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The helmet thread

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The helmet thread

Old 05-23-12, 05:27 PM
  #2351  
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Originally Posted by mconlonx
Sudo, either your lack of reading comprehension or the willful dissembling you present in your reply is astounding.

While the vast majority of bike rider fatalities may be due to collisions involving motor vehicles, does the majority of collisions involving motor vehicles result in fatalities?
And your engagement in disingenuous argumentation is astounding.

Show me where I said cyclists die in all motor vehicle collisions? Good luck, because I didn't; I said that motor vehicles were the main source of cycling fatalities (especially at intersections, AIUI), and that helmets are neither designed or tested to withstand the forces of a 2 ton steel hulk of metal hitting a person on a 30 lbs (probably less) bicycle. That isn't a radical statement. Don't engage in strawman in order to paint me as forwarding a point I never did (which I'm not sure why you even would think I would.)

Again: This isn't to say helmets can never help in an accident involving a motor vehicle (if one touches you and you plink over, I could see it helping); only that it isn't designed to help you in cases where you are receiving deadly forces to the head, especially via a car or other vehicle. Again, not that radical. They simply aren't. Helmet companies don't claim they do, and their tests are not designed to check that.

EDIT: meanwhile already addressed what I also thought was a rather obvious point, but I'll reiterate anyway.

Last edited by sudo bike; 05-23-12 at 05:50 PM.
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Old 05-24-12, 07:16 AM
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Originally Posted by sudo bike
Of course it isn't a 100% lethal situation. But it is the most common cause of cycling fatalities, far and away. Therefore, why would one wear a helmet in that situation, when they are obviously not designed to be effective in that situation? Which the stats bear out, as cyclists still are dying at similar rates when the rate of usage goes up, such as in the case of mandatory law enactment.


You still aren't getting it. Many cyclists get into collisions with vehicles. It does not appear that the majority of those collisions are fatal.

If the majority of them were fatal, then it would not make sense to prepare for a "hopeless" situation. But it's not a "hopeless" situation.

You are assuming that collisions with vehicles is always (or nearly always) fatal.

As an example, I happen to know a fair number of cyclists who were in collisions with cars. None of them were fatal. While I have no idea whether a helmet was, in some way, useful in any of these, you can't know that they were useless!

Originally Posted by sudo bike
The point is not that helmets can never help in any vehicular situation; only that those collisions that are likely to cause serious injury or death are not within the scope of what helmets were designed for. You're engaging in a strawman by changing my argument to something that covers more than what I really said.
No, the anti-helmet camp regularly brings this issue up as a point that helmets are useless. I'm not arguing (no one can) that helmets are useful in situations that are beyond what they can handle. No safety equipment is useful beyond what it can handle. Of course, this is a tautology ("stuff is useless when it's useless"), and as an "argument", means dumping all safety equipment.

Originally Posted by sudo bike
I do, in fact, think helmets can be effective in mitigating minor injuries, and effective in protecting a child's undeveloped skull (because these situations: solo crashes at low-speed, are ones that kids are more likely to get into).
It would seem that, if they are beneficial to children, they are similarly beneficial to adults. And the "solo crashes" qualifier is BS because, while adults may not get into as many of these, they do get into non-fatal collisions with vehicles.

Originally Posted by sudo bike
"I reject your reality and substitute it with my own" is getting to be a rather typical point-of-view for those claiming helmets save lives.
What is funny about this is that the anti-helmet camp has no problem doing this for their own position!

Originally Posted by sudo bike
Show me where I said cyclists die in all motor vehicle collisions? Good luck, because I didn't; I said that motor vehicles were the main source of cycling fatalities (especially at intersections, AIUI), and that helmets are neither designed or tested to withstand the forces of a 2 ton steel hulk of metal hitting a person on a 30 lbs (probably less) bicycle. That isn't a radical statement. Don't engage in strawman in order to paint me as forwarding a point I never did (which I'm not sure why you even would think I would.)
The flaw in this argument is assumes that helmets serve no purpose in the many non-fatal vehicular collisions.

Last edited by njkayaker; 05-24-12 at 07:31 AM.
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Old 05-24-12, 10:15 AM
  #2353  
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That settles it. I need a posting helmet.

Originally Posted by njkayaker
You still aren't getting it. Many cyclists get into collisions with vehicles. It does not appear that the majority of those collisions are fatal.

If the majority of them were fatal, then it would not make sense to prepare for a "hopeless" situation. But it's not a "hopeless" situation.

You are assuming that collisions with vehicles is always (or nearly always) fatal.

As an example, I happen to know a fair number of cyclists who were in collisions with cars. None of them were fatal. While I have no idea whether a helmet was, in some way, useful in any of these, you can't know that they were useless!
You keep arguing with men of straw.

I'll keep it simple this time, so you don't mess things up again:
  1. The situation that is most likely to leave you dead, as a cyclist, is a crash with a motor vehicle.
  2. In those situations where you are incurring fatal forces from a motor vehicle, you are experiencing forces well beyond what helmets are designed to mitigate.
  3. Therefore, wearing a helmet to mitigate serious debilitating injury or death is pointless. QED.

This isn't to say they are useless altogether; I never said that, I don't think that, and I don't think most of the "anti-helmet" advocates think that. I think the assertion is that they are useless when it comes to absorbing life-threatening forces. If they are saying that they are completely useless, then that is a position I'll not defend. The argument is merely that they serve no more purpose than riding in armor or kneepads and elbowpads.

No, the anti-helmet camp regularly brings this issue up as a point that helmets are useless. I'm not arguing (no one can) that helmets are useful in situations that are beyond what they can handle. No safety equipment is useful beyond what it can handle. Of course, this is a tautology ("stuff is useless when it's useless"), and as an "argument", means dumping all safety equipment.
This is ridiculous on a few points.
  • The camp brings up the issue that they are useless for protecting against serious injury or death, not mitigation of minor injuries.
  • Just as you are applying a blanket to suit yourself, I'll do the same: People are definitely arguing that helmets are useful in situations beyond what they can handle. Just look at all the organ donor comments. People really think you are playing Russian Roulette by riding without one, which is asinine. They are not designed to handle fatal forces.
  • Of course it doesn't mean dumping all safety equipment, pay attention. It means that if people are wearing a helmet as a life-saving measure, which this thread of gems obviously demonstrates is so, they are not helping themselves at all. If you want to wear a helmet because of its ability to mitigate minor injuries, go for it, man. I don't care. As I've already said, I wear one in certain conditions (bad weather) that I think I might have more chance of taking a tumble, knowing it will not save my life but might protect against some nasty and painful minor injuries. If that is the goal, no problem; that is well within their design specifications.


It would seem that, if they are beneficial to children, they are similarly beneficial to adults. And the "solo crashes" qualifier is BS because, while adults may not get into as many of these, they do get into non-fatal collisions with vehicles.
Firstly, no, because something is beneficial to a child does not mean it is to an adult. Children have different things going on, physically. That said, yes, they can be beneficial to adults for (you guessed it) mitigating minor injury (Jesus, I'm sounding like a broken record... not sure why I really have to keep saying this). That isn't a problem. Thinking they will save your life, however, most certainly is.


What is funny about this is that the anti-helmet camp has no problem doing this for their own position!
Blah, blah, I know what you are but what am I.

The flaw in this argument is assumes that helmets serve no purpose in the many non-fatal vehicular collisions.
I. Didn't. Say. That. Here, I'll spell it out for you: There are some situations, motor vehicle involved or not, where a helmet can help mitigate minor injury. Such as a car knocking you off balance and making you fall over. But if you are incurring fatal forces, it will not help, period. That is what is being said. Helmets do not save lives, especially not on the scale people seem to believe they do. They simply are not designed to withstand those fatal forces. The reason motor vehicles are brought up is to show how silly the argument is: That foam helmets, which are such a necessity that you'd be mad not to wear one, will do anything to help you in the situation you are most likely to die in, that is being hit by a 2 ton piece of steel at fatal speeds. That is simply preposterous.

Last edited by sudo bike; 05-24-12 at 10:20 AM.
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Old 05-24-12, 10:35 AM
  #2354  
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Originally Posted by njkayaker
It would seem that, if they are beneficial to children, they are similarly beneficial to adults. And the "solo crashes" qualifier is BS because, while adults may not get into as many of these, they do get into non-fatal collisions with vehicles.
I believe - and that's all it is, my own speculative reasoning - that the differences in the beneficial effects for children and adults has to do with speed. The thing is twofold, so to say: when a child cyclist falls, it's usually at slow speeds. The forces involved are such that a helmet will often help mitigating harm - it often falls within the limits of helmet efficacy. At higher speeds, the forces are a lot more powerfull, and often way beyond what helmets are made for. Further, and probably most important: the higher the speed, the larger the risk of rotational injuries, not least those to the neck. All of this is, of course, in perfect harmony with the statistics
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Old 05-24-12, 10:37 AM
  #2355  
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Originally Posted by sudo bike
There are some situations, motor vehicle involved or not, where a helmet can help mitigate minor injury. Such as a car knocking you off balance and making you fall over. But if you are incurring fatal forces, it will not help, period. That is what is being said. Helmets do not save lives, especially not on the scale people seem to believe they do. They simply are not designed to withstand those fatal forces. The reason motor vehicles are brought up is to show how silly the argument is: That foam helmets, which are such a necessity that you'd be mad not to wear one, will do anything to help you in the situation you are most likely to die in, that is being hit by a 2 ton piece of steel at fatal speeds. That is simply preposterous.
I'm quite sure, really, that helmets will at times save lives. Alas, they may also at times be the factor that kills cyclists.
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Old 05-24-12, 11:55 AM
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The Wall Street Journal referenced a study on helmets and risk compensation.

https://tinyurl.com/bw784ow

Sadly, I the original article is gated such that the details of the experiment are fuzzy.
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Old 05-24-12, 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by invisiblehand
The Wall Street Journal referenced a study on helmets and risk compensation.

https://tinyurl.com/bw784ow

Sadly, I the original article is gated such that the details of the experiment are fuzzy.
There is however a PLoS ONE paper from what seems to be the same group[1]. The study had 587 active participants. It seems pretty obvious that the research group started out from the point of view that helmets were useful and effective and wanted to investigate how to get people to wear helmets. Not really interesting stuff as regards the question whether helmets are anything other than "courage for the head" (in the words of an early generation of more honest marketeers).

One interesting aside in the paper is their reference to the fact that most participants: 1) believed helmets to be effective in preventing head injury; 2) believed that their own risk of cycling related injury was low. The authors' suggestion is that the psychological manipulation technique called "nudging" should be used in order to ramp up cyclists fear of facial injury in order to increase helmet usage.

Typically, the insitution sponsoring this research into how to promote helmets illustrates their PR with a picture of a lovely with the expensive helmet worn incorrectly:



1 Constant A, Messiah A, Felonneau M-L, Lagarde E (2012) Investigating Helmet Promotion for Cyclists: Results from a Randomised Study with Observation of Behaviour, Using a Semi-Automatic Video System. PLoS ONE 7(2): e31651. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0031651

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Old 05-24-12, 01:20 PM
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Originally Posted by RazrSkutr
Typically, the insitution sponsoring this research into how to promote helmets illustrates their PR with a picture of a lovely with the expensive helmet worn incorrectly:
because both the research and the PR are designed to promote sales, not safety.
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Old 05-24-12, 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by meanwhile
I smell "I know nothing at all about a subject so I can imagine anything I want."

If you bothered to do any research you'd know this isn't true. When a shell fails, it fails before liner compression. See the articles by the helmet engineer at www.cyclehelmets.org/
Tut-tut -- Closetbiker had a conversation with a helmet tester/researcher who confirmed that a shell may fail after the liner compresses to its limits or at some point between no compression and full compression.
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Old 05-24-12, 02:35 PM
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<-- Living up to the nickname another poster gave me...

Originally Posted by sudo bike
And your engagement in disingenuous argumentation is astounding.

Show me where I said cyclists die in all motor vehicle collisions? Good luck, because I didn't; I said that motor vehicles were the main source of cycling fatalities (especially at intersections, AIUI), and that helmets are neither designed or tested to withstand the forces of a 2 ton steel hulk of metal hitting a person on a 30 lbs (probably less) bicycle. That isn't a radical statement. Don't engage in strawman in order to paint me as forwarding a point I never did (which I'm not sure why you even would think I would.)

Again: This isn't to say helmets can never help in an accident involving a motor vehicle (if one touches you and you plink over, I could see it helping); only that it isn't designed to help you in cases where you are receiving deadly forces to the head, especially via a car or other vehicle. Again, not that radical. They simply aren't. Helmet companies don't claim they do, and their tests are not designed to check that.

EDIT: meanwhile already addressed what I also thought was a rather obvious point, but I'll reiterate anyway.
What are you getting on about? How you replied to NJKayaker had little to do with what he posted. You'll note that I agreed with your statement, however, and merely asked for clarification in light of njk's actual comment. I.e. show me where I said you said all cyclists die in collisions with motor vehicles. Good luck, because I didn't...
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Old 05-24-12, 03:58 PM
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Originally Posted by hagen2456
I'm quite sure, really, that helmets will at times save lives. Alas, they may also at times be the factor that kills cyclists.
Like seat belts.

Originally Posted by hagen2456
I believe - and that's all it is, my own speculative reasoning - that the differences in the beneficial effects for children and adults has to do with speed. The thing is twofold, so to say: when a child cyclist falls, it's usually at slow speeds. The forces involved are such that a helmet will often help mitigating harm - it often falls within the limits of helmet efficacy. At higher speeds, the forces are a lot more powerfull, and often way beyond what helmets are made for. Further, and probably most important: the higher the speed, the larger the risk of rotational injuries, not least those to the neck. All of this is, of course, in perfect harmony with the statistics
Adult mountain bikers use helmets. No one appears to think that is unreasonable.

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Old 05-24-12, 04:03 PM
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Originally Posted by sudo bike
You keep arguing with men of straw.

I'll keep it simple this time, so you don't mess things up again:
  1. The situation that is most likely to leave you dead, as a cyclist, is a crash with a motor vehicle.
  2. In those situations where you are incurring fatal forces from a motor vehicle, you are experiencing forces well beyond what helmets are designed to mitigate.
  3. Therefore, wearing a helmet to mitigate serious debilitating injury or death is pointless. QED.


Flawed logic!

Only a fraction of cyclist-vehicles collisions lead to fatalities.

The fact those fatalites where not helped by helmets says nothing about whether or not the non-fatal collisions were helped (or not) by helmets.

It's not that hard.

Originally Posted by sudo bike
But if you are incurring fatal forces, it will not help, period.
This is a tautology and a straw man: "X is useless when it's useless". Well, duh! No one is claiming otherwise/

Originally Posted by sudo bike
Blah, blah, I know what you are but what am I.
Apparently, six years old.

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Old 05-24-12, 04:21 PM
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Originally Posted by RazrSkutr
There is however a PLoS ONE paper from what seems to be the same group[1]. The study had 587 active participants. It seems pretty obvious that the research group started out from the point of view that helmets were useful and effective and wanted to investigate how to get people to wear helmets. Not really interesting stuff as regards the question whether helmets are anything other than "courage for the head" (in the words of an early generation of more honest marketeers).

One interesting aside in the paper is their reference to the fact that most participants: 1) believed helmets to be effective in preventing head injury; 2) believed that their own risk of cycling related injury was low. The authors' suggestion is that the psychological manipulation technique called "nudging" should be used in order to ramp up cyclists fear of facial injury in order to increase helmet usage.

Typically, the insitution sponsoring this research into how to promote helmets illustrates their PR with a picture of a lovely with the expensive helmet worn incorrectly:



1 Constant A, Messiah A, Felonneau M-L, Lagarde E (2012) Investigating Helmet Promotion for Cyclists: Results from a Randomised Study with Observation of Behaviour, Using a Semi-Automatic Video System. PLoS ONE 7(2): e31651. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0031651
That is interesting. Thank you for the reference.
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Old 05-25-12, 03:46 AM
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While everyone here continues to argue just how much protection a helmet provides, governments continue to pass laws based on the premise that

bicycle helmets can reduce the risk of death and serious injury by as much as 90 per cent
https://www.winnipegfreepress.com/loc...153191275.html

A local advocacy group presented its stance on the legislation here


https://biketothefuture.org/cycling-n...et-legislation

At the bottom of the page, they say,

The Government of Manitoba must not make the mistake of framing the question of
public health and cycling as being limited to bike helmets. There are other ways
to promote public health and cycling which potentially will have much greater impact

But at the top of the page they say they will not oppose helmet legislation.

Some advocates

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Old 05-25-12, 10:51 AM
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Originally Posted by njkayaker
Like seat belts.



Adult mountain bikers use helmets. No one appears to think that is unreasonable.
You MUST be trolling. Really. You know darned well that with adults, helmets are of limited or no benefit. I didn't even mention it as it has been brought to yours and others' attention a number of times.
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Old 05-25-12, 05:14 PM
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And after they mandate kids, they're coming after adults because, falling from a bicycle can kill you, and helmets save lives!

Dr. Patrick McDonald, a Winnipeg pediatric neurosurgeon, said the law should cover adults too.

"Where helmets often make the biggest difference is if you literally just fall off your bike and your head hits the road. It's not necessarily a high-velocity injury but I've seen people die from just that kind of a fall."


Crap like this is the reason cycling advocates have to speak up against proganda that exaggerates the risks of cycling and the benefits of helmets.

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Old 05-26-12, 12:08 AM
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Unlike you, I checked the NYC report your link butchers:

1.It's NOT true that "Nearly all bicyclists who died (97%) were not wearing a helmet": if a helmet isn't recovered, a rider is marked as helmetless; it doesn't mean that he was NOT wearing a helmet! It actually means they don't know. So the stats are actually junk.
I did read the report "...Among the fatalities with documented helmet use, 97% of the bicyclists were not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash. Only 4 bicyclists who died (3%) were wearing a helmet..."

The report also states "...For bicyclist deaths occurring in 2004 and 2005 (n=38), documentation of helmet use was more complete (87% or 33). Analysis of helmet use in this subgroup revealed findings similar to the full group: 97% of bicyclists who died were not wearing a helmet. Of the 38 deaths during this time period 29 (or 76%) had head injuries.

2. Nearly all the dead riders (90%) were male. Females go helmetless at the same rate as males, so if helmets were the deciding factor you wouldn't see this. In fact, possessing breasts had a stronger correlation with not dying than wearing a helmet. If the stats really measured the effectiveness of safety devices rather how several different groups behaved then one would have to include that male cyclists would be better served by wearing falsies while riding than helmets! (To be fair to your source, it does mention the lack of dead women - you just weren't smart enough to see the obvious conclusion.)
The report states "...Almost all of the bicyclists involved in fatal crashes were males (91%, or 199), with males having higher death rates than females in all age groups; 45–54 year old men had the highest death rate. This gender and age distribution of bicyclist fatalities is similar to the profile of bicyclist fatalities in the United States: nationally, men accounted for 89% of bicyclist fatalities..."

This actually tracks well with national statistics, the NYC numbers are not out of line.

Despite the empty derision, hand waving and dissembling, this is easy to understand. Cyclist (typically male) collides with object, typically vehicle. Collides for whatever reason, the important factor here being cyclist-collision-object. Cyclist with helmet on seldom dies. Cyclist not wearing helmet almost always dies and, as a rule, of a head injury. We can deduce from this that a common bicycle helmet is more protective from head injury in a collision than the magical protective properties of the air around one's head, 'scholarly debate' or epidemiology studies on helmet laws. OK, maybe if you tied the study around your head, it would depend on the thickness. I'll use a bicycle helmet.
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Old 05-26-12, 02:46 AM
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Originally Posted by njkayaker
Flawed logic!

Only a fraction of cyclist-vehicles collisions lead to fatalities.

The fact those fatalites where not helped by helmets says nothing about whether or not the non-fatal collisions were helped (or not) by helmets.

It's not that hard.
Apparently it is, because you are still arguing against men of straw.

This is a tautology and a straw man: "X is useless when it's useless". Well, duh! No one is claiming otherwise/
It is pointing out the obvious that some people still insist on arguing against.

Apparently, six years old.
Oi... I see that one went over your head...
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Old 05-26-12, 03:12 AM
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Originally Posted by sudo bike
... It is pointing out the obvious that some people still insist on arguing against...
and it is also obvious that some people are just argumentative.

Anyone who doesn't acknowledge that over 90% of cyclist fatalities are a result of collisions with motor vehicles either isn't being honest, or is ignorant.

The very few deaths to cyclists without involvement of motor vehicles almost always involve some type of high speed impact. The incidence of a fatality occurring from a simple fall is extremely rare and I'd bet my bottom dollar that a cyclist has an equal chance of the same result from a stumble and fall when off the bike.

Public statements like the one from the good doctor I linked earlier, is just plain irresponsible as it implies a degree of danger in cycling that is just not present.

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Old 05-26-12, 03:58 AM
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Didn't you get the memo? These people riding their death-machines, AKA bicycles, are cheating death as we speak!



DANGER!!!

Bubble-wrap society strikes again. Now pardon me while I don my walking helmet... I plan on having a few drinks at the bar, and I may have a greater chance of falling on the way back.
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Old 05-26-12, 04:06 AM
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Since cycling is so dangerous that one who does it on a regular basis can expect a longer, and healthier lifespan, promotion of safety equipment is essential!
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Old 05-26-12, 04:11 AM
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My only input is that my cousin is a Nurse & has seen icky bike injuries & wont go a foot on a bike without a helmet.
I had a personal experience with my head vs. a low hanging tree branch. It was just a glancing blow, but without my Specialized Max helmet, my gigantic melon would have lost some flesh. Since I have very little hair left on the top of my head & don't enjoy pain I am glad I always wear it riding.
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Old 05-26-12, 04:26 AM
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Originally Posted by 1FJEF
My only input is that my cousin is a Nurse & has seen icky bike injuries & wont go a foot on a bike without a helmet.
I had a personal experience with my head vs. a low hanging tree branch. It was just a glancing blow, but without my Specialized Max helmet, my gigantic melon would have lost some flesh. Since I have very little hair left on the top of my head & don't enjoy pain I am glad I always wear it riding.
Well good for you that your gigantic melon is now even more gigantic and while I will not deny a nurse would see some people who have been injured on a bike, I'd ask just what the proportion and severity degree of injury is seen involving people on bikes.

As much as many would like us to believe otherwise, those injuries are not any worse or plentiful than people who were injured while not on bikes.

What a nurse is more likely to not see, are people needing care from the many ailments riding a bicycle prevents.

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Old 05-26-12, 05:14 AM
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To reference another active thread:

https://blogs.sfweekly.com/thesnitch/...b.php#Comments

"The San Francisco Medical Examiner declared today that 71-yer-old Sutchi Hui [a pedestrian] died from blunt force trauma to his head after being hit by a cyclist speeding through the Castro District last month."

Obviously what we should be taking away from this is we need walking helmets.

EDIT: Haha, while this was intended as jest, I guess the cyclist actually walked away with the moral, to him, being "a cyclist should always wear a helmet". Too rich to be fake.

The results of fast-food safety as opposed to real safety measures, sadly.

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Old 05-26-12, 05:30 AM
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Originally Posted by sudo bike
To reference another active thread:

https://blogs.sfweekly.com/thesnitch/...b.php#Comments

The San Francisco Medical Examiner declared today that 71-yer-old Sutchi Hui [a pedestrian] died from blunt force trauma to his head after being hit by a cyclist speeding through the Castro District last month.

Obviously what we should be taking away from this is we need walking helmets.

EDIT: Haha, while this was intended as jest, I guess the cyclist actually walked away with the moral, to him, being "a cyclist should always wear a helmet". Too rich to be fake.

The results of fast-food safety as opposed to real safety measures, sadly.
And to that post, I add another instance of a pedestrian who died from a head injury after a fall caused by a collision with a cyclist.

https://www.news1130.com/news/local/a...d-in-vancouver

Reasoning for cyclists to wear helmets is essentially the same argument for pedestrians to wear helmets.
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