Re: Trikki Beltran's bad concussion and his helmet
> On 16 Jul 2005 07:39:04 -0700, email@example.com wrote:
> >.. Helmet manufacturers are
> >constantly working to give you more holes and less styrofoam, while
> >still (just _barely_) passing the ridiculously weak certification
> Not that I care if the anti-helmer zealots ride without one or not,
First, the term "anti-helmet zealot" makes little sense. People who
argue as helmet skeptics are actually arguing for no change in the
norm. IOW, it's the people who promote helmets that want to change
others' habits - by rule or by law, if necessary. A person who says
"Wait, we can leave it as it is" can hardly be called a zealot!
> I fail to see how a helmet that barely passes a weak test could afford
> less protection in the event of an impact than none at all, yet this
> is the (to me, absurd) position that I have often seen espoused.
I'm not positive the helmet is mechanically responsible for providing
_less_ protection in many crashes. I'm quite confident that helmets
prevent many inconsequential injuries, just as cycling gloves probably
do. But there is the possibility of suffering a grazing blow to a
helmet that would be a complete miss without one - and such a grazing
blow may cause rotational acceleration of the head and brain tissue.
I think what's much more likely is this: People hear "85% reduction in
head injuries." They put on a helmet and feel nearly 100% protected
(since nobody seems aware that head injuries are actually a tiny
portion of cycling injuries, as uncommon as they are). They go out and
ride in a location, or manner, that they otherwise wouldn't. And their
increase in risk outstrips what's actually the very, very modest
protective capacity of the foam hat.
Keep in mind, _something_ must be going on. Again, the large
population data shows an increase in cycling head injuries as helmet
use goes up. See http://www.cyclehelmets.org/1028.html
for one mention
of that fact. Data from Australia, under universal mandatory helmet
laws, shows the same trend.
> I wear a helmet precisely because I don't know what's going to happen;
> I ride with caution to try to avoid the situations where the helmet
> would be needed...but I know better than to think I can obviate all
> risks and still function. Wearing the helmet has no cost that I can't
> bear. Not wearing one *might*. The chance is just enough to make the
> difference for me. If it isn't enough for somebody else, that's fine.
> It's quite literally not my problem.
And you're welcome to wear one. In fact, I invite you to extend your
logic beyond cycling! After all, when _do_ you "know what's going to
happen"? Surely you realize that cycling is not even on the map for
causing serious head injuries, right? Why not wear a helmet for all
activities that cause head injuries?
The answer is, of course, that you've been convinced by helmet
promoters that cycling IS a tremendous head injury risk. And of
course, they've never given you correct numbers in proper context to
prove that. Nor have you looked for them. You've believed the hype,
so you treat cycling as if it's a special danger.
If you didn't think cycling caused a special danger, you wouldn't think
a special hat was necessary.
- Frank Krygowski