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Re: published helmet research - not troll

post #1 of 1258
Thread Starter 
LioNiNoiL_a t_Ne t s c a pE_D 0 T_Ne T wrote:

>> The Effect of Bicycle Helmet Legislation on Bicycling Fatalities -
>> Grant and Rutner.

>
>
> Their statistics are sound, and their calculation of a 15% reduction in
> the juvenile bicycling fatality rate during the helmet-law era appears
> to be accurate, although virtually indistinguishable from the
> already-existing downward trend since 1975, represented by the blue line
> in their data graph:
>
> http://img22.imageshack.us/img22/9715/graph.gif


Yes - if helmets were having a significant effect, that graph should
show a significant drop in juvenile fatalities, over and above the
prevailing trend, from 1991 to 1997, when (as they show) the helmet laws
became fashionable.

Incidentally, there are several sources on the web which plot cylist
fatalities and pedestrian fatalities over the decades. Despite the
increase in helmet use, the plots are stubbornly parallel... with, of
course, a certain amount of random variation superimposed.

It seems clear that a) the emergency medical people have gotten
gradually better at their job (probably in large part due to
technology), and b) helmets aren't making a significant difference in
cyclists' fatalities. If they were, the cyclist plot would drop
relative to the ped. plot.




--
--------------------+
Frank Krygowski [To reply, remove rodent and vegetable dot com,
replace with cc.ysu dot edu]
post #2 of 1258

Re: published helmet research - not troll

On 17 Jun 2004 22:05:25 -0700, cowpunk99@hotmail.com (CowPunk) wrote:

>What about the accidents where a helmet
>prevented brain injury? It's not something that can be answered
>or tested easily....
>
>And I'll wear mine thank you, I've hit enough low hanging
>tree branches while MTB riding to know they help.


Are you saying you received minor brain injuries riding your MTB w/o a
helmet on? If not, how do you know helmets help prevent that?

JT
post #3 of 1258

Re: published helmet research - not troll

cowpunk99@hotmail.com (CowPunk) wrote in message news:<2a6adac4.0406172105.4431b80d@posting.google.com>...
>
> The same thing holds true for this discussion. You're looking
> at FATALITIES. What about the accidents where a helmet
> prevented brain injury? It's not something that can be answered
> or tested easily....


That's a fair question. But ask yourself - how many brain injuries
have occurred to cyclists over the intervening 30 years. The answer is
that there are so few that they aren't even recorded. It isn't that
they don't occur, but that your chances of having similar injuries as
a pedestrian are many times greater on a statistical basis.

The statistics also show that serious head injuries aren't helped by
helmets either since the ratio of serious head injuries to fatalities
hasn't changed in the least either. Although there are some medical
sources that claim that using complicated statistical methods they can
JUST detect some help.

> And I'll wear mine thank you, I've hit enough low hanging
> tree branches while MTB riding to know they help.


You can do anything you like. Though I would think that if you are
hitting low hanging branches your helmet must be interfering with your
field of vision. The only time I ever hit my head on something
overhanging was when I was riding past a structure and the helmet
blocked vision of a rafter at head height.

It is my OPINION that helmets make minor injuries even more minor or
even non-existant. That is a reason for ME to wear a helmet. That is
not a reason for laws that force helmets on children since it
coincidentally causes children to to ride a great deal less, causing
parents to drive their children to school making it more dangerous for
all children in the vicinity of schools.
post #4 of 1258

Re: published helmet research - not troll

On 18 Jun 2004 08:46:06 -0700, cowpunk99@hotmail.com (CowPunk) wrote:

>> Are you saying you received minor brain injuries riding your MTB w/o a
>> helmet on? If not, how do you know helmets help prevent that?
>>
>> JT

>
>
>It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that
>cracked plastic and dented styrofoam is better than
>cracked skin and a dented skull.


I asked a very specific question in response to a specifc assertion --
that helmets protect from brain injuries hitting branches.

I'll accept that a helmet can protect from cracked skin in the
situations described. So can a wool hat.

Now what evidence do you have about helmets protecting against dented
skulls or brain injuries?

JT
post #5 of 1258

Re: published helmet research - not troll

"John Forrest Tomlinson" <usenetremove@jt10000.com> wrote in message
news:34q6d0hkroniv8qi4qv7o0bep0krigpvmv@4ax.com...

> Now what evidence do you have about helmets protecting against dented
> skulls or brain injuries?


I have an idea for an experiment. Go outside and have someone hold a brick
about 2 feet over your bare head and have him drop it. Observe the pain and
damage (assuming you're still conscious). Then try the same experiment on
your friend, but have him wear a cycling helmet. If he laughs at you, you
may be able to infer from this, experimentally, that he thought it was not
necessary to run the experiment to know that you would end up with a damaged
head and he wouldn't.

If you are unable to apply the knowledge gained from this experiment to
real-life, I would submit that it's not more experiments that you're
actually in need of.


Shayne Wissler
post #6 of 1258

Re: published helmet research - not troll

Shayne Wissler wrote:
> "John Forrest Tomlinson" <usenetremove@jt10000.com> wrote in message
> news:34q6d0hkroniv8qi4qv7o0bep0krigpvmv@4ax.com...
>
>
>>Now what evidence do you have about helmets protecting against dented
>>skulls or brain injuries?

>
>
> I have an idea for an experiment. Go outside and have someone hold a brick
> about 2 feet over your bare head and have him drop it. Observe the pain and
> damage (assuming you're still conscious). Then try the same experiment on
> your friend, but have him wear a cycling helmet. If he laughs at you, you
> may be able to infer from this, experimentally, that he thought it was not
> necessary to run the experiment to know that you would end up with a damaged
> head and he wouldn't.
>
> If you are unable to apply the knowledge gained from this experiment to
> real-life, I would submit that it's not more experiments that you're
> actually in need of.
>
>
> Shayne Wissler


Well, that's the problem, isn't it? Tough to run a controlled study of
this type in real-life conditions.
Why someone would even try to suggest that helmets don't save lives
because there are no controlled studies to prove they do says more about
these people than it does about helmets.
I've heard the same arguments from people who don't wear seatbelts in
cars. I thought they made what could be valid points--until I spent a
year covering head/neck trauma during my residency.

Steve

>
>
post #7 of 1258

Re: published helmet research - not troll

On Fri, 18 Jun 2004 22:16:19 GMT, "Shayne Wissler"
<thalesNOSPAM000@yahoo.com> wrote:

>
>"John Forrest Tomlinson" <usenetremove@jt10000.com> wrote in message
>news:34q6d0hkroniv8qi4qv7o0bep0krigpvmv@4ax.com...
>
>> Now what evidence do you have about helmets protecting against dented
>> skulls or brain injuries?

>
>I have an idea for an experiment.

That's your evidence? That's speculation. Give us some evidence or
shut up.

JT
post #8 of 1258
Thread Starter 

Re: published helmet research - not troll

CowPunk wrote:
>
>
> This whole helmet discussion reminds of my pesticide chemistry
> class when my prof. would tell the class "but the LD50 is ...
> blah, blah, blah.", but never took into account that while maybe
> it takes a lot of whatever chemical to kill you, no one really
> knows how much it takes to cause cancer, nerve damage,
> brain damage, loss of eyesight, etc....


The discussion also reminds me of a class where everyone has a strong
opinion, but nobody does the homework! ;-)

>
> The same thing holds true for this discussion. You're looking
> at FATALITIES. What about the accidents where a helmet
> prevented brain injury? It's not something that can be answered
> or tested easily....


In another post, I mentioned a scientific study and an informal newpaper
article that both dealt with injuries, as opposed to fatalities. The
study was published as: "Trends in Cycle Injury in New Zealand under
Voluntary Helmet Use" by Scuffham & Langley, Accident Analysis and
Prevention, Vol. 29, No. 1, pp. 1-9, 1997.

Briefly: New Zealand was getting ready to make it illegal for anyone of
any age anywhere in the country to ride a bike without a helmet. As a
run-up, they promoted the heck out of helmets. Helmet use suddenly
surged in just a few years, from about 20% to over 80% for at least some
age groups.

The authors figured this was a great opportunity to show the benefit of
helmets. The checked medical records of cyclists admitted to all the
major hospitals. They were looking for the corresponding drop in the
percentage admitted due to head injury (as opposed to, say, broken legs,
internal injuries, etc.)

They found no detectable difference at all. Zero. From the medical
data, it was impossible to tell anyone had put on a helmet.

The New York Times did an article on the same issue: "A Bicycling
Mystery: Head Injuries Piling Up." http://www.cyclehelmets.org/1028.html

It's not a great article, but it does mention that there seems to be no
improvement visible due to America's adoption of bike helmets.

>
> And I'll wear mine thank you, I've hit enough low hanging
> tree branches while MTB riding to know they help.


I'm sure helmets help against these little bumps. I figure they also
help against scratches and some bruises. But they're sold to the public
and (especially) to the legislators as preventing death and serious
brain damage. That's where they apparently fail.

But you're welcome to wear yours. That's an individual decision.
You're probably better off not even giving your reason.

It's when you argue for _others_ to wear helmets, or start promoting
their effectiveness, that people will disagree.


--
--------------------+
Frank Krygowski [To reply, remove rodent and vegetable dot com,
replace with cc.ysu dot edu]
post #9 of 1258

Re: published helmet research - not troll

"Steven Bornfeld" <dentaltwinnospam@earthlink.net> wrote in message
news:40D36C75.3090402@earthlink.net...
>
>
> Shayne Wissler wrote:
> > "John Forrest Tomlinson" <usenetremove@jt10000.com> wrote in message
> > news:34q6d0hkroniv8qi4qv7o0bep0krigpvmv@4ax.com...
> >
> >
> >>Now what evidence do you have about helmets protecting against dented
> >>skulls or brain injuries?

> >
> >
> > I have an idea for an experiment. Go outside and have someone hold a

brick
> > about 2 feet over your bare head and have him drop it. Observe the pain

and
> > damage (assuming you're still conscious). Then try the same experiment

on
> > your friend, but have him wear a cycling helmet. If he laughs at you,

you
> > may be able to infer from this, experimentally, that he thought it was

not
> > necessary to run the experiment to know that you would end up with a

damaged
> > head and he wouldn't.
> >
> > If you are unable to apply the knowledge gained from this experiment to
> > real-life, I would submit that it's not more experiments that you're
> > actually in need of.
> >
> >
> > Shayne Wissler

>
> Well, that's the problem, isn't it? Tough to run a controlled study of
> this type in real-life conditions.


It's a mistake to think that you need a real-life trial in order to make
valid inferences from the experiments. Even a thought experiment (as the one
I gave above) is sufficient to know that helmets will protect your head to
an important degree.

But I agree with Frank that it should be left up to the individual to
decide--I don't wear my helmet all of the time. (Although perhaps I should:
my worst injury on the bike during the past year was less than a mile from
my house when I was just on a little ride around the block. I was sprinting
up the street and my foot came out of the pedal.)


Shayne Wissler
post #10 of 1258

Re: published helmet research - not troll

"John Forrest Tomlinson" <usenetremove@jt10000.com> wrote in message
news:hfr6d09ropren7fsq3eqv8japl8cg605mc@4ax.com...
> On Fri, 18 Jun 2004 22:16:19 GMT, "Shayne Wissler"
> <thalesNOSPAM000@yahoo.com> wrote:
>
> >
> >"John Forrest Tomlinson" <usenetremove@jt10000.com> wrote in message
> >news:34q6d0hkroniv8qi4qv7o0bep0krigpvmv@4ax.com...
> >
> >> Now what evidence do you have about helmets protecting against dented
> >> skulls or brain injuries?

> >
> >I have an idea for an experiment.

>
> That's your evidence? That's speculation.


Let me guess. You must be a follower of Hume.

On the contrary, the thought experiment I gave is perfectly valid evidence,
from which a reasonable person would infer that some fraction of real-life
accidents would result in a lesser injury if a helmet were worn.


Shayne Wissler
post #11 of 1258

Re: published helmet research - not troll

On Fri, 18 Jun 2004 18:28:05 -0400, Steven Bornfeld
<dentaltwinnospam@earthlink.net> wrote:


>Why someone would even try to suggest that helmets don't save lives
>because there are no controlled studies to prove they do says more about
>these people than it does about helmets.

I haven't suggest anything. I've asked questions of assumptions. It's
fine to say "I hope my helmet will protect me from brain injuries from
hitting branches when mountain biking?" Or "Id' speculate that
helmets will protect me from falling rocks and bricks that hit my
head, or accidents on a bike that approximate that."

But to go from that to "Wear a helmet because it'll save you from a
brain injury" is a big leap. If you're going to advocate that people
do something like wear helmets, at least you could be honest about the
degree of speculation involved. And when you consider that riding a
bike w/o a helmet is probably better for your health than not riding
at all, honesty and recognition of uncertainty is even more important.
To do otherwise is either intellectually lazy or unethical.

JT
post #12 of 1258

Re: published helmet research - not troll

cyclintom@yahoo.com (Tom Kunich) writes:

> cowpunk99@hotmail.com (CowPunk) wrote in message news:<2a6adac4.0406172105.4431b80d@posting.google.com>...
> >
> > The same thing holds true for this discussion. You're looking
> > at FATALITIES. What about the accidents where a helmet
> > prevented brain injury? It's not something that can be answered
> > or tested easily....

>
> That's a fair question. But ask yourself - how many brain injuries
> have occurred to cyclists over the intervening 30 years. The answer is
> that there are so few that they aren't even recorded. It isn't that
> they don't occur, but that your chances of having similar injuries as
> a pedestrian are many times greater on a statistical basis.
>
> The statistics also show that serious head injuries aren't helped by
> helmets either since the ratio of serious head injuries to fatalities
> hasn't changed in the least either. Although there are some medical
> sources that claim that using complicated statistical methods they can
> JUST detect some help.


This is turning into a repeat of the very same discussion held 10
years ago. Go back to the archives to look if you want.

Keep in mind that serious head injuries covers a wide range of
impacts. If you make a serious injury less serious, it still gets
classified as a serious injury, and you might find it hard to
detect the fraction that drop from "serious" to "not serious" or
"prevented."

>
> It is my OPINION that helmets make minor injuries even more minor or
> even non-existant. That is a reason for ME to wear a helmet. That is
> not a reason for laws that force helmets on children since it
> coincidentally causes children to to ride a great deal less, causing
> parents to drive their children to school making it more dangerous for
> all children in the vicinity of schools.


This is not true. Children do not ride less due to helmet laws,
particularly in California, where the helmet laws are not enforced
(or rarely enforced.) If you tell a young teen to start using a
helmet when he previously didn't want to, you can expect a negative
reaction (natural rebelliousness.) Kids who started using helmets
when they started riding bicycles don't have that reaction.

Bill

--
My real name backwards: nemuaZ lliB
post #13 of 1258

Re: published helmet research - not troll

On Fri, 18 Jun 2004 22:41:36 GMT, "Shayne Wissler"
<thalesNOSPAM000@yahoo.com> wrote:

>
>"John Forrest Tomlinson" <usenetremove@jt10000.com> wrote in message
>news:hfr6d09ropren7fsq3eqv8japl8cg605mc@4ax.com...
>> On Fri, 18 Jun 2004 22:16:19 GMT, "Shayne Wissler"
>> <thalesNOSPAM000@yahoo.com> wrote:
>>
>> >
>> >"John Forrest Tomlinson" <usenetremove@jt10000.com> wrote in message
>> >news:34q6d0hkroniv8qi4qv7o0bep0krigpvmv@4ax.com...
>> >
>> >> Now what evidence do you have about helmets protecting against dented
>> >> skulls or brain injuries?
>> >
>> >I have an idea for an experiment.

>>
>> That's your evidence? That's speculation.

>
>Let me guess. You must be a follower of Hume.
>
>On the contrary, the thought experiment I gave is perfectly valid evidence,
>from which a reasonable person would infer that some fraction of real-life
>accidents would result in a lesser injury if a helmet were worn.


You're making a a big assumption -- that hitting a brick is similar to
the impact people get when they hit their head on the ground (which I
would guess -- note I am acknowledging the degree of specutation I'm
making) or a tree branch (which is the object in question). I think
that assumption is wrong insofar as it relates to any sort of likely
accident on a bke. But yes, if someone is riding where they will be
hit by falling bricks, a helmet sounds helpful.

JT
post #14 of 1258

Re: published helmet research - not troll

Shayne Wissler wrote:
> "John Forrest Tomlinson" <usenetremove@jt10000.com> wrote in message
> news:hfr6d09ropren7fsq3eqv8japl8cg605mc@4ax.com...
>
>>On Fri, 18 Jun 2004 22:16:19 GMT, "Shayne Wissler"
>><thalesNOSPAM000@yahoo.com> wrote:
>>
>>
>>>"John Forrest Tomlinson" <usenetremove@jt10000.com> wrote in message
>>>news:34q6d0hkroniv8qi4qv7o0bep0krigpvmv@4ax.com...
>>>
>>>
>>>>Now what evidence do you have about helmets protecting against dented
>>>>skulls or brain injuries?
>>>
>>>I have an idea for an experiment.

>>
>>That's your evidence? That's speculation.

>
>
> Let me guess. You must be a follower of Hume.
>
> On the contrary, the thought experiment I gave is perfectly valid evidence,
> from which a reasonable person would infer that some fraction of real-life
> accidents would result in a lesser injury if a helmet were worn.
>
>
> Shayne Wissler


There is a germ of truth in the assertion that helmets won't prevent
death. This general feeling among safety experts seems to revolve
arount the assertion that serious brain injury from bicycle accidents
usually are not due to straight-on impact, but from torsional stresses
that a helmet is unable to eliminate. But this is like saying that a
seat belt shouldn't be worn because it won't save you from crushing
injury of the thorax in a head-on 60 mph crash.
Safety measures shouldn't be discarded because they are not 100% effective.

Steve

>
>
post #15 of 1258

Re: published helmet research - not troll

"John Forrest Tomlinson" <usenetremove@jt10000.com> wrote in message
news:j8u6d0tsed1qsg0q9n73egrq1tfhm3jse9@4ax.com...
> On Fri, 18 Jun 2004 22:41:36 GMT, "Shayne Wissler"
> <thalesNOSPAM000@yahoo.com> wrote:
>
> >
> >"John Forrest Tomlinson" <usenetremove@jt10000.com> wrote in message
> >news:hfr6d09ropren7fsq3eqv8japl8cg605mc@4ax.com...
> >> On Fri, 18 Jun 2004 22:16:19 GMT, "Shayne Wissler"
> >> <thalesNOSPAM000@yahoo.com> wrote:
> >>
> >> >
> >> >"John Forrest Tomlinson" <usenetremove@jt10000.com> wrote in message
> >> >news:34q6d0hkroniv8qi4qv7o0bep0krigpvmv@4ax.com...
> >> >
> >> >> Now what evidence do you have about helmets protecting against

dented
> >> >> skulls or brain injuries?
> >> >
> >> >I have an idea for an experiment.
> >>
> >> That's your evidence? That's speculation.

> >
> >Let me guess. You must be a follower of Hume.
> >
> >On the contrary, the thought experiment I gave is perfectly valid

evidence,
> >from which a reasonable person would infer that some fraction of

real-life
> >accidents would result in a lesser injury if a helmet were worn.

>
> You're making a a big assumption -- that hitting a brick is similar to
> the impact people get when they hit their head on the ground (which I
> would guess -- note I am acknowledging the degree of specutation I'm
> making) or a tree branch (which is the object in question). I think
> that assumption is wrong insofar as it relates to any sort of likely
> accident on a bke. But yes, if someone is riding where they will be
> hit by falling bricks, a helmet sounds helpful.


I hesitate to say this because it amounts to pointing your nose in a
direction you obviously do not wish to look, and you can always avert your
eyes, but: Shape your "brick" like a flat peice of pavement and it is hardly
different from falling down on the pavement with your head.

He who actively engages in finding differences but is is lazy about finding
similarity is a self-made idiot.


Shayne Wissler
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