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The helmet thread

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Advocacy & Safety Cyclists should expect and demand safe accommodation on every public road, just as do all other users. Discuss your bicycle advocacy and safety concerns here.
View Poll Results: Helmet wearing habits?
I've never worn a bike helmet
178
10.66%
I used to wear a helmet, but have stopped
94
5.63%
I've always worn a helmet
648
38.80%
I didn't wear a helmet, but now do
408
24.43%
I sometimes wear a helmet depending on the conditions
342
20.48%
Voters: 1670. You may not vote on this poll

The helmet thread

Old 05-08-12, 11:19 AM
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I actually wear full body armor. All the time. You know, just incase I get stabbed.
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Old 05-08-12, 11:25 AM
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https://www.liveleak.com/view?i=7b7_1336364506
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Old 05-08-12, 11:35 AM
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touché

Also, don't forget to buy these. Just in case.

https://www.thudguard.com/
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=54XC6...layer_embedded)

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Old 05-08-12, 01:40 PM
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Originally Posted by chasm54
No, you have misunderstood the figures. Those I referenced aren't to do with the frequency of accidents, but with the proportion of accidents that result in serious injury. If helmets worked as people hope, this is the figure that one might expect to fall.

But I agree that the more cyclists there are the safer we will tend to be. Unfortunately, the evidence suggests that making people wear helmets discourages them from cycling.
So much wrong with your response...:

If the figures you reported have to do with serious injuries, and helmets are not designed or proven to help in the case of serious injuries, then of course the figures regarding serious injuries probably reflect that. Duh. No matter what people hope. What people hope for and what helmets are designed to do are two completely separate issues.

I've seen the same studies you have whick show that making people wear helmets discourage people from riding bikes and I do not doubt the veracity of such studies. But what about most of the world where people are not made to wear helmets, where helmet use is optional?

If the majority of helmet wearers are as deluded as the bare-head brigade think, that these styrofoam hats project an invisible safety while riding forcefield, then perhaps there are people riding a bike with a helmet for the wrong reasons who might otherwise not be riding a bike...

See, cycling is a safe activity. Even with a helmet.
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Old 05-08-12, 03:28 PM
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Originally Posted by chasm54
Perhaps you'd like to cite a particular study that you believe proves their effectiveness? Then it would be possible to have an actual debate, as opposed to dismissing you as a troll.
What the fualk is it with you calling people trolls all the damn time? You have nothing else to say intellectually or nice so you go off half cocked? Your half cocked alright! There are plenty of government, insurance institutes, medical world studies to prove otherwise. Most of the reasons helmets fail is due to improper fit and adjustment. And sure helmets can't protect the head at all times, no one is saying that, but they do protect. Motorcycle helmets fail too, does that mean MC riders should throw away their helmets? Race car drivers wear helmets but they too sometimes fail, does that mean they should throw away their helmets? Dude, get real. Even if by some scientific study that the entire world falls in step with says that bicycle helmets are only effective 5% of the time isn't that 5% better then 0% from not wearing a helmet? Of course studies prove that it's a lot more then 5%, but I was just using a obscenely low rate to make a point.

https://www.helmets.org/henderso.htm
https://depts.washington.edu/hiprc/pr...meteffect.html
https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00036941.htm
https://www.rospa.com/roadsafety/info/cycle_helmets.pdf
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-11110665
https://jama.ama-assn.org/content/276/24/1968.short
https://americancyclist.com/2012/03/a...-the-research/
https://media.collegeboard.com/digita..._MODULE_15.pdf
https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j...FqImvswZ5MBPPQ
https://injuryprevention.bmj.com/content/13/3/190.full

You wanted the facts, there they are, so start reading...which I know you won't do, because the reality is your half cocked.
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Old 05-08-12, 05:25 PM
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Originally Posted by rekmeyata
What the fualk is it with you calling people trolls all the damn time? You have nothing else to say intellectually or nice so you go off half cocked? Your half cocked alright! There are plenty of government, insurance institutes, medical world studies to prove otherwise. Most of the reasons helmets fail is due to improper fit and adjustment. And sure helmets can't protect the head at all times, no one is saying that, but they do protect. Motorcycle helmets fail too, does that mean MC riders should throw away their helmets? Race car drivers wear helmets but they too sometimes fail, does that mean they should throw away their helmets? Dude, get real. Even if by some scientific study that the entire world falls in step with says that bicycle helmets are only effective 5% of the time isn't that 5% better then 0% from not wearing a helmet? Of course studies prove that it's a lot more then 5%, but I was just using a obscenely low rate to make a point.

https://www.helmets.org/henderso.htm
https://depts.washington.edu/hiprc/pr...meteffect.html
https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00036941.htm
https://www.rospa.com/roadsafety/info/cycle_helmets.pdf
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-11110665
https://jama.ama-assn.org/content/276/24/1968.short
https://americancyclist.com/2012/03/a...-the-research/
https://media.collegeboard.com/digita..._MODULE_15.pdf
https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j...FqImvswZ5MBPPQ
https://injuryprevention.bmj.com/content/13/3/190.full

You wanted the facts, there they are, so start reading...which I know you won't do, because the reality is your half cocked.
The first one was debunked by Robertson, the second by Elvik. Elvik further noticed that the newer the research, the smaller the advantages seemed to be from helmet-wearing. But You really should know that by now, as I've already linked to his paper.

I haven't got the stamina at the moment to go through all the rest of your links, but I hope you'll find that the fact that the two first have been debunked, may point to how problematic a lot of the research is. For more on why this is so, see https://cyclehelmets.org/1052.html#17.

Another point worth learning about is "confirmation bias".

Edit: Couldn't help myself: I took a look at the other links, too, and it seems that most of them refer to the first two.

Last edited by hagen2456; 05-08-12 at 05:39 PM.
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Old 05-08-12, 06:34 PM
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The BBC article basically says:

-Here is some research that brings into question the effectiveness of helmets, how interesting.
-This research may not be robust enough for a strong refutation of popular ideas.
-BUT, I have heard a few anecdotal stories that speculate that helmets are effective so I'll go with that.

Either way the effectiveness of helmets is heavily contested. I agree with Hagen and think there is a significant degree of confirmation bias involved. Either way, its not as straight forward as most people assume. It's split. It's a maybe.

Keeping this in mind, consider the following example:

An infomercial claims that a certain supplement will protect you from Alzheimers. The research is inconclusive. It's unclear if it really makes a difference. It's about $20 a bottle and requires multiple daily doses, before every meal. On the bright side, if it doesn't work it's probably harmless.

Do you buy it?

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Old 05-08-12, 07:05 PM
  #2158  
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instead of quantity of studies you should have focused on quality of studies. every link either established that helmets MIGHT help or simply from the outset tried to establish what head injuries were involved in bicycle accidents, not overall injuries. and one link seemed to address smoke alarms for whatever reason.
until all injuries and manner of deaths are accounted for in a comparative analyses, focusing on head injury accidents alone will only tell you that hitting your head is bad.
guess what a study of using a bike helmet vs. a motorcycle helmet would conclude?
if you're mountain biking, wear a helmet. if you're riding black ice, wear a helmet. if you're riding in a herd, wear a helmet. want to stay out of the hospital? learn how to ride a bike.

oh and drummerboy thanks for the link

Last edited by Rx Rider; 05-08-12 at 07:10 PM.
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Old 05-08-12, 07:12 PM
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Originally Posted by njkayaker


Do you smoke (like he did)?

If you think this is a good argument for not wearing a helmet, you've lost the argument.
No surprise it went over your head.
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Old 05-08-12, 07:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Rx Rider
oh and drummerboy thanks for the link
At least we now know where drummerboy thinks his head is located. It explains most of his post.
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Old 05-08-12, 07:42 PM
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Originally Posted by rekmeyata
You wanted the facts, there they are, so start reading...which I know you won't do, because the reality is your half cocked.
Pretty funny, considering that you obviously didn't read them yourself.

On a side note, I can't help but notice how often the helmeteers produce posts full of spelling and grammatical errors - while at the same time claiming that their interlocutors are the ones with no brains worth protecting.
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Old 05-09-12, 02:48 AM
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Originally Posted by hagen2456
The first one was debunked by Robertson, the second by Elvik. Elvik further noticed that the newer the research, the smaller the advantages seemed to be from helmet-wearing. But You really should know that by now, as I've already linked to his paper.

I haven't got the stamina at the moment to go through all the rest of your links, but I hope you'll find that the fact that the two first have been debunked, may point to how problematic a lot of the research is. For more on why this is so, see https://cyclehelmets.org/1052.html#17.

Another point worth learning about is "confirmation bias".

Edit: Couldn't help myself: I took a look at the other links, too, and it seems that most of them refer to the first two.
Anyone can skew a test to make up a theory. The Smart car was a good example of this, the government tested the car for crash and occupant safety and it past with flying colors...until the insurance institute look at the report and thought something was fishy so they tested the car by slamming it into a Toyota Corolla, the occupants of the Smart car would have died. This kind of skewing goes on all the time, for what purpose I don't know. But there has been enough test to prove that helmet work, not all the time, but enough of the time to make it worth while wearing one.

Look, pro riders are always looking for ways to shave weight, if they felt that helmets were useless they would be throwing them in out in groves...their not doing that. If Robertson and Elvik somehow are proven to be 100 percent correct, which I seriously doubt, then you will see pro's throwing their helmets away.

Like I said before, if I feel wearing a helmet will give me just a 1% greater chance of surviving a crash then it's worth it. Personally I think the studies that show the effectiveness of helmets to be 50% to 65% effective is correct based on years of studies, and that's 49% to 64% more then I need to want to wear one.

I don't buy the most expensive helmet on the market either because I don't believe the most expensive helmet will do anything better then a middle of the line helmet or even a low end helmet like those at Walmart, but I pay a bit more to get the cooling vents and to get a proper fit. Proper fit to me is key to personal head protection, if the helmet doesn't fit right or isn't adjusted correctly it could fail to do it's job in an accident, and that's been proven. So any ineffectiveness of helmets is partially due to improper fitting and adjusted helmets.
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Old 05-09-12, 03:05 AM
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Rekmeyata, the third "study" you cite isn't a study, it's a policy paper. And it relies for its assertion that bicycle helmets are effective on the long-discredited Thomson study.

Three down, seven to go.
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Old 05-09-12, 03:12 AM
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Originally Posted by rekmeyata

Look, pro riders are always looking for ways to shave weight, if they felt that helmets were useless they would be throwing them in out in groves...their not doing that. If Robertson and Elvik somehow are proven to be 100 percent correct, which I seriously doubt, then you will see pro's throwing their helmets away.
Actually, you are completely wrong about that. Pros wear helmets because the UCI made them mandatory, and their introduction was fiercely resisted. In fact, when the UCI first tried to introduce the ruling there was a revolt, riders refused to comply. Later, the UCI took advantage of the shock of a pro dying of a head injury to bring in the rule, despite further protests. And as it happens, pros have died more frequently since the helmets have been compulsory, though the numbers are so small that proves nothing either way.

And if you visit one of the towns in Europe where a lot of pros go to train, you will see that very many of them, when out training, aren't wearing helmets. Helmets were never a pro preference, they've just had to get used to them because they are now required in competition.
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Old 05-09-12, 04:17 AM
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Originally Posted by rekmeyata
Anyone can skew a test to make up a theory.
You really should read the BMJ paper from Robertson as well as the Elvik paper.

The Smart car was a good example of this, the government tested the car for crash and occupant safety and it past with flying colors...until the insurance institute look at the report and thought something was fishy so they tested the car by slamming it into a Toyota Corolla, the occupants of the Smart car would have died. This kind of skewing goes on all the time, for what purpose I don't know. But there has been enough test to prove that helmet work, not all the time, but enough of the time to make it worth while wearing one.

Look, pro riders are always looking for ways to shave weight, if they felt that helmets were useless they would be throwing them in out in groves...their not doing that. If Robertson and Elvik somehow are proven to be 100 percent correct, which I seriously doubt, then you will see pro's throwing their helmets away.

Like I said before, if I feel wearing a helmet will give me just a 1% greater chance of surviving a crash then it's worth it. Personally I think the studies that show the effectiveness of helmets to be 50% to 65% effective is correct based on years of studies, and that's 49% to 64% more then I need to want to wear one.

I don't buy the most expensive helmet on the market either because I don't believe the most expensive helmet will do anything better then a middle of the line helmet or even a low end helmet like those at Walmart, but I pay a bit more to get the cooling vents and to get a proper fit. Proper fit to me is key to personal head protection, if the helmet doesn't fit right or isn't adjusted correctly it could fail to do it's job in an accident, and that's been proven. So any ineffectiveness of helmets is partially due to improper fitting and adjusted helmets.
Now, if you buy a helmet, I've got some advice for you: first of all, buy one that is smooth and comes as close as possible to hard shell. Second, make sure that its shape has as few edges as possible that may catch on whatever you may hit with the helmet. The helmets that meet these requirements are few, and rather heavy, and you'll sweat in them, but they're in all probability the ones that may actually save lives.
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Old 05-09-12, 09:52 AM
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after they became mandatory didn't the TdF eliminate helmets for one stage because it was too hot? yep, them pro's don't like the helmets. they like the sponsorship of a helmet maker. but sadly it's been a year now since Wouter Weylandt died racing the Giro, wearing a helmet.
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Old 05-09-12, 10:08 AM
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Originally Posted by rekmeyata
Anyone can skew a test to make up a theory. The Smart car was a good example of this, the government tested the car for crash and occupant safety and it past with flying colors...until the insurance institute look at the report and thought something was fishy so they tested the car by slamming it into a Toyota Corolla, the occupants of the Smart car would have died. This kind of skewing goes on all the time, for what purpose I don't know. But there has been enough test to prove that helmet work, not all the time, but enough of the time to make it worth while wearing one.

The point is, you are treating the argument that helmets are effective as some incontrovertible truth, which is empirically false. There are few studies that support the claim, and some of them have been questioned by other experts for their methods, or "debunked". Even then, there are some studies actually showing some negative effects. So, I don't think it's the issue of thinking a helmet might help that is silly, but rather treating it like it is some monolithic truth with tons of evidence supporting it, and that everyone who doesn't agree with it must be stupid. Seatbelts, etc, have plenty of evidence showing their effectiveness and this is not really questioned or debunked by experts... there is much more debate surrounding helmets, and that alone should say something.

To cut off an old argument at the pass, if you say "Well what could it hurt to wear one if it may help?", that argument can clearly be used for anything, including body armor. So why doesn't everyone wear body armor, when there are obviously some situations it would be helpful? Convenience. We sacrifice safety for convenience every day (which is especially funny, as you'll see in a moment). For you, wearing a helmet may not be inconvenient. It is for me. Not only do I sweat more in Fresno heat, but it's a PITA for me. They always get stolen if you leave it with the bike (yes, they cut the straps if you lock it; no, I don't know why), and they're a pain to tote when I already have a bag full of books to lug around campus.

So, can you see why someone other than you might, after looking at conflicting studies even showing their effectiveness, and studies that actually show them as unsafe in some ways, decide that the extra convenience might outweigh the presumably small benefit (presumably because there is no resounding evidence to support it like there is seatbelts, etc)? Understanding this can go a long way to having civil discourse on the matter.

Look, pro riders are always looking for ways to shave weight, if they felt that helmets were useless they would be throwing them in out in groves...their not doing that. If Robertson and Elvik somehow are proven to be 100 percent correct, which I seriously doubt, then you will see pro's throwing their helmets away.
As has been pointed out, that did not go quietly into the good night. And many Europeans, I dare say most, train sans helmet.

Like I said before, if I feel wearing a helmet will give me just a 1% greater chance of surviving a crash then it's worth it. Personally I think the studies that show the effectiveness of helmets to be 50% to 65% effective is correct based on years of studies, and that's 49% to 64% more then I need to want to wear one.
Fine. What others get pissy about is when you arrogantly tell them they should (or say they are stupid for not), especially when there is obviously controversy surrounding their effectiveness. If I can convince you body armor will have a 1% chance of helping you survive a crash, will you start to don it every morning? Because I believe that could be possible, and I believe you are being hyperbolic and would not actually wear riding armor every day.

I don't buy the most expensive helmet on the market either because I don't believe the most expensive helmet will do anything better then a middle of the line helmet or even a low end helmet like those at Walmart, but I pay a bit more to get the cooling vents and to get a proper fit.
So, you yourself are willing to sacrifice some safety for convenience? Even groups pushing helmet use point out that helmets with more vents are more likely to be less effective, and some even claim that they may increase rotational injury due to those cooling vents "grabbing" asphalt. So, are you going to go get those nice and safe (but hot) skate-style helmets which you hardly see anybody wearing... or is perhaps the convenience of the vents worth it? Further, if it is okay to sacrifice safety for convenience, we've eliminated half the argument surrounding "there's no reason not to wear one".

Proper fit to me is key to personal head protection, if the helmet doesn't fit right or isn't adjusted correctly it could fail to do it's job in an accident, and that's been proven. So any ineffectiveness of helmets is partially due to improper fitting and adjusted helmets.
Or poor design. It doesn't take much to find that round, close fitting, smooth, featureless helmets are the most safe. But people don't buy those. Because people want to feel safe more than they actually care about safety, and that's the barrier we're breaking through here.
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Old 05-09-12, 11:07 AM
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If you have something to say raise your hand... then place it over your mouth.
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Old 05-09-12, 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Drummerboy1975
If you have something to say raise your hand... then place it over your mouth.
Nice try, but we all know that helmet nazis talk out of their okoles.
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Old 05-09-12, 11:16 AM
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Originally Posted by chasm54
Actually, you are completely wrong about that. Pros wear helmets because the UCI made them mandatory, and their introduction was fiercely resisted. In fact, when the UCI first tried to introduce the ruling there was a revolt, riders refused to comply. Later, the UCI took advantage of the shock of a pro dying of a head injury to bring in the rule, despite further protests. And as it happens, pros have died more frequently since the helmets have been compulsory, though the numbers are so small that proves nothing either way.

And if you visit one of the towns in Europe where a lot of pros go to train, you will see that very many of them, when out training, aren't wearing helmets. Helmets were never a pro preference, they've just had to get used to them because they are now required in competition.
Just wanted to add that The European Bicycle Association is firmly against MHL.
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Old 05-09-12, 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Drummerboy1975
If you have something to say raise your hand... then place it over your mouth.
Mwaha!

(Sorry. couldn't help it)
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Old 05-09-12, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by CB HI
No surprise it went over your head.


You must start smoking because smart people do it.
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Old 05-09-12, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Drummerboy1975
If you have something to say raise your hand... then place it over your mouth.
You know, I think that might have hurt my feelings just enough to change my mind.
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Old 05-09-12, 02:27 PM
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Originally Posted by sudo bike
The point is, you are treating the argument that helmets are effective as some incontrovertible truth, which is empirically false. There are few studies that support the claim, and some of them have been questioned by other experts for their methods, or "debunked". Even then, there are some studies actually showing some negative effects.
I understand what your saying, some motorcyclists say the same thing in regards to their helmets and will come up with all sorts of studies to show that their helmets are almost useless and in fact call them brain buckets because that's all the helmet will do is to contain their brains in a crash from spilling out onto the roadway. But any study can be skewed in a direction that the author wants depending on their beliefs, one look at the global warming debate being caused by man or nature will prove that. And yes, there may be incidences that a helmet could hurt you worse then if you didn't have one, but regardless of all that helmets have been proven to work more then they don't. Until studies and the medical field say that helmets offer no protection what so ever then I will continue to wear one. And as far as Europeans not wearing helmets is because of weight and because of the culture there. But I've had friends who died or were seriously injured from head injuries suffered in bicycle accidents that all the EMT's and doctors said could have been eliminated or seriously reduced injury if they had been wearing a helmet. I myself had a car turn right in front of me sending my head through the side window, if I hadn't been wearing a helmet I could have been in serious trouble or dead.

There has been a drop off in head injuries since helmets have become more popular, this is a recorded trend, the trend does not show an increase in head injuries since helmets became popular. We are talking percentage wise here, there has been an increase in head injuries due to more and more people riding bicycles, but percentage wise head injuries have declined a lot. Again, not saying helmets will protect your head all the time, but the statistics prove it will protect your head 50 to 65% of the time depending on the statistic, meaning you have at least a 50% better chance of coming out alive if wearing a helmet then not. And these statistics are based on 40 years of study.

So I'm sorry if I come across like a helmet Nazi, but until the medical world gets on board with those studies that show helmets to be 100% useless I will continue to wear a helmet and I will continue to suggest people should wear helmets as well. Maybe I'll tone down the act a bit though!!
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Old 05-09-12, 03:54 PM
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Hey, by looking at your posts in another thread, I find that you seem to have a quite good grasp of how you must personally act to avoid dangers (better than some others who seem to rely a bit too much on preconceptions). However. I must say that you don't come across as one who is particularly good at more abstract reasoning. Again in the post above, you refer to studies that have been proven to be false and doctors who mostly know nothing about what helmets can or can't - and both these things have recently been shown in this thread. It really appears that you don't read what I and others have to say. Or perhaps you do, but then you don't understand the content. Like with the links you found to "prove" the efficacy of helmets.

Last edited by hagen2456; 05-09-12 at 04:27 PM.
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