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: What Are Your Helmet Wearing Habits?
I've never worn a bike helmet
52
10.40%
I used to wear a helmet, but have stopped
24
4.80%
I've always worn a helmet
208
41.60%
I didn't wear a helmet, but now do
126
25.20%
I sometimes wear a helmet depending on the conditions
90
18.00%
Voters: 500. You may not vote on this poll

The Helmet Thread 2

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Old 02-11-19, 11:19 AM
  #2801  
curbtender
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Humorous? After 2800 post you'd think there would be some concensus. Yet some of us return to look back down the hole.
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Old 02-11-19, 11:57 AM
  #2802  
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Unfortunately, bicycle helmet data is incomplete and always will be. Trying to extract a helmet's usefulness from this incomplete data is beyond challenging.

Here is what I mean. Keeping in mind - bicycle crashes are rare - head-strikes in a bicycle crash are even rarer - head-strikes in which a helmet would prevent a serious injury are even more rare.
a) A cyclist crashes with no head-strike. The helmet was not a factor and doesn't belong in the data. --No issue here
b) A cyclist crashes with no head-strike. However, there is a serious injury elsewhere. A hospital visit or police report is generated in these cases. The report would very likely state whether the rider was wearing a helmet - regardless of it playing a part in protecting the rider. --Data skewed with a report
c) A cyclist crashes and there is a head-strike. The helmet helmet does its job, protecting the rider's head and there is no serious injury. The cyclist never reports that to anyone. --Data skewed due to lack of reporting.
d) A cyclist crashes with a head-strike. The helmet does its job, protecting the skull/brain from serious injury. However, the cyclist is seriously injured elsewhere. The report will show a helmeted rider being seriously injured, even though the helmet did its job. --Data skewed
e) A cyclist crashes with a head-strike. The helmet fails to prevent a serious head/brain injury. This is reported as a helmet failure. --No issue here
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Old 02-11-19, 12:07 PM
  #2803  
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Originally Posted by avole View Post
WPH Have you heard the expression "if you have nothing to say, don't say anything"?
I think I said quite a bit, addressing what appear to me to be gaps in your understanding of the subject. You didn't understand how bike helmets mitigate impact for instance. I suspect that the role of rotational acceleration in concussions is new to you. I can explain how you've mistaken maeloch's reasoning if you like, or not if you wish to remain unaware of what he meant.
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Old 02-11-19, 12:17 PM
  #2804  
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Originally Posted by curbtender View Post
Humorous? After 2800 post you'd think there would be some concensus. Yet some of us return to look back down the hole.
https://youtu.be/GAPbZDit5_w
Eh, that's only the current incarnation of The Helmet Thread™, which respawned from the original in 2014 having 8742 entries. Mostly the same arguments flung back and forth, varying mainly in the newbies posting their "irrefutable" reasoning with disparagement of whomever would differ.
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Old 02-11-19, 12:54 PM
  #2805  
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
I think I said quite a bit, addressing what appear to me to be gaps in your understanding of the subject. You didn't understand how bike helmets mitigate impact for instance. I suspect that the role of rotational acceleration in concussions is new to you. I can explain how you've mistaken maeloch's reasoning if you like, or not if you wish to remain unaware of what he meant.
Sorry,your conceit gets in the way of your reasoning. Maelochs is Maelochs, and always right in his own mind. You don't have to copy him. You must surely understand there is the real world, and those who will sacrifice everything to prove a debating point on a forum. My fear is that readers will take these people seriously. As you may have noticed, I'm not interested in debating points, and I think both you and I would be horrified if helmets really were banned.

Pleased to see that, thankfully, the voting shows people are not fooled by this nonsense being promulgated here. On that happy note, ciao amici, tea calls.
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Old 02-11-19, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by avole View Post
Sorry,your conceit gets in the way of your reasoning. Maelochs is Maelochs, and always right in his own mind. You don't have to copy him...
I'm not talking about anyone personally, neither him nor you. I don't really see the attraction of it, and will not continue in that vein, but I am willing to continue to present facts and logic.

Regardless of whether maelochs is "always right in his own mind", he has in this case made a rational argument that refutes your idea. Specifically that because helmets are safety devices, and because head injuries do happen while cycling, it stands to reason that any rider should rationally use a helmet. He was trying to illustrate that your reasons are insufficient to rationally form that conclusion.
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Old 02-11-19, 01:27 PM
  #2807  
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
I'm not talking about anyone personally, neither him nor you. I don't really see the attraction of it, and will not continue in that vein, but I am willing to continue to present facts and logic.

Regardless of whether maelochs is "always right in his own mind", he has in this case made a rational argument that refutes your idea. Specifically that because helmets are safety devices, and because head injuries do happen while cycling, it stands to reason that any rider should rationally use a helmet. He was trying to illustrate that your reasons are insufficient to rationally form that conclusion.
Have to sign off now, cricket is on the TV. Frankly, I don't really care, since rationality and he seem to be on different sides of the fence - here's the definition from the OED of rational, so you can understand. By the way, how do you think people should rationally use a helmet? In my experience, there is only one way you can wear a helmet, but you might have different ideas on your side of the pond.

Yes, I'm happy you've finally decided to start using facts and logic, though you may find it an uphill battle at first. I look forward to seeing your tentative steps in the right direction tomorrow.
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Old 02-11-19, 01:33 PM
  #2808  
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Originally Posted by avole View Post
Have to sign off now, cricket is on the TV. Frankly, I don't really care, since rationality and he seem to be on different sides of the fence - here's the definition from the OED of rational, so you can understand. By the way, how do you think people should rationally use a helmet? In my experience, there is only one way you can wear a helmet, but you might have different ideas on your side of the pond.

Yes, I'm happy you've finally decided to start using facts and logic, though you may find it an uphill battle at first. I look forward to seeing your tentative steps in the right direction tomorrow.
Since you want to persist in badmouthing him, and myself as well, and since you have declined to address either facts or logic, I doubt that there is anything worthwhile to be explored here. Sorry to disappoint, but there won't be anything for you to "look forward to".
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Old 02-11-19, 01:55 PM
  #2809  
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Originally Posted by Gresp15C View Post
... such as the United States.

I certainly dream of a day when I don't need a helmet.
Exactly. It should be called a dangerous traffic helmet, an outdoor sports helmet or an anti-truck helmet or whatever. It's not the activity of riding a bicycle requires a helmet, so it shouldn't be called a bicycle helmet.
That's my stake in this discussion, I know I'm lucky with my cycling environment and I don't feel I have to defend my choice not to wear one, it's even not really a choice and it will never be mandatory here. It's about keeping the idea of safe and therefore helmetless cycling alive everywhere.

My own view is that "studies" are not going to settle this matter anytime soon. Look up "replication crisis" in the behavioral sciences. Car safety involves far more vehicles and miles of travel, making it more amenable to scientific study, and still it's difficult. Also, the insurance companies have a vested interest in gathering good data for cars. Cycling will always be rare enough in the US that it won't rise to the level of being a public health issue. We have bigger fish to fry. Driving a car is more dangerous than it should be.

In the absence of convincing studies, the next best thing for me is just to use my own common sense. Naturally I can't force that on anybody else.
There are always interests, also personal and trivial ones. If you really want cycling safety you're not going to study helmets you're going to study what makes cycling safer and the helmet won't be a big part of such a study.
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Old 02-11-19, 02:28 PM
  #2810  
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Every time I've sat down to do the math with probability, the cost of helmets and the cost of an accident where a helmet was not worn vs one where it was, and extrapolating this to a calculated "dollar value" to the brain that the helmet is designed to protect, I keep coming to the same conclusion. That those who choose to not wear helmets either didn't go through this process, have no idea what a brain injury can cost (even just in greenbacks, never mind the life quality stuff) or they have a realistic idea of what their life and noggin are actually worth. (Not enough to justify $100 for a helmet and put it on.)

Actually this analysis tends to favor non-helmet use, backed by my experience. Had I not worn a helmet on that ride in 1977, I would have saved the $35 I paid for it (had I left it in the store or roughly the same for its replacement). That crash would have cost my family $5000 in burial costs. End of stroy, Instead, many thousands of dollars went to medical costs. Lost earnings to the tune of, well, I'll just say a lot. A major university gifted me a seat in my old classrooms so I could get back up to speed. I went through many years of OCD, struggle with addiction, poor choices at every level, very poor choices with finances, etc., etc.; all of which is not uncommon among survivors of TBI.

Now there is a chance I might have lived without the helmet. In that case, apparent cost to me would have been nothing as I would have been reduced to a vegetative vacuum cleaner, sucking up money from insurance, family and the government the rest of my life.

Either way, without a helmet, you all would be spared my blathering.

Ben
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Old 02-11-19, 07:01 PM
  #2811  
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Originally Posted by Stadjer View Post
Exactly. It should be called a dangerous traffic helmet, an outdoor sports helmet or an anti-truck helmet or whatever. It's not the activity of riding a bicycle requires a helmet, so it shouldn't be called a bicycle helmet.
In my view, needlessly contorted terminology tends to attract suspicion rather than clarifying anything.
That's my stake in this discussion, I know I'm lucky with my cycling environment and I don't feel I have to defend my choice not to wear one, it's even not really a choice and it will never be mandatory here. It's about keeping the idea of safe and therefore helmetless cycling alive everywhere.

There are always interests, also personal and trivial ones. If you really want cycling safety you're not going to study helmets you're going to study what makes cycling safer and the helmet won't be a big part of such a study.
Indeed. One of my interests is that my brain is supporting a family, a business, and my quality of life.

Addressing the full gamut of safety issues can and should be done, but my brain can't wait for that to happen. I take all of the safety precautions that I can think of, and then I wear a helmet as well. As for personal and trivial issues, there's no evidence that non-helmet use is not a preference driven by culture, aesthetics, and peer pressure.

Again, I believe it comes down to common sense.
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Old 02-11-19, 07:13 PM
  #2812  
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Originally Posted by Gresp15C View Post
In my view, needlessly contorted terminology tends to attract suspicion rather than clarifying anything.

Indeed. One of my interests is that my brain is supporting a family, a business, and my quality of life.

Addressing the full gamut of safety issues can and should be done, but my brain can't wait for that to happen. I take all of the safety precautions that I can think of, and then I wear a helmet as well. As for personal and trivial issues, there's no evidence that non-helmet use is not a preference driven by culture, aesthetics, and peer pressure.

Again, I believe it comes down to common sense.
I'm curious about something, regarding that common sense. @79pmooney also please answer if you're interested.

Compare the two situations: you suffer an accident in a car while driving or as a passenger, and you suffer an accident while riding your bike. I'm not saying how bad the accident is, just consider that it may be any of the possibilities. with the corresponding likelihoods. It's a random car that you're in, or a random bike. Now, given that you have an accident, what is the difference in how likely it is that you'll suffer a traumatic brain injury, between the bike and the car? A whole lot, a little, none?
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Old 02-11-19, 09:59 PM
  #2813  
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
I'm curious about something, regarding that common sense. @79pmooney also please answer if you're interested.

Compare the two situations: you suffer an accident in a car while driving or as a passenger, and you suffer an accident while riding your bike. I'm not saying how bad the accident is, just consider that it may be any of the possibilities. with the corresponding likelihoods. It's a random car that you're in, or a random bike. Now, given that you have an accident, what is the difference in how likely it is that you'll suffer a traumatic brain injury, between the bike and the car? A whole lot, a little, none?
Again, what I'm calling common sense tells me that an injury is more likely with the bike because the cyclist is completely exposed, whereas the car has design features specifically to prevent these injuries -- despite being operated at vastly higher speed. Now those two things each have their own likelihoods. Those likelihoods are often cited on a per-mile basis, and I still put about 5x more miles on my car than on my bike despite calling myself an avid bike commuter. The overall likelihood should probably determine whether it rises to the status of a public health issue or not.

What I might not have been clear about is that my "common sense," such as it is, tells me to wear a helmet.

Well ... the helmet is 1 or 2 inches extra thickness, not 1-2%, and the nominal reason that a helmet protects against TBI is that when that thickness crushes the impulse is spread out over time. Which presents lower force to your skull. This does result in lower risk of traumatic brain injury, but of course does not prevent it.
That's interesting... I missed it in the thread. Spreading the impulse over time is also why it works to put a rubbery coating on a delicate gadget to protect it from mechanical shock.
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Old 02-12-19, 09:19 AM
  #2814  
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Originally Posted by Gresp15C View Post
Again, what I'm calling common sense tells me that an injury is more likely with the bike because the cyclist is completely exposed, whereas the car has design features specifically to prevent these injuries -- despite being operated at vastly higher speed. Now those two things each have their own likelihoods. Those likelihoods are often cited on a per-mile basis, and I still put about 5x more miles on my car than on my bike despite calling myself an avid bike commuter. The overall likelihood should probably determine whether it rises to the status of a public health issue or not.
On a per-accident basis, is it more likely in the car or on the bike to suffer a brain injury?

Your last sentence is spot on by the way; it is the likelihood of an accident with injury that should be the main concern. Risk is the probability multiplied by the severity. Many people using "common sense" with the helmet question ignore the probability part and think only of the potential severity.

That's interesting... I missed it in the thread. Spreading the impulse over time is also why it works to put a rubbery coating on a delicate gadget to protect it from mechanical shock.
In fact, the effectiveness of the bike helmet to mitigate linear impacts is directly proportional to its thickness where it impacts.
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Old 02-12-19, 01:24 PM
  #2815  
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I'm not sure what the main argument is. But if it's helmet effectiveness. To me even if it decreases my odds of a head injury by 1% in the event of a head strike. That's $50 bucks well spent. Energy has to go somewhere. So in the event of a head strike, the helmet will absorb some energy and disperse energy over a wider area. You can site all the studies or statistics you want. I'm sure I can show any correlation I want with the right data. Causation is a different story. So I'll rely on physics.

If it's legislation. We shouldn't legislate laws that step on personal liberty. If it doesn't hurt anyone else then who cares. If someone wants to willingly or unwillingly off themselves or hurt themselves. More power to you brother.
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Old 02-12-19, 01:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Gresp15C View Post
In my view, needlessly contorted terminology tends to attract suspicion rather than clarifying anything.
True, but repetitive use of 'loaded' terminology tends to influence peoples thinking. I'm convinced that if we would still call the regular bike the 'safety bicycle' like when it was introduced and a helmet for example a 'fall helmet' there would probably less people who believed those two belonged together.

Indeed. One of my interests is that my brain is supporting a family, a business, and my quality of life.

Addressing the full gamut of safety issues can and should be done, but my brain can't wait for that to happen. I take all of the safety precautions that I can think of, and then I wear a helmet as well. As for personal and trivial issues, there's no evidence that non-helmet use is not a preference driven by culture, aesthetics, and peer pressure.

Again, I believe it comes down to common sense.
It might be less common and less sensible than you assume. It's not that I don't understand why you're wearing a helmet. But how many poeple really have the considerations that they use as argument for helmet use? If you take all the safety precautions that you can think of, have you thought about the drop bar as an increase of head injury risk?

To me it seems more like: It's too dangerous, helmet could help in case of hitting your head, so wear a helmet and pretend it's safe enough now. Of course city planners like that idea, the car lobby likes that idea, drivers like that idea and doctors like that idea because they reason from the injury backwards instead of thinking about cycling safety and still believe they are experts speaking with authority on the matter.
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Old 02-12-19, 02:00 PM
  #2817  
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Originally Posted by 86az135i View Post
I'm not sure what the main argument is. But if it's helmet effectiveness. To me even if it decreases my odds of a head injury by 1% in the event of a head strike. That's $50 bucks well spent. Energy has to go somewhere. So in the event of a head strike, the helmet will absorb some energy and disperse energy over a wider area. You can site all the studies or statistics you want. I'm sure I can show any correlation I want with the right data. Causation is a different story. So I'll rely on physics.

If it's legislation. We shouldn't legislate laws that step on personal liberty. If it doesn't hurt anyone else then who cares. If someone wants to willingly or unwillingly off themselves or hurt themselves. More power to you brother.
I get along with that opinion just fine BTW it's probably closer to helping (intracranial injury) by 50% than by 1%.

And likewise if someone wants to wear pointless gear because they believe that probability is inherently flawed, or think that improving their odds by 1% of a 1 in 940,000 chance per mile is worth the money, then I've got no problem with that either.
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Old 02-12-19, 04:53 PM
  #2818  
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Originally Posted by Stadjer View Post
If you take all the safety precautions that you can think of, have you thought about the drop bar as an increase of head injury risk?
I don't have any bikes with drop bars. All of my bikes have swept bars, for comfort.
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Old 02-12-19, 08:13 PM
  #2819  
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Originally Posted by 86az135i View Post
I'm not sure what the main argument is. But if it's helmet effectiveness. To me even if it decreases my odds of a head injury by 1% in the event of a head strike. That's $50 bucks well spent. Energy has to go somewhere. So in the event of a head strike, the helmet will absorb some energy and disperse energy over a wider area. You can site all the studies or statistics you want. I'm sure I can show any correlation I want with the right data. Causation is a different story. So I'll rely on physics.

If it's legislation. We shouldn't legislate laws that step on personal liberty. If it doesn't hurt anyone else then who cares. If someone wants to willingly or unwillingly off themselves or hurt themselves. More power to you brother.
Many laws do « step on personal liberty », that’s why we have them.
Never assume the human race is intelligent when all the evidence says otherwise.
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Old 02-12-19, 09:38 PM
  #2820  
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
On a per-accident basis, is it more likely in the car or on the bike to suffer a brain injury?
I don't know a precise answer to that question. I have my own hunch, and anecdotes. As I mentioned above, cars have safety measures designed into them, to prevent brain injuries. Bikes don't. But how many accidents in either mode lead to brain injuries? Beats me. I've had a few minor crashes on my bike, no brain injuries, though I broke a rib. I think a broken rib hurts bad enough that nobody would think helmets are a complete substitute for other safety measures.
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Old 02-13-19, 12:11 PM
  #2821  
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Originally Posted by avole View Post
Many laws do « step on personal liberty », that’s why we have them.
Never assume the human race is intelligent when all the evidence says otherwise.
We should never allow laws like that to happen. Increased government control isn't always the answer. I never said humans were intelligent. I don't care if you want to be stupid or not in a manner that affects your own personal safety. That's your personal choice. And every human should have that liberty.

We should also ban unhealthy food. That way people can't kill themselves eating. I mean where do we stop. Mandating people to wear helmets is a terrible idea.
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Old 02-14-19, 01:59 AM
  #2822  
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86az135i, I hope you are joking. If you are not, then the human race is deservedly doomed.

Have a good day.
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Old 02-14-19, 09:21 AM
  #2823  
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Originally Posted by avole View Post
86az135i, I hope you are joking. If you are not, then the human race is deservedly doomed.

Have a good day.
I hope you don't believe that government control of the people is the answer.
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Old 02-14-19, 09:50 AM
  #2824  
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Originally Posted by avole View Post
86az135i, I hope you are joking. If you are not, then the human race is deservedly doomed.

Have a good day.
No. I'm definitely not. The freedom to decide your personal fate should not be decided by someone other then yourself. I personally like my liberty with a side of freedom.
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Old 02-14-19, 09:58 AM
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wphamilton
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Originally Posted by Gresp15C View Post
I don't know a precise answer to that question. I have my own hunch, and anecdotes. As I mentioned above, cars have safety measures designed into them, to prevent brain injuries. Bikes don't. But how many accidents in either mode lead to brain injuries? Beats me. I've had a few minor crashes on my bike, no brain injuries, though I broke a rib. I think a broken rib hurts bad enough that nobody would think helmets are a complete substitute for other safety measures.
Looking at ER data, the surprising answer is that even with all of the automobile safety features, the chances of an intracranial injury is about the same whether you're in the vehicle or on the bike. From a per-accident basis. By "about the same" I mean within an order of magnitude.

My own hunch is that I'm more likely to get hit by a car when I'm driving than when I'm riding. To my knowledge the risk of a serious head injury is approximately the same. So common sense tells me that I'd rather wear a helmet driving than riding.
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