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The helmet thread

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View Poll Results: Helmet wearing habits?
I've never worn a bike helmet
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I used to wear a helmet, but have stopped
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I've always worn a helmet
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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 08-16-14, 03:58 PM
  #8551  
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I wear a helmet every time I ride. Shoot me.
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Old 08-16-14, 04:06 PM
  #8552  
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Originally Posted by baron von trail View Post
I wear a helmet every time I ride. Shoot me.
You wear a vest, too?
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Old 08-16-14, 04:57 PM
  #8553  
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Originally Posted by meanwhile View Post
After experiencing this thread you really believe that the average cyclist can read???



Those were the numbers I got when I crunched the risk factors for modifiable behaviour. The range is large because the data from the different cities I used - NYC and London - don't reconcile well. I certainly don't claim that the numbers would eg justify passing a law to force every cyclist in America to give $1000 to shout at them for three days... Although I might, if I thought I could get away with it.

But risk is definitely behaviour dependent: men are much more likely to die than women, for example (Two Per Cent of US Road Deaths Are Cyclists : TreeHugger) Training alters behaviour, so a properly constructed training course such reduce deaths. If you don't believe that training can have any effect at all, then you are making an extraordinary claim - and the burden of proof is on you.

In London, at least, you get a 50% reduction for simply staying away from HGVs. You don't undertake, you don't overtake them, you don't ride past them into the "safety zone" at red lights (which will actually be a blind spot for a lot of HGVs.) If one catches up with you in traffic, you slow down. HGV hits in urban traffic that can't be prevented by following these rules are very rare - they don't have the acceleration to kill you if you simply stay away from them. So that's almost 50% of deaths gone with a single strategy, and the estimate seems reasonable to me.

A lot of the remaining deaths happen around hot spots with very dangerous road conditions - and the Meanwhile Strategy here is simply to route around these.

And when you crunch the numbers on these and another couple of items on my list (avoid riding drunk, on the wrong side of the road, on the pavement, and without lights) and you really do end up with a 2-4x drop in deaths - at least in London.
If cyclists stayed away from HGV's, if cyclists rode here rather than there, if cyclists avoided driving drunk, if cyclists didn't ride on the wrong side of the road, if-lights, if-not on pavement; if, if, if! What makes you think any cyclist training program, mandatory or voluntary has been successful at significantly changing the cycling behavior of the students. Maybe you think if only cyclists received instruction and a test on these "ifs" the problem would be drastically reduced.

If motorists didn't drive while intoxicated, if motorists didn't speed, if, if, if, etc. wouldn't the roads be so much safer for those people who altered their behavior after training? Oh wait, every single motorist has been trained and/or tested on obeying the speed limits and the laws against drunken driving before getting a driver's license, but the "incorrect" behaviors have not been altered by such universal training. Enforcement of legal penalties may get changed behavior results, but classroom "training," not so much if at all.

"Crunching numbers," without any credible data about cycling classes, students of such classes, and measurement of safety metrics/student cycling behavior before and after classes, is in a word - worthless. Does make an interesting topic for speculative patter about expected results, or that My course is better than Your course.
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Old 08-16-14, 04:59 PM
  #8554  
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Originally Posted by baron von trail View Post
I wear a helmet every time I ride. Shoot me.
Originally Posted by LesterOfPuppets View Post
You wear a vest, too?
Bulletproof or reflective?
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Old 08-16-14, 05:39 PM
  #8555  
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
If cyclists stayed away from HGV's, if cyclists rode here rather than there, if cyclists avoided driving drunk, if cyclists didn't ride on the wrong side of the road, if-lights, if-not on pavement; if, if, if!
This is silly: you asked a condition about changes in behaviour and their outcome and you are objecting to the word "if"...

What makes you think any cyclist training program, mandatory or voluntary has been successful at significantly changing the cycling behavior of the students.
I would have to say, flying. Because when some starts learning to fly, they can't. When they finish, they can. Flying even a small aircraft is a lot harder than staying away from HGVs. So, yes, I believe the behaviour is learnable.

If motorists didn't drive while intoxicated
In my life time drunk driving has fallen severalfold in the UK. So it's a ridiculous choice to prove that human behaviour isn't alterable.

, if motorists didn't speed, if, if, if, etc. wouldn't the roads be so much safer for those people who altered their behavior after training? Oh wait, every single motorist has been trained and/or tested on obeying the speed limits and the laws against drunken driving before getting a driver's license, but the "incorrect" behaviors have not been altered by such universal training.
You are assuming that requiring driver training and laws have no effect because the result is not 100% success. Well, no. The benefit of driver training and anti drunk driving laws is the improvement over the situation without them. You're like one of those whacko *** nuts who says that banning guns is pointless because the UK and Japan still have a few dozen *** homicides a year rather than the US's 15,000. But competently rational people don't think this way - they don't assume that a safety measure has to be either 100% effective or it is a complete failure.

You can certainly doubt the reliability of the estimates I have given (and they're very London specific as well as speculative - rural US cycling deaths will reasonably follow a completely different pattern.) But your "logic" isn't logic - your "Some people still die so driver training has no effect" reasoning is as silly as rydabent's mathematics. To give you an idea how illogical you are being, take a look at

List of countries by traffic-related death rate - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

...The UAE, which effectively has no driver training, has a fatal accident rate per mile almost 100 times greater than the UK. So arguing that driver training has no effect is bizarre; together with law enforcement and social pressure it can provably reduce the accident rate 100 times over no training.

Last edited by meanwhile; 08-16-14 at 05:46 PM.
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Old 08-16-14, 06:11 PM
  #8556  
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First things first: Big thanks to @meanwhile for the exceptional contributions to this discussion.

I actually am reading this thread solely because of the guy shouting "HELMET!" at me as I passed him on the MUP today. Normally I would never enter this fray, because I figure we're all grownups here and can decide for ourselves whether or not a helmet should be a part of our riding gear. But at this point I'd really like to hear from the helmet-yellers because I just don't get it.

The absence of a helmet on my head is nothing more nor less than a personal choice that I have every right to make. I've looked at the likelihood of an incident where a helmet will make a difference (small), weighed it against the enjoyment I get from riding without, and made my decision for good or ill. My lack of helmet does not endanger you. It has exactly zero impact on your existence one way or another until you decide to offer your one-word lecture.

What's your motivation? Is it genuine concern about my safety? Empty-nest syndrome and a desire to revisit, for just a moment, a paternal role? Belief that I'm just ignorant of the effect pavement can have on the human body? Do you feel my lack of helmet somehow puts you, as a Responsible Cyclist, in danger? Tell me. Really. I'd like to know.

In the meantime, you'll remain fodder for speculative jokes between my wife* and I. You'll also be my designated Sanctimonious Nanny-cyclist until such time as the next one-word lecturer rolls by on the trail. That, if you really care at all, is the only thing you accomplished today. I suggest saving your breath and minding your own business.

*She was the rider beside me with a helmet. Even though she has far more invested in my intact skull than you do, she respects my choice and the reasons behind it.
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Old 08-16-14, 06:25 PM
  #8557  
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Originally Posted by meanwhile View Post
...The UAE, which effectively has no driver training, has a fatal accident rate per mile almost 100 times greater than the UK. So arguing that driver training has no effect is bizarre; together with law enforcement and social pressure it can provably reduce the accident rate 100 times over no training.
Yes, reading this comparison reminded me of a story by someone who had been terrified while being driven around Saudi Arabia (even worse stats than UAE) on a narrow road with numerous small hills. As the driver came near the crest of each rise while staying in the middle of the road with no reduction in speed and no visibility of possible oncoming traffic he would shout an arabic phrase that roughly translated to "let god's will be done." Sometimes it would only take minor changes in behavior to create substantial improvements in safety.
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Old 08-16-14, 06:41 PM
  #8558  
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While I don't believe that classes or formal training are needed, I firmly believe that knowledge and experience is a major factor in safety. It is in every endeavor, so to assume that it isn't in the world of cycling would require some basis and explanation of what makes cycling different.

Like I said, I don't think classes make sense, and what I've seen of formal "bicycle training" here in the USA reinforces my opinion. (In one video the instructor spent almost 5 minutes explaining about the "right" side to mount and dismount from)

OTOH- there are other ways to impart knowledge, from simple bike safety handouts, to internet sites, to posters in bike shops.

While I don't see it as much any more, trucks in the USA long engaged in "driver training" with the Heaven/Hell, Passing side/Sui side, and If you can't see me, I can't see you, signs painted in back (and other). (My all time favorite was a large tombstone with RIP and a sketch of a Volkswagon under the right rear axle) So if heavy vehicles remain a major issue for bikes in London, one approach might be graphic (not too) images of bicycle/truck interaction in the blind spot. Maybe simple text, "half of London's bicycle fatalities happened here" with an arrow to the left.
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Old 08-16-14, 06:54 PM
  #8559  
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Originally Posted by meanwhile View Post
This is silly: you asked a condition about changes in behaviour and their outcome and you are objecting to the word "if"...



I would have to say, flying. Because when some starts learning to fly, they can't. When they finish, they can. Flying even a small aircraft is a lot harder than staying away from HGVs. So, yes, I believe the behaviour is learnable.



In my life time drunk driving has fallen severalfold in the UK. So it's a ridiculous choice to prove that human behaviour isn't alterable.



You are assuming that requiring driver training and laws have no effect because the result is not 100% success. Well, no. The benefit of driver training and anti drunk driving laws is the improvement over the situation without them.
In case you need a reminder, you provided no if, buts or maybes qualifier to your claim that taking cycling safety courses cuts the odds of being in a serious accident 2-4 times. And the subject is what if any evidence exists of any cyclist training program leading to a reduction of cycling risk (as measured by any metric), NOT flights of fancy about flying lessons or driving lessons in the UAE.
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Old 08-16-14, 06:57 PM
  #8560  
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Originally Posted by LesterOfPuppets View Post
You wear a vest, too?
Force field
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Old 08-16-14, 07:01 PM
  #8561  
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
While I don't believe that classes or formal training are needed, I firmly believe that knowledge and experience is a major factor in safety. It is in every endeavor, so to assume that it isn't in the world of cycling would require some basis and explanation of what makes cycling different.

Like I said, I don't think classes make sense, and what I've seen of formal "bicycle training" here in the USA reinforces my opinion. (In one video the instructor spent almost 5 minutes explaining about the "right" side to mount and dismount from)

OTOH- there are other ways to impart knowledge, from simple bike safety handouts, to internet sites, to posters in bike shops.
Are you aware of any existing cyclist education program that has any record of improving the safety record of its students?
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Old 08-16-14, 07:11 PM
  #8562  
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
Are you aware of any existing cyclist education program that has any record of improving the safety record of its students?
No, I'm not aware of any. In fact if you could read, you'd have noticed that I don't endorse cycling classes in any way.

OTOH- if you can demonstrate any support for the notion that knowledge and experience don't make any difference, I'd love to hear it.

So either we agree that knowledge and experience make a difference, and it's about how to pass that on to newer cyclists, or the ball is in your court.

BTW- if you don't believe that knowledge and experience make a difference, I have to wonder why you bother posting on this forum.
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Old 08-16-14, 08:07 PM
  #8563  
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
No, I'm not aware of any. In fact if you could read, you'd have noticed that I don't endorse cycling classes in any way.

OTOH- if you can demonstrate any support for the notion that knowledge and experience don't make any difference, I'd love to hear it.
What I wrote clearly was that Meanwhile left the firm ground that he stood on when discussing helmet effectiveness, to fabricate a fantastic track record for serious accident reduction for some unspecified (or all) cycling safety courses. The issue isn't the benefit of knowledge and experience but the lack of evidence thatany existing cycling safety course or program of instruction imparts sufficient knowledge or experience to make any measurable difference in the safety record of its students.
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Old 08-16-14, 09:09 PM
  #8564  
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Helmets and car-free life

I always wear a helmet. All other things being equal, wearing a helmet is a lot safer than not wearing one. I will probably continue to wear a helmet, particularly here in the US. However, I hate them; they are hot, uncomfortable, and look stupid. When you do the math, their protective value, while very real, may, for some experienced urban riders, not be worth the discomfort. This may be particularly true for those of us who use bikes as our primary form of transport.

In a serious accident on a bicycle, the value of a helmet is simply beyond question. Go to any serious website, ones where they give actual data, and you'll see that having a helmet in an accident is a really good idea. The thing is, those serious accidents on a bike are very, very rare. According to the League of American Cyclists, there were 4 billion bicycle trips in the US in 2010. During that same year, according to the CDC, about 500,000 people sought medical attention because of bike accidents, and about 780 people were killed. Even assuming that all those ER visits involved serious head injuries, the probability that any one of us will be involved in a serious accident on a bike in 20 years of riding is about 0.25%. Even if you account for a much higher number of trips made by car-free cyclists, at most, any one of us has maybe a 1 in 100 chance of being in a serious accident over a span of 20 years. If you accept the figure that a bicycle helmet has an 88% probability of protecting your head in an accident, that means that, over a span of 20 years, wearing a helmet increases your margin of safety by just under 1%. (0.88%)

As I said, I'm going to continue to wear a helmet; it's safer than not using one, and even though it sucks, it sucks less than permanent brain injury. But it's certainly no guarantee of safety, and an experienced, careful rider may opt for 1% more risk in exchange for greater comfort. What do you think? Are helmets necessary for experienced car-free riders?

Last edited by bragi; 08-16-14 at 09:12 PM.
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Old 08-16-14, 11:04 PM
  #8565  
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Originally Posted by bragi View Post
I always wear a helmet. All other things being equal, wearing a helmet is a lot safer than not wearing one. I will probably continue to wear a helmet, particularly here in the US. However, I hate them; they are hot, uncomfortable, and look stupid. When you do the math, their protective value, while very real, may, for some experienced urban riders, not be worth the discomfort. This may be particularly true for those of us who use bikes as our primary form of transport.

In a serious accident on a bicycle, the value of a helmet is simply beyond question. Go to any serious website, ones where they give actual data, and you'll see that having a helmet in an accident is a really good idea. The thing is, those serious accidents on a bike are very, very rare. According to the League of American Cyclists, there were 4 billion bicycle trips in the US in 2010. During that same year, according to the CDC, about 500,000 people sought medical attention because of bike accidents, and about 780 people were killed. Even assuming that all those ER visits involved serious head injuries, the probability that any one of us will be involved in a serious accident on a bike in 20 years of riding is about 0.25%. Even if you account for a much higher number of trips made by car-free cyclists, at most, any one of us has maybe a 1 in 100 chance of being in a serious accident over a span of 20 years. If you accept the figure that a bicycle helmet has an 88% probability of protecting your head in an accident, that means that, over a span of 20 years, wearing a helmet increases your margin of safety by just under 1%. (0.88%)

As I said, I'm going to continue to wear a helmet; it's safer than not using one, and even though it sucks, it sucks less than permanent brain injury. But it's certainly no guarantee of safety, and an experienced, careful rider may opt for 1% more risk in exchange for greater comfort. What do you think? Are helmets necessary for experienced car-free riders?
Right now, Meanwhile is wondering why he even bothered.
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Old 08-16-14, 11:06 PM
  #8566  
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The problem is the data. Don't get me wrong, I've done similar calculations from a lot of different sources and I come to a similar conclusion. But calculations like this can only give you a very general idea of the magnitude of risk, with a large range and low degree of confidence. I'm naturally drawn to it because I'm a software engineer in the risk management industry (and other information) with a degree in Mathematics. Just sayin' so someone doesn't call me an illiterate moron blowing smoke - a hazard in this thread.

Anyway the first big problem is the number of trips, number of miles, number of cyclists, everything of that nature. What data we have spotty, wildly at variance depending on the source, and not really granular enough to be useful.

On top of that we can't really trust the accident stats. It's usually from police reports, or hospital reports, or inferred therefrom, inconsistent and incomplete. Or worse, garnered from news reports and even internet blogs. So the data on both ends inspires little confidence and we wind up with a lot of conflicting conclusions.


Originally Posted by bragi View Post
I always wear a helmet. All other things being equal, wearing a helmet is a lot safer than not wearing one. I will probably continue to wear a helmet, particularly here in the US. However, I hate them; they are hot, uncomfortable, and look stupid. When you do the math, their protective value, while very real, may, for some experienced urban riders, not be worth the discomfort. This may be particularly true for those of us who use bikes as our primary form of transport.

In a serious accident on a bicycle, the value of a helmet is simply beyond question. Go to any serious website, ones where they give actual data, and you'll see that having a helmet in an accident is a really good idea. The thing is, those serious accidents on a bike are very, very rare. According to the League of American Cyclists, there were 4 billion bicycle trips in the US in 2010. During that same year, according to the CDC, about 500,000 people sought medical attention because of bike accidents, and about 780 people were killed. Even assuming that all those ER visits involved serious head injuries, the probability that any one of us will be involved in a serious accident on a bike in 20 years of riding is about 0.25%. Even if you account for a much higher number of trips made by car-free cyclists, at most, any one of us has maybe a 1 in 100 chance of being in a serious accident over a span of 20 years. If you accept the figure that a bicycle helmet has an 88% probability of protecting your head in an accident, that means that, over a span of 20 years, wearing a helmet increases your margin of safety by just under 1%. (0.88%)

As I said, I'm going to continue to wear a helmet; it's safer than not using one, and even though it sucks, it sucks less than permanent brain injury. But it's certainly no guarantee of safety, and an experienced, careful rider may opt for 1% more risk in exchange for greater comfort. What do you think? Are helmets necessary for experienced car-free riders?
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Old 08-16-14, 11:09 PM
  #8567  
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Originally Posted by J.Oxley View Post
I actually am reading this thread solely because of the guy shouting "HELMET!" at me as I passed him on the MUP today.
I have discovered a good solution for these folks. I slam on the brakes, make a U-turn, chase the offender down, and deliver a wild-eyed, spittle-flecked, screaming tirade about helmets, bike safety, and parentage. I have reason to believe that this has cured the helmet-yelling tendencies of several local cyclists.

Last edited by Six jours; 08-16-14 at 11:13 PM.
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Old 08-16-14, 11:39 PM
  #8568  
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
The problem is the data. Don't get me wrong, I've done similar calculations from a lot of different sources and I come to a similar conclusion. But calculations like this can only give you a very general idea of the magnitude of risk, with a large range and low degree of confidence. I'm naturally drawn to it because I'm a software engineer in the risk management industry (and other information) with a degree in Mathematics. Just sayin' so someone doesn't call me an illiterate moron blowing smoke - a hazard in this thread.
Sure the data accuracy and completeness is suspect, but that's by no means the only problem. It's also necessary to properly use the data one has in subsequent calculations.

In the post you cite by bragi he tries to calculate the risk of a single individual having a severe enough accident to warrant an ER visit. To do so to first order one should divide the number of ER visits nationally by the total number of people participating in the activity - but bragi doesn't do that. He divides by the number of bicycle trips (4 billion in a year) rather than by the number of people. Since most bicyclists will take many bike trips each year the conclusion is way off. Especially applying it to car-free bike enthusiasts who probably take hundreds of bike trips per year.

But it's ok since after making this error to underestimate by a couple orders of magnitude he then applies the 88% effectiveness of helmets from the widely discredited Harborview study. As meanwhile just got done showing with several references, the actual number here should be about 3% +/- 3%, so we have a second error of about 1.5 magnitudes in the other direction so they pretty much cancel each other out.
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Old 08-16-14, 11:59 PM
  #8569  
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Originally Posted by prathmann View Post
Sure the data accuracy and completeness is suspect, but that's by no means the only problem. It's also necessary to properly use the data one has in subsequent calculations.

In the post you cite by bragi he tries to calculate the risk of a single individual having a severe enough accident to warrant an ER visit. To do so to first order one should divide the number of ER visits nationally by the total number of people participating in the activity - but bragi doesn't do that. He divides by the number of bicycle trips (4 billion in a year) rather than by the number of people. Since most bicyclists will take many bike trips each year the conclusion is way off. Especially applying it to car-free bike enthusiasts who probably take hundreds of bike trips per year.

That's true, and I briefly considered my own risk based on his numbers and the fact that I am on the road roughly 500 times a year. But it doesn't really matter because we have no confidence in the 4 billion number in the first place, and no differentiation of what these trips are, etc. So as I said, the calculation can only give a very general idea with low confidence in the first place. I don't think there's much point in harping on him for it.

Originally Posted by prathmann View Post
But it's ok since after making this error to underestimate by a couple orders of magnitude he then applies the 88% effectiveness of helmets from the widely discredited Harborview study. As meanwhile just got done showing with several references, the actual number here should be about 3% +/- 3%, so we have a second error of about 1.5 magnitudes in the other direction so they pretty much cancel each other out.
The 3% is just as bad as the 88% number.
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Old 08-17-14, 12:01 AM
  #8570  
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Originally Posted by Six jours View Post
Right now, Meanwhile is wondering why he even bothered.
This is a problem related to the moderators here moving posts around. Bragi made his post in the 'Car-Free' subforum and probably hadn't seen the recent discussion around meanwhile's posts here. Then his post gets moved here and it looks like he's ignoring posts directly above his.
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Old 08-17-14, 03:53 AM
  #8571  
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
If cyclists stayed away from HGV's, if cyclists rode here rather than there, if cyclists avoided driving drunk, if cyclists didn't ride on the wrong side of the road, if-lights, if-not on pavement; if, if, if! What makes you think any cyclist training program, mandatory or voluntary has been successful at significantly changing the cycling behavior of the students. Maybe you think if only cyclists received instruction and a test on these "ifs" the problem would be drastically reduced.
In Soviet Holland, where cycling training is, among other things, part of the elementary school curriculum, a lot of the behavioral problems you mentioned are barely or not at all present.

-HGV vehicles have mandatory extra mirrors that eliminate most of the blindspots, still a Dutch 8 yo can tell you to take extra care around big vehicles.
-Dutch Cyclist have a keen understanding where to ride their bicycles, and generally behave like that. "Cycling on highways" for example is an non-existent concept in Dutch culture.
-Cycling drunk, well it's complicated, but most people understand it's not a good idea.
-I was baffled to learn that salmoning was actually a thing in other countries. Everyone understands that it's not a good idea to ride on the wrong side of the road.
-Lights; you mean there are people who don't understand the merits of lights?
-Riding on pavements: It happens, but everyone knows they're not supposed to do it.

So yeah, I think training does make a difference.

Oh wait, every single motorist has been trained and/or tested on obeying the speed limits and the laws against drunken driving before getting a driver's license, but the "incorrect" behaviors have not been altered by such universal training.
There is a reason why the American driver's licence has limited legal value in NL. Mainly because American standards of training drivers are a joke compared to the Dutch equivalent.

Last edited by CarinusMalmari; 08-17-14 at 04:07 AM.
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Old 08-17-14, 05:05 AM
  #8572  
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
Are you aware of any existing cyclist education program that has any record of improving the safety record of its students?
Ok: previously you claimed that driver training has no effect on accident rate, so you clearly accepted that what works for cars works for bikes. We now that driver training plausibly has a very large effect on accidents. So your rants are becoming stranger and stranger.

- Would you really be happy if the US let untrained drivers on the road?

- Would you fly on an airliner with untrained pilots?

- Admitting that in London at least half of fatals are from HGVs, do you really think that simply knowing this doesn't increase safety? Are you saying that you are so stupid that you wouldn't use this information and stay away from them, especially if you were given tactics to do so and practiced them? And if you are that smart, why aren't other people?

That we have an absence of statistics for courses - and that current courses may be poorly designed - is irrelevant to whether or not a course plausibly could cut deaths. Simply staying away from HGVs will do so in London - and probably other cities.
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Old 08-17-14, 05:07 AM
  #8573  
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Originally Posted by CarinusMalmari View Post
In Soviet Holland,
Holland Stalin will make you spend 3 days working in a coffee house if you make racist or sexist jokes or don't recycle. He's sooooo strict!
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Old 08-17-14, 05:14 AM
  #8574  
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Originally Posted by Six jours View Post
Right now, Meanwhile is wondering why he even bothered.
You can't make stupid people smart. But over the past 10 or so years the prospect of MHLs in the UK has completely receded - influential politicians and media figures laugh at helmets, the most influential doctor in UK media and political debate, Goldacre, has pointed out that the pro-helmet "evidence" is faked - and the DTI study proved that helmets can't possibly have a major effect on mortality. And thanks to the changed political climate, the scientists responsible were allowed to make their results public.

The war, so far as I am concerned is won. If people here are silly enough to get themselves killed because they rely on foam hats rather than knowledge of what their local risks are and appropriate routing and tactics to avoid them, well, I've never liked stupid people anyway.
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Old 08-17-14, 05:25 AM
  #8575  
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
The problem is the data. Don't get me wrong, I've done similar calculations from a lot of different sources and I come to a similar conclusion. But calculations like this can only give you a very general idea of the magnitude of risk, with a large range and low degree of confidence. I'm naturally drawn to it because I'm a software engineer in the risk management industry (and other information) with a degree in Mathematics.
This claim is hilarious and implausible. No competently trained risk professional would have been taken in for a second by the studies you have quoted or failed to accept that whole population studies are inherently more robust than proxy studies using fudge factors.

One of the studies you quoted "showed" that helmets reduce fatal head injuries by showing that the trivial head injuries among a helmet wearing group of children were a smaller % of ER visits than for the non-helmet wearing group. But the two groups were completely different - and the absolute number of visits was the same, so a statistican would actually say that (if you could compare the groups which you can't) that the helmets didn't reduce head injuries, they increased non-head injuries by 3 times!

And even worse, you accepted the idiotic idea that a reduction in scalp cuts from falls on grass of X implies a similar reduction in mortalitty when being hit a ton of steel at 30mph!

Last edited by CbadRider; 08-17-14 at 10:43 AM. Reason: Removed comment that violates forum guidelines
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