Helmet report response

Discussion in 'UK and Europe' started by Just Zis Guy, May 17, 2003.

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  1. Danny Colyer

    Danny Colyer Guest

    W K asked of:
    > > http://northporttrails.org/ouch.wmv (1.73MB)

    > What are you claiming that the helmet would have done?

    My reply to that will have to start by reinstating a couple of lines from NC's post that I was
    originally replying to:
    > > > For the useless proof through personal experience file, (* using proof by uncontrolled
    > > > experiment and strong assertion of
    untestable
    > > > hypothesis).

    It appears to me (and to many others who have seen this video) that the extra bulk added to the
    rider's head by wearing a helmet might well have changed the angle at which the head struck the
    ground in such a way that the spinal cord could have been severed. As it was, he was extremely
    lucky and didn't even realise he'd broken his neck until his father insisted on taking him to
    hospital for an X-ray.

    Of course, nobody can know for sure that a helmet would have made any difference, and I understand
    that Adam is unwilling to try a control experiment ;-)

    FWIW, here's a couple of quotes from the rider in the video: "The one second I take off my helmet to
    try something, I eat it nasty and break V2 in my neck."

    "I'll admit my helmet should have been on, but like stated, it wouldn't have done me any good in
    that crash. It might have even hurt me more."

    --
    Danny Colyer (remove safety to reply) ( http://www.juggler.net/danny ) Recumbent cycle page:
    http://www.speedy5.freeserve.co.uk/recumbents/ "He who dares not offend cannot be honest." -
    Thomas Paine
     


  2. Just Zis Guy

    Just Zis Guy Guest

    On Sun, 18 May 2003 15:11:14 +0100, "Danny Colyer" <[email protected]> wrote:

    >It appears to me (and to many others who have seen this video) that the extra bulk added to the
    >rider's head by wearing a helmet might well have changed the angle at which the head struck the
    >ground in such a way that the spinal cord could have been severed.

    It appears to me - and I am no expert here - that all the danger in this situation was resultant
    from the rider engaging in trick riding. Had he broken his neck, helmet or no, it would have been
    his own fault. Aside from that no useful lessons can be learned here.

    Guy
    ===
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  3. Just Zis Guy

    Just Zis Guy Guest

    On Sun, 18 May 2003 10:55:55 +0100, "Danny Colyer" <[email protected]> wrote:

    >(ISTR that the OED also now accepts "sulfur" as a spelling of "sulphur" and that at least one exam
    >board insists on the American spelling, but let's not go there.)

    Entirely reasonable: Sulfur is the IUPAC standard spelling (and Aluminium is the IUPAC standard
    spelling for Al, in case you think that IUPAC is dominated by USians).

    Guy
    ===
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  4. W K

    W K Guest

    "Danny Colyer" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...

    > > > > For the useless proof through personal experience file, (* using proof by uncontrolled
    > > > > experiment and strong assertion of
    > untestable
    > > > > hypothesis).
    >
    > It appears to me (and to many others who have seen this video) that the extra bulk added to the
    > rider's head by wearing a helmet might well have changed the angle at which the head struck the
    > ground in such a way that the spinal cord could have been severed.

    We're actually witnessing the opposite effect of the "helmet saved my life" stuff. Apart from that a
    squashed helmet will have taken some impact.

    It would be very difficult to tell how a helmet might have changed the impact. As they are more or
    less round after all and in an accident like that the angle wouldn't be changed much.
     
  5. Danny Colyer

    Danny Colyer Guest

    W K wrote:
    > We're actually witnessing the opposite effect of the "helmet saved my life" stuff.

    Yup, that was pretty much my point (and NC's I would guess, going by "For the useless proof through
    personal experience file," and "using proof by uncontrolled experiment and strong assertion of
    untestable hypothesis").

    --
    Danny Colyer (remove safety to reply) ( http://www.juggler.net/danny ) Recumbent cycle page:
    http://www.speedy5.freeserve.co.uk/recumbents/ "He who dares not offend cannot be honest." -
    Thomas Paine
     
  6. In message <[email protected]>, "Just zis Guy, you know?"
    <[email protected]> writes
    >As you would probably expect I am writing to the DfT to question their invalid use of the flawed
    >Research Report 30, 2002 (they are introducing a policy of not allowing any cyclist to be pictured
    >on any official document unless wearing a polystyrene foam deflector beanie).
    >
    >The result is here: <http://www.chapmancentral.com/Web/public.nsf/Documents/rr30>
    >
    >Any constructive criticism welcome either here or via the feedback link, the letter will be leaving
    >some time next week.
    >
    >Guy
    >===
    >** WARNING ** This posting may contain traces of irony. http://www.chapmancentral.com (BT ADSL and
    >dynamic DNS permitting)
    >NOTE: BT Openworld have now blocked port 25 (without notice), so old mail addresses may no longer
    > work. Apologies.

    It's excellent. Put a very concise executive summary at the front and it will get read, because
    that's what civil servants get paid to do. Also, send copies to your MP, the MoS, the Opposition
    Spokesperson, CTC, local authority etc.
    --
    Michael MacClancy
     
  7. Just Zis Guy

    Just Zis Guy Guest

    Updated in response to comments:

    Summary:
    ========
    As a cyclist with a keen interest in safety issues I read the Department for Transport's Road Safety
    Research Report No 30, 2002 (RR30)
    (http://www.roads.dft.gov.uk/roadsafety/roadresearch/bicyclehelmets/index.htm) with some dismay.

    My unhappiness stems not from the accuracy or otherwise of the report itself, although its
    acceptance without comment of figures which have since been publicly corrected is not a good sign,
    but from the fact that its stated limitations have clearly not been taken into account in the uses
    to which its conclusions have already been put.

    RR30 states in its Project Brief: "As part of its policy to improve the safety of pedal bicyclists
    DfT promotes the use of bicycle helmets, particularly amongst children. However, there is a wealth
    of published evidence both for and against promotion and compulsory use of bicycle helmets, and DfT
    requires an independent objective critique of the most up-to-date evidence on the efficacy of
    bicycle helmets. It is also important to have up-to-date information on legislative measures
    internationally and their impact on bicycling activity levels and safety." (my italics)

    The report then goes on to consider the epidemiology of bicycle accidents without properly
    addressing the evidence against promotion or compulsion of bicycle helmets. Some of this evidence is
    alluded to, and some is misquoted, but no attempt is made to pursue the real concerns raised by the
    most widely studied introduction of compulsory helmet use, that in Australia. While it is surely
    fair to claim that helmet promotion raises helmet use, this is not the question at issue. Having
    narrowed the focus to exclude the main arguments against helmet compulsion and include the main
    argument in its favour, the report unsurprisingly concludes that the evidence supports helmet
    promotion. In short, by addressing only half of the stated need, the report reaches a biased and
    probably invalid conclusion.

    Discussion:
    ===========
    This report focuses quite deliberately on the effect of cycle helmets once a crash has happened. It
    excludes, equally deliberately, time-series and whole-population studies which indicate the overall
    effect of helmet promotion and compulsion. The report is therefore quite clearly of no value at all
    in setting public policy which, by definition, affects whole populations. It excludes the
    considerations which might make it useful in that context, so it may at best be viewed as an
    interesting sideline to the real debate: how to reduce casualty levels among cyclists.

    One could take a cynical view and conclude that the report was commissioned deliberately to include
    only that data which is supportive of helmet promotion, and exclude that which casts doubt on such a
    policy. Certainly that would appear at face value to be the underlying agenda of the authors of the
    report, who are declared helmet advocates. Having read that there are those in the DfT who have it
    in mind to bring forward helmet compulsion legislation as soon as wearing levels are high enough to
    justify it, the cynical view looks even more attractive. John Franklin's thorough and credible
    rebuttal of the report is available here: http://www.cyclenetwork.org.uk/papers/broader.pdf

    In its conclusions RR30 references Unwin (1996) and his criteria for helmet compulsion:
    1. There must be a high level of scientific evidence that bicycle helmets are effective in reducing
    the rate of head injury to bicyclists.
    2. The benefits to society and others of mandatory bicycle helmets must be convincingly
    demonstrated, mandatory bicycle helmets cannot be justified simply to protect individual adult
    bicyclists.
    3. There must be widespread agreement, ideally by a large majority, that the potential benefits of
    compulsory bicycle helmets outweigh the infringement of personal liberty and other disbenefits.
    4. There must be good evidence to suggest that compulsory helmet wearing would not make the public
    health benefits of increased levels of bicycling significantly harder to obtain.

    RR30 concludes that criterion 1 is now met, but this conclusion is fatally undermined by, among
    other evidence, the increased injury rates seen in Australia post compulsion. TRL report 286 raised
    similar concerns regarding helmet promotion. This is a proper subject for further research.

    Quality of the review
    ---------------------
    The review has been undertaken by a group who acknowledge that they are in favour of helmet
    promotion. This is not, in itself, a barrier to realistic appraisal of the arguments. There are,
    however, some disturbing indications of possible bias in the report. For example, in Section 5 the
    authors review the situation in Victoria, Australia, and make the following observations: "While the
    increased rate of helmet wearing and reduced level of bicyclist casualties noted above is
    impressive, it is worth noting that it is possible that some of these changes were influenced by
    decreases in exposure. Following the introduction of the bicycle helmet law the estimated adult
    bicycling exposure increased marginally..."

    In fact the measured (not estimated) level of adult cycling declined by nearly 30% in the year
    following compulsion, and remained suppressed a decade later according to other studies. The rate of
    head injuries increased by over 20% in the two years following compulsion. The total number of head
    injuries reduced, but by less than the reduction in cycling overall. This suggests that cycle
    helmets are, in this case, either dangerous or irrelevant to cyclist safety. Given these known
    facts, the above is a serious misrepresentation of the Victoria experience.

    TRL report 286 raised the possibility that a major effect of helmet promotion is to deter cycling.
    It is noted that this requires further investigation. The need for such investigation, regarding the
    fundamental issue of the probability of a crash happening in the first place, is clearly more
    important than measures designed to mitigate the results once a crash has happened.

    RR30 also states that:
    - The pro-bicycle helmet group base their argument overwhelmingly on one major point: that there
    is scientific evidence that, in the event of a fall, helmets substantially reduce head injury.
    - The anti-helmet group base their argument on a wider range of issues including: compulsory
    helmet wearing leads to a decline in bicycling, ‘risk compensation’ theory negates health
    gains, scientific studies are defective, the overall road environment needs to be improved.
    - The way in which the debate has been conducted is unhelpful to those wishing to make a
    balanced judgement on the issue.

    This misrepresents or misunderstands the nature of the debate. Those who are pro helmet are a
    relatively small, vocal and homogeneous group, including many doctors. There is no significant
    anti-helmet group, but the group which is anti /compulsion/ (and by extension has profound
    reservations regarding /promotion/) is indeed diverse. It encompasses road safety professionals of
    international renown such as John Franklin, Mayer Hillman and Robert Davis. It includes the UK's
    oldest and largest national cycling organisation, the CTC. It includes Steve Norris, the
    Government's "cycling supremo." With such a diverse group, the range of concerns is naturally wide.
    But there is surprising uniformity on the issue of deterrent effect, because such studies as have
    been published, few of which set out to prove such an effect, make this conclusion inescapable.

    If "the way in which the debate is conducted is unhelpful to those wishing to make a balanced
    judgement on the issue," it is probably because the two sides have evidently not agreed on the issue
    in question. For the anti compulsion lobby the issue is reduction of cyclist injuries; for the pro
    compulsion lobby it is reduction of the severity of those injuries which do happen. As long as the
    means of achieving the latter is inimical to the former, agreement is impossible.

    Then again, perhaps the issue is how you define balance. Many groups have come to make what they
    perceive as a balanced judgement: balanced, that is, in that it weighs the evidence for helmets
    against the balancing evidence agin them. If the result is inconclusive, surely that is indicative
    more of the complexity of the issue than any failure in the debate. Yes, the research on bicycle
    helmets stubbornly refuses to conform to the notions of those concerned primarily with injury
    mitigation. Scientific method is awfully prone to dealing mortal blows to neat theories, and proving
    that the world is more complex than we would like it to be.

    Those of us who are against helmet promotion and compulsion are, by and large, well-informed. We are
    also, for the most part, cyclists. It is in our own best interests to understand the issues, to
    judge the risks and benefits. Far from being anti-helmet, many of us wear helmets as a matter of
    course; few will allow their children to ride without helmets; and fewer still will challenge the
    right of others to forego the notional protection of a helmet should they so wish. We are all aware
    of the realities of risk compensation, a theory so blithely dismissed by the pro lobby, to the
    extent its being placed in quotes by the authors of RR30. If risk compensation does not exist, what
    then explains the observed rise in pedestrian, cyclist and rear-seat passenger fatalities following
    compulsory seat belt legislation in the UK? Given the availability of safety cages, crumple zones,
    ABS, airbags, high-performance tyres and road surfaces - surely driver fatalities in the UK should
    be, to all intents and purposes, a thing of the past?

    Factors improving cyclist safety
    --------------------------------
    There are three factors which are acknowledged to affect, above all other considerations, the safety
    of cyclists on the roads. They are, in no particular order, driver behaviour, rider behaviour and
    the number of cyclists using the roads.

    The new policy, allowing only helmeted cyclists to be shown in official publications, will
    inevitably reinforce the inaccurate public perception of road cycling as a dangerous activity.
    Interestingly I believe it will also make it impossible to show Steve Norris on his bike, since he
    is an avowed non helmet wearer.

    Helmet promotion of any kind, however well-meaning, has two direct effects: it deters people from
    cycling on the roads, and it by extension it encourages the use of more dangerous alternative
    provision such as shared-use cycle paths. It should be unnecessary to point out that the safety of
    cyclists on the road improves as the number of cyclists on the road increases, but this kind of data
    (widely available in credible peer-reviewed research) has clearly been excluded from consideration
    while drafting this policy. It should equally be unnecessary to remind you that shared-use provision
    is associated with greater risk of injury for the cyclists, greater risk of conflict with
    pedestrians, and undermines the legal position with respect to cycling on footways - a practice
    which is undesirable for many reasons.

    Helmet promotion has an insidious effect on motorist behaviour. It portrays the cyclist as one who
    is knowingly engaging in a dangerous activity, rather than one who is engaging in a safe and legal
    activity which the behaviour of drivers may make dangerous. It is well known that the largest cause
    of car vs. bicycle crashes is error by the driver of the car, and the most likely outcome is injury
    or worse to the cyclist. It should therefore be a matter of pressing concern to redress this balance
    by a mix of stronger penalties and better public information aimed at careless drivers. Instead we
    have the recent Think! campaign proposing defensive riding by users of powered two wheelers as a
    solution for inattentive car drivers. Helmet promotion comes out of the same bag: an unwillingness
    to deal with the problem at source, so shift the focus onto the victim. It is not hard to see why
    Governments are unwilling to deal with the issue of careless drivers; the way that motoring
    organisations throw their collective toys out of the pram when speed enforcement is increased is
    sufficient proof that they believe motorists' "right" to drive badly overrides the rights of other
    road users - after all, the motorist is nice and safe in his steel cage, so anybody venturing onto
    the roads without such protection is asking for trouble.

    Nor is it surprising that drivers fail to make the connection between everyday acts of aggression
    and discourtesy, and the risks these present to users of benign modes. There have been numerous
    incidents where drivers have caused the death of cyclists through bad driving and have attracted
    penalties so light as to amount to an endorsement of such behaviour. A driver who kills a cyclist
    and is allowed to retain their driving licence, despite a history of driving offences, can hardly
    fail to conclude that cyclists rate alongside dogs, badgers and foxes as road-kill: regrettable but
    not something over which one should lose sleep.

    Cyclist behaviour, too, is subtly influenced by helmet wearing. One of the reasons why time-series
    and whole-population data are so important in assessing the effects of helmet promotion is that data
    based solely on injury rates after crashes fails to take into account the question of whether the
    wearing of helmets makes the crash more likely. There is no doubt that the most survivable crash is
    the one which doesn't happen in the first place. The mechanisms for increased accident rates among
    populations with high helmet-wearing rates are imperfectly understood, although there is strong
    evidence to support risk compensation. The majority of helmet promotion material focuses on the
    danger from cars, but cycle helmets are of very limited benefit in car v bike crashes, which almost
    invariably exceed their design parameters. Helmets give protection primarily in single vehicle
    accidents at speeds up to 12mph. This covers many of the situations where bikes are in use, but
    absolutely not the one which is purported to be the greatest concern. A cyclist hit by a car at
    speed is likely to suffer injuries to many parts of the body, and the impact speed is unlikely to be
    within the ability of the helmet to give meaningful protection. The solution to this kind of injury
    is to stop the car hitting the cyclist in the first place.

    The most compelling data, that from Australia, demonstrates quite clearly that not only has cycling
    declined significantly since compulsion was introduced, but accident and injury rates have
    increased. This may well be due to reduced numbers of cyclists on the roads, but until the reasons
    are fully understood any form of aggressive helmet promotion remains risky.

    Government policy
    -----------------
    The Government's attitude to cycling appears almost schizophrenic at present. The talk is about
    promoting cycle use, migrating journeys to benign modes and making the roads safe for all users. The
    practice shows reasonable understanding of the bicycle as a leisure item, includes some promotion of
    cycling as an alternative to the school run, and leaves the bulk of the dangers and inconveniences
    suffered by transportational cyclists either untouched or worsened. It is as though the objectives
    are set by cyclists and the policies by drivers frustrated by school traffic and having to wait a
    few seconds before overtaking the occasional bike.

    In short, then, the DfT appears to have taken a research report whose conclusions are readily
    identified as flawed, extended it into an area which is beyond the scope of the report, and as a
    result introduced a policy which is likely to increase cycle crashes in order to promote something
    which is not proven to reduce injury when such crashes occur.

    If the DfT is serious about cyclist safety and promoting cycle use they should do as Steven Norris
    suggests and show ordinary cyclists going about their ordinary lives wearing ordinary clothes. A
    publication which shows in the background a City gent on his Brompton, suited, with his briefcase on
    the carrier and his hair unperturbed by his stately progress, will have more positive effects than
    any unrealistic photo shoot with smiling happy helmeted families riding mountain bikes on
    well-graded paths.

    In the mean time I suggest that whenever any member of the Department's staff is considering the
    issue of cycle helmets, they adopt instead a term which is gaining in currency among those who have
    a more realistic impression of the science which underlies their design and use. The term is
    "polystyrene foam deflector beanie."

    Personal perspective:
    =====================
    As a year-round transportational cyclist (who wears a helmet, by the way) I also offer below some of
    the things which would make my life safer - and which would address the concerns of those cyclists I
    know who are hovering on the brink of using their bikes for daily transportation:

    - An effective campaign against competitive and aggressive driving. The thing which is most
    likely to lead to my death on the road is not the wearing or otherwise of a helmet but the
    driver whose journey is so urgent that they cannot bring themselves to wait for a safe place
    to overtake. For the most part, of course, their destination is the back of the traffic queue
    ahead, but this does not deter them from taking my life in their hands and overtaking
    dangerously. I encourage you to observe the behaviour of drivers towards cyclists at a
    typical traffic calming pinch point. These pinch points are almost invariably not narrow
    enough to actually reduce speed (this requires them to be too narrow for LGVs and buses), so
    drivers are accustomed to negotiating them without slowing. When they see a cyclist on
    approach to such an obstruction their reaction is quite often to try to pass before the
    obstacle. Since very few drivers realise that cyclists can easily be travelling at speeds of
    25mph and more on a level road this judgement is often flawed. The result is that the car
    gets halfway past and cuts in to avoid the bollards. Perversely, those who have actually
    given the cycle sufficient space when passing cause more danger as they must cut in more
    sharply, and usually overshoot, often into the path of the bike. All of this, and the classic
    "left hook" where the driver overtakes the cyclist and immediately turns left, would be
    reduced if people drove more calmly -if the driver's first thought were not "how can I pass
    this slow-moving object" (bikes are rarely seen as vehicles) but "what is the safe way of
    negotiating this situation." Perversely, the focus on speeding as pretty much the only aspect
    of driver behaviour challenged by Government campaigns has resulted on an even greater
    determination to maintain the illusion of progress, at whatever cost to other road users.
    Campaigners against speed enforcement have validated the view that the driver's transient
    personal convenience is the overriding priority, and the driver may safely be left to judge
    the extent of his impact on other road users. Since few drivers even consider cyclists when
    making these judgements, the danger of this viewpoint is evident.

    - A proper public information campaign on overtaking techniques, and including overtaking in the
    Driving Test. Overtaking is a most dangerous manoeuvre and is routinely handled extremely
    badly. The principle is simple: drop back, wait until there is a clear space ahead, check
    mirrors, accelerate and pass, and when well past pull in. The reality is that drivers
    overtaking cyclists will do one or more of the following: sit within a few inches of the
    cyclist's back wheel, look at the cyclist not the road ahead, pull out without signalling or
    checking mirrors, start to pass and only then look ahead to see that there's a car coming the
    other way, move left to avoid the oncoming vehicle (squeezing the cyclist) and pull in when
    the cyclist is out of their peripheral vision (typically when the car is about 1/3 of the way
    past). And of course the four drivers are following on the bumper of the overtaking vehicle
    will follow through despite the fact that by now they are on a blind bend with more traffic
    coming the other way, each one moving out a few inches less than the one in front. Rules
    138-143 and 188 of the Highway Code appear on the face of it to be Terra Incognita to the
    average motorist. This must be remedied if transportational cycling is to become a more
    pleasant activity.

    - Widely available expert training for adult cyclists. I know the CTC are working to promote
    adult cycle training, but we have been trying for over a year now to find any group locally
    who will run an open cycle training course which my wife, a relatively new cyclist, can
    attend. She rides to school with the children several times per week and would value some
    expert tuition. One would imagine that this is precisely the kind of thing which the
    Government would wish to support, but there is a near-complete absence of training. I would be
    prepared to run a course myself if there were a nationally accredited instructors' training
    system. There isn't. From this year I will be running National Cycling Proficiency training at
    the school where I am a governor - there is not training available for me in advance; it's a
    matter of "sitting with Nellie" and hoping that "Nellie," in this case fortunately a well
    respected local cyclist, is suitably expert.

    Guy
    ===
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  8. Lin

    Lin Guest

    "Just zis Guy, you know?" <[email protected]>

    .. wrotea very thoughtful and well-argued response to the DTI report. I'm a civil servant in another
    Dept and I'd like to chip in, if I may, with some insider advice to ensure your letter gets the
    proper answer it deserves.

    So, from the other side of the desk, some tricks of the trade - Keep it short. Keep it focussed.
    Keep it polite and professional. Keep it your own words. Keep asking them to do things.

    Honestly, I don't think it works as a letter, because it's way too long. Yes your arguments are
    right, but it's all about presentation. In a hard copy, it should be two pages of A4 maximum.
    Whoever gets to write the response will be looking for Important Points to reply to. Send to the
    Secretary of State or a Minister. If you're a constituent of any Minister at DTI, send it to them.

    Including an executive summary is right - summarising the flaws of the research: selective
    bibliography, uncritical of pro helmet side, omits longitudinal studies, before/after accident rates
    and types, or whatever flaws you think it has. Don't summarise Franklin's article. *Don't*. Speak
    for yourself. Include that for further detail if you like (in hard copy for ease of reference), and
    give the URL.

    Don't muddy the waters by arguing that helmets are ineffective while admitting you wear one
    yourself. Bad tactics. Or by offering to teach kids cycling. Draw attention to other Govt
    initiatives that might cut cycle accidents if you like. But stay on topic.

    Don't accuse the Dept of bad faith and a hidden agenda in commissioning the research unless you want
    your letter to be binned and the anti-helmet /helmet sceptical argument to be discredited.

    Strategy. Don't just criticise - that begs for the "your letter has been noted and the contents put
    on file" response. Ask the Minister to *do* something. You have to make DTI think and give you a
    non-stock answer. Ask yourself what a "win" looks like in this situation. What do you want to happen
    as a result of writing to DTI about the report?

    Withdrawing the research from DTI's site is not an option (taxpayers paid, therefore taxpayers have
    a right to see). Placing Franklin's criticism on the website won't happen but it's worth suggesting
    to stir the pot >:). Or you could ask for a public commitment that the flawed report won't be used
    to back making helmet wearing compulsory. Or for a commitment that there are no plans to make helmet
    wearing compulsory. Or draw attention to the contradiction in Govt policy between the drop in
    cycling that follows compulsion, and the targets to increase bike use - and raise public health by
    combatting obesity. Then ask how DTI intend to square that circle. Whatever you like.

    Be prepared to reply to their reply ...

    Sorry if this sounds blunt. I mean it constructively. I hope you and other people find it helpful.
    It's kinda hard for me to respond to the report working where I work, so I am very grateful to all
    of you who are prepared to put pen to paper.

    Best wishes Lin
     
  9. Just Zis Guy

    Just Zis Guy Guest

    On 19 May 2003 12:12:26 -0700, [email protected] (Lin) wrote:

    >Sorry if this sounds blunt. I mean it constructively.

    It is immensely helpful, thank you very much.

    Guy
    ===
    ** WARNING ** This posting may contain traces of irony. http://www.chapmancentral.com (BT ADSL and
    dynamic DNS permitting)
    NOTE: BT Openworld have now blocked port 25 (without notice), so old mail addresses may no longer
    work. Apologies.
     
  10. David Hansen

    David Hansen Guest

    On 19 May 2003 12:12:26 -0700 someone who may be
    [email protected] (Lin) wrote this:-

    >Don't accuse the Dept of bad faith and a hidden agenda in commissioning the research unless you
    >want your letter to be binned

    I'm sure that the truth hurts, but that's not necessarily a reason not to speak the truth. What this
    may mean is ignoring officials if they are unwilling to listen to the truth and dealing with other
    groups. This is an approach that is being used more and more.

    >Withdrawing the research from DTI's site is not an option (taxpayers paid, therefore taxpayers have
    >a right to see).

    It isn't research. It's a collection of dubious papers, some of which have even been corrected by
    the authors but this "minor" detail has been ignored by the reports authors. It was assembled by a
    person to support a particular line, or it was assembled by someone who didn't know much about the
    subject. Perhaps a person who didn't know much about the subject to support a particular line.

    --
    David Hansen, Edinburgh | PGP email preferred-key number F566DA0E I will always explain revoked
    keys, unless the UK government prevents me using the RIP Act 2000.
     
  11. "Tony Raven" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > In news:[email protected], Nick Kew <[email protected]> typed:
    > >
    > > "This response was written by Guy Chapman, and reviewed by participants in uk.rec.cycling, the
    > > internet[1] discussion forum for cyclists in the UK. We, the undersigned, support Chapman's
    > > arguments and conclusions."
    > >
    >
    > Please do not abuse urc in that way. It has been discussed by a small subset of urc, not reviewed
    > by urc. The views of urc on this topic, as on most, are diverse and there is no concensus.
    >
    > Otherwise we will see PS making equally valid statements on his web site that his theories have
    > been reviewed by urc ;-)
    >
    > Tony

    What would be much more useful is if the people who think that the DfT "research" is somewhat
    wanting (i.e. stinks worse than a dead dog farting) were to write to the DfT explaining that, and
    also that the DfT will have no credibility until they sack the people who commissioned this report
    and disown it completely. And commission some proper independent research.

    Those who support the "research" are, of course, welcome to do exactly the opposite.

    Surely, even the pro-helmet lobbyists must have worked out by now, that if helmet proponents have to
    lie, their case ain't worth a flying fork.

    cheers

    Rich
     
  12. Dave Kahn

    Dave Kahn Guest

    David Hansen <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > On 19 May 2003 12:12:26 -0700 someone who may be
    > [email protected] (Lin) wrote this:-
    >
    > >Don't accuse the Dept of bad faith and a hidden agenda in commissioning the research unless you
    > >want your letter to be binned
    >
    > I'm sure that the truth hurts, but that's not necessarily a reason not to speak the truth. What
    > this may mean is ignoring officials if they are unwilling to listen to the truth and dealing with
    > other groups. This is an approach that is being used more and more.

    Maybe, but in this case Guy is dealing with the officials and it therefore makes sense for him to
    avoid a strategy that guarantees failure.

    --
    Dave...
     
  13. Just Zis Guy

    Just Zis Guy Guest

    On 20 May 2003 06:44:57 -0700, [email protected] (Dave Kahn) wrote:

    >in this case Guy is dealing with the officials and it therefore makes sense for him to avoid a
    >strategy that guarantees failure.

    Quite. So the version which goes will be much more moderate, while the original will remain
    alongside it on my website as a Crib to Reel Thorts.

    Guy
    ===
    ** WARNING ** This posting may contain traces of irony. http://www.chapmancentral.com (BT ADSL and
    dynamic DNS permitting)
    NOTE: BT Openworld have now blocked port 25 (without notice), so old mail addresses may no longer
    work. Apologies.
     
  14. Just Zis Guy

    Just Zis Guy Guest

    On Tue, 20 May 2003 00:02:23 +0100, "Richard Burton" <[email protected]> wrote:

    >What would be much more useful is if the people who think that the DfT "research" is somewhat
    >wanting (i.e. stinks worse than a dead dog farting) were to write to the DfT explaining that, and
    >also that the DfT will have no credibility until they sack the people who commissioned this report
    >and disown it completely. And commission some proper independent research.

    Lin made some very pertinent comments further down the thread, which I'll be putting into practice.
    Notably asking specific questions which require answers, and including calls for action (including,
    and I absolutely love this, a request that until the factual errors in the report are corrected and
    the report is subjected to peer review, they link John Franklin's rebuttal from the same site :-D

    I will be writing, am writing, to the Dft - as I have done before. I also copy my MP, who is chair
    of the all-party parliamentary cycling group.

    These people are paid to represent us - let's make it happen.

    Guy
    ===
    ** WARNING ** This posting may contain traces of irony. http://www.chapmancentral.com (BT ADSL and
    dynamic DNS permitting)
    NOTE: BT Openworld have now blocked port 25 (without notice), so old mail addresses may no longer
    work. Apologies.
     
  15. Lin

    Lin Guest

    David Hansen <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > On 19 May 2003 12:12:26 -0700 someone who may be
    > [email protected] (Lin) wrote this:-
    >
    > >Don't accuse the Dept of bad faith and a hidden agenda in commissioning the research unless you
    > >want your letter to be binned
    >
    > I'm sure that the truth hurts, but that's not necessarily a reason not to speak the truth. What
    > this may mean is ignoring officials if they are unwilling to listen to the truth and dealing with
    > other groups. This is an approach that is being used more and more.

    Can you prove the DTI and the researchers acted in bad faith and had a hidden agenda in
    commissioning the report? Have you got a smoking memo? No? Then you're making allegations that you
    cannot support – *not* telling the truth. Unfounded allegations piss people off. It's bad tactics to
    piss off Ministers and DTI when they are the decision makers you need to influence.

    >
    > >Withdrawing the research from DTI's site is not an option (taxpayers paid, therefore taxpayers
    > >have a right to see).
    >
    > It isn't research. It's a collection of dubious papers, some of which have even been corrected by
    > the authors but this "minor" detail has been ignored by the reports authors. It was assembled by a
    > person to support a particular line, or it was assembled by someone who didn't know much about the
    > subject. Perhaps a person who didn't know much about the subject to support a particular line.

    <shrugs> Perhaps, or perhaps not. Unimpressed by your galloping hypothesis that bad research =
    biased research = bad and biased research.

    But since it was published as a research paper on DTI's website, it is, technically and
    descriptively, a research paper.

    Someone who may be Lin
     
  16. Just zis Guy, you know? wrote:

    > Quite. So the version which goes will be much more moderate, while the original will remain
    > alongside it on my website as a Crib to Reel

    Gold star to Guy the goriller of 3b :)

    Dave Larrington - http://www.legslarry.beerdrinkers.co.uk/
    ===========================================================
    Editor - British Human Power Club Newsletter
    http://www.bhpc.org.uk/
    ===========================================================
     
  17. Graeme Dods

    Graeme Dods Guest

    "NC" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>... <snip>
    > Its well written and contains sensible well argued points.

    I agree.

    >But as a letter it will get nowhere - its too long and it takes a lot of reading to understand the
    >points your are making and the changes you want to the policy.

    I'm not sure about that. During the consultation period on the recent Land Access Reform bill in
    Scotland I wrote a rather long letter addressing many of my concerns about various aspects of the
    bill. In response I got a letter which, whilst not addressing each point individually, did make it
    fairly clear that the whole letter had been read. I was pretty impressed with this (I got standard
    replies from my local MSPs who I copied on the letter) especially as the volume of mail they must
    have been receiving on the subject would have been very high as it was/is a particularly emotive
    subject amongst many people. However, the DfT may be different.

    Have fun!

    Graeme
     
  18. Guy Chapman

    Guy Chapman Guest

    "Dave Larrington" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...

    > > Quite. So the version which goes will be much more moderate, while the original will remain
    > > alongside it on my website as a Crib to Reel

    > Gold star to Guy the goriller of 3b :)

    That would be Goriller Ma., winner of the Mrs Joyful prize for rafia work and Captane of Everything.

    It was only re-reading as an adult that I realised that Peason was a mis-spelling of Pearson...
     
  19. Guy Chapman wrote:

    > It was only re-reading as an adult that I realised that Peason was a mis-spelling of Pearson...

    Is it really? Good Lord! How did you come to discover that?

    Dave Larrington - http://www.legslarry.beerdrinkers.co.uk/
    ===========================================================
    Editor - British Human Power Club Newsletter
    http://www.bhpc.org.uk/
    ===========================================================
     
  20. Just Zis Guy

    Just Zis Guy Guest

    On Wed, 21 May 2003 14:53:31 +0100, "Dave Larrington" <[email protected]> wrote:

    >> It was only re-reading as an adult that I realised that Peason was a mis-spelling of Pearson...

    >Is it really? Good Lord! How did you come to discover that?

    Maybe exposure to txts has mprvd my ablty to rd wds wth mssng lttrs. Or not.

    Guy
    ===
    ** WARNING ** This posting may contain traces of irony. http://www.chapmancentral.com (BT ADSL and
    dynamic DNS permitting)
    NOTE: BT Openworld have now blocked port 25 (without notice), so old mail addresses may no longer
    work. Apologies.
     
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