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Chris Boardman

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Chris Boardman

Old 05-30-07, 01:16 PM
  #51  
eandmwilson
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Originally Posted by closetbiker
I don't doubt that helmets are of some value, and I am very much pro-choice on the issue, but if what Chris says is true and if we can agree that death is the best way compare helmeted and non-helmeted riders, I would never look down on someone if he/she were willing to have a little road rash on his/her scalp.
That's the point I was trying to make, or the opposite of it. If the vast majority of deaths occur in situations where a helmet would make no difference, like my example of tossing people off the Empire State building, then he is misconstruing the data. So, absolutely not, until that point is either proved or disproved (that helmets do/do not matter in cycling fatalities), the deaths are a misleading and potentially meaningless measure. From what I saw of the article, there was no evidence either way presented. A much better indicator would be serious head trauma in lidless riders (probably can find this somewhere), and the number of serious injuries avoided by wearing a helmet, which due to the nature of the incident is rarely reported--no harm , no foul.

My beef is presenting opinion sprinkled with unrelated, interpreted facts, as the basis to make a judgment. It's just bad analysis and science.
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Old 05-30-07, 04:32 PM
  #52  
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Originally Posted by eandmwilson
deaths are a misleading and potentially meaningless measure...A much better indicator would be serious head trauma in lidless riders
..but then, how would you define "serious" head trama? An agreement on what that constitutes has to be reached to compare, and what is something to one (person or doctor) is not to another.

Death is a pretty solid concept on common acceptance of the condition, injuries run the gammit below.

There is much research done in the feild of brain injury, and wikipedia even touches on it in their article on bicycle helmets, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicycle_helmet where they say,

Evidence for the efficacy of helmets in preventing serious injury is contradictory and inconclusive...The definition of injury is also open to debate, and injury figures are acknowledged to be inaccurate...Recent research on traumatic brain injury adds further confusion, suggesting that the major causes of permanent intellectual disablement and death may well be torsional forces leading to diffuse axonal injury (DAI), a form of injury which helmets cannot mitigate.[18] Helmets may increase the torsional forces by increasing the distance from the extremities of the helmet to the centre of the spine, compared to the distance without a helmet.
One of the leading experts on the mechanics of helmets has explained some points because he has,
read so many opinions over the past few years on this subject, which in the main have been technically adrift of reality or based on misinformation. I felt that it was time to respond.
at

https://www.cyclehelmets.org/mf.html#1081

he describes a court case where
a High Court has decided that cycle helmets do not prevent injury even when falling from a cycle onto a flat surface, with little forward momentum.
I guess that's where I'm coming from. From what I've read, I haven't seen any evidence that there would be any less serious head trauma in lidded riders than lidless riders.

Anecdotally, last year in our daily paper was a story about a kid on a bike that fell 10 meters from a crossing and the claim was his skateboard helmet "saved his life" and just last week there was another story about a constuction worker who fell the same 10 meters without any headgear and was fine.

I have a friend at work that was hit by a car while riding his bike without a helmet and knocked unconscious after hitting a car and I have a cousin who did the same with a helmet on and he was knocked unconscious too.

A couple of weeks ago there was a story about a kid who was wearing a helmet and clipped by a car and he went into a coma and has swelling of his brain.

Coming from an area that has a high level of helmet use, wouldn't you expect the cases of serious head injury/trauma be lower than an area with lower uses of helmets?

I wouldn't based on what I've seen.

A little more explaination can be found here on the Mechanics of Head Injuries

https://members.pcug.org.au/~psvansch/crag/h-i-mech.htm

but I'm really getting off topic here. I really don't want to get into a debate, just to see what Chris had to say on the issue and consider the implication of Pro-cycling printing it. As far as I know, Robert Hursts' "The Art of Urban Cycling" was the only mainstream press that discussed the topic in such a way. Pro-Cycling seems to be bucking the trend of having their pages ordained with only helmeted photos and information.

It's nice to see a different point of view that leads to a little balance on the subject.

Last edited by closetbiker; 05-30-07 at 09:51 PM.
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Old 11-11-07, 03:27 PM
  #53  
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Originally Posted by plainsdrifter View Post
So all of the pro riders in the last 100 years didn't take the sport seriously?

We might as well make people wear helmets around the house, especially if you have stairs. What about around the pool? Skateboarders, roller bladers, and joggers? How about surfers and if it's good enough for NASCAR, why not you in your car? Oh, and don't forget about the bull and bronc riders.

Personal choice?

Yes.
Stairs are killer. If Kurt Vonnegut had been wearing a helmet, maybe he'd still be here (doubt it, though). I nearly fell down mine just a few days back. I hate 'em. D:
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Old 11-11-07, 07:51 PM
  #54  
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My life was saved by my helmet. I will always wear one. Damn Skip wagon....
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Old 11-11-07, 09:16 PM
  #55  
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I don't understand why people have a problem with mandatory helmet usage. Here in Australia, it is illegal to ride a bicycle without a helmet on, and it certainly doesn't discourage people from cycling. Modern helmets are so comfortable anyway, it isn't really an inconvenience to wear one, even in hot weather.

The idea that people should be free to choose whether to wear a helmet or not is premised upon the assumption that people are intelligent enough to make that decision. They are not. Aside from the monetary ramifications of serious head and neck injuries, people don't stop to think of the effect that their death or serious injury would have on their loved ones. To cycle without a helmet is a fundamentally selfish act.

Helmet use should be mandatory, as is the case for motorcycle helmets and car seatbelts. At the end of the day, you can make as many different arguments as you like, there is no way that wearing a helmet increases your chance of injury, and so there is no logical reason not to wear one.
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Old 11-12-07, 09:04 AM
  #56  
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What helmet compulsion does do however is to reduce the uptake of new cyclists, especially the young. This has the effect of reducing the numbers of cyclists on the road for a given area, which in turn increases the risk of injury by motor vehicles. Areas with higher levels of cyclists are inherently safer as the motorists are more used to conducting themselves around cyclists.

I never wear a helmet, and find it a strange and arbitary requirement to wear one, when so many other everyday activities cause much higher rates of injury. Vastly more accidents happen in the shower, but no-one seems to get too evangelical about padding up up for your morning wash. We all make our own risk assesments about what we feel is safe or not, and I for one prefer not to have other peoples perceptions rammed down my throat.
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Old 11-12-07, 09:26 AM
  #57  
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Gotta love when 6 month old threads are dredged up to make random comments on!
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Old 11-26-07, 07:05 PM
  #58  
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ok, i've read Boardman's article twice, and I think this is his flawed logic: because riding without a helmet might be statistically safer than many other activities, you'll still be ok if you're in a crash, so don't bother wearing a helmet. It's kinda like saying that because air travel is statiscally safer than most other forms of travelling, don't worry if you're in a plane crash.

Or: because cycling without a helmet is statistically safe, there's no point wearing one unless you also wear one while driving, showering and walking city streets.

Yeah? No?

In other words, I reckon he's wrong, because, even though I'm more likely to suffer head trauma as a pedestrian or in the shower than I am as a non-helmeted city cyclist, that's not gunna protect my head the next time I'm tumbling over on my bike

Also, as others have said, there would be a million reasons why head trauma amongst cyclists in Holland is so low. A straight-out comparison of riding in Holland to riding in the U.S. or Australia is too simple to try to illustrate a point

Last edited by 531Aussie; 02-11-08 at 07:32 AM.
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Old 09-13-12, 07:05 AM
  #59  
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Originally Posted by 531Aussie View Post
ok, i've read Boardman's article twice,
Wow. This thread is coming up to 5 years old and it's just been resurrected!

First question, have you just read the article? And if so, where? Do you have an old copy of the magazine? If you do, do you mind posting it because the scanning that was placed on this thread has long since disappeared and it would be nice to read it again.

... think this is his flawed logic: because riding without a helmet might be statistically safer than many other activities, you'll still be ok if you're in a crash, so don't bother wearing a helmet. It's kinda like saying that because air travel is statiscally safer than most other forms of travelling, don't worry if you're in a plane crash.

Or: because cycling without a helmet is statistically safe, there's no point wearing one unless you also wear one while driving, showering and walking city streets.
I think the point of the article (if I can remember what I read 5 years ago) was one of the validity of an individual making a choice in helmet use. Not that helmets are useless, more of the helmets limitations and the relative safety of cycling.
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Old 09-13-12, 07:28 AM
  #60  
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Hang on. The response I thought I was writing to has disappeared.

Seems I'm the one who's raising the dead, inadvertently of course.

If anyone still has that article it'd be good to see it again.
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Old 09-13-12, 07:30 AM
  #61  
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Originally Posted by elgalad View Post
I don't understand why people have a problem with mandatory helmet usage. Here in Australia, it is illegal to ride a bicycle without a helmet on, and it certainly doesn't discourage people from cycling. Modern helmets are so comfortable anyway, it isn't really an inconvenience to wear one, even in hot weather.

The idea that people should be free to choose whether to wear a helmet or not is premised upon the assumption that people are intelligent enough to make that decision. They are not. Aside from the monetary ramifications of serious head and neck injuries, people don't stop to think of the effect that their death or serious injury would have on their loved ones. To cycle without a helmet is a fundamentally selfish act.

Helmet use should be mandatory, as is the case for motorcycle helmets and car seatbelts. At the end of the day, you can make as many different arguments as you like, there is no way that wearing a helmet increases your chance of injury, and so there is no logical reason not to wear one.
I completely agree with you in cases where the data clearly demonstrates that the safety equipment lowers injury and death rates - for example, motorcycle helmets and seatbelts in cars. The problem with the great bike helmet debate is that there has not been good conclusive evidence that a bike helmet makes the same kind of significant impact on injury rates. (unless there is new data out I'm unaware of - I dont exactly follow this issue closely) Its a difficult thing to study.

It seems logical and intuitive that wearing a helmet should be safer than not, but it hasnt been as easy to prove - partially, I think, because cycling in general is pretty safe already.
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Old 09-13-12, 07:32 AM
  #62  
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The problem with the great bike helmet debate is that there hasn't been good conclusive evidence that a bike helmet makes the same kind of significant impact on injury rates.

Fixed that for you.
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Old 09-13-12, 07:33 AM
  #63  
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arghh, I got sucked into an old thread resurrection!
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Old 09-13-12, 07:33 AM
  #64  
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Originally Posted by closetbiker View Post
The problem with the great bike helmet debate is that there hasn't been good conclusive evidence that a bike helmet makes the same kind of significant impact on injury rates.

Fixed that for you.
exactly, left out a 'not'
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Old 09-13-12, 07:41 AM
  #65  
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Originally Posted by pallen View Post
arghh, I got sucked into an old thread resurrection!
me too.

I looked at the email that I had trashed which brought me back here..

It was just spam and it was posted by ddkxkzccdp.

I just clicked on the link and read the last posted message, I didn't read the obvious spam that made it to my email.
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Old 09-13-12, 07:43 AM
  #66  
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Originally Posted by pallen View Post
exactly, left out a 'not'
which is my whole point. The claims that helmeteers espouse is far from conclusive
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Old 09-13-12, 07:55 AM
  #67  
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Oh look a zombie helmet thread! Is this A&S?
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Old 09-13-12, 09:51 AM
  #68  
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Originally Posted by tagaproject6 View Post
Oh look a zombie helmet thread! Is this A&S?
No, it's not. Anyone wishing to expound on the pros and cons of helmet wearing can post in the A&S helmet thread.

Closed.
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