Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Singlespeed & Fixed Gear
Reload this Page >

A can of worms - do helmets work?

Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

A can of worms - do helmets work?

Old 04-05-09, 10:07 AM
  #126  
ianjk
:)
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: duluth
Posts: 3,392

Bikes: '07 Pista, '09 Fantom Cross Uno, '8? Miyata, '67 Stingray, '0? Zoo mod trials, Tallbike, Chopper, '73 Schwinn Collegiate, '67 Triumph Chopper, '69 CB350, '58 BSA Spitfire, '73 CB450

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Everyone knows that helmets are part of a global pyramid scheme.*




















*I've busted a couple of them instead of my noggin tho. Sharp rock to helmet is better than sharp rock to head 9.9999999999999 times out of 10.
ianjk is offline  
Old 04-05-09, 01:04 PM
  #127  
Tinuz
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 21
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by i r yo View Post
Well, helmets work by compressing the foam inside. So it actually looks like that one didn't do anything, besides cracking the hardshell that is (don't worry, that takes neglible amounts of energy compared to the total).


As said before, helmets make me feel unsafe because they impair my senses (or at least I feel that way). I have done several faceplants at 25+mph without a helmet and never suffered more than a small cut to my head (head injury wise). If you are going to smack your face into the pavement and need a helmet to prevent death...you're pretty much ****ed anyway.
Tinuz is offline  
Old 04-05-09, 01:46 PM
  #128  
ryanlovesyou
veggieburglar
 
ryanlovesyou's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Santa Barbara/San Jose, CA
Posts: 647

Bikes: 60s Peugeot conversion, 2002 Santa Cruz Heckler, 2007 Bianchi "Everyone has one" Pista, Beat up Beach Cruiser

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Tinuz View Post
As said before, helmets make me feel unsafe because they impair my senses (or at least I feel that way). I have done several faceplants at 25+mph without a helmet and never suffered more than a small cut to my head (head injury wise). If you are going to smack your face into the pavement and need a helmet to prevent death...you're pretty much ****ed anyway.
I hope you're joking.... or maybe all those 25mph faceplants knocked a screw loose. This is just terrible logic.
ryanlovesyou is offline  
Old 04-05-09, 03:02 PM
  #129  
tashi
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Victoria
Posts: 1,268
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 35 Post(s)
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
f-it, I wrote out a big response but really, how dumb am I to bother convincing people to take safety precautions with their brains?

Helmetless riders: I hope for the sake of your loved ones you never develop a first-hand appreciation for the difference between "brain damaged" and "mildly concussed". Good luck out there.

Last edited by tashi; 04-05-09 at 03:11 PM.
tashi is offline  
Old 04-05-09, 03:04 PM
  #130  
j3ffr3y
chickenosaurus
 
j3ffr3y's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 1,189

Bikes: 2010 Motobecane Team Track, 1997 GT Edge, 2012 Kilo TT Stripper

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I wear one because my mom asked me to. Even if it only helps those who care for me to feel that I am safer, then I will wear one.
j3ffr3y is offline  
Old 04-05-09, 03:42 PM
  #131  
clink83
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 1,025
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Look, its as simple as this:
1) your head is the most important organ in your body. Protect it at all costs
2) Helmets, no matter how fast you are going, will absorb some of the force of a crash. See #1.

I can tell you for sure that in snowsports, people who wear helmets have much much much lower rates of head injuries than people who do not wear them.
clink83 is offline  
Old 04-05-09, 04:23 PM
  #132  
elTwitcho
Live without dead time
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Toronto
Posts: 2,137
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
At the beginning of last summer I had to dodge a car that pulled out and got caught up in some trolly tracks on the road sending me diagonally over the bars and headfirst into the ground. I was wearing a helmet which took a good amount of damage, my neck was extremely stiff for a week or so but otherwise I was fine. Without my helmet, the damage from that crash would have gone to my head which at the very least would have caused a great deal of discomfort.

I'm not interested in getting into the debate as to whether helmets are always effective, or whether everyone should wear one or anything like that. I simply know that in one particular instance I walked away more or less uninjured because I was wearing my helmet and had I not been wearing one, I almost certainly would have had a solid concussion or worse. So I always wear one at any rate.
elTwitcho is offline  
Old 04-05-09, 04:26 PM
  #133  
synapsemusic
GORSH DAMNIT
 
synapsemusic's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: blacksburg
Posts: 184
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
the fact that this thread exists makes me upset, but i feel like i have an important contribution to make.

this past august i feel skateboarding (yeah not a bike but i fell regardless) and tried to roll it out instead of going on my face. i ended up cracking the base of my skull and spent a week in the ICU with subdural hematoma. the ONLY reason i'm still alive is because i cracked the absolute thickest part of my skull. a friend of mine fell the same way skateboarding in December, received the same injury, and is now dead.

Don't give me any "well i know what i'm doing" or "it impairs my senses". thats not the issue at hand. if you fall on your head, a helmet will quite possibly save your life. end of discussion. if anyone would life to discuss this further i'd be happy to argue the helmet side all day.
synapsemusic is offline  
Old 04-05-09, 06:38 PM
  #134  
cyrano138
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Venice, FL
Posts: 282

Bikes: 2008 Fuji Track, 1977 Raleigh Super Course, Gravity G29 mtb

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
synapsemusic: The whole point of the thread, according to the article referenced by the OP, is that statistical evidence doesn't bear out what heaps of anecdotal evidence purport to prove. It may be true that there are times when a life is saved by a helmet, but those are statistically insignificant, again according to this article: when helmets were used/mandated, it says, no significant reduction in deaths from head injuries occurred.
cyrano138 is offline  
Old 04-05-09, 10:59 PM
  #135  
ianjk
:)
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: duluth
Posts: 3,392

Bikes: '07 Pista, '09 Fantom Cross Uno, '8? Miyata, '67 Stingray, '0? Zoo mod trials, Tallbike, Chopper, '73 Schwinn Collegiate, '67 Triumph Chopper, '69 CB350, '58 BSA Spitfire, '73 CB450

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by cyrano138 View Post
synapsemusic: The whole point of the thread, according to the article referenced by the OP, is that statistical evidence doesn't bear out what heaps of anecdotal evidence purport to prove. It may be true that there are times when a life is saved by a helmet, but those are statistically insignificant, again according to this article: when helmets were used/mandated, it says, no significant reduction in deaths from head injuries occurred.
This is very flawed logic to say that helmets don't help prevent head injuries...

How about mandating no helmets and see what happens to those who would normally wear a lid like MTBers, BMXers, freeriders, dirtjumpers, etc. see how the statistics change...

When it comes to the riding that your average law abiding citizen who now wears a helmet because of the law does, there isn't much risk, hence the low statistical significance.


*pardon my bad grammar, I'm on strong meds at the moment.
ianjk is offline  
Old 04-05-09, 11:50 PM
  #136  
rymep
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 139
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by cyrano138 View Post
synapsemusic: The whole point of the thread, according to the article referenced by the OP, is that statistical evidence doesn't bear out what heaps of anecdotal evidence purport to prove. It may be true that there are times when a life is saved by a helmet, but those are statistically insignificant, again according to this article: when helmets were used/mandated, it says, no significant reduction in deaths from head injuries occurred.
Until someone comes out with independently verified statistics proving that wearing a properly fitting helmet makes me more likely to suffer worse head injuries I'm going to continue wearing my helmet, simple as that.
rymep is offline  
Old 04-06-09, 12:08 AM
  #137  
iamthenoise
onitsuka tiger
 
iamthenoise's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: southern california
Posts: 201

Bikes: 60's mercian track

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
statistically, the more ice cream begins to sell, the more reported incidents of **** occur in that area.
its true, but likely doesn't make sense to most people. so should we stop eating ice cream? of course not.


im saying there are likely extraneous variables that factor into these statistics. the countries with lower helmet use AND lower death rates are likely countries with a long and established culture of bicycle/automobile co-existence.

helmets aren't a better strategy than educating motorists about cyclist awareness, but lets not demonize helmets either, they definitely aren't hurting anyone.
iamthenoise is offline  
Old 04-06-09, 06:21 AM
  #138  
cyrano138
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Venice, FL
Posts: 282

Bikes: 2008 Fuji Track, 1977 Raleigh Super Course, Gravity G29 mtb

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by ianjk View Post
This is very flawed logic to say that helmets don't help prevent head injuries...

How about mandating no helmets and see what happens to those who would normally wear a lid like MTBers, BMXers, freeriders, dirtjumpers, etc. see how the statistics change...

When it comes to the riding that your average law abiding citizen who now wears a helmet because of the law does, there isn't much risk, hence the low statistical significance.


*pardon my bad grammar, I'm on strong meds at the moment.
No one is suggesting that "no person should wear a helmet." The study addresses helmet laws in various countries, which most likely only apply to recreational street riders and serious road cyclists, to see if those helmet laws have any effect on deaths caused by head injuries among those riders. According to the study, the difference is statistically insignificant. In other words, no one who understood the study is saying that helmets don't help prevent head injuries. They're saying, "there is no statistical correlation between helmet laws (which should indicate helmet use), and a reduction in deaths from head injuries."

Originally Posted by rymep View Post
Until someone comes out with independently verified statistics proving that wearing a properly fitting helmet makes me more likely to suffer worse head injuries I'm going to continue wearing my helmet, simple as that.
Good for you. I can almost certainly assure that will never happen.

Originally Posted by iamthenoise View Post
statistically, the more ice cream begins to sell, the more reported incidents of **** occur in that area.
its true, but likely doesn't make sense to most people. so should we stop eating ice cream? of course not.


im saying there are likely extraneous variables that factor into these statistics. the countries with lower helmet use AND lower death rates are likely countries with a long and established culture of bicycle/automobile co-existence.

helmets aren't a better strategy than educating motorists about cyclist awareness, but lets not demonize helmets either, they definitely aren't hurting anyone.
The study itself suggests alternative explanations for the correlation, though they're not all that convincing. Note that I didn't say causality. Anyone who's had Intro to Logic knows correlation does not imply causality, right? The study isn't suggesting that we stop wearing helmets, just that we stop mandating their use since, during the course of the study, it resulted in less people riding. Of course helmets don't hurt anyone. Who's demonizing them?
cyrano138 is offline  
Old 04-06-09, 07:05 AM
  #139  
Drwecki
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 373

Bikes: Tease Fixed Gear, Schwinn World Traveler 72, 60's Hawthorne

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
It's an interesting idea, but the problem is how scientific research and statistics is done. Statistically significant means that the probability of your observed difference being due to chance is less than or equal to five percent if the null hypothesis were true. So, in this case the null hypothesis is that helmets do not help at all. You collect data from two groups helmet wearers and non-helmet wearers and see if anyone has a higher incidence of brain damage etc.. The problem is that the incidence of brain damage in any bicycling accident is really low. I've been in like about 4 myself and I've never hurt my head. So all this data is going into the against bike helmet side of the statistical hypothesis. But this testing situation is not what we are interested in. We are interested in when you get in an accident and your head contacts something do helmet decrease probability of brain damage. So, if you really want to test this hypothesis you need to look at these data only. And physics and information about what the human brain can sustain tell us that the impact of a bike crash where the head hits something is going to do damage to the brain (i.e. the brain will get bruised). So Sir Karl Popper, the godfather of scientific reasoning (in the modern age) tells us that we cannot base a science on null results. Null results are finding a lack of statisticial significance (i.e. bike helmets are not significantly different than not bike helmets). Because null results are ambiguous and can me 1 of two things: there really is no effect (bike helmets don't help) or the research was conducted poorly (i.e. they aren't looking at the right data), we can never really say anything about null results (because there is no way to know why they got null results). I bet if you looked at only cases that mattered, crashes where the cyclist hits their head, you would see a large significant decrease in brain injury. But lets go back to the p < .05 criteria for significance. For the safety of cyclists we don't want the test to be conservative against the safer thing to do, but these tests are set up to make the null hypothesis hard to disconfirm. That is we want to be really really sure that the null hypothesis is false (bike helmets do no good) before we actually go out and say scientifically that this is so. If you look at the history of lead in gasoline, the same arguments were made. There was no proof that removing lead made things safer for kids (using p < .05 criteria). But we now know that lead has very detrimental effects on kids health. The problem was with how the hypothesis was set up. Conservative in favor of the harmful thing, they're working on ways to figure out how to run better tests but basically we should probably approach the question in reverse..do bike helmets help, if we disprove this null hypothesis, then we should move on, but you won't disprove this hypothesis. . I hope this makes sense scientifically. I'm a psych stats TA at UW so, I know a little bit about stats, but not everything.

Last edited by Drwecki; 04-06-09 at 07:12 AM.
Drwecki is offline  
Old 04-06-09, 07:21 AM
  #140  
rarebird
Nubbie
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 173
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
What is it about a can of worms that you would like to work on with a helmet? f-in weirdos
rarebird is offline  
Old 04-06-09, 07:44 AM
  #141  
BookFinder 
Lifelong wheel gazer ...
 
BookFinder's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Lower US 48
Posts: 260

Bikes: 4 good ones, 1 junker

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 38 Post(s)
Liked 7 Times in 6 Posts
I learned to ride a bicycle at age four or five and rode one daily (or so it seems) from that time until I got my first motorcycle in high school.

Then in 1970 a car pulled into my path one evening as I was headed out on my motorcycle. I struck the fender just behind the right front wheel and landed 33 feet from the point of impact on the back of my head and right shoulder. My motorcycle helmet was cracked as a result of the crash but it did its job. I took a lesson from it.

When I later got back into bicycling as an adult I purchased a helmet the same day I bought my "re-entry" MTB.

Fast-forward with me.

Five or six years ago one of the BMW motorcycle dealers in the Orlando, FL, area was "pedaling" a motorcycle out to the front of the dealership while opening up in the morning. The engine coughed and died, and he fell over sideways at about 1/2 of a mph and struck his head on a curb and died from the injury. I took a lesson from it.

I have crashed and skinned knees and elbows on my bicycles but I have never crashed and struck my head. But the longer I ride the greater the chances that crash will occur.

Speed, intensity of impact, and other factors feed into the level of injury sustained by a rider in a crash. And the subtle trap of statistical analysis is seen in this example --

If you have a tumor in your leg that has a 1% chance of being malignant then chances are 99% that you will not have a problem. You can opt to take your 99% and forego the surgery. However, if you are in the 1% that has the malignant tumor you are 100% screwed...

So statistics and science aside, a bit of common sense is in order; the bicycle helmet does not offer the same degree of protection as the m/c helmet, but even so, I'll err in the direction of caution. The small degree of protection afforded by the cycling helmet could be a sufficient degree to save one’s life.
__________________
Current bikes: '80's era Cannondale police bike; '03 Schwinn mongrel MTB; '03 Specialized Hard Rock (the wife's)
Past bikes: '97 Giant ATX 840 project bike (gave it to a nephew); '01 Giant TCR1 SL; a truckload of miscellaneous bikes used up by the kids and grand-kids

Status quo is the mental bastion of the intellectually lethargic...
BookFinder is offline  
Old 04-06-09, 07:48 AM
  #142  
cyrano138
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Venice, FL
Posts: 282

Bikes: 2008 Fuji Track, 1977 Raleigh Super Course, Gravity G29 mtb

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Drwecki View Post

...

But this testing situation is not what we are interested in. We are interested in when you get in an accident and your head contacts something do helmet decrease probability of brain damage.

...
Here's where we're misunderstanding each other. It is plausible, even likely given the alternative explanations, that bicycle crashes don't result, by and large, in serious head injuries to the extent that using helmets will reduce the number of deaths from head injuries among cyclists.

The study itself and the results of the testing situation you're interested in are not mutually exclusive. It's possible that helmets, in the case where the head contacts something, are tremendously helpful in reducing injury to the head, but that the head rarely connects with things, during an accident, in a way that makes this important.

I know this is where people will come back with floods of anecdotal evidence about how a helmet saved their lives, but that's not the point. The point is that the study suggests that if you compare these people to the vast numbers of people riding bikes with and without helmets, they will be a very, very small group, and not enough to warrant mandatory helmet laws. This is the same style of argument I hear all the time from people who don't worry about the negative effects of smoking because their grandma's uncle smoked three packs a day until he was ninety, and then died of liver failure.

By the way, when I say, "statistically significant," I'm doing a little bit of hand-waving. Thanks for the clarification. I'm two classes away from a BA in mathematics and a BA in philosophy, but have been mercifully exempt from taking any stats classes.

Last edited by cyrano138; 04-06-09 at 09:39 AM.
cyrano138 is offline  
Old 04-06-09, 01:48 PM
  #143  
Dguy
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 20
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I don't wear a helmet because I don't like the feel of the strap under my chin. I'm a careful rider and never go faster than I feel the conditions warrant, but I have three chips in my windshield from rocks being shot out from the tires of other cars, and I've always wondered what the odds were of one of them hitting me square on the noggin while biking. I worry more about that than I do crashing (and this has been a pretty hard winter on the roads - lots of potholes and loose concrete).
Dguy is offline  
Old 04-06-09, 02:49 PM
  #144  
sunset1123
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Missoula, MT
Posts: 130

Bikes: Giant TCX 1 touring conversion

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Just a thought: I tend to wear a helmet on the road but not on the mountain. Why?

Most of the time, an accident on the road will tend to be with a) the road surface which is usually from 0 to 5 degrees of incline relative to the force of gravity b) another object, probably stationary and relatively immovable.

A crash on the mountain usually consists of loss of control of the bike and turning into a short range projectile, but now the surface is commonly 10 to 20 deg of incline relative to the force of gravity. The dynamics are different, such that I see a much larger chance of head injury crashing on the road than on the mountain. I've taken many falls from my mountain bike and _none_ have resulted in faceplants, concussions, or any other direct head/ground impact. There's either too much or not enough rotation before intersection with the ground.

That said, I still wear a helmet in _really_ technical rides because the chances of falling backwards onto large rocks are increased when the climbing angle gets severe.

Really, I get more nervous on steep road descents, especially past 28-30mph, than on hairy singletrack. Sure, without a helmet the 7mph fall onto rocks will suck, and might concuss you, but the 30+mph impact/slide across asphalt is just gonna be a BAD day.

My 2 cents.
sunset1123 is offline  
Old 04-06-09, 04:15 PM
  #145  
palu
degeared
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 521
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Just reminded me of this bit by Jerry Seinfeld,

"There are many things that we can point to that proof that the human being is not smart. The helmet is my personal favorite. The fact that we had to invent the helmet. Now why did we invent the helmet? Well, because we were participating in many activities that were cracking our heads. We looked at the situation. We chose not to avoid these activities, but to just make little plastic hats so that we can continue our head-cracking lifestyles.
The only thing dumber than the helmet is the helmet law, the point of which is to protect a brain that is functioning so poorly, it’s not even trying to stop the cracking of the head that it’s in…"

Anyway, just to add my personal story--went mountain biking several years ago. We were on a fireroad hauling. Didn't see a dip, went over, landed right on the top of my head. Cracked the helmet right down the middle. My neck was sore for several days, but nothing other than that. It appeared, from the outer shell of the helmet, that I landed on a rock. Full body weight propelling the head towards a rock wouldn't have been a pretty sight. That helmet saved a lot of pain or even my life. I never go riding without a helmet.

I don't care what the stats say, what people's opinions are, etc. IMO, you can't "predict" what's going to happen in a situation with 1 billion-trillion variables. Maybe you've gotten lucky not hitting your head when you've gone down in the past, but it only takes one time....... then you're paralyzed, scarred, or dead. I don't care if you're on the road, dirt, snow, water, whatever. PROTECT YOUR HEAD!!!
palu is offline  
Old 04-06-09, 04:33 PM
  #146  
craigcraigcraig
Don't really have a bike.
 
craigcraigcraig's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Wenatchee, WA
Posts: 3,360
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
not related to helmets while biking but my brother was a pole vaulter in high school. He missed the mats one time and landed on concrete from 14 feet in the air. although he broke (literally) his fall with his arm when his head hit the helmet ended up with a baseball sized dent in it. He was wearing one of those skateboard type helmets.
craigcraigcraig is offline  
Old 04-06-09, 05:01 PM
  #147  
synapsemusic
GORSH DAMNIT
 
synapsemusic's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: blacksburg
Posts: 184
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
the thread should be called do helmet *laws* work.

i'd seriously can't believe that people doubt the benefits of helmets. yeah you ride safe, yeah you have a front brake, yeah you usually fall on your hands, but all it takes is one freak accident to make you wish you had a helmet. and in that situation where you do hit your head, i'd assume that 100% of us want to have something protecting us.
synapsemusic is offline  
Old 04-06-09, 10:52 PM
  #148  
Drwecki
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 373

Bikes: Tease Fixed Gear, Schwinn World Traveler 72, 60's Hawthorne

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by cyrano138 View Post
Here's where we're misunderstanding each other. It is plausible, even likely given the alternative explanations, that bicycle crashes don't result, by and large, in serious head injuries to the extent that using helmets will reduce the number of deaths from head injuries among cyclists.

The study itself and the results of the testing situation you're interested in are not mutually exclusive. It's possible that helmets, in the case where the head contacts something, are tremendously helpful in reducing injury to the head, but that the head rarely connects with things, during an accident, in a way that makes this important.

I know this is where people will come back with floods of anecdotal evidence about how a helmet saved their lives, but that's not the point. The point is that the study suggests that if you compare these people to the vast numbers of people riding bikes with and without helmets, they will be a very, very small group, and not enough to warrant mandatory helmet laws. This is the same style of argument I hear all the time from people who don't worry about the negative effects of smoking because their grandma's uncle smoked three packs a day until he was ninety, and then died of liver failure.

By the way, when I say, "statistically significant," I'm doing a little bit of hand-waving. Thanks for the clarification. I'm two classes away from a BA in mathematics and a BA in philosophy, but have been mercifully exempt from taking any stats classes.
I wasn't responding to you, (truthfully I just went right to the article and these are the obvious flaws with their studies that are leading them to make poor conclusions).

"It's possible that helmets, in the case where the head contacts something, are tremendously helpful in reducing injury to the head, but that the head rarely connects with things, during an accident, in a way that makes this important."

No it doesn't, science is driven by theory and if your theory is that helmets don't do anything when crashes don't involve the head, this becomes a unimportant question and an unimportant argument because helmets are only designed to help when a crash involves the head. By setting up the testing situation in this way you are not answering any important question, you are simply stating the obvious helmets don't help when the crash does not involve the head. Since the majority of crashes don't involve the head including all the crashes that don't involve the head leave you with low statistical power (the ability to see a significant difference if one exists).

The second problem was why is the null set as helmets don't work. In science you can never prove anything. But you can disprove things. And you disprove things very conservatively. By setting the null to helmets don't work you are tipping the scales in that direction. But you can only disprove this null hypothesis with a significant result. If you find a non-significant difference you haven't proven the null (because you can never prove anything). In fact Sir Karl Popper (the father of modern scientific interpretation) says that you should not and cannot interpret null results (which is what the authors of these studies are trying to do) because they can mean that A) helmets don't work (which is what you're suggesting) or B) the methods of the study are bad (which is what I am suggesting). However, I win because the conclusions are being based on null results, which means there is no proof of anything (google Karl Popper and do some homework). And we haven't dis-proven your null that helmets are innefective (thus helmets would be good) but we also haven't proven that helmets are ineffective either. In effect these studies say nothing. Seriously, this is why null results should not be published. Just because they get published doesn't change how they can be interpreted (A OR B).

The second thing is that this is a public safety question and classic philosophers say that public safety and lives should not be gambeled with, thus we should do the safe thing (wear a helmet) until data disproves that helmets are effective. Unfortunately these studies do not do that, and this is why null results shouldn't get published because people without a background in the theory behind scientific stats misinterpret and over extend the findings.

Fact of the matter is these null results (lack of a difference between the two groups) do not lead to any information whatsoever. Because null results are uninterpretable. This is a null result, thus we have no new information on the original question.

In addition, I'm saying this was the poorest science ever conducted, the question should not be do helmets help in all types of accidents. They simply weren't intended to help in all kinds of accidents and the information on the helmet box itself says this. However, the null results are still null results and SHOULD NOT BE Interpreted (seriously ask any statistics teacher).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl_Popper

So before you make dumb conclusions based on bad science, I want you to know that you are overstretching the data.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Null_result


Think about it this way Einstein destroyed Newton's theory of gravity with one simple observation (light bends around the sun...i.e. space is not a plane but more gooplike and bendable). But his observation was significantly different from that expected. Here the results are not significantly different and thus are "OF NO CONSEQUENCE".

Sorry to be a DB about this, but your misinterpreation of science is giving it a bad name.
Drwecki is offline  
Old 04-06-09, 11:21 PM
  #149  
pacificaslim
Surf Bum
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Pacifica, CA
Posts: 2,184

Bikes: Lapierre Pulsium 500 FdJ, Ritchey breakaway cyclocross, vintage trek mtb.

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 11 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Drwecki View Post
Since the majority of crashes don't involve the head including all the crashes that don't involve the head leave you with low statistical power (the ability to see a significant difference if one exists).
Well, if crashes are rare, and the majority of these rare occurances don't involve the head anyway, then the only sane conclusion is that it doesn't really matter if people wear helmets or not. For example, what if it were merely true that for every 1 million uses of helmets, a handful of head injuries would be reduced in severity. If such a thing is true, then it's hardly even worth thinking about helmets at all, much less wasting time promoting or requiring them, especially if doing so leads to a drop in cycle usage overall (as it did in Australia and is currently doing in Copenhagen: see the story in latest issue of http://www.citycycling.co.uk/).



The second thing is that this is a public safety question and classic philosophers say that public safety and lives should not be gambeled with, thus we should do the safe thing (wear a helmet) until data disproves that helmets are effective.

But to do so would be to totally ignore your goal: public safety. Not because helmets have been proven to be ineffective, but because promoting or requiring helmet usage has been proven to decrease bicycling, leading to a net loss in public health that no amount of head protection gained from wearing helmets could match.

Besides, if we have to wear all safety gear until it's proven ineffective, then we might as well wear full american football gear for walking down the street. We'd better wear racing safety harnesses and HANS device head protection and helmets in our cars. Etc....
pacificaslim is offline  
Old 04-07-09, 02:53 AM
  #150  
cyrano138
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Venice, FL
Posts: 282

Bikes: 2008 Fuji Track, 1977 Raleigh Super Course, Gravity G29 mtb

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Drwecki View Post
I wasn't responding to you, (truthfully I just went right to the article and these are the obvious flaws with their studies that are leading them to make poor conclusions).

"It's possible that helmets, in the case where the head contacts something, are tremendously helpful in reducing injury to the head, but that the head rarely connects with things, during an accident, in a way that makes this important."

No it doesn't, science is driven by theory and if your theory is that helmets don't do anything when crashes don't involve the head, this becomes a unimportant question and an unimportant argument because helmets are only designed to help when a crash involves the head. By setting up the testing situation in this way you are not answering any important question, you are simply stating the obvious helmets don't help when the crash does not involve the head. Since the majority of crashes don't involve the head including all the crashes that don't involve the head leave you with low statistical power (the ability to see a significant difference if one exists).

The second problem was why is the null set as helmets don't work. In science you can never prove anything. But you can disprove things. And you disprove things very conservatively. By setting the null to helmets don't work you are tipping the scales in that direction. But you can only disprove this null hypothesis with a significant result. If you find a non-significant difference you haven't proven the null (because you can never prove anything). In fact Sir Karl Popper (the father of modern scientific interpretation) says that you should not and cannot interpret null results (which is what the authors of these studies are trying to do) because they can mean that A) helmets don't work (which is what you're suggesting) or B) the methods of the study are bad (which is what I am suggesting). However, I win because the conclusions are being based on null results, which means there is no proof of anything (google Karl Popper and do some homework). And we haven't dis-proven your null that helmets are innefective (thus helmets would be good) but we also haven't proven that helmets are ineffective either. In effect these studies say nothing. Seriously, this is why null results should not be published. Just because they get published doesn't change how they can be interpreted (A OR B).

The second thing is that this is a public safety question and classic philosophers say that public safety and lives should not be gambeled with, thus we should do the safe thing (wear a helmet) until data disproves that helmets are effective. Unfortunately these studies do not do that, and this is why null results shouldn't get published because people without a background in the theory behind scientific stats misinterpret and over extend the findings.

Fact of the matter is these null results (lack of a difference between the two groups) do not lead to any information whatsoever. Because null results are uninterpretable. This is a null result, thus we have no new information on the original question.

In addition, I'm saying this was the poorest science ever conducted, the question should not be do helmets help in all types of accidents. They simply weren't intended to help in all kinds of accidents and the information on the helmet box itself says this. However, the null results are still null results and SHOULD NOT BE Interpreted (seriously ask any statistics teacher).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl_Popper

So before you make dumb conclusions based on bad science, I want you to know that you are overstretching the data.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Null_result


Think about it this way Einstein destroyed Newton's theory of gravity with one simple observation (light bends around the sun...i.e. space is not a plane but more gooplike and bendable). But his observation was significantly different from that expected. Here the results are not significantly different and thus are "OF NO CONSEQUENCE".

Sorry to be a DB about this, but your misinterpreation of science is giving it a bad name.

The guy above me responded very well, so this isn't meant to take anything away from him.

It may be true that science is driven by theory, but my response was driven by plausible explanations of the data. The theory is secondary. Your argument is a straw man, or a false dilemma, or both. Here's why--I'm not concluding that the data is bad (though I'm not saying there's no way it isn't), nor am I concluding that helmets don't help when crashes don't involve the head. The former seems unlikely, and the latter seems pretty ****ing obvious. What I am suggesting, and what the study is suggesting (though, as I said before, it offers some plausible if improbable alternative explanations of the data), is that bicycle crashes don't involve the head in large enough quantities to conclude that helmets save cyclists' lives in any but a few rare cases.

This brings me to my next point. The null result here, if the methods of research are solid, is not being used to prove that helmets don't work, but rather to falsify the suggestion that helmets save cyclists' lives, by providing data that conflicts with the theory. This is being done in the same way the Michelson-Morley experiment falsified the theory that we are surrounded by an aether: by providing data that contradicted that theory. The results here showed that light moved at the same speed regardless of the velocity of the medium it supposedly depended on.

Thanks for the interesting links, but there's nothing in either of them that contradicts what I'm saying. In fact, I was trying think of a good analogy until I came across the reference to the MM experiments in the link about null sets. I'm not over-stretching anything, because I'm being very careful to avoid making conclusive statements about the results of this study, as you are.

I'm not even going to bother with your weird argument about classic philosophers and not gambling with life. It's ironic that you're making a conclusive statement about ethics, a type of philosophy that relies so heavily on axiomatic foundations (read: stuff you can't prove).

You did get one thing right, though: you are a ******bag.
cyrano138 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.