts behind my decision to put on a helmunt when I can be bothered to do so. Also because my wife makes me.

You're the one who called my contribution "meaningless," which it may well be, along with the entire Internet forum and blogosphere. But you don't get to act like the big-words helmet man is picking on you. I told you, for all I know, helmunts DO kill bicyclers. I doubt it, but hey, science has proved weirder things. So, I said that. Can't you read good?
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Old 02-02-13, 12:42 PM
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Also, did I just get insulted for being college-educated?

I expect that sometimes, but... By a fellow who says any reasoning not based on controlled experiments is meaningless?

That's a first for me!
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Old 02-02-13, 12:48 PM
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Wow, Groucho. Didn't figure you were going to be such a sensitive soul, especially as a Texan. I'll try harder to avoid hurting your feelings.
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Old 02-02-13, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Six jours
Wow, Groucho. Didn't figure you were going to be such a sensitive soul, especially as a Texan. I'll try harder to avoid hurting your feelings.
How dare you call me sensitive, OR A TEXAN???
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Old 02-02-13, 12:58 PM
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Seriously, I now have a sneaking suspicion that my bike helmet will kill me. So thanks for that.
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Old 02-02-13, 03:42 PM
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Ok, so I am new to this sport and am curious about helmet use. Working in the ER for a few years now shows me anecdotally that more head injuries occur without a helmet. As a scientist, I dont take these personal figures to heart. I started reading this thread in hopes of some scientific data that presented the case for or against helmets based on a study of head trauma and helmet use, but after reading a few pages I was seeing that that was not the direction the thread was heading.

The best source I foudn supporting helmet use was this, https://www.iihs.org/research/fatalit...cles&year=2009, which I hope has already been posted. I was unable to find any reliable sources in which helmets were deemed an accessory with little impact on rider safety. Rather than read these 180 pages of bickering without sources, are there any arguments against the IIHS data? If so, are there sources for this argument?
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Old 02-02-13, 05:17 PM
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Originally Posted by PunkRockMD
Ok, so I am new to this sport and am curious about helmet use. Working in the ER for a few years now shows me anecdotally that more head injuries occur without a helmet. As a scientist, I dont take these personal figures to heart. I started reading this thread in hopes of some scientific data that presented the case for or against helmets based on a study of head trauma and helmet use, but after reading a few pages I was seeing that that was not the direction the thread was heading.

The best source I foudn supporting helmet use was this, https://www.iihs.org/research/fatalit...cles&year=2009, which I hope has already been posted. I was unable to find any reliable sources in which helmets were deemed an accessory with little impact on rider safety. Rather than read these 180 pages of bickering without sources, are there any arguments against the IIHS data? If so, are there sources for this argument?
https://www.cyclehelmets.org/1146.html

https://www.ctc.org.uk/article/campai...ulsory-helmets

https://www.ecf.com/road-safety/helme...lective-vests/

All of these contain links to primary sources, but I am referring you to these pages because the articles are the quickest way to bring you up to speed in the issues surrounding cycle helmets. You might also want to avail yourself of the information regarding standards for helmet certification. They are surprisingly low.

I am also a physician, and I have been studying the pros and cons of cycling helmets for over half a decade; my zotero database contains about 500 references that are valuable.

I am a former helmet wearer; however, after I began to look at cycling helmets in earnest, I realized that as far as I was concerned, wearing one would be useless and perhaps somewhat less. I think an intelligent individual can reach a conclusion either way. My participation on this admittedly lowbrow thread is solely to stall the impression that the recommendation to wear helmets is a sound public health policy. On the evidence we currently have, it is not.

I have posted many links to the research previously in this thread. I will also caution you to go beyond the abstract, and actually read the articles themselves. For many, the evidence they offer for wearing helmets is remarkably flimsy, and in some cases, the data actually contradicts the researchers' conclusions. If you have some history of evaluating the research, as I'm sure you have, you will not be surprised by that. Even basic statistical errors, like conflating odds ratio with relative risk, occur with disheartening frequency.

PM me if you are interested in more serious study. I participate in this thread mostly for the lulz.
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Old 02-02-13, 06:08 PM
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Originally Posted by PunkRockMD
The best source I foudn supporting helmet use was this, https://www.iihs.org/research/fatalit...cles&year=2009, which I hope has already been posted.
Skye already pointed you to some good sources for studies both pro and con on the helmet effectiveness issue. I'd just like to add that the IIHS analysis depends on the FARS (Fatality Analysis Reporting System) for their data. There have been serious questions raised about the reliability of that database with respect to bicycle helmet use reporting. Riley Geary looked at the data and found that quite a few jurisdictions (sometimes whole states, other times particular counties) were never reporting that a bicycle helmet was worn in an accident. There is only a checkbox on the report form for whether safety equipment was in use and some authorities apparently only use that box for reporting seatbelt use. If it's left unchecked it goes into the IIHS study as indicating no helmet was worn - but it may also just indicate that the authorities in that jurisdiction only check the box for seatbelt users and therefore always leave it unchecked for bicyclists. Here's an article on Riley Geary and some of his analysis:

https://www.adventurecycling.org/reso...iley_geary.pdf

My situation is similar to skye's - I wore a bike helmet from the time the first hardshell ones were available on essentially every ride for almost 25 years. Then I started reading some of the pro and con studies and found the statistical soundness of the most cited pro studies to be highly questionable. Since then I continue to wear a helmet on club rides (where there's a club requirement) and many off-road rides (where the risk of a low-speed crash is much greater) but have decided that for my utility cycling and other solo rides on roads there is little if any added value in wearing a helmet and no longer do so.
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Old 02-02-13, 10:44 PM
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Originally Posted by PunkRockMD
Ok, so I am new to this sport and am curious about helmet use. Working in the ER for a few years now shows me anecdotally that more head injuries occur without a helmet. As a scientist, I dont take these personal figures to heart. I started reading this thread in hopes of some scientific data that presented the case for or against helmets based on a study of head trauma and helmet use, but after reading a few pages I was seeing that that was not the direction the thread was heading.

The best source I foudn supporting helmet use was this, https://www.iihs.org/research/fatalit...cles&year=2009, which I hope has already been posted. I was unable to find any reliable sources in which helmets were deemed an accessory with little impact on rider safety. Rather than read these 180 pages of bickering without sources, are there any arguments against the IIHS data? If so, are there sources for this argument?
I hope you got your question answered. I respect the bare headers and used to ride that way myself (we all did) and may do so again.

I trust them when they say the findings in favor of helmets are based on flawed whatever. Some of these guys are even smarter than I am, difficult as I find that to imagine.

I'm still wearing the helmet today. My question is, if an analysis of available data shows no clear safety benefit, would you still put on a bike helmet?

I'm just curious about how people make these decisions.

For now, I'm OK with wearing the dumb thing even if it's just a Styrofoam talisman.
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Old 02-03-13, 01:44 AM
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@syke: thanks for all of the material. I definitely have quite a bit of reading to do.

@Prathman: Appreciate the feedback, that is interesting to say the least.

@Groucho: My question was definitely answered. Thanks. Also, after reading the first few pages I wasnt sure what to think of the members of this forum. But it is now clear that there are individuals here who respect each other and have actual facts to back up their argument. It appears in my limited reading of sykes references that the effectiveness of helmets in a deadly crash is at least debatable. My common sense tells me otherwise, but as we all know, what I believe doesn't mean jack in the face of science.
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Old 02-03-13, 06:57 AM
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I notice the hairy chested he men nothing ever happens to me members of the anti helmet cult has yet to post even one incident where a bike helmet has killed a cyclist.

In this forum there have been many real world reports by real people like me that have posted the fact that a helmet has helped prevent injury. Yet I have seen no one report how a helmet has injured them.

So I am still waiting for a report by a hospital or doctor where a helmet has killed a cyclist.
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Old 02-03-13, 11:35 AM
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Originally Posted by PunkRockMD
@syke: thanks for all of the material. I definitely have quite a bit of reading to do.

@Prathman: Appreciate the feedback, that is interesting to say the least.

@Groucho: My question was definitely answered. Thanks. Also, after reading the first few pages I wasnt sure what to think of the members of this forum. But it is now clear that there are individuals here who respect each other and have actual facts to back up their argument. It appears in my limited reading of sykes references that the effectiveness of helmets in a deadly crash is at least debatable. My common sense tells me otherwise, but as we all know, what I believe doesn't mean jack in the face of science.
Ultimately you'll find that there is a great pile of studies and statistics supporting whatever view you'd like to hold - and that almost all of us use them for exactly that. Which leaves us with the various forms of anecdote, and their various degrees of uselessness.

Short version: we don't know how well bicycle helmets work for their intended purpose. That means there's no wrong decision when it comes to wearing one or not. So, IMO, the only real points to the "helmet debate" are 1) letting folks know that bicycle helmets are not the miracles they are so often touted to be, so being safe on a bike entails more than just buckling one on, and 2) there's no reason to start screaming when you see someone not pursuing the same headgear choices you yourself have made.
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Old 02-03-13, 11:42 AM
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A mandatory helmet law is being considered in Maryland. Here's a thread on it: https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...1#post15231354

My post outlined various methods and tactics for fighting it. Stay informed. Be involved. Don't go crying about it if it gets enacted and you didn't participate in the process of legislation.
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Old 02-03-13, 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted by rydabent
I notice the hairy chested he men nothing ever happens to me members of the anti helmet cult has yet to post even one incident where a bike helmet has killed a cyclist.
The best way to have a civil discussion with someone having a differing view is to refer to them in an insulting manner, right?
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Old 02-03-13, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by ZmanKC
The best way to have a civil discussion with someone having a differing view is to refer to them in an insulting manner, right?
Oh, I think there are/is PLENTY of insulting going around here from both sides...
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Old 02-03-13, 03:02 PM
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zman

Hairy chested he man is insulting?
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Old 02-03-13, 03:19 PM
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OMG, I'm too thin skinned for this thread! Back to the 50+ forum or ANYWHERE else.

I have no opinion on helmets, nobody here's ever seen me wear one (but, I'm not saying if I do/don't - that poll IS secret, right? I don't want to have the helmeted/non-helmeted gangs appear at my door!)

Is there a thread I can visit discussing the wearing of earphones while riding? I'm not well suited for varying opinions.
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Old 02-03-13, 09:02 PM
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Originally Posted by rydabent
zman

Hairy chested he man is insulting?
In the context you are using it, yes. And you know it.
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Old 02-04-13, 07:45 AM
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zman

Well may I suggest Nair or maybe your wife could wax your chest!!!!

My whole point is that members of the anti helmet cult have yet to give any actual positive proof that wearing a helmet is dangerous. While in fact many of us have given real world situations where a helmet has indeed prevented injury.

Another relevant point is that the anti helmet rants are not a good example for kids who may benefit the most from wearing a helmet.

Last edited by rydabent; 02-04-13 at 07:50 AM.
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Old 02-04-13, 08:52 AM
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My chest is pretty hairy, and yet I have chosen to strap the Styrofoam fetish object to my melon.

Has anyone run the correlation between thoracic hirsutitude and helmunt wearing?
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Old 02-04-13, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by GrouchoWretch
My chest is pretty hairy, and yet I have chosen to strap the Styrofoam fetish object to my melon.

Has anyone run the correlation between thoracic hirsutitude and helmunt wearing?
I am thoracic-follicularly challenged and I wear a helmet.
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Old 02-04-13, 04:48 PM
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Do kids still have a science fair? If there are a couple of of reps from each side who'd like to help thier kids prove/disprove helmet safety use, I'd be interested in the results.
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