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The helmet thread

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The helmet thread

Old 08-30-13, 02:06 PM
  #6101  
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
Did any of this "crash" data include the severity of injuries involved? Conclusions about bicycle safety/risk focusing on total number of "crashes" without the accompanying severity data is close to worthless.
Fine. Want to argue the opposite, that the more you ride the greater the chances you will crash your bike?
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Old 08-30-13, 04:47 PM
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Originally Posted by mconlonx
Fine. Want to argue the opposite, that the more you ride the greater the chances you will crash your bike?
No, I would argue, and have more than once, that any person (or study) that draws conclusions about bicycle safety/risk from data focused on number of "crashes," without a clue about the effects (severity of injuries) of those "crashes" is drawing a conclusion no more intelligent than a wild donkey guess.
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Old 08-31-13, 04:51 AM
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Originally Posted by License2Ill
The basic point is that there is a heavy penalty with a fall that involves a head impact. How those falls happens matters less to the idea of a helmet for when they do occur. It's pretty simple, a helmet is designed to make a fall to ground survivable in terms of head injuries. They are capable of that. Arguing that not wearing one is a better idea because they don't do as well when hitting a brick wall at the speed of sound is pretty silly, especially in the face of folks that have died as the result of a head injury while riding. It's happened enough times to enough people to know that it's a good idea whether we've avoided those impacts to date or not. If the argument was that current designs are doing something that keeps something better off of your head, then someone might have a valid point, but they simply offer a better alternative than hitting the ground without one in terms of a clear line between surviving and not surviving. They can't make pancakes for breakfast.
What in this paragraph can differentiate itself as an argument for wearing a helmet while cycling, specifically?
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Old 08-31-13, 05:16 AM
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Originally Posted by License2Ill
It is a matter of leadership for kids too. Kids are generally not only more likely to be riding, but also more likely to crash and crash poorly. I hope any kids seeing me riding take note of the helmet rather than the cigarette, even though their parents may be telling them to wear one already. Nobody is calling a helmet a replacement for any broad term of common sense or anything else. People are just calling it a good and worthy idea to wear one, and to take due care as well. Some folks may also be in to seeing more dedicated bike lanes on roads, trails, and other advocacy as well. It's not an all or nothing proposition.
While nobody here is calling for helmets to be a replacement for other safety measures, it often is treated that way in practice. A helmet, at its best, is a last line of defense. It stands to reason that you shouldn't be relying on your last line of defense, and yet people do this all the time: they pressure and push kids and adults alike to "always always always wear a helmet", but we see no such pressure for something much more important, like actually learning riding skills (emergency stops, defensive riding, importance of lighting, etc). There should be a much more pervasive pressure to "never ride a bike until you've had some training" than there should be pressure to "never ride a bike unless you have a helmet", which is a pervasive idea. I can't help but feel this is due, in part, to people overestimating the abilities of their safety equipment. You may not be arguing for this, but in practice, it's fast-food safety for many.
The only all or nothing proposition is when you need a helmet and are not wearing one.
This is true when you fall, regardless of how you fell (from a bike, from tripping, etc).
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Old 08-31-13, 03:54 PM
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Originally Posted by mconlonx
Fine. Want to argue the opposite, that the more you ride the greater the chances you will crash your bike?
This is one of those pointless apples and oranges we seem to keep having.

There are two things at work, the rate of accident or injury, and the likelihood.

Experience drives down the rate, so for any number of hours or miles or however you measure, the likelihood of an accident is lower. However the actual lifetime (or annual likelihood depends on how often, long (time) or far you ride. More riding time ], more exposure to risk, albeit at a possibly lower rate.

Also the benefits of experience plateau at some point, so thereafter the plot lines cross and the risk of injury (total, not per mile) start to climb again.

So we can say both that experienced, active, every day riders tend to be safer, and also that those who ride more are more likely to have an accident (eventually).

The accident vs. injury data is muddy because most data collected is based on hospital ER visits. So accidents that don't lead to injury and those that lead to minor injuries aren't counted, creating an understatement in the total accident rate. Likewise minor injuries aren't counted, skewing the reported data toward severe injuries. So if one doesn't read the data with a grain (or more) of salt, one will be led to an inaccurate conclusion that head injuries, and broken bones are highly likely in a bicycle crash, when actually the opposite is true.
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Old 09-01-13, 06:06 PM
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Some years ago (1986), after I researched and wrote an article for Bicycle Rider (now defunct) about bicycle helmets, I was contacted by a PhD candidate from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He was trying to learn what he could about bicycle accident head injuries amongst children. I did what I could for him, which was almost nothing. After about three months we both concluded that there was not enough useful data to conclude anything except that America didn't care enough about its children to bother studying the matter.

My beloved Professor Hurt conducted what he called the "death study" in the late '80s. He had a 'red phone' that various police departments, in the Los Angeles area, would call when they were at the scene of a fatal accident where the fatality was a motorcyclist. He would then study, in person, the decedent from the scene of the accident (all 139 of them were male) through autopsy.


The sample was kinda small but Harry was able to make some useful conclusions:
Medical examiners almost universally declared the cause of death to be a head injury if a fatal head injury was present; they tended to stop looking for other fatal injuries if they found a head injury, and, they tended look for head injuries first. He was present at all 139 autopsies and often found it necessary to insist on further work after the examiner had found a fatal head injury.
Most of the deaths were due to head injuries only -- if the rider was not wearing a helmet.
Those wearing helmets who died from a head injury also suffered 3.1 other fatal injuries.
The ratio of death by head injury only for those not wearing a helmet to those wearing them was about 250:1
He reasonably concluded that helmets work.

I don't bother me about apples and oranges; most bicycle helmets would come close to passing the DOT drop-test requirements for motorcycle helmets. It may be easy, sitting at our computers, to dismiss the small chance of suffering a debilitating brain injury from a fall off one of our bicycles, but -- I guarantee that you would be hauntingly affected if you could interview a couple of permanent residents at Ranch Los Amigos (Los Angeles) who are there because of their permanent brain injuries. Such interviews can be difficult because those affected are often no longer capable of sensible speech. Remember: brain injuries are permanent and affect one's entire future in a very bad way. I do not care to take that chance, small as it may be.

BTW: I have ridden motorcycles more than 600,000 miles and bicycles over 30,000. I have never, in the dozen or so times I have fallen or "thrown it away" struck my head. I have consistently worn helmets starting with the Kucharik (sp?) 'hair net' in 1962. Never put a scratch on the finish of a helmet, but, I wear one anytime I am going to go faster than I can run. I have interviewed brain-injured folks and still hear their voices (they tend to speak in a hollow monotone) often and even as I write this.

BTW#2: Almost (all) cars sold, since about '82, in the USA are helmets. All the rounding, recessing and padding of our car's interiors make it very unlikely that we'll experience more than 80gs in most accidents. Those who argue that car drivers should have to wear helmets if bicyclists and motorcyclists must just don't know how much their "cages" are helmets.

I honor and support one's right to not wear a helmet, but, I believe that such a decision should be an informed one. I also reserve the right to dial 911 and then walk away from someone who has put a dent in his head and has blood running out of his ears – there are enough faces in my nightmares as it is.

Joe

Last edited by Joe Minton; 09-01-13 at 06:11 PM.
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Old 09-01-13, 08:49 PM
  #6107  
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Originally Posted by Joe Minton
I don't bother me about apples and oranges; most bicycle helmets would come close to passing the DOT drop-test requirements for motorcycle helmets. It may be easy, sitting at our computers, to dismiss the small chance of suffering a debilitating brain injury from a fall off one of our bicycles
Or a fall in the shower, a fall off the curb... this logic has been picked apart ad nauseum. It simply isn't true that "even the smallest chance" of even significant injury or death warrants protection against it, or else you wouldn't leave your house without a bullet-proof vest. You don't, because regardless of the huge cost if you need it but don't have it (likely death or permanent injury), you've deemed your chances so low that it isn't worth worrying about, to the point that you are willing to risk your life over a little convenience of not toting around a bullet proof vest. Even in towns with high crime like my lovely hometown, nobody walks around in bullet-proof vests.

This logic simply doesn't fly. It's an appeal to emotion, and nothing more.
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Old 09-01-13, 10:47 PM
  #6108  
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Originally Posted by FBinNY
The accident vs. injury data is muddy because most data collected is based on hospital ER visits. So accidents that don't lead to injury and those that lead to minor injuries aren't counted, creating an understatement in the total accident rate. Likewise minor injuries aren't counted, skewing the reported data toward severe injuries.
The data for some bicycle safety "studies" does not come from hospital ER visits but rather from self reporting of "crashes" from non-random samples of bicyclists; some of the infamous "studies" oft used to allegedly substantiate the safety claims of Vehicular Cycling advocates were just that type. In these "crash" studies, there was no filtering out of minor injuries or even no injury crashes.

And even ER visits may involve no injury/slight injury "crashes" of the getting checked out, just in case variety. Especially if a helmet or head got scratched.
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Old 09-02-13, 06:54 AM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
The data for some bicycle safety "studies" does not come from hospital ER visits but rather from self reporting of "crashes" from non-random samples of bicyclists; some of the infamous "studies" oft used to allegedly substantiate the safety claims of Vehicular Cycling advocates were just that type. In these "crash" studies, there was no filtering out of minor injuries or even no injury crashes.

And even ER visits may involve no injury/slight injury "crashes" of the getting checked out, just in case variety. Especially if a helmet or head got scratched.
Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike

And even ER visits may involve no injury/slight injury "crashes" of the getting checked out, just in case variety. Especially if a helmet or head got scratched.
On top of which, it is not uncommon for an ER doctor to "upcode" an injury to ensure insurance coverage for a procedure.

For example:

S: The patient, a 27-year-old male presents with headache and tenderness on the right side of his head after falling from his bicycle when jumping the curb from street to sidewalk one hour previously. Patient reports no nerve-like radiation of pain nor tingling or numbness of the extremities. The patient denies any recent changes in vision, one-sided weakness, dysphagia or dysarthria. No recent changes in balance or ability to walk. No pain or numbness in any of the extremities is noted. Patient reports no LOC. Patient was not wearing a helmet.

O: PERLA. Skin: no lesions observed. Pulse within normal limits and regular. Respiration normal and unlabored. Muscle tone normal. Mental status: normally responsive. active range of the affected area(s) was pain-free and within normal limits. mild edema with localized tenderness to palpation noted superior to right supraorbital ridge. Cranial Nerves II-XII normally responsive bilaterally. Musce stretch reflex wnl bilaterally. upper and lower extremity muscle strength +5 bilaterally.

*OK. So what we have here is the situation I-Like-To-Bike described. Some guy whacked himself upside the head; he didn't lose consciousness, he shows no sign of neurolgical damage or even significant musculoskeletal damage. EVEN SO, I don't want this coming around and biting me in the ass. So here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to order a CT scan, just to make sure there is no fracture or bleed, for which the insurance company is going to say "screw off, ER doc" if I code him with a contusion. So I'm going to give him a concussion (unspecified) diagnosis code of 850.9, which is a billable diagnosis, and which certainly supports my orders.

Assessment: 850.9 (primary) E8xxx.xx (secondary; external causes of injury involving pedal cyclist)

Plan: CT

Now, researcher Dr. Ilovehelmets PhD comes along with his database sniffing tools, and this gets culled into the "unhelmeted cyclist, MTBI" category.

Which is bullhockey, as we can see from the notes. The guy got a headache, a bump and a bruise, and probably went home to nurse it better with a Guinness.

But you know what? Across the country, this exact scenario plays out. Every. Single. Day. Thus, these types of studies are horribly skewed from the outset.
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Old 09-02-13, 07:10 AM
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Last weekend our local bike club held its Heatstroke 100, with approx 400 riders. They ALL were wearing their helmets. I wonder how many bull headed anti helmet riders stayed home because they wouldnt be caught wearing a helmet? Can you say anti social????
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Old 09-02-13, 08:44 AM
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Probably none Must you play the pedantic fool?
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Old 09-02-13, 09:09 AM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
No, I would argue, and have more than once, that any person (or study) that draws conclusions about bicycle safety/risk from data focused on number of "crashes," without a clue about the effects (severity of injuries) of those "crashes" is drawing a conclusion no more intelligent than a wild donkey guess.
Depends on what you want that study to highlight, doesn't it? I guess the only weak link on my part regarding a study like this is that they are correlating crashes with safety. I suppose that's a safe supposition, but I'm sure there are people here who will tell me it's wrong...
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Old 09-02-13, 09:19 AM
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Originally Posted by mconlonx
Depends on what you want that study to highlight, doesn't it? I guess the only weak link on my part regarding a study like this is that they are correlating crashes with safety. I suppose that's a safe supposition, but I'm sure there are people here who will tell me it's wrong...
That is correct, you are wrong. When evaluating bicycle risk/safety a thousand "crashes" resulting in boo-boos or bent bicycle rims don't equal one "crash" that results in a serious or catastrophic injury. Unless you wish to highlight, i.e manipulate, data to reach a predetermined conclusion that fits your agenda.
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Old 09-02-13, 09:23 AM
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Does everyone have auto, homeowners insurance, health insurance? We don't expect the worst to happen, but it does. I see my helmet as my head protective insurance. But .. it's your head, do what you want. Just keep in mind that a truly serious head injury might have been prevented had you worn that helmet and your family been spared the consequences of your actions. Speaking *your* in general, not pointing at anyone in particular.
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Old 09-02-13, 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by kris7047th
But .. it's your head, do what you want.
Good and proper sentiment. We each have to make our own decisions on this along with every aspect of our lives.


Originally Posted by kris7047th
Just keep in mind that a truly serious head injury might have been prevented had you worn that helmet and your family been spared the consequences of your actions. Speaking *your* in general, not pointing at anyone in particular.
Unfortunately, you felt the need to follow it with this life insurance salesman's guilt message. Following this logic, maybe one shouldn't ride a bicycle in the first place.
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Old 09-02-13, 09:37 AM
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Originally Posted by kris7047th
Just keep in mind that a truly serious head injury might have been prevented had you worn that helmet and your family been spared the consequences of your actions.

Please. Get ONE SINGLE MANUFACTURER to state that their helmet can prevent a "truly serious head injury."

In comparison, the manufacturers with cars that have seat belts and airbags are willing to state unequivocally that their safety devices do save lives, so don't give me the "they're scared of litigation" crap.

If you get a statement from ONE SINGLE HELMET MANUFACTURER that their helmet can preven a "truly serious head injury," I will contribute $150 to the bicycle charity of your choice.

My money is safe. You know why? Because bicycle helmets cannot prevent a serious head injury. Your head is protected equally from serious injury by either a bicycle helmet or by a plastic Jesus taped to your handlebars.

The choice is yours.
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Old 09-02-13, 09:49 AM
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Originally Posted by skye
Please. Get ONE SINGLE MANUFACTURER to state that their helmet can prevent a "truly serious head injury.".
I don't wear a helmet, but the idea that helmets do little or nothing to prevent serious injury is as inaccurate as the belief that they prevent most or all serious injuries. Helmets mitigate brain or head injury by lowering the G-force of impacts. An impact that might result in a mild concussion, might be mitigated to no injury. An impact that might have caused a severe concussion or skull fracture may be mitigated to a mild concussion w/o skull fracture.

The debate about helmets shouldn't be over whether they offer protection, but about the level of protection (for those who wear them) and about whether the risk of head injury when cycling warrants protection in the first place. The latter depends on the rider and how and where they ride, and is a personal decision.

For my part I don't have to argue that helmets don't do anything to support my decision not to wear one.
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Old 09-02-13, 11:51 AM
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Originally Posted by skye
Please. Get ONE SINGLE MANUFACTURER to state that their helmet can prevent a "truly serious head injury."

In comparison, the manufacturers with cars that have seat belts and airbags are willing to state unequivocally that their safety devices do save lives, so don't give me the "they're scared of litigation" crap.

If you get a statement from ONE SINGLE HELMET MANUFACTURER that their helmet can preven a "truly serious head injury," I will contribute $150 to the bicycle charity of your choice.

My money is safe. You know why? Because bicycle helmets cannot prevent a serious head injury. Your head is protected equally from serious injury by either a bicycle helmet or by a plastic Jesus taped to your handlebars.

The choice is yours.
Oooh .. I CAN DO THAT !! While at college some years ago a school horse threw my daughter HEAD FIRST INTO A WALL. Had she not be wearing at helmet (4H specs which is higher rated than most worn by adults) .. she would have DIED on the spot. She was life flighted to a hospital, while still in air she regained conscienceness. Her helmet was cracked and without doubt spared her life.
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Old 09-02-13, 11:55 AM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY
I don't wear a helmet, but the idea that helmets do little or nothing to prevent serious injury is as inaccurate as the belief that they prevent most or all serious injuries. Helmets mitigate brain or head injury by lowering the G-force of impacts. An impact that might result in a mild concussion, might be mitigated to no injury. An impact that might have caused a severe concussion or skull fracture may be mitigated to a mild concussion w/o skull fracture.
There is absolutely no research that supports your argument. By design, a bicycle helmet can fall from 5 feet without cracking. That is nowhere near the structural integrity or impact resistance to mitigate any fall more serious than tripping over a curb. A bicycle helmet cannot prevent skull fracture and, in fact, is not desiged to do so.

Secondly, serious TBI is not caused by the linear forces of impact. TBI is caused by the diffuse axonal injury that occurs with rotation. There is evidence that helmets not only do not mitigate such forces, but may, in fact, magnify them.
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Old 09-02-13, 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY
Good and proper sentiment. We each have to make our own decisions on this along with every aspect of our lives.




Unfortunately, you felt the need to follow it with this life insurance salesman's guilt message. Following this logic, maybe one shouldn't ride a bicycle in the first place.
Just my opinion .. which is logical to me and others. We all have to live with the consequences we choose (and so do our families)

Like I said .. my helmet is just added insurance to protect MY head, which was reinforced after what my daughter experienced .. that was a wake up call that bad things happen when least expected. My daughter is a very good rider, properly trained her horses to be safe & obedient, but her school horse had other ideas.
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Old 09-02-13, 12:03 PM
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Originally Posted by kris7047th
Oooh .. I CAN DO THAT !!
YOU CAN? What bicycle helmet do YOU manufacture and vouch for its risk reduction power?
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Old 09-02-13, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
YOU CAN? What bicycle helmet manufacture can you vouch for its risk reduction power?
The one that saved my daughter's life.
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Old 09-02-13, 12:07 PM
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Originally Posted by kris7047th
The one that saved my daughter's life.
She was riding a bicycle helmet while horseback riding? I don't think that's very safe.
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Old 09-02-13, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by skye
She was riding a bicycle helmet while horseback riding? I don't think that's very safe.
Now you are being silly .. She was wearing an English (4H spec.. required) riding helmet. There isn't much difference between a cycle helmet and a riding helmet that she was wearing .. quite thick like a bike helmet, except her helmet was not ventilated like bike helmets are.

She makes her 3 yr old son wear a helmet when he is on his bike.


https://thelcn.com/2012/03/01/every-t....popZrQpK.dpbs

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Old 09-02-13, 12:33 PM
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Originally Posted by kris7047th
The one that saved my daughter's life.
And you manufactured it? Wow, that is something special. So which brand of bicycle helmet do you manufacture? Perhaps you can let us in on the secret, are all helmets the same, and equally protective/unprotective in all use?
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