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The helmet thread

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The helmet thread

Old 05-17-14, 08:32 AM
  #7626  
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Originally Posted by rydabent
It get kind of tiresome of the anti helmet types that prostitute the thread by asking if pro helmet people wear helmets when they drive or do anything else. It is apples to oranges. Cars have crush zones, seatbelt and shoulder harness, and air bags. Cyclist only have helmets to mitigate damage. Try to stay on the subject of cycling safety.
How about climbing ladders? Ever see a roofer even wearing a hard hat? Way more people fall off of ladders and get seriously hurt than they do crashing bikes yet no one even considers wearing a helmet.(British Columbia Study). I know two people personally who got really effed-up permanently this way.

I'm with you on the apples to oranges thing here too. We do need to realize however that there are large numbers of people out there doing things that could get them hurt or killed who are willing to take the risk, deny the risk, ignore statistics, dispute statistics, or simply don't care. They get put into a position to justify those beliefs here on BF. The anti-helmet crowd do not have much ammo to use so they have to come up with lots of apples.

If I were not a helmet wearer my response to all of the safety nannies here would be simply this: "I don't like wearing a bike helmet and I am willing to suffer any consequences of my inactions."
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Old 05-17-14, 08:45 AM
  #7627  
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I think helmets make casual cycling look more dangerous than it really is. This is offputting to many people for three reasons:

1. They don't want to wear a helmet in the first place for any number of reasons.

2. They won't ride without a helmet because cycling is too dangerous.

3. They won't ride WITH a helmet because we helmet users have made cycling look too dangerous to even bother.

So...we lose another potential foot-soldier in the fight for cyclist rights and infrastructure.

That being said, I always wear a helmet.
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Old 05-17-14, 08:46 AM
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Debates as to usefulness of helmets aside, its like motorcycles for me...

I always would go out on mine with full gear; draggin jeans, icon boots, gloves, helmet, leather jacket, and so on, no matter what the weather was like. Because thats me and my concern over my own safety. But I don't think there should be a helmet law.

So I ride my bicycle the same way. I want to wear a helmet, its my preference, but I don't think there needs to be a law to use one.
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Old 05-17-14, 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by JosephG
I want to wear a helmet, its my preference, but I don't think there needs to be a law to use one.
I think the argument here is that if helmets did not exist at all and were not even an option, more people in the USA would take up cycling. Widespread helmet use, even though non-mandatory, makes the sport look more dangerous than it really is. This is offputting to many would-be cyclists who decide to take up golf or go to the gym instead.
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Old 05-17-14, 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by JoeyBike
I think the argument here is that if helmets did not exist at all and were not even an option, more people in the USA would take up cycling. Widespread helmet use, even though non-mandatory, makes the sport look more dangerous than it really is. This is offputting to many would-be cyclists who decide to take up golf or go to the gym instead.
If a helmet makes you nervous, then so would reading about an accident or seeing a mangled bike, right?

*shrug* I don't know, I don't think that argument makes sense to me.
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Old 05-17-14, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by JosephG
If a helmet makes you nervous, then so would reading about an accident or seeing a mangled bike, right?

*shrug* I don't know, I don't think that argument makes sense to me.
Yes, but seeing fifty people wearing helmets every day, day after day continually, might influence and reinforce the notion that cycling is dangerous until it becomes "known fact" to the casual observer/potential cyclist.

You can flip it around and ask: If bicycle helmets were never available would you still cycle? Probable answer for most is "Yes, I would cycle". So if no one wore a helmet, and we all continued cycling (perhaps nervously) but now the sport looked like fun instead of so risky people wear helmets - would more non-cyclist be willing to take the plunge? I think so. So does the OP article. Still a lot of speculation but I have long believed, and spoken to people in the bike industry thinking of taking up cycling who confirmed this, they just couldn't get over the helmet thing one way or another. Most felt that a helmet was necessary equipment but they refused to wear one = no bike purchase either. We (helmet wearers and the helmet industry) have made them too paranoid.

Last edited by JoeyBike; 05-17-14 at 10:18 AM.
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Old 05-17-14, 10:22 AM
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If a person doesn't think their brain is worth protecting... they probably know best.
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Old 05-17-14, 10:25 AM
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I see both sides and legitimate arguments.
In the USA, there is a road use interaction, and a culture of fear not experienced in many other cycling-centric world cities.
I see how helmets skew cycling's image but I think it's more of a symptom than a cause.
My feeling is that infrastructure change will be the biggest factor in bringing the USA out of the dark ages.

One only need to visit A&S to see how rampant fear mongering is. Sometimes cycling is it's own worst enemy.
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Old 05-17-14, 10:49 AM
  #7634  
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Originally Posted by Dave Cutter
If a person doesn't think their brain is worth protecting... they probably know best.
Exactly! This is the best point in this whole thread!

As you know exercise is the best protection for the brain when considering dementia, stroke, alzheimers and various other very serious ailments which generally manifest themselves in the older years. Now if we force people to use helmets they will not cycle. This has been statistically proven in several countires and regions. So to make people protect their brain we need to move away from helmets and move towards the idea of safe cycling and safe exercise. The road season just opened where I live and I'm extatic. I can again whiz everywhere I want with a bike and all of that daily activity and exercise is protecting my brain against all kinds of harm a sedentary life could present.

It also protects the rest of the body.

Thank you for this comment
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Old 05-17-14, 10:51 AM
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Originally Posted by JoeyBike
Yes, but seeing fifty people wearing helmets every day, day after day continually, might influence and reinforce the notion that cycling is dangerous until it becomes "known fact" to the casual observer/potential cyclist.
I don't know... I'm not seeing it. It seems to me more likely that anyone who is so bothered by the idea that people wear helmets, and associate that with danger, would be the kind of people so worried about any physical activity that they wouldn't do much of anything.
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Old 05-17-14, 11:02 AM
  #7636  
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Originally Posted by JosephG
I don't know... I'm not seeing it. It seems to me more likely that anyone who is so bothered by the idea that people wear helmets, and associate that with danger, would be the kind of people so worried about any physical activity that they wouldn't do much of anything.
It is perhaps a small percentage. We really don't know. In my experiences it has been mostly females with expensive hair styles who don't want any hat on their heads ESPECIALLY a goofy looking helmet. If helmets were not an option, these women would just hop on a bike and go without the extra mental hurdle of "but I should wear a helmet". Then there are both men and women who are so vain they won't wear a helmet even if they believe it is a good idea. Some will cycle anyway, some won't. Is it 1% or more, I don't think anyone really knows. But I can tell you from experience that this barrier to cycling does exist at some level in the USA.

Also keep in mind that Americans are obsessed with safety to the extreme and helmets have been around long enough to have effected an entire generation of young people - the future of cycling. They grew up with fear to overcome. Our European counterparts have no such hurdle to clear. They don't seem to inject fear into their kids from the start. So there is some number of potential cyclists who will never stroll into a bike shop to "fill out a survey". And when they start having kids of their own there will be X-Boxes under the Christmas tree instead of bicycles. Maybe. Hopefully it will be a statistical zero. It is fun to speculate on long term effects of unwarranted fear.

Last edited by JoeyBike; 05-17-14 at 11:06 AM.
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Old 05-17-14, 11:06 AM
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ibtm.

And if you don't want to wear a helmet, don't wear one.

Don't make up laughable crap to justify your decision. That just shows you don't have the balls to back up your decision as your own.
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Old 05-17-14, 11:08 AM
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Originally Posted by JoeyBike
It is perhaps a small percentage. We really don't know. In my experiences it has been mostly females with expensive hair styles who don't want any hat on their heads ESPECIALLY a goofy looking helmet.
That I could see *way* more than thinking biking isn't safe. I will always wear a helmet, that fear was put into me not by family or something while growing up, but from when I was a volunteer firefighter. Completely anecdotal, but I won't ride anything without a helmet. I could see some women being the same way, but not wanting to end up with messy hair, they just choose not to ride. I get that.
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Old 05-17-14, 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by JosephG
That I could see *way* more than thinking biking isn't safe. I will always wear a helmet, that fear was put into me not by family or something while growing up, but from when I was a volunteer firefighter. Completely anecdotal, but I won't ride anything without a helmet. I could see some women being the same way, but not wanting to end up with messy hair, they just choose not to ride. I get that.
Ditto that on the hair. My wife's bike mood coincides with when she does her hair! LOL! If she has just done her hair, she won't come near the bike.
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Old 05-17-14, 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by achoo
ibtm.

And if you don't want to wear a helmet, don't wear one.

Don't make up laughable crap to justify your decision. That just shows you don't have the balls to back up your decision as your own.
The same way helmet users make up laughable crap to justify their fear of the world and their belief that an inch of styrofoam is going to protect them from the worst.

Just today I was talking with my GF before we were heading out to enjoy the local pop up restaurant day. I asked her whether we should take helmets and she was like "naah, we're riding calmly anyway."
This I believe is in the heart of rational cycling and life. You either take chances or you don't. You would not get me to ride out MTB trails without my back armored backpack and a helmet, but that's just because I know they are dangerous and I ride fast and furious down them. There is not fun otherwise. But I also use the bike as a way to get around since we don't own a car. When going shopping or for a beer (yes we ride after one beer, little tipsy, drunk, and wasted even sometimes) I don't need a helmet since I ride calmer, safer and without unnecessary risk.

My hobby cycling is one big risk waiting for realization.
My lifestyle cycling is not risky. Not one bit. How should I need a helmet for something that is not risky, or not in any way more risky than being a pedestrian for example?
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Old 05-17-14, 11:51 AM
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Originally Posted by elcruxio
The same way helmet users make up laughable crap to justify their fear of the world and their belief that an inch of styrofoam is going to protect them from the worst.
Not the worst, but certainly safer than my skull making direct contact with a curb or pavement.

Originally Posted by elcruxio
My lifestyle cycling is not risky. Not one bit. How should I need a helmet for something that is not risky, or not in any way more risky than being a pedestrian for example?
I don't necessarily wear a helmet to protect me from my riding, but to protect me from stupid people doing stupid things that put me at risk, and the unexpected. I'm not going to nanny you and say you need one, but I would say I think its a good idea.
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Old 05-17-14, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by JosephG
I don't necessarily wear a helmet to protect me from my riding, but to protect me from stupid people doing stupid things that put me at risk, and the unexpected. I'm not going to nanny you and say you need one, but I would say I think its a good idea.
I would imagine stupid people don't disappear when I dismount my bicycle. I actually have a bigger risk being run over by a car when I'm a pedestrian than when I'm cycling due to the backwards non respect for crosswalks this town has. Also walking does have its risks like getting rear ended or side swiped by a bicycle. Then again none of these have ever happened to me but I know they are possible the same way some risks are possible with a bicycle. I just don't think those risks are very likely so I don't worry about them.
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Old 05-17-14, 12:03 PM
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Originally Posted by JosephG
Just to update my previous posts, nothing back on MIPS as of yet. SCOTT's reply was to refer to the MIPS site.

A non-update update. Looks like I may not get anywhere with this.
I'm slightly surprised POC hasn't got back to you. Huh.
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Old 05-17-14, 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by elcruxio
I would imagine stupid people don't disappear when I dismount my bicycle. I actually have a bigger risk being run over by a car when I'm a pedestrian than when I'm cycling due to the backwards non respect for crosswalks this town has. Also walking does have its risks like getting rear ended or side swiped by a bicycle. Then again none of these have ever happened to me but I know they are possible the same way some risks are possible with a bicycle. I just don't think those risks are very likely so I don't worry about them.
Well, when you're a pedestrian, you're on the sidewalk not the road... Though everyone respects the crosswalks here. Anyway, you can feel free to take the risk! Like I said, that's fine by me, I just prefer not to take that risk myself. With tight, windy roads, I'd rather just throw the helmet on.

Speaking of which, its a beautiful day, and I'm going back out there for a ride
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Old 05-17-14, 12:05 PM
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Originally Posted by mconlonx
I'm slightly surprised POC hasn't got back to you. Huh.
Me too, to be candid.

I'll probably try them again next week, maybe I got caught by a spam filter or something.
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Old 05-17-14, 12:09 PM
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Sounds ridiculous that someone won't get on a bicycle because they saw someone else on a bicycle wearing a helmet. Maybe, just maybe it's an excuse for not getting on a bicycle and doing some exercise. We don't see people walking/running wearing helmets yet more people are not out walking/running.
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Old 05-17-14, 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by JosephG
Well, when you're a pedestrian, you're on the sidewalk not the road... Though everyone respects the crosswalks here. Anyway, you can feel free to take the risk! Like I said, that's fine by me, I just prefer not to take that risk myself. With tight, windy roads, I'd rather just throw the helmet on.

Speaking of which, its a beautiful day, and I'm going back out there for a ride
Ah yes the pavement thingy. Our system allows for very safe normal riding. For faster folks there are a few... difficulties. However for a normal joe like me who doesn't (yet) participate in the commute criteriums (CoCr, I think I just made up a brilliant term!) cycling is very safe indeed. You see we don't ride amidst cars that often (depends on the street and of course other cities have different situations etc). Most of our infra is a shared path with pedestrians and some riding with the cars in the city streets. The streets have like 30-40km/h speed limits so that's not a problem.

In the bigger cities (well, Helsinki is our only biggish city) we have shared paths, bike lanes, protected bike lanes, using of the bus lane, using normal lanes etc. Still cycling is considered very safe even with all that variety. But maybe it is the chance to plan a riskier or a safer route. Riding on the bus lane is pretty bad on one main street but there are plans for fixing that. And if you get run over a bus the helmet is not going to help that much, seriously.
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Old 05-17-14, 12:16 PM
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Originally Posted by CarinusMalmari
There's no good reason to believe that a bicycle helmet will offer much protection against things beyond injuries to the scalp.
This is exactly why I wear a helmet. What ER personnel call "minor" injury would certainly ruin my day.

Originally Posted by rydabent
It get kind of tiresome of the anti helmet types that prostitute the thread by asking if pro helmet people wear helmets when they drive or do anything else. It is apples to oranges. Cars have crush zones, seatbelt and shoulder harness, and air bags. Cyclist only have helmets to mitigate damage. Try to stay on the subject of cycling safety.
Motorists and their passengers represent the larges single cause of head injury in the USA. Perhaps instead of focusing on minority representations, we should rather focus on the real low-hanging fruit and convince motorists and their passengers to wear helmets. Cycling is a safe activity.
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Old 05-17-14, 12:32 PM
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Originally Posted by JoeyBike
I think helmets make casual cycling look more dangerous than it really is. This is offputting to many people for three reasons:

1. They don't want to wear a helmet in the first place for any number of reasons.

2. They won't ride without a helmet because cycling is too dangerous.

3. They won't ride WITH a helmet because we helmet users have made cycling look too dangerous to even bother.

So...we lose another potential foot-soldier in the fight for cyclist rights and infrastructure.

That being said, I always wear a helmet.
Joey, from what I understand about your cycling style... you make cycling look too dangerous to any casual observer.

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Old 05-17-14, 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by longbeachgary
Sounds ridiculous that someone won't get on a bicycle because they saw someone else on a bicycle wearing a helmet. Maybe, just maybe it's an excuse for not getting on a bicycle and doing some exercise. We don't see people walking/running wearing helmets yet more people are not out walking/running.
Really the helmet excuse thing is just part of a whole package of excuses that some folks lean on to avoid any physical activity involving a bike...

The helmet excuse is often coupled with the lycra excuse, the sweat excuse, the mussed up hair excuse and about a dozen other excuses... that all sum up to "I just want to sit on my rolling couch in my air-conditioned cage and ignore the rest of the world... leave me alone..."

But in all honesty, cycling accidents are indeed rare... but if you are "doing battle" in a CoCr (I like that term...) you might want to consider using a helmet.

My personal take is that while I am riding in rush hour traffic with distracted motorists, I might be bumped, and a helmet can save me some headaches... However, on paths and MUPs and even on slow residential streets... I am not likely to encounter a situation that is going to bump me off my bike, so I tend to ride helmetless. It is very situational for me... and frankly, I don't think "forcing" people to wear helmets does any thing positive for cycling.

Now to take this one step further... when off road, I have never managed to not fall at least once... so I always wear a helmet off road.

But bottom line... it should be up to the individual cyclist, who in evaluating their own riding style and location, can best determine what they need to do.
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