BBCi hates cyclists?

Discussion in 'UK and Europe' started by Richard Burton, Jun 16, 2003.

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  1. On a visit to the BBCi website to make sure that they had dropped the crass story about P***
    S*****'s impotence, I looked at their new NBW page. Contacts for Sustrans and NBW webpages, but not
    the national cycling organisation the CTC! They also have a health page, dedicated to cycling this
    week, with lots of contacts, but not the CTC!? see
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/features/cycling.shtml

    There is a weather page, with advice about cycling in inclement weather, which seems mostly aimed at
    putting people off cycling altogether http://www.bbc.co.uk/weather/sports/features/bikeweek.shtml.
    In an article about the weather and how to survive it, it also contains the incredible statement:

    "For those who are interested in following the continental lead and want to make more journeys by
    bicycle there are a few things that can help with difficult weather conditions:

    a.. Safety clothing: A helmet is one of the most important pieces equipment for a cyclist. Wearing
    a helmet is the best way of reducing the potential dangers of an accident." Apart from the fact
    that this statement is unproven and highly disputable, this must be the first time that helmets
    have been justified on weather grounds.

    Making a complaint is extremely difficult, as BBCi only accept emails about BBC programmes, and
    tell you to contact the individual website by clicking on the "contact us" link. Unfortunately,
    none of these links work on any of the cycle pages, so I just sent them an email anyway. I'll also
    ring tomorrow.
     
    Tags:


  2. Paul Kelly

    Paul Kelly Guest

    "Richard Burton" <[email protected]der.co.uk> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    >
    > a.. Safety clothing: A helmet is one of the most important pieces equipment for a cyclist.
    > Wearing a helmet is the best way of reducing the potential dangers of an accident." Apart from
    > the fact that this statement is unproven and highly disputable, this must be the first time
    > that helmets have been justified on weather grounds.

    I hear and understand all the arguments about compulsion but have to say I'm confused by the line I
    read regularly suggesting that helmets do not protect. Someone care to lay out the
    evidence/argument? I have a sense that in an attempt to make the anti-compulsion case the pudding is
    being over egged.

    [I'll declare an interest: I spent a night in hospital a few month ago with partial amnesia
    following a mtb fall in Richmond Park. My helmet was smashed like an egg that has been rapped hard
    on the table as I cam off the bike sideways and my head whiplashed into the ground]

    pk
     
  3. Garry Broad

    Garry Broad Guest

    On Tue, 17 Jun 2003 00:42:36 +0100, "Richard Burton" <[email protected]> wrote:

    >On a visit to the BBCi website to make sure that they had dropped the crass story about P***
    >S*****'s impotence, I looked at their new NBW page. Contacts for Sustrans and NBW webpages, but not
    >the national cycling organisation the CTC! They also have a health page, dedicated to cycling this
    >week, with lots of contacts, but not the CTC!? see
    >http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/features/cycling.shtml
    >
    >There is a weather page, with advice about cycling in inclement weather, which seems mostly aimed
    >at putting people off cycling altogether
    >http://www.bbc.co.uk/weather/sports/features/bikeweek.shtml. In an article about the weather and
    >how to survive it, it also contains the incredible statement:
    >
    >"For those who are interested in following the continental lead and want to make more journeys by
    >bicycle there are a few things that can help with difficult weather conditions:
    >
    > a.. Safety clothing: A helmet is one of the most important pieces equipment for a cyclist.
    > Wearing a helmet is the best way of reducing the potential dangers of an accident." Apart from
    > the fact that this statement is unproven and highly disputable, this must be the first time
    > that helmets have been justified on weather grounds.
    >
    >Making a complaint is extremely difficult, as BBCi only accept emails about BBC programmes, and
    >tell you to contact the individual website by clicking on the "contact us" link. Unfortunately,
    >none of these links work on any of the cycle pages, so I just sent them an email anyway. I'll also
    >ring tomorrow.

    Before the BBC get that call and the thin edge of the helmet wedge, you could just allow yourself to
    acknowledge this from the main page:

    "However, increasingly people are arguing that wearing a helmet actually has little effect on the
    risk of head injury. The Ontario Coalition for Better Cycling has a very thorough run down on the
    arguments and evidence at www.magma.ca/~ocbc/. The British evidence also looks convincing:
    www.lesberries.co.uk/cycling/helmets/uktrends.pdf."

    Not sure I got the feeling that the BBC *hates* cycling either.

    Garry
     
  4. Peter Clinch

    Peter Clinch Guest

    Paul Kelly wrote:

    > I hear and understand all the arguments about compulsion but have to say I'm confused by the line
    > I read regularly suggesting that helmets do not protect. Someone care to lay out the
    > evidence/argument? I have a sense that in an attempt to make the anti-compulsion case the pudding
    > is being over egged.

    If you look at assessments of the figures for serious head injuries then there's not really much in
    the way of good evidence that helmets do much about them. This is not to say that they're useless,
    rather that in the sort of impact where you'll have serious trauma a thin sheet of polystyrene
    isn't really up to the job of doing much about it. Where they will help is in reducing pain and
    aches of something like a bump and graze, but that's hardly life threatening so doesn't get into
    the relevant figures.

    One could argue that surely reducing the possibilities of bumps and grazes must be a good thing, but
    of course there are comfort issues to wearing a polystyrene box too, especially in this weather for
    any sort of distance. So you can accept one sort of discomfort to reduce the possibility of another,
    but that's hardly a cut and dried case for compulsion.

    I usually wear mine for short trips about town: quick hacks where comfort is secondary to getting a
    job done. For longer rides, or in any case when it's very hot, I'll usually go without (though
    sometimes wear it anyway in winter as it's windproof and helps keep me warm as well as providing
    minor knock protection). I'll pretty much always wear one on the MTB as I feel that if I haven't
    fallen off at least once I'm just not MTBing.

    > [I'll declare an interest: I spent a night in hospital a few month ago with partial amnesia
    > following a mtb fall in Richmond Park. My helmet was smashed like an egg that has been rapped hard
    > on the table as I cam off the bike sideways and my head whiplashed into the ground]

    It's entirely probable you'd have had a bloody awful headache for considerably longer than you did,
    possible that you're one of the few cases on the thin line where they will make a major difference,
    but in statistical terms it seems there's very few people in accidents where helmets make a clear
    case between serious head injury and not.

    http://bmj.com/cgi/content/full/321/7276/1582 is quite good reading, with other references you can
    follow up for further detail.

    Pete.
    --
    Peter Clinch University of Dundee Tel 44 1382 660111 ext. 33637 Medical Physics, Ninewells Hospital
    Fax 44 1382 640177 Dundee DD1 9SY Scotland UK net [email protected]
    http://www.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/
     
  5. Just Zis Guy

    Just Zis Guy Guest

    "Paul Kelly" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...

    > I hear and understand all the arguments about compulsion but have to say
    I'm
    > confused by the line I read regularly suggesting that helmets do not protect. Someone care to lay
    > out the evidence/argument? I have a sense
    that
    > in an attempt to make the anti-compulsion case the pudding is being over egged.

    The arguments are quite well set out here:
    <http://www.lesberries.co.uk/cycling/helmets/helmets.html>

    Essentially the suggestion that helmets do not provide any net protection is based at least in part
    on the theory of risk compensation, which suggests that when wearing a helmet we are likely to ride
    in a less safe manner, thus negating whatever protective effect the helmet may have.

    This is backed up by the fact that whole-population and time-series studies have never succeeded in
    identifying any correlation between helmet use and injury rates. Pro-helmet research also has a
    tendency to be wildly overoptimistic in its claims. The granddaddy of all helmet studies, Thompson,
    Rivara and Thompson, accidentally proved that helmets reduce leg injuries by a substantial margin, a
    fact which they failed to notice when drawing their conclusions. This does not argue for careful
    science. Oh, they also ignored the fact that a large number of those injuries were to parts of the
    head not covered y helmets, such as the chin.

    The Thompson, Rivara & Thompson study was run by paediatricians, and it is true that children have
    the kinds of accidents where a helmet works. Extending that conclusion to draw inferences about
    experienced adult cyclists on the road is clearly nonsensical.

    --
    Guy
    ===
    I wonder if you wouldn't mind piecing out our imperfections with your thoughts; and while you're
    about it perhaps you could think when we talk of bicycles, that you see them printing their proud
    wheels i' the receiving earth; thanks awfully.
     
  6. Ian

    Ian Guest

    I notice most MTB helmets are huge things, sticking out from the side of the head hugely, with no
    side protection I imagine in a tarmac related accident, this pushes the cheek area towards the road,
    rather than protecting the wearer, I use a road orientated helmet which is of a much slimmer
    profile, which seems to make more sense to me, of course the biggest problem is getting adequate
    cooling, sweat running into your eyes is as big a danger as bashing your head, after all a helmet
    should protect you in a fall, not contribute to falling, for that reason, one of my primary
    considerations when last buying a helmet was to get one that provided adequate cooling.

    Ian

    > From: "Just zis Guy, you know?" <[email protected]>
    >
    > Essentially the suggestion that helmets do not provide any net protection is based at least in
    > part on the theory of risk compensation, which suggests that when wearing a helmet we are likely
    > to ride in a less safe manner, thus negating whatever protective effect the helmet may have.
     
  7. Paul Kelly

    Paul Kelly Guest

  8. Paul Kelly

    Paul Kelly Guest

    "Just zis Guy, you know?" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    >>
    > Essentially the suggestion that helmets do not provide any net protection
    is
    > based at least in part on the theory of risk compensation, which suggests that when wearing a
    > helmet we are likely to ride in a less safe manner,
    thus
    > negating whatever protective effect the helmet may have.

    I used to work in safety management so the idea of risk compensation is not new to me.

    > This does not argue for careful science.

    From my skimming of the sources I've seen referenced here and others I found through google, I see a
    great deal of bad science on both sides of the argument.

    Many of the arguments are put from entrenched positions by people with a vested interest and are
    clearly both selective in scope and biased in interpretation

    >
    > The Thompson, Rivara & Thompson study was run by paediatricians, and it is true that children have
    > the kinds of accidents where a helmet works. Extending that conclusion to draw inferences about
    > experienced adult cyclists on the road is clearly nonsensical.

    ah! balance! (;-) But I suppose that is only to be expected from a cyclist........

    pk
     
  9. Just Zis Guy

    Just Zis Guy Guest

    On Tue, 17 Jun 2003 00:42:36 +0100, "Richard Burton" <[email protected]> wrote:

    >http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/features/cycling.shtml

    Holy mother of God! Halfway down: "Go Bent..."

    The Dark Side has finally infested Auntie!

    Guy
    ===
    ** WARNING ** This posting may contain traces of irony. http://www.chapmancentral.com Advance
    notice: ADSL service in process of transfer to a new ISP. Obviously there will be a week of downtime
    between the engineer removing the BT service and the same engineer connecting the same equipment on
    the same line in the same exchange and billing it to the new ISP.
     
  10. James Hodson

    James Hodson Guest

  11. In news:[email protected], Garry Broad <[email protected]internet.com> typed:

    >
    > Not sure I got the feeling that the BBC *hates* cycling either.
    >

    There is a fairly substantial BBC building in Caversham, Reading. I have certainly seen a few of
    their employees cycling to work. I don't think the BBC particularly *hates* cycling; it is merely
    that just like any other media organisation these days they prefer to accentuate the negative and
    eliminate the positive - controversy and conflict increases the potential audience.

    The attitude of the media was brought home to any Redingensian who had occasion to pass by the Crown
    Court recently, when an Asian lady was on trial for the alleged murder of three of her children.
    Every bloody media outfit you could imagine was outside that court for days on end ; to the point
    where I ended up complaining to the Court Service and the local authority (as did many others from
    what I was told ) about the manner in which the satellite vans had parked, ignoring all restrictions
    and making some roads virtually impassable by bicycle (must have been even *worse* for drivers).

    One day I even overheard a couple of reporters -themselves Asian and presumably from the special
    channels now available for the Asian community - mentioning that the BBC and Carlton/Granada
    were arguing about who should have the rights to a /documentary/ of the case (whilst it was
    still /sub judice/)!

    The lady was found /not guilty/. Not a *single* reporter has turned up outside Court since then.

    Alex
     
  12. "Paul Kelly" <[email protected]> wrote:

    |
    | "Just zis Guy, you know?" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    | news:[email protected]...
    | >>
    | > Essentially the suggestion that helmets do not provide any net protection is based at least in
    | > part on the theory of risk compensation, which suggests that when wearing a helmet we are likely
    | > to ride in a less safe manner, thus negating whatever protective effect the helmet may have.
    |
    | I used to work in safety management so the idea of risk compensation is not new to me.

    And the point I always chip in with in helmet threads: for road cycling (commuting mostly) I feel my
    greatest danger is from car drivers and the best reduction of risk is to look as vulnerable as
    possible (within the bounds of good taste, natch) to them, so I don't wear one.

    --
    Patrick Herring, Sheffield, UK http://www.anweald.co.uk
     
  13. James Hodson

    James Hodson Guest

    On Tue, 17 Jun 2003 22:19:48 +0100, "Mr [email protected] \(2.3 zulu-alpha\) [comms room 2]"
    <[email protected]> wrote:

    >There is a fairly substantial BBC building in Caversham, Reading. I have certainly seen a few of
    >their employees cycling to work. I don't think the BBC particularly *hates* cycling; it is merely
    >that just like any other media organisation these days they prefer to accentuate the negative and
    >eliminate the positive - controversy and conflict increases the potential audience.
    >

    True. "100,000 cyclists travelled safely to work this morning and they have all have just
    impregnated their wives." wouldn't exactly be stop-press hot news.

    James

    --
    http://homepage.ntlworld.com/c.butty/Dscf0632.jpg
     
  14. Just Zis Guy

    Just Zis Guy Guest

    "James Hodson" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...

    > "100,000 cyclists travelled safely to work this morning and they have all have just impregnated
    > their wives." wouldn't exactly be stop-press hot news.

    I can see the pictures making the front page of the Daily Star, though...

    --
    Guy
    ===
    I wonder if you wouldn't mind piecing out our imperfections with your thoughts; and while you're
    about it perhaps you could think when we talk of bicycles, that you see them printing their proud
    wheels i' the receiving earth; thanks awfully.
     
  15. Ni

    Ni Guest

    On Tue, 17 Jun 2003 00:42:36 +0100, "Richard Burton" <[email protected]> wrote:

    >On a visit to the BBCi website to make sure that they had dropped the crass story about P***
    >S*****'s impotence, I looked at their new NBW page. Contacts for Sustrans and NBW webpages, but not
    >the national cycling organisation the CTC! They also have a health page, dedicated to cycling this
    >week, with lots of contacts, but not the CTC!? see
    >http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/features/cycling.shtml

    I see a link to CTC website at the bottom of this page.

    Thanks for the links.
     
  16. Martin

    Martin Guest

    > I hear and understand all the arguments about compulsion but have to say I'm confused by the line
    > I read regularly suggesting that helmets do not protect. Someone care to lay out the
    > evidence/argument? I have a sense that in an attempt to make the anti-compulsion case the pudding
    > is being over egged.
    >
    > [I'll declare an interest: I spent a night in hospital a few month ago with partial amnesia
    > following a mtb fall in Richmond Park. My helmet was smashed like an egg that has been rapped hard
    > on the table as I cam off the bike sideways and my head whiplashed into the ground]
    >
    > I agree; I was thrown off my folding bike at 12mph head first into the base of a steel lamppost on
    > an exceptionally badly designed cycle path in Croydon. The result:slightly dented hat; major
    > concussion.Anyone care to try same without a hat? Did we not have this argument with motor cycle
    > helmets in the 70's?

    Historical note: in one of the World Wars head injuries went up by a ridiculous percentage following
    the introduction of tin helmets; the reason? most of the soldiers were killed before the helmets
    were introduced.
     
  17. James Hodson wrote:
    >
    > True. "100,000 cyclists travelled safely to work this morning and they have all have just
    > impregnated their wives." wouldn't exactly be stop-press hot news.
     
  18. Ian Smith

    Ian Smith Guest

    On Tue, 17 Jun 2003, Paul Kelly <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    > I hear and understand all the arguments about compulsion but have to say I'm confused by the line
    > I read regularly suggesting that helmets do not protect. Someone care to lay out the
    > evidence/argument?

    As briefly as I can:

    Helmets are designed and tested to withstand direct impacts at low speeds. Outside teh design
    envelope there is no good reason for believing they behave in a useful manner.

    There is no good statistical evidence demonstrating that helmets reduce injury rates, or even head
    injury rates. The statistical evidence that there is generally turns out to be pretty flawed -
    things like a quoted reduction in head injuries, when the reduction in cycling was bigger (so teh
    rate must have increased), or a reduction in cyclist head injury rates (hurrah for helmets) when the
    pedestrian head injury rate fell more (so cyclists wearing helmets protects pedestrians from head
    injuries too?).

    There are plausible mechanisms by which helmets could make things worse:
    + torsional injury (exacerbated due to increased head diameter)
    + risk compensation by cyclist or driver
    + impeded reactions (a bigger head outline converts a near miss into an impact - which would you
    prefer, a tonne of steel missing you, or a tonne of steel with half an inch of polystyrene on the
    front hitting you?)

    So, the statistics show helmets make things worse for populations as a whole, there are plausible
    mechanisms that could explain why/how they make things worse in individual cases, and there's
    neither design intention nor testing to show that they make things better in the cases of accidents
    that are liable to cause serious head injury.

    regards, Ian SMith
    --
    |\ /| no .sig
    |o o|
    |/ \|
     
  19. "Ni" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > On Tue, 17 Jun 2003 00:42:36 +0100, "Richard Burton" <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    > >On a visit to the BBCi website to make sure that they had dropped the
    crass
    > >story about P*** S*****'s impotence, I looked at their new NBW page. Contacts for Sustrans and
    > >NBW webpages, but not the national cycling organisation the CTC! They also have a health page,
    > >dedicated to cycling this week, with lots of contacts, but not the CTC!? see
    > >http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/features/cycling.shtml
    >
    > I see a link to CTC website at the bottom of this page.

    After three days of ringing the Beeb, I finally got put through to the right person for the health
    page, who was charming and was quite willing to put in a link to the CTC today, the 18th. I have had
    the electronic response from the emails I have sent, but nothing else. And I still haven't been able
    to get the right person for the weather site on the phone; this morning I was refered to the Beeb
    inquiry service, and they didn't know either, but took my number and promised someone would ring me
    back. Would anyone out there care to wager a large sum of money on whether someone did ring me back?

    If anyone else wants to try, the Beeb inquiry line is on 08700 1002222, and the best of luck.

    cheers

    Rich
     
  20. Arthur Clune

    Arthur Clune Guest

    martin <[email protected]> wrote:
    :>
    :> I agree; I was thrown off my folding bike at 12mph head first into the base of a steel lamppost
    :> on an exceptionally badly designed cycle path in Croydon. The result:slightly dented hat; major
    :> concussion.Anyone care to try same without a hat? Did we not have this argument with motor cycle
    :> helmets in the 70's?

    Two points here.

    1) This is the exact sort of injury that helmets are designed to work for - slow speed crash with no
    other traffic involved.

    2) This is also the sort of accident that experienced cyclists don't tend top have, not least cos we
    avoid shite bike paths.

    Helmets have their uses, but they are not a panacea.

    Arthur

    --
    Arthur Clune http://www.clune.org Power is delightful. Absolute power is absolutely delightful -
    Lord Lester
     
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