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The helmet thread

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The helmet thread

Old 03-02-12, 07:45 AM
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Originally Posted by mconlonx
Check post 1645. You replied to it...
Y'Know, I thought that's what you meant, but it wasn't what you said. You really weren't paying attention when you were sniping from the sidelines yesterday (or you have that problem you accused me of having).

For the record, when I say when the fearful project their fears onto others, it doesn't mean I have that same fear.

If those who are afraid project their worries onto others, it results in fewer people riding (the data shows fear for their safety Is the number one reason that keeps people off bikes - not linking the surveys and studies, because you can find them easily enough yourself - and if you don't want to believe it, you won't anyway) that can make it a little more dangerous (and I find that elevated danger is still safe)


Culture of fear. Nothing to do with helmet-specific promotion; nothing specific to bicycles. Helmet use is a symptom, not the cause.
the doomsayers aren't discriminant. Cycling is included.

If people thought cycling was as safe as taking a walk, helmets wouldn't sell like they do

Last edited by closetbiker; 03-02-12 at 07:56 AM.
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Old 03-02-12, 07:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Six jours
Yeah, we get it. When you post it's "science" and when anyone else posts it's distraction and voodoo. But hey, it's easier than thinking!
All together now: links to scientific research on bicycle helmets is "science," trying to switch the topic to something else is "distraction."
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Old 03-02-12, 08:09 AM
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Originally Posted by closetbiker
A couple of works have already been posted since you started posting on the thread. If you choose not to consider them, that's your choice, but it doesn't mean they don't exist.
I'm asking you to point them out so I can see what you're talking about and maybe learn something new from them. And certainly if you purport to know the state of the science and all the supposedly contradictory evidence, you should be able to provide some links or quotes easily enough.

Wow. That's quite remarkable. I understand this is your take on it, but evidence shows, your take is quite apart from reality.
No, that conclusion was drawn directly from the evidence, and a lot of it.

I think that in all the time I've been looking into this issue (and I'm sure I've been doing this far longer than you) you are the only person that has found a helmet has greater protective qualities than was previously thought. Most people found that it has less than previously thought.
Maybe that's because I took the time to look into on my own and read hundreds of pages of studies, reports, and statistics instead of leaping to some unfounded conclusion or swallowing party-line propaganda from either side.
And the BS on wiki and cychelmets.org? You have to admit there are recognized, peer reviewed papers referenced there and fully qualified people providing the data. Aren't you being a little selective in your choice of what you are looking at? If it's so universally understood that helmets provide the benefits you think they do, why isn't the wiki entry representative of that view?
I gave up on Wikipedia's reliability on the topic when I started following the footnotes and found a number of them saying nothing like what was quoted or even the opposite. Cyclehelmets.org masquerades as some "research foundation," but in dozens and dozens of scientific articles, I've never seen one authored by or referencing said foundation, only two by one writer they list as a part of their board. Never mind that the site has an obvious bias against helmets and helmet laws. I would never rely on them as a chief source of info.

I guess your response answers the question I had already asked and was just going to ask again. I'll assume you think a helmet should be top priority in the bicycle safety chain of effectiveness.
Not at all, but I'm honored you keep seeking my opinion on that issue by asking repeatedly about my stance
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Old 03-02-12, 08:16 AM
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But since every accident is slightly different, the "science" of a bike accident is NOT and exact science.
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Old 03-02-12, 09:06 AM
  #1705  
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Originally Posted by Six-Shooter
... I'm honored you keep seeking my opinion on that issue...
I ask your opinion, because it's such a unique one.

So if it's not the top priority, what is more important?

(and I'm still awaiting an explaination on how 2-3 inches of coverage on the crown of the head prevents facial, spinal, and thoratic injuries)
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Old 03-02-12, 09:19 AM
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Originally Posted by closetbiker
Y'Know, I thought that's what you meant, but it wasn't what you said. You really weren't paying attention when you were sniping from the sidelines yesterday (or you have that problem you accused me of having).
Dude: your words, not mine. Your qualifier, "more," is a pretty damning implication that you think cycling is dangerous. Yes, I may be getting overly pedantic in this casual conversation, but there it is--you said it. Some kind of Freudian slip on your part...?

Originally Posted by closetbiker
If those who are afraid project their worries onto others, it results in fewer people riding (the data shows fear for their safety Is the number one reason that keeps people off bikes - not linking the surveys and studies, because you can find them easily enough yourself - and if you don't want to believe it, you won't anyway) that can make it a little more dangerous (and I find that elevated danger is still safe)
...which may or may not have anything to do with helmets, helmet use, or helmet promotion. And the degree to which such might affect the "dangers" of cycling is certainly debatable; and in my opinion, regarding helmet use/promotion, after reviewing nearly all the literature involved, minimal to the point of being not even worth considering.

Originally Posted by closetbiker
the doomsayers aren't discriminant. Cycling is included.
Oh. So it's not just the Helmet Industrial Complex....

Originally Posted by closetbiker
If people thought cycling was as safe as taking a walk, helmets wouldn't sell like they do
If people thought driving was safe, there wouldn't be some bill working it's way through USA national level legislation mandating rear-view cameras in cars. Your point has absolutely no measurable relevance to your claims that helmet use and promotion engender some kind of view that cycling is dangerous.
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Old 03-02-12, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by closetbiker
I actually received notice of the results via 3 influential professionals; a physician, public health consultant, and a senior statistician. All have published papers in peer reviewed journals and have been cited by respected sources. You might not be reading the tables correctly. Sorry, but I'd place my faith in their more qualified analysis than yours.
Let me get this straight: now you're advocating that people take the word of some anonymous "influential professionals" whom only you know over what they actually read in the published paper? Really? You want to stick with that one?

Originally Posted by closetbiker
I think that in all the time I've been looking into this issue (and I'm sure I've been doing this far longer than you) you are the only person that has found a helmet has greater protective qualities than was previously thought.
Make that two. I began looking at the evidence very skeptical that helmets would do more than prevent minor injury (which IMO is sufficient justification alone for wearing one, YMMV), but I really had my mind changed after seeing the data.

I'm sure you have been at this far longer than all of the rest of us combined, but that is not something I would brag about if I were you, unless you're trying to make yourself a poster child for the Dunning-Kruger effect.

Last edited by corvuscorvax; 03-02-12 at 09:53 AM.
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Old 03-02-12, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by closetbiker
not really. I actually received notice of the results via 3 influential professionals; a physician, public health consultant, and a senior statistician. All have published papers in peer reviewed journals and have been cited by respected sources. You might not be reading the tables correctly. Sorry, but I'd place my faith in their more qualified analysis than yours (or mine, for that matter)
Originally Posted by corvuscorvax
Let me get this straight: now you're advocating that people take the word of some anonymous "influential professionals" whom only you know over what they actually read in the published paper? Really? You want to stick with that one?
Oh, right, this...

Sorry, but I'm going to put my faith in the findings of the original study and the researchers directly involved, not what any "influential professionals" try to read into the study.

Meaning: the study was regarding the efficacy of helmet promotion tactics. Nothing to do with helmet use vs. ridership rates. Despite Closetbiker's weak attempt to misrepresent it as such. Especially when there's an even more damning, similar metric in the very same study that helmeteers could claim to their benefit -- those given helmets without information showed the most significant ridership participation.
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Old 03-02-12, 10:36 AM
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Originally Posted by mconlonx
Dude: your words, not mine. Your qualifier, "more," is a pretty damning implication that you think cycling is dangerous. Yes, I may be getting overly pedantic in this casual conversation, but there it is--you said it. Some kind of Freudian slip on your part...?
I don't think so. Maybe the issue is something other than what it seems because I've said what I think and you agreed in the safety in numbers point. You obviously don't think the reasons for wearing a helmet keeps people from riding but do you disagree that fear keeps people from riding?



...which may or may not have anything to do with helmets, helmet use, or helmet promotion. And the degree to which such might affect the "dangers" of cycling is certainly debatable; and in my opinion, regarding helmet use/promotion, after reviewing nearly all the literature involved, minimal to the point of being not even worth considering.
Maybe, maybe not, in your opinion... I can accept your take on it but you know others think differently.


Oh. So it's not just the Helmet Industrial Complex....
It's the culture of fear.

If people thought driving was safe, there wouldn't be some bill working it's way through USA national level legislation mandating rear-view cameras in cars. Your point has absolutely no measurable relevance to your claims that helmet use and promotion engender some kind of view that cycling is dangerous.
Actually, the results of helmet promotion has been measured. You just disagree that those measurements mean anything
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Old 03-02-12, 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by mconlonx
Oh, right, this...

Sorry, but I'm going to put my faith in the findings of the original study and the researchers directly involved, not what any "influential professionals" try to read into the study.

Meaning: the study was regarding the efficacy of helmet promotion tactics. Nothing to do with helmet use vs. ridership rates. Despite Closetbiker's weak attempt to misrepresent it as such. Especially when there's an even more damning, similar metric in the very same study that helmeteers could claim to their benefit -- those given helmets without information showed the most significant ridership participation.
Well, I'd say in the data that shows helmet promotion leads to increased helmet use there is also additional information that shows with this increase of use is a decrease of cycling.

It's in the tables. If you don't see it, that's fine but that doesn't mean it's not there.
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Old 03-02-12, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Six-Shooter
All together now: links to scientific research on bicycle helmets is "science," trying to switch the topic to something else is "distraction."
Science can indeed tell us if wearing a helmet would be effective at mitigating injury. No more, no less. Context tells us whether or not we should.

Science can tell us body armor might be effective in reducing injury while riding. It doesn't tell us we should.

That's all we're doing here, is adding context. Yes, a helmet can mitigate injury from falling off a bike. It can also mitigate injury tripping while walking, slipping in the shower...

Again, adding context isn't a distraction, it's another facet of the big helmet question. The science of helmet effectiveness is only part of it. Not even to mention the social science behind how it actually effects society, which is no less important.

In fact, I would say ignoring the context in an attempt to advance a point is more disingenuous.

Last edited by sudo bike; 03-02-12 at 12:57 PM.
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Old 03-02-12, 02:24 PM
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Originally Posted by closetbiker
If people thought cycling was as safe as taking a walk, helmets wouldn't sell like they do
And if you really thought cycling was as safe as taking a walk, then a reduction in numbers wouldn't bother you, since it would have no material effect on the (apparently nonexistent) additional risk to cyclists. Your "reduction in numbers" stuff would be irrelevant. If you don't think cycling is as safe as taking a walk, then you're admitting that cycling has inherent risk, and that measures (such as increasing ridership, or, hell, idunno, wearing helmets) are desirable to mitigate that risk.

Which is it?

Last edited by corvuscorvax; 03-02-12 at 02:41 PM.
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Old 03-02-12, 02:52 PM
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Originally Posted by sudo bike
Science can indeed tell us if wearing a helmet would be effective at mitigating injury. No more, no less. Context tells us whether or not we should...
But I think that's the point of avoiding context, a Helmeteers job is to tell us we should.

Last edited by closetbiker; 03-02-12 at 02:57 PM.
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Old 03-02-12, 08:35 PM
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Originally Posted by closetbiker
But I think that's the point of avoiding context, a Helmeteers job is to tell us we should.


Plenty of helmet wearers out there who really don't care if you wear a helmet or not. Many of them in this here thread...
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Old 03-02-12, 09:15 PM
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Originally Posted by mconlonx


Plenty of helmet wearers out there who really don't care if you wear a helmet or not. Many of them in this here thread...
Simply wearing a helmet does not make one a Helmeteer.

A Helmeteer must embody an ethusiatic spirit, energetically "spread the good word" about all things positive in helmet use (nothing other than positive qualities must be spoken of), and be a leading example to all helmet evangelists everywhere.

Helmeteers do not include those who do not care about other cyclists helmet usage, or question some of the more egregious claims of the truly devoted. Helmeteers do not consider the issue of context with helmet use. They do not look at the balance in risk by considering the positive with the negative aspects of riding, they only consider the negative aspects of riding.

The purpose of the Helmeteers is to try to convince (or make) all cyclists wear helmets, whether it helps those cyclists, or not.

Last edited by closetbiker; 03-03-12 at 07:30 AM.
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Old 03-02-12, 10:55 PM
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Originally Posted by corvuscorvax
And if you really thought cycling was as safe as taking a walk, then a reduction in numbers wouldn't bother you, since it would have no material effect on the (apparently nonexistent) additional risk to cyclists.
This conclusion doesn't follow. I think that cycling has similar risks as taking a walk, but I'd still like the risk of both activities to be reduced. Unfortunately substantial numbers of both cyclists and pedestrians are killed each year - primarily as a result of collisions with motor vehicles.

If getting more people to cycle will reduce the risk then I'm all for it, and, conversely, if something like excessive helmet promotion reduces the amount of cycling and increases the risk then let's not do that.
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Old 03-03-12, 05:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Six-Shooter
All together now: links to scientific research on bicycle helmets is "science,"
Except when those links disagree with you, apparently.

Originally Posted by Six-Shooter
trying to switch the topic to something else is "distraction."
That was a stupid tactic when Ryda tried it, and you're not the guy to make it seem smarter.
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Old 03-03-12, 10:24 AM
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Originally Posted by prathmann
T I think that cycling has similar risks as taking a walk, but I'd still like the risk of both activities to be reduced. Unfortunately substantial numbers of both cyclists and pedestrians are killed each year - primarily as a result of collisions with motor vehicles.
Terrific! Then we are all in agreement that acknowledging the (rather obvious) fact that cycling has inherent risks is not "fearmongering". Glad we got that cleared up.
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Old 03-03-12, 10:34 AM
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Fearmongering would be when the risks of cycling are exaggerated or emphasized to a greater degree than they happen

One way of doing this is to present the injuries cyclists receive out of context.

Last edited by closetbiker; 03-03-12 at 10:55 AM.
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Old 03-03-12, 11:47 AM
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Rear view cameras mandatory in cars? Sorry, I just can't resist commenting on that. I assume none of the people trying to make them mandatory have anything to do with manufacturing or selling rear view cameras, or anything related to automobile manufacturing. Because that is precisely the reason why bicycle helmets have become so popular; the companies that manufacture helmets began lobbying (totally in the interests of rider safety, of course) because that was the only way to incease sales of an unpopular product.

Of course, if people could drive backwards without hitting things rear view cameras wouldn't be needed. So, legislation and technology take the place of a useful skill the majority of people once possessed and make an otherwise simple task seem more difficult than it actually is.

I'm not saying bicycle helmets don't have their place; they're definitely good for children or for high risk bicycling, such as downhill racing. That being said, ripping around town I will never wear a helmet (I know, shocking!); partly it's a generational thing, partly because I have yet to hit my head on the pavement and I'm too old to start.

Last edited by Deathly Hallows; 03-03-12 at 12:09 PM.
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Old 03-03-12, 02:09 PM
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Originally Posted by closetbiker
Fearmongering would be when the risks of cycling are exaggerated or emphasized to a greater degree than they happen

One way of doing this is to present the injuries cyclists receive out of context.
OK, great! Let's give some context. Certainly, there are ten times as many pedestrians killed in the U.S. as cyclists, so pedestrian deaths are a far larger public health problem:

https://www.iihs.org/research/fatalit...destrians.html

More than 4,000 pedestrians were killed in traffic accidents in 2009, or 7.5 times the number of cyclists killed the same year.

But what about rates per hour or per kilometer? Since it is taken as an item of faith around here that New Zealand is the gold standard of statistics (not sure why -- maybe statistics are better in the southern hemisphere because the opposite Coriolis force means you have to spin them the other way?), let's have a look at New Zealand:

https://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2458/10/655

Results are summarized in this table:

https://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2458/10/655/table/T1

In 2003, injuries per million hours of exposure for various modes of travel were measured to be:

Car/van driver: 2.10
Pedestrian: 2.38
Car/van passenger: 2.89
Cyclist: 30.74
Motorcyclist: 107.64

In other words, according to this study (and we all know New Zealand studies are never wrong), cyclists have 13 times the injury rate of pedestrians, and 11 times the injury rate of motor vehicle passengers.

Now before some loon rushes to their keyboard to claim that this is somehow because New Zealand has a MHL, how about this study from the Netherlands, where everybody knows that helmets are unheard of?

https://ehp03.niehs.nih.gov/article/i...%2Fehp.0901747

Here is the data on traffic deaths per billion kilometers by mode of travel:



No pedestrian data, but according to this study cycling has 5.5 times the death rate of driving. And this is in the Netherlands, a famously cycle-friendly country. The Netherlands study also (quite reasonably) concludes that the health benefits of cycling outweigh the increased death rate from accidents, but the fact remains that cycling is measured to have a substantially higher rate of death and serious injury than driving. Cycling is healthy and beneficial, but it has a higher injury rate from accidents.

An interesting thing to note in the Netherlands study is that for people aged 15-40, death rates from driving and cycling are comparable. But this is mostly due to the fact that auto accident rates in this age group are higher than for older drivers. In any case, driving is probably the most dangerous thing that most of us do on a regular basis (unless you get to work by parachuting or cave diving). Cycling has a similar risk level at best.

And let's not forget that among cyclists killed in traffic accidents, head injuries are disproportionately represented, for example in New York City

https://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/download...fatalities.pdf

where 74% of cyclist fatalities involved head injury, with 49% of fatalities involving head injury alone. And a whopping 97% of fatalities were to cyclists not wearing helmets.

So please, give us some context and substantiate the claim that cycling is as safe as walking. All the data I can find show that cycling is substantially more dangerous, with risk comparable to or greater than that from driving.

I sure hope you can find something, because without, erm, context to fall back on, you have been demonstrated to be full of crap on every single talking point you are fond of trotting out.

Last edited by corvuscorvax; 03-03-12 at 02:41 PM.
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Old 03-03-12, 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Deathly Hallows
... that is precisely the reason why bicycle helmets have become so popular; the companies that manufacture helmets began lobbying (totally in the interests of rider safety, of course) because that was the only way to incease sales of an unpopular product...
There is a reason why helmet sales in the 90's were more robust than the helmet sales in the 70's and 80's.

After the V1 - Pro (the more racer-friendly version helmet) didn't bump up sales as much as hoped over the Bell biker, Bell worked with, and bank-rolled Snell to come up with a newer version of the standard that Bell already was using.

The money from Bell was used to fund the '87 Seattle area TRT study to be published in the '89 NEJM as a different tack on previous, disappointing marketing stratagies. Both Bell and Snell stood to gain from a successful study result, so with a goal to show that their standards provided protection for users, they hired an author known for his helmet support and his study design didn't dissapoint.

The next years saw a dramatic increase of use, mostly based on the study by Snell that Bell funded

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Old 03-03-12, 06:16 PM
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^^^ Which is exactly my original point, only a little more detailed. Helmet manufacturer funds "scientific" (i.e., biased) study to increase sales of an unpopular product. As a former research scientist in the field of biochemistry, I know that when a corporation pays for research, you better give them the results they want.

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Old 03-03-12, 07:45 PM
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Originally Posted by corvuscorvax
So please, give us some context and substantiate the claim that cycling is as safe as walking. All the data I can find show that cycling is substantially more dangerous, with risk comparable to or greater than that from driving.
I would agree that when figured on the basis of risk per mile, the risk of bicycling is higher than from driving. But that doesn't dispute the idea that cycling is as safe as walking. Pucher and Dijkstra (https://www.ta.org.br/site/Banco/7man...PIpuchertq.pdf) found the fatality rate per mile for pedestrians to be about three and a half times as great as that for cyclists (the rate for car occupants was much lower than either of these).

Unfortunately there's a great deal of uncertainty in these figures due to the unknown total mileage either walked or cycled
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Old 03-04-12, 06:17 AM
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Originally Posted by closetbiker
Well, I'd say in the data that shows helmet promotion leads to increased helmet use there is also additional information that shows with this increase of use is a decrease of cycling.

It's in the tables. If you don't see it, that's fine but that doesn't mean it's not there.

Read what you want into it -- you obviously do -- but that does little to change the facts:


1) Study was not about the effect of helmet promotion on ridership;
2) Authors of the study themselves admit the limited scope, participation, and limitations of results;
3) The helmet-only group showed the greatest participation rate.
4) Study was done in a country without typically USAian fear culture, where baseline use of helmets is only 6.6% of the population.

If fact, the control group -- those receiving neither helmets nor information regarding helmets -- were observed riding much less than those given helmets and both helmets and information.

So yes, I take your conclusions regarding this study with a grain of salt. Maybe a whole shaker-full.

Do you have anything else to back up your claim that helmet promotion discourages riding in areas where MHLs are not in place? Because there's plenty of examples in the USA where, despite rampant fear culture and resulting helmet marketing promoting fear, ridership is on the increase...
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