Draft letter to Injury prevention

Discussion in 'UK and Europe' started by Just zis Guy, you know?, Jun 18, 2004.

  1. Bicycle Helmets: Time for a sense of perspective
    ================================================

    To focus on injury mitigation in cyclists to the exclusion of
    addressing the causes of crashes, as is the trend in public debate at
    present, risks fundamental errors - not least the apparent post hoc
    fallacy of assuming that cycling head injuries are the result of
    failure to wear helmets, rather than of the types of crashes cyclists
    experience.

    I recently analysed Department of Health data on child hospital
    admissions for England for the period 1995/96 to 2002/03.  From this
    analysis it was apparent that:

    - the proportion of head injuries in child cyclists on the road is
    hardly different from that of child pedestrians;
    - the risk of head injury in offroad cycling is an order of magnitude
    lower than in road cycling;
    - cycling is far from being the leading cause of head injury
    admission, being behind trips and falls and even assault.

    It is interesting to me, as both a cyclist and a parent, to explore
    the reasons that cycling is seen as a uniquely dangerous activity,
    when a dispassionate look at these and many other statistics indicates
    very clearly that it is not.  Some of us will recently have witnessed
    "lightbulb moments" in friends and colleagues who we have accompanied
    as "bike buddies" in Bike Week.  The comment "well, that was less
    scary than I thought" will have been uttered many times this past
    week!

    I have a view that there are a number of factors at work here:

    - head injuries raise a spectre of intellectual disablement which
    cannot be "fixed" by modern medicine, even though this is very rare -
    the fact that such injuries are now thought to be mainly the result of
    rotational forces which helmets do not mitigate (and may even
    aggravate) adds a touch of irony;

    - even trivial head injuries can bleed spectacularly, which combines
    with the fear factor above to ensure the maximum likelihood of
    attendance at A&E or a minor injuries unit "just in case" - even
    though in most cases treatment is limited to dressing or, at worst,
    stitches - so that nurses, for example, "see a lot of cycling head
    injuries";

    - there exists a substantial industry whose expensive product will not
    sell unless a culture of fear is maintained, and the protective effect
    of its product "sexed up" - few people would spend the price of a
    modern helmet if they were told bluntly that they are tested only for
    the equivalent of a fall from a stationary riding position, yet this
    is the literal truth (and explains the wide disparity between claims
    made by manufacturers, whose claims are controlled by advertising
    regulations, and by helmet advocacy groups, who still quote the
    discredited 1989 Thompson, Rivara and Thompson study);

    - the culture of fear extends in particular to the danger of motor
    traffic, with some justification as the estimated 10% of child cycling
    which is on-road results in half of all cyclist admissions;

    - there is a widespread and undoubtedly false belief that, firstly,
    there is nothing that can be done about the source of this danger
    (i.e. drivers cannot be made to drive more carefully), and secondly,
    that no amount of riding skill can reduce the danger;

    - fundamentally, most of those campaigning for helmets are not
    cyclists and have little understanding of the vast range of different
    activities and scales of risk which that term encompasses - it is as
    if all outdoor activity from afternoon walks in the park to
    free-climbing were considered under a single umbrella.

    One thing struck me very forcefully when analysing the admissions
    data.  Motor vehicles account for around 10% of child hospital
    admissions but half of all injury fatalities (Office of National
    Statistics).  This greatly increased danger is shared by cyclists,
    (far more numerous) pedestrians and motor vehicle occupants.  The
    danger is inherent in the source, not the victims' activities.

    A proper study of head injury in cyclists cannot evade these facts.
     It is well known that cyclists in particular are generally not to
    blame in crashes involving motor traffic; what is less well known is
    that riding techniques already exist which dramatically reduce the
    chances of some of the more common sorts of crash.  It is to be hoped
    that public debate on cyclist safety will soon lose its cyclopean
    focus on injury mitigation devices which, it has to be said, are not
    associated anywhere in the world with improvements in safety, and
    shift onto prevention, both by improved driver behaviour and better
    riding skills.

    Guy
    --
    May contain traces of irony. Contents liable to settle after posting.
    http://www.chapmancentral.co.uk

    88% of helmet statistics are made up, 65% of them at Washington University
     
    Tags:


  2. James Annan

    James Annan Guest

    Just zis Guy, you know? wrote:

    > Bicycle Helmets: Time for a sense of perspective
    > ================================================


    Looks fine to me, but it is clear from a quick browse that IP is well
    established in the junk science category, full of space-fillers from
    wannabe "researchers" strongly in need of a clue-by-four and with
    absolutely no editorial quality control whatsoever.

    The recent letters page is good for a laugh.

    http://ip.bmjjournals.com/cgi/eletters?lookup=by_date&days=60

    James
    --
    If I have seen further than others, it is
    by treading on the toes of giants.
    http://www.ne.jp/asahi/julesandjames/home/
     
  3. Gawnsoft

    Gawnsoft Guest

    On Fri, 18 Jun 2004 23:57:33 +0100, "Just zis Guy, you know?"
    <[email protected]> wrote (more or less):
    ....
    >One thing struck me very forcefully when analysing the admissions
    >data.  Motor vehicles account for around 10% of child hospital
    >admissions but half of all injury fatalities (Office of National
    >Statistics).  This greatly increased danger is shared by cyclists,
    >(far more numerous) pedestrians and motor vehicle occupants.  The
    >danger is inherent in the source, not the victims' activities.
    >
    >A proper study of head injury in cyclists cannot evade these facts.
    > It is well known that cyclists in particular are generally not to
    >blame in crashes involving motor traffic; what is less well known is
    >that riding techniques already exist which dramatically reduce the
    >chances of some of the more common sorts of crash.  It is to be hoped
    >that public debate on cyclist safety will soon lose its cyclopean
    >focus on injury mitigation devices which, it has to be said, are not
    >associated anywhere in the world with improvements in safety, and
    >shift onto prevention, both by improved driver behaviour and better
    >riding skills.

    ....

    Perhaps a mention of increase in danger per person as the number of
    cycling persons decreases?

    Seeing as you're covering just about every point relative to helmets
    and cyclist safety already.... :)


    --
    Cheers,
    Euan
    Gawnsoft: http://www.gawnsoft.co.sr
    Symbian/Epoc wiki: http://html.dnsalias.net:1122
    Smalltalk links (harvested from comp.lang.smalltalk) http://html.dnsalias.net/gawnsoft/smalltalk
     
  4. Tony Raven

    Tony Raven Guest

    Just zis Guy, you know? wrote:
    > Bicycle Helmets: Time for a sense of perspective
    > ================================================
    >


    Three suggestions. First you switch between impersonal and personal. It is
    tradition to write in the impersonal in journals. Second you miss out the
    biggest safety factor being numbers cycling and third it would probably help
    if you were to stick in some references to some of the papers demonstrating
    your points e.g Crook and Shakey as a reference in para 1.

    Tony
     
  5. David Martin

    David Martin Guest

    On 19/6/04 9:29 am, in article [email protected], "Tony Raven"
    <[email protected]> wrote:

    > Just zis Guy, you know? wrote:
    >> Bicycle Helmets: Time for a sense of perspective
    >> ================================================
    >>

    >
    > Three suggestions. First you switch between impersonal and personal. It is
    > tradition to write in the impersonal in journals. Second you miss out the
    > biggest safety factor being numbers cycling and third it would probably help
    > if you were to stick in some references to some of the papers demonstrating
    > your points e.g Crook and Shakey as a reference in para 1.


    I'll add to that by suggesting that you dont cite TRT as 'discredited' but
    instead say something like 'blatently use the figures from TRT [ref] even
    though these figures are dramatically higher than any other study, of
    dubious merit [ref dorre's refutation] and have been revised downwards by
    the authors [ref to correction].'

    says the same thing just a little more professionally.

    ...d
     
  6. Updated draft at
    <url:http://www.chapmancentral.co.uk/web/public.nsf/Documents/ip>
    Guy
    --
    May contain traces of irony. Contents liable to settle after posting.
    http://www.chapmancentral.co.uk

    88% of helmet statistics are made up, 65% of them at Washington University
     
  7. Gawnsoft

    Gawnsoft Guest

    On Sat, 19 Jun 2004 11:34:09 +0100, "Just zis Guy, you know?"
    <[email protected]> wrote (more or less):

    >Updated draft at
    ><url:http://www.chapmancentral.co.uk/web/public.nsf/Documents/ip>
    >Guy


    Grammar police point. The closing sentence should read 'drive more
    slowly' rather than 'drive slower'.

    'slower' is an adjective*, (e.g. 'a slower car') and you want an
    adverb.

    [* or a comparative, but that's beside the point at hand]


    --
    Cheers,
    Euan
    Gawnsoft: http://www.gawnsoft.co.sr
    Symbian/Epoc wiki: http://html.dnsalias.net:1122
    Smalltalk links (harvested from comp.lang.smalltalk) http://html.dnsalias.net/gawnsoft/smalltalk
     
  8. Dr Curious

    Dr Curious Guest

    "Gawnsoft" <[email protected]> wrote in
    message news:[email protected]
    > On Sat, 19 Jun 2004 11:34:09 +0100, "Just zis Guy, you know?"
    > <[email protected]> wrote (more or less):
    >
    > >Updated draft at
    > ><url:http://www.chapmancentral.co.uk/web/public.nsf/Documents/ip>
    > >Guy

    >
    > Grammar police point. The closing sentence should read 'drive more
    > slowly' rather than 'drive slower'.
    >
    > 'slower' is an adjective*, (e.g. 'a slower car') and you want an
    > adverb.
    >
    > [* or a comparative, but that's beside the point at hand]




    Are you certain about that?

    if we ignore the typo - [at]

    quote/

    If the readers of Injury Prevention wish to ensure child safety,
    the most effective course of action is clear. If they can't switch
    from driving to a low-impact mode such as cycling, they should [at]
    drive slower and more carefully.

    /unquote

    As stated, the last sentence quite clearly implies they should drive
    slower - than they presently do. It sets the desired speed in a context.

    Asking drivers to simply driver slower - without any implied comparison
    is clearly meaningless and nobody would intend such a thing.

    As is also asking them to simply drive "more slowly". What's that supposed
    to mean ? Asking drivers to drive "more slowly" implies that they're
    driving "slowly" to some extent already. A car that is say traveling at
    60 miles per hour perhaps ?

    If you insist on asking them to drive "more slowly", then similarly you
    will need to say "drive more slowly than you currently do."

    Which in fact might have quite the opposite effect to that intended. As it
    would plant the idea in the motorist's head that he was indeed already
    driving slowly.

    I think.




    Curious

    ....


    > --
    > Cheers,
    > Euan
    > Gawnsoft: http://www.gawnsoft.co.sr
    > Symbian/Epoc wiki: http://html.dnsalias.net:1122
    > Smalltalk links (harvested from comp.lang.smalltalk)

    http://html.dnsalias.net/gawnsoft/smalltalk
     
  9. Tony Raven

    Tony Raven Guest

    Dr Curious wrote:
    >
    > Are you certain about that?
    >


    He's correct. Its "drive more slowly" Which of the following makes sense
    to you - "drive slow; drive slower; drive slowest" or "drive slowly; driver
    more slowly". The first sequence is incorrect as it is using adjectives to
    modify a verb whereas the second is correctly using adverbs to modify the
    verb.

    Tony
     
  10. jtaylor

    jtaylor Guest

    Dr Curious <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]

    > > Grammar police point. The closing sentence should read 'drive more
    > > slowly' rather than 'drive slower'.
    > >
    > > 'slower' is an adjective*, (e.g. 'a slower car') and you want an
    > > adverb.
    > >
    > > [* or a comparative, but that's beside the point at hand]

    >
    >
    >
    > Are you certain about that?
    >
    > if we ignore the typo - [at]
    >
    > quote/
    >
    > If the readers of Injury Prevention wish to ensure child safety,
    > the most effective course of action is clear. If they can't switch
    > from driving to a low-impact mode such as cycling, they should [at]
    > drive slower and more carefully.
    >
    > /unquote
    >
    > As stated, the last sentence quite clearly implies they should drive
    > slower - than they presently do. It sets the desired speed in a context.
    >
    > Asking drivers to simply driver slower - without any implied comparison
    > is clearly meaningless and nobody would intend such a thing.
    >
    > As is also asking them to simply drive "more slowly". What's that supposed
    > to mean ? Asking drivers to drive "more slowly" implies that they're
    > driving "slowly" to some extent already. A car that is say traveling at
    > 60 miles per hour perhaps ?
    >
    > If you insist on asking them to drive "more slowly", then similarly you
    > will need to say "drive more slowly than you currently do."
    >
    > Which in fact might have quite the opposite effect to that intended. As it
    > would plant the idea in the motorist's head that he was indeed already
    > driving slowly.
    >


    The grammar is indeed defective. "Drive slower" should not be used.

    While a direct replacement with a grammatically correct phrase may obscure
    the author's meaning, it is no excuse for using incorrect grammar. The
    phrase should be entirely re-written; "reduce their speed" would serve.
     
  11. Dr Curious

    Dr Curious Guest

    "Tony Raven" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > Dr Curious wrote:
    > >
    > > Are you certain about that?
    > >

    >
    > He's correct. Its "drive more slowly"



    Right. So it's "drive more slowly" than what exactly?



    Curious


    >
    > Tony
    >
    >
     
  12. On Sat, 19 Jun 2004 14:57:37 +0100, "Tony Raven"
    <[email protected]> wrote in message
    <[email protected]>:

    [snip slower / much more slowly enough]

    Gaaah! They should slow down!

    Guy
    --
    May contain traces of irony. Contents liable to settle after posting.
    http://www.chapmancentral.co.uk

    88% of helmet statistics are made up, 65% of them at Washington University
     
  13. Dr Curious

    Dr Curious Guest

    "Tony Raven" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > Dr Curious wrote:
    > >
    > > Are you certain about that?
    > >

    >
    > He's correct. Its "drive more slowly"



    So that -

    a) a car which is being driven at 90 mph is being "driven
    more slowly" than a car which is being driven at 100mph.

    Is that correct?

    However -

    b) Such a car which is being driven "more slowly" must at the very
    least, be being driven "slowly".

    So that -

    c) A car which is being driven at 90 mph can in certain
    circumstances be described as being "driven slowly".

    Agree?



    Curious










    > Tony
    >
    >
     
  14. Tony Raven

    Tony Raven Guest

    Dr Curious wrote:
    > "Tony Raven" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]
    >> Dr Curious wrote:
    >>>
    >>> Are you certain about that?
    >>>

    >>
    >> He's correct. Its "drive more slowly"

    >
    >
    > Right. So it's "drive more slowly" than what exactly?
    >


    More slowly than you are or have been driving of course. It is not normally
    necessary to spell out that which can be reasonably inferred.

    Tony
     
  15. Tony Raven

    Tony Raven Guest

    Dr Curious wrote:
    > "Tony Raven" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]
    >> Dr Curious wrote:
    >>>
    >>> Are you certain about that?
    >>>

    >>
    >> He's correct. Its "drive more slowly"

    >
    >
    > So that -
    >
    > a) a car which is being driven at 90 mph is being "driven
    > more slowly" than a car which is being driven at 100mph.
    >
    > Is that correct?
    >
    > However -
    >
    > b) Such a car which is being driven "more slowly" must at the very
    > least, be being driven "slowly".
    >
    > So that -
    >
    > c) A car which is being driven at 90 mph can in certain
    > circumstances be described as being "driven slowly".
    >
    > Agree?
    >
    >


    The "All cats have three tails" logic*. But certainly if you are in an F1 or
    Indy Cart race driving at 90mph can be described as driving slowly. Your
    point is?

    Tony

    * Every cat has one more tail than no cat
    No cat has two tails
    Ergo all cats have three tails
     
  16. Dr Curious

    Dr Curious Guest

    "jtaylor" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    >
    > Dr Curious <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]
    >
    > > > Grammar police point. The closing sentence should read 'drive more
    > > > slowly' rather than 'drive slower'.
    > > >
    > > > 'slower' is an adjective*, (e.g. 'a slower car') and you want an
    > > > adverb.
    > > >
    > > > [* or a comparative, but that's beside the point at hand]

    > >
    > >
    > >
    > > Are you certain about that?
    > >
    > > if we ignore the typo - [at]
    > >
    > > quote/
    > >
    > > If the readers of Injury Prevention wish to ensure child safety,
    > > the most effective course of action is clear. If they can't switch
    > > from driving to a low-impact mode such as cycling, they should [at]
    > > drive slower and more carefully.
    > >
    > > /unquote
    > >
    > > As stated, the last sentence quite clearly implies they should drive
    > > slower - than they presently do. It sets the desired speed in a

    context.
    > >
    > > Asking drivers to simply driver slower - without any implied comparison
    > > is clearly meaningless and nobody would intend such a thing.
    > >
    > > As is also asking them to simply drive "more slowly". What's that

    supposed
    > > to mean ? Asking drivers to drive "more slowly" implies that they're
    > > driving "slowly" to some extent already. A car that is say traveling at
    > > 60 miles per hour perhaps ?
    > >
    > > If you insist on asking them to drive "more slowly", then similarly you
    > > will need to say "drive more slowly than you currently do."
    > >
    > > Which in fact might have quite the opposite effect to that intended. As

    it
    > > would plant the idea in the motorist's head that he was indeed already
    > > driving slowly.
    > >

    >
    > The grammar is indeed defective. "Drive slower" should not be used.


    ....

    Fair enough. "Slower" here, is presumably a substitute for something
    on the lines of "at a speed which is slower than you normally do".

    As a matter of interest is "drive at a slower speed" correct?

    Presumably "drive at (in the direction of) the gate " certainly is.


    >
    > While a direct replacement with a grammatically correct phrase may

    obscure
    > the author's meaning, it is no excuse for using incorrect grammar. The
    > phrase should be entirely re-written; "reduce their speed" would serve.
    >


    Presumably the "more carefully" should really cover the speed aspect
    in any case, but your suggestion of "reduce their speed" seems the most
    obvious solution. Though there may still be a bit of mileage to be got out
    of "more slowly" perhaps.


    Curious
     
  17. Dr Curious

    Dr Curious Guest

    "Tony Raven" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > Dr Curious wrote:
    > > "Tony Raven" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > > news:[email protected]
    > >> Dr Curious wrote:
    > >>>
    > >>> Are you certain about that?
    > >>>
    > >>
    > >> He's correct. Its "drive more slowly"

    > >
    > >
    > > So that -
    > >
    > > a) a car which is being driven at 90 mph is being "driven
    > > more slowly" than a car which is being driven at 100mph.
    > >
    > > Is that correct?
    > >
    > > However -
    > >
    > > b) Such a car which is being driven "more slowly" must at the very
    > > least, be being driven "slowly".
    > >
    > > So that -
    > >
    > > c) A car which is being driven at 90 mph can in certain
    > > circumstances be described as being "driven slowly".
    > >
    > > Agree?
    > >
    > >

    >
    > The "All cats have three tails" logic*.


    ....

    How so?

    ....

    > But certainly if you are in an F1 or
    > Indy Cart race driving at 90mph can be described as driving slowly.
    > Your point is?


    ....

    When using the admittedly grammatically incorrect "slower" it implies
    "slower than the speed" at which the car was previously being driven.
    Which is what was intended, at least.

    Whereas using "slowly" or "more slowly", as in the above example, it
    can imply simply driving slower than the speed the car is capable of.
    Which isn't necessarily what was intended.


    Curious


    >
    > Tony
    >
    > * Every cat has one more tail than no cat
    > No cat has two tails
    > Ergo all cats have three tails
    >
    >
     
  18. Tumbleweed

    Tumbleweed Guest

    "Just zis Guy, you know?" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > Updated draft at
    > <url:http://www.chapmancentral.co.uk/web/public.nsf/Documents/ip>
    > Guy


    Suggest
    1.
    "To focus on injury mitigation to cyclists ..."

    instead of

    "To focus on injury mitigation in cyclists ..."

    2

    Omit the words 'post hoc' (sounds too fancy, and how many will know what
    they mean?)

    3

    Change (i.e. drivers cannot be made to drive more carefully),
    to (i.e. drivers and cyclists cannot be made to drive/cycle more carefully),

    [I drive to work on a road that is used by boys cycling to a local school. I
    am surprised there isnt at least one fatality a week going by their standard
    of cycling, which was obviously taught at Mr Dangerous's Kamikaze School of
    Cycling]. There is a difference between skill (which you then mention) and
    being careful. Being careful should come first so the cyclist doesnt need
    the skills to get out of the dangerous position they have put themselves in
    (if thats the case).

    4.

    What do you mean by "participation"? Its not clear to me. Could it be simply
    explained at the first point it is mentioned? Do you mean 'lots of
    cyclists'?

    5. Your conclusion isnt that clear to me;
    First you have no knowledge of the driving habits of the readers of Injury
    Prevention,and could be regarded as implying that they all drive too fast
    and not carefully. (otherwise why tell them to slow down and drive more
    carefully?).
    Second, on the road I mentioned above, a more effective action would be
    taking away the bikes from the kids who are cycling not just unsafely but
    dangerously, and forcing them to take part in cycling lessons until they
    learn them. Why should people be forced to drive at 5mph because kids insist
    on suddenly veering in front of cars, pushing each other as a laugh whilst
    cycling, crossing the road without dismounting when there is a gap of a
    couple of seconds before the next car (and never mind there is a ped
    crossing 100m further on), etc?

    How about a more balanced conclusion that still brings out the point that
    since helmets wont protect from most serious head injuries (since they arent
    designed to do this at road traffic accident speeds), reducing the cause of
    accidents is a far more effective way of reducing head injuries?

    --
    Tumbleweed

    Remove my socks for email address
     
  19. On Sat, 19 Jun 2004 17:43:35 +0100, "Tumbleweed"
    <[email protected]> wrote in message
    <[email protected]>:

    >How about a more balanced conclusion that still brings out the point that
    >since helmets wont protect from most serious head injuries (since they arent
    >designed to do this at road traffic accident speeds), reducing the cause of
    >accidents is a far more effective way of reducing head injuries?


    The idea of the final paragraph is to bring home the point that the
    drivers of the vehicles which most of the danger on the roads (even
    those kamikaze kids will likely not die unless their path intersects
    with a motor vehicle) are not some nebulous "them", but are the far
    less nebulous "us". Do we sit there crying into our beer because
    driving causes danger, or do we do something about it by reducing the
    danger we ourselves pose, and setting an example?

    Guy
    --
    May contain traces of irony. Contents liable to settle after posting.
    http://www.chapmancentral.co.uk

    88% of helmet statistics are made up, 65% of them at Washington University
     
  20. Tony Raven

    Tony Raven Guest

    Dr Curious wrote:
    >
    > Fair enough. "Slower" here, is presumably a substitute for something
    > on the lines of "at a speed which is slower than you normally do".
    >
    > As a matter of interest is "drive at a slower speed" correct?


    Yes because slower is an adjective and it is being used correctly to modify
    the noun speed

    >
    > Presumably the "more carefully" should really cover the speed aspect
    > in any case, but your suggestion of "reduce their speed" seems the most
    > obvious solution. Though there may still be a bit of mileage to be got out
    > of "more slowly" perhaps.
    >


    Not really. You could drive more slowly and less carefully or more quickly
    but more carefully. Tricky stuff this grammar ;-)

    Tony
     
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