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No Helmet -- Nice!

Old 11-09-18, 02:16 PM
  #201  
Steely Dan
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Originally Posted by noglider
Some of the anti-helmet arguments have merit, and I oppose laws that require helmets, but a helmet is still a good idea for me.
me too.

personal experience probably colors so much of this never ending debate.

i'm personally pretty ambivalent about other people wearing helmets or not.

but having now been struck by two motor vehicles and having my head slam against the pavement and destroy the helmet i was wearing in both instances, i've decided that helmets are a good idea for me.

getting hit by cars and being knocked off my bike is a very real risk for me (two motor vehicle strikes in 11 years of daily bike commuting), so a helmet seems like a no-brainer to me based on my experiences.

those who've never had their head slammed into the pavement after a collision are likely much more prone to say "what's the big deal with helmets? they won't help you much if an asteroid lands on you."

Last edited by Steely Dan; 11-09-18 at 02:22 PM.
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Old 11-09-18, 03:05 PM
  #202  
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this is one of those impossible-to-prove-a-negative situations. It's very easy to point to instances where a helmet saved a life in an accident (and not just isolated anecdotes, definitely enough to make meaningful statistical statements).

And it's easy enough to look at more extreme cyclist deaths (helmeted or no) and to say "helmet couldn't do anything about that".

But it's near impossible to look at helmeted cyclist deaths and point to which ones might have been avoided if the cyclist was not wearing a helmet and thus had more vigilant, cautious riding behavior.

And yet the statistics (increasing helmet use is correlated with increased death rates, not decreased death rates) imply that there are a lot of those cases -- more than there are lives saved by helmets.

So do you want to wear a helmet as protection for your inability to ride completely vigilant and cautious all the time?

Or do you want to skip a helmet to help force yourself to ride as vigilant and cautious as possible all the time?

Of course everybody wants to answer "I will wear a helmet 100% of the time AND be 100% vigilant and 100% cautious 100% of the time". But to believe that's actually 100% possible is at least 57.3% foolish.

(And of course, there must also be an effect of, going with out a helmet increases vigilance and caution at first, but then you get used to it and grow complacent. It's only human)
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Old 11-09-18, 03:25 PM
  #203  
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@RubeRad, I missed the statistics that show that increased helmet use is correlated with increased death rates. Where are they?
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Old 11-09-18, 03:32 PM
  #204  
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Originally Posted by 52telecaster
https://cyclingtips.com/2018/11/commentary-why-i-stopped-wearing-a-bike-helmet/
here is the article that talked about it noglider.
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Old 11-09-18, 03:49 PM
  #205  
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Yes that's what I was referring to. The whole article is well-written, but these paragraphs hit the biggest points:

why do the countries with the highest rates of helmet use also have the highest fatality rates among cyclists? Riders in the United States wear helmets more than anywhere else and yet get killed more frequently than in any other Western nation. In fact, in countries like Denmark and Netherland, where the fewest riders strap on helmets, fatal crashes are incredibly infrequent.

If that inverse relationship seems surprising, let me break it down for you: Having quality infrastructure and a culture that respects safety will impact exponentially more lives than insisting that riders wear helmets. Trying to solve the problem of vulnerable cyclists with helmets is like trying to reduce the number of fatalities in school shootings by making students wear bulletproof vests. It’s not actually solving the problem.

If helmets are lifesavers, how come Dutch riders who wear one get hospitalized more than cyclists who don’t? According to data from the Dutch government, cyclists there who wear a lid are roughly 20 times more likely to get hospitalized than riders who don’t. This result obviously isn’t suggesting that there’s something wrong with bike helmets available to Dutch consumers; instead it reflects that mountain biking and fast road riding and any kind of racing carries radically different risks than the utility riding that most Dutch people enjoy. In many user cases, helmets just aren’t a silver bullet.
The first bolded statement could pretty believably be explained by infrastructre/drivers in the US vs other countries. But the 2nd one finds the same prevalence among Dutch riders only.
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Old 11-09-18, 04:33 PM
  #206  
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Originally Posted by RubeRad
But the 2nd one finds the same prevalence among Dutch riders only.
the paragraph goes on to explain that the difference is likely because the cyclists who actually bother to wear helmets in the netherlands are engaged in cycling activities (racing, mountain biking) that have an order of magnitude more danger than piddling along at 8 mph in a protected bike lane on a 60 pound omafiets.

while i certainly don't "race" on my daily bike commutes, with 8 miles to go each way, i don't exactly take it easy either, typically rolling around 17-18 mph (well for me anyway, i'm sure 18 mph is considered taking it pretty damn easy for a serious racer).

i would suspect that the faster one rides, the greater the potential benefits of a helmet are (ie. higher speed = higher likelihood of a crash).

but i have absolutely no data to back that up.

Last edited by Steely Dan; 11-09-18 at 04:56 PM.
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Old 11-09-18, 05:03 PM
  #207  
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I agree, and that seems to make sense, one takeaway of which would be that Dutch cycling culture has a much better idea of when helmets are necessary.

while I certainly don't "race" on my daily bike commutes, with 5.5 miles to go each way, I DO exactly take it easy, typically rolling around 10mph.

But I stlll wear a helmet on every commute (unless I forget which is rare, but feels nice)
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Old 11-09-18, 06:24 PM
  #208  
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Originally Posted by Steely Dan
the paragraph goes on to explain that the difference is likely because the cyclists who actually bother to wear helmets in the netherlands are engaged in cycling activities (racing, mountain biking) that have an order of magnitude more danger than piddling along at 8 mph in a protected bike lane on a 60 pound omafiets.

while i certainly don't "race" on my daily bike commutes, with 8 miles to go each way, i don't exactly take it easy either, typically rolling around 17-18 mph (well for me anyway, i'm sure 18 mph is considered taking it pretty damn easy for a serious racer).

i would suspect that the faster one rides, the greater the potential benefits of a helmet are (ie. higher speed = higher likelihood of a crash).

but i have absolutely no data to back that up.
that sounds very reasonable. Typically I am 12 mph or so.
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Old 11-10-18, 03:57 AM
  #209  
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Originally Posted by Steely Dan

i would suspect that the faster one rides, the greater the potential benefits of a helmet are (ie. higher speed = higher likelihood of a crash).

but i have absolutely no data to back that up.
I'd say this also depends. A bicycle is more stable at a higher speed. When riding in traffic (and not using a separate bike lane), I tend to not ride slowly - as it creates all sorts of problematic situations, compared to riding fast (as fast as a bike goes, 30 km/h for in city, flat land riding).

I consider road bike group rides as a high(er) risk activity, since any rider in front of me crashing increases the probability of those behing ending in a crash-pile. Solo riding I always tuck and role, but when a rider behind me crashes into me as well, it will prevent most "in-flight" manoeuvres.

Originally Posted by noglider
Some of the anti-helmet arguments have merit, and I oppose laws that require helmets, but a helmet is still a good idea for me.
This is the whole point in my opinion. Saying helmet is a must is very similar to saying it's needless. Additional problem is it's hard to objectively judge the risk, even harder to say how much is acceptable. You could say that using one is being on the safe side - and it's true. Still, exactly the same can be said about a buletproof vest - but you don't hear people saying it's silly to not wear one - the silly thing is riding (living) in an area that makes wearing one warranted... does similar go for helmets as well?
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Old 11-12-18, 12:26 PM
  #210  
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I don't know why more people don't race, regardless of vehicle. Speeding while commuting is pointless in a car or on a bike, there are no appreciable time savings to be had when anybody else is on the road and/or there are any stops. If you want to drive fast or ride your bike fast, go race somewhere. And wear a helmet. Drive/ride slow everywhere else. Speed kills. I don't believe it's an end-all solution, but man, imagine if everybody just gave themselves 10 or 15 extra contingency minutes for each trip, or how about 15% of travel time in minutes, regardless of vehicle. Even 3 minutes. "I don't have to rush around this cyclist, I left for work 5 minutes early. I can wait 10 seconds". "I don't have to ride my bike 20mph to get to work on time, I gave myself 10 extra minutes so now I can afford to ride 15mph, take a break halfway, and have time for a cup of coffee when I get there. If I flat a tire, I have time to change it and still get to work on time". I don't hear people talk about the "rat race" anymore, but that doesn't mean it's not a real thing.
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Old 11-12-18, 12:49 PM
  #211  
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The faster we bike, the fewer times we interact with motor vehicles so it's potentially safer to ride at 20 than it is at 15. Riding faster also causes less disruption to the traffic flow which reduces risk. If I could ride easily at 30 or 35 mph in traffic I absolutely would do so, and I think it would be much safer than riding 15-20.


At the extreme where we're fatigued, oxygen deprived and our coordination suffers due to maximal effort sure that will increase our risk of crashing but anything below that, not necessarily. You could say that reaction time is diminished at higher speeds, but we're talking about a span of several seconds, not tenths of seconds, so I believe that it is no particular factor either. In traffic that is, where the surface is mostly predictable and traffic mostly moves in predictable patterns. On a sidewalk or MUP, that's a different story.


So in short, the speed I'm going is not a big factor on whether I want to enjoy the no-helmet ride, because I don't see a whole lot of extra risk. It's more about ambient conditions, and where I'm riding.
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Old 11-12-18, 02:11 PM
  #212  
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Originally Posted by Phamilton
I don't know why more people don't race, regardless of vehicle. Speeding while commuting is pointless in a car or on a bike, there are no appreciable time savings to be had when anybody else is on the road and/or there are any stops. If you want to drive fast or ride your bike fast, go race somewhere. And wear a helmet. Drive/ride slow everywhere else. Speed kills. I don't believe it's an end-all solution, but man, imagine if everybody just gave themselves 10 or 15 extra contingency minutes for each trip, or how about 15% of travel time in minutes, regardless of vehicle. Even 3 minutes. "I don't have to rush around this cyclist, I left for work 5 minutes early. I can wait 10 seconds". "I don't have to ride my bike 20mph to get to work on time, I gave myself 10 extra minutes so now I can afford to ride 15mph, take a break halfway, and have time for a cup of coffee when I get there. If I flat a tire, I have time to change it and still get to work on time". I don't hear people talk about the "rat race" anymore, but that doesn't mean it's not a real thing.
I was going to say, because not everybody's in a hurry, but reading the rest of your post more carefully, I take your meaning to be more like "If more people were involved in racing activities in organized racing events, they would get it out of their system and more likely to commute more carefully."

That's fine as far as it goes, but cycling racers are gonna train on public roads, that's pretty unavoidable. And cycling racers who also cycle-commute will probably want to leverage their commute into training.
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Old 11-12-18, 02:14 PM
  #213  
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Combatants who wear a helmet in combat zones are roughly 20 times more likely to get hospitalized than people who stay away from combat zones.
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Old 11-12-18, 02:18 PM
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funny

although in general you don't want to come into the bike commuting subforum and advocate that bikes should get off the roads...
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Old 11-12-18, 03:17 PM
  #215  
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Originally Posted by Phamilton
there are no appreciable time savings to be had when anybody else is on the road and/or there are any stops.
i disagree.

i typically roll around 17mph, which calcs out to an overall average of ~14 mph when stop lights are included.

if i rolled at around 12mph, that would calc out to an overall average of ~10 mph.

if i rolled at around 10mph, that would calc out to an overall average of ~8 mph.

on my 8 mile commute route, those times would come to 35 minutes, 48 minutes, and 60 minutes respectively.

that's an appreciable difference in my book.



also, some of us have routes with timed light cycles, and riding faster or slower can alleviate getting caught by too many red lights.

in my specific case, i have one stretch along my route with 5 super-annoying lights each spaced 1/2 mile from each other. if i can ride ride at >17mph, i typically only get pinched by one of them. if i'm slower, i get pinched at 2 or 3 of them, which can add up to an extra 5 minutes, because they'e the really long type of light cycles with left turn arrows for both directions and all of that.


also also, going fast is fun!!!

Last edited by Steely Dan; 11-12-18 at 05:11 PM.
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Old 11-14-18, 12:25 AM
  #216  
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Originally Posted by RubeRad
I was going to say, because not everybody's in a hurry, but reading the rest of your post more carefully, I take your meaning to be more like "If more people were involved in racing activities in organized racing events, they would get it out of their system and more likely to commute more carefully."

That's fine as far as it goes, but cycling racers are gonna train on public roads, that's pretty unavoidable. And cycling racers who also cycle-commute will probably want to leverage their commute into training.
I think you’re absolutely right, they will train on public roads. That seems to be the best place to do it. I know of several racers who use their commute for training. I take no issue with either of these things. If I raced, I probably WOULD use my commute for training, it’s 2 miles out of the city then 10 miles out in the country with generally light traffic. Perfect.
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