Helmet use statistics

Discussion in 'UK and Europe' started by Alan Walker, Mar 2, 2004.

  1. Alan Walker

    Alan Walker Guest

    Conventional wisdom has it that the only way to survive leaping from an aeroplane in mid-air is to
    use a parachute. However, the epidemiology is extremely dodgy. Some people who exit a moving
    aircraft do so involuntarily. Compared to those whose exit was involuntary, those who deliberately
    jump out are statistically far more likely to be young, male, affluent and in excellent health. It
    is scarcely surprising that voluntary gravitationally-assisted disembarkation activities are, on
    average, more succesful than the involuntary: the statistics are confounded by the "healthy
    cohort" effect.

    I suspect that similar wooly-headed thinking prevails amongst pro-helmet lobbies.
     
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  2. Pk

    Pk Guest

    Alan Walker wrote:
    >
    > I suspect that similar woolly-headed thinking prevails amongst pro-helmet lobbies.

    I suspect it prevails amongst the paranoid part anti compulsion lobby as well.

    pk
     
  3. 2LAP

    2LAP New Member

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    I wear a helmet when I deem there is significant risk. Generaly, this is only when I go riding off road or ride on the track.

    I guess that people who suggest that helmets shouldn't be worn haven't visited a BMX track, velodrome or woods recently. Quite often I have seen people hit their heads while wearing helmets without injury. I have seen a number of riders (3) receive quite bad injuries from head impacts and far more cuts & bruses that would have been prevented by wearing helmets.

    Perhaps there should be rules for cyclists that take part in dangerous forms of cycling and children (who are more likely to take part in dangerous cycling activities and are least skilled).

    One problem with being amoung the anti-helmet wearing lobbies is that helmet wearing might be discouraged in instances where helmets would be beneficial and so increase risk.
     
  4. McBain_v1

    McBain_v1 New Member

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    I wear a helmet whenever I go cycling, either on my road bike or when I borrow my pal's mountain bike, it's just part of the gear that I wear.

    I don't see many cyclists who do not wear helmets around my neck of the woods. Guess it boils down to individual choice and a person's vanity. If you'd rather increase your chances of smashing your skull to shards and swallowing your tongue then don't wear a helmet.
     
  5. Marc

    Marc Guest

    2LAP <[email protected]> wrote:

    > I guess that people who suggest that helmets shouldn't be worn
    haven'tvisited a BMX track, velodrome or woods recently.

    I have never ever met anyone that has suggested that helmets should be worn
    --
    Marc. Please note the above address is a spam trap, use marcc to reply Printing for clubs of all
    types http://www.jaceeprint.demon.co.uk Stickers, banners & clothing, for clubs,teams, magazines
    and dealers.
     
  6. McBain_v1 wrote:
    > I wear a helmet whenever I go cycling, either on my road bike or when I borrow my pal's mountain
    > bike, it's just part of the gear that I wear.
    >
    > I don't see many cyclists who do not wear helmets around my neck of the woods. Guess it boils down
    > to individual choice and a person's vanity.

    No, it boils down to how you ride and whether you believe politicians or scientists. Wise was
    the poet who said man is a rationalising animal, not a rational one (2 literary references mixed
    up there).

    Faced with abundant data, do you select on the basis of large samples and rigorous methods (the
    scientist) or what supports what you want to do anyway (the politician).

    > If you'd rather increase your chances of smashing your skull to shards and swallowing your tongue
    > then don't wear a helmet.

    On the data that's available, that sentence would be no less true if you deleted the word don't.

    BUT if you're riding in a way that increases your risk of falling off, why not wear a helmet, as
    cuts and bruises to the head often offend.

    Colin McKenzie
     
  7. Peter Clinch

    Peter Clinch Guest

    2LAP wrote:

    > I guess that people who suggest that helmets shouldn't be worn haven't visited a BMX track,
    > velodrome or woods recently.

    First, I wonder how many thousand times it has to be repeated that being against compulsory helmet
    use is *not* the same thing as saying they shouldn't be worn. On the evidence often posted in this
    group, at least several thousand, it would seem :-(

    Second, people have been riding around woods and velodromes on bikes for *decades* without helmets,
    and neither was known as a bad area of skull-smashing carnage.

    > seen people hit their heads while wearing helmets without injury. I have seen a number of riders
    > (3) receive quite bad injuries from head impacts and far more cuts & bruses that would have been
    > prevented by wearing helmets.

    I wear mine to keep cuts, bruises and grazes at bay. The point is that compelling me by law to
    protect myself against cuts and bruises isn't really a terribly bright thing to do with laws.

    > Perhaps there should be rules for cyclists that take part in dangerous forms of cycling and
    > children (who are more likely to take part in dangerous cycling activities and are least skilled).

    Though again the case that kids have been riding around woods on bikes ever since there've been
    bikes, and nobody's found it unacceptably risky until now, and then only in some countries. Why do
    countries with ingrained cycling cultures like Denmark and the NL feel no need for this compulsion,
    even though they *ought* to have the biggest problem if cycling was really as unsafe as people like
    to make out here?

    > One problem with being amoung the anti-helmet wearing lobbies is that helmet wearing might be
    > discouraged in instances where helmets would be beneficial and so increase risk.

    Go back to paragraph 1 above. The "anti-helmet wearing lobbies" are mostly the products of
    imagination. I don't know anyone who's in any such thing. Many people who think there's such a thing
    have missed the point about *compulsion* having a proven track record of reducing nothing much
    except the levels of cycling everywhere they've been introduced. And one thing widely held to make a
    genuine safety difference to cyclists is the number of cyclists, with more equating to greater
    realisation of their existence and particular problems and that greater realisation leading to
    greater safety.

    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/
     
  8. Pk

    Pk Guest

    Colin McKenzie wrote:
    > BUT if you're riding in a way that increases your risk of falling off, why not wear a helmet, as
    > cuts and bruises to the head often offend.

    Which of course applies to any riding at all, as if you are not riding you cannot fall off, if you
    ride you increase your chances of falling off so why not wear a helmet?

    pk (;-)
     
  9. Peter Clinch

    Peter Clinch Guest

    PK wrote:

    > Which of course applies to any riding at all, as if you are not riding you cannot fall off, if you
    > ride you increase your chances of falling off so why not wear a helmet?

    Very simply because I'll increase the chances to practically 100% that I'll be less comfortable if I
    *don't* fall off. I've heard people say that there's no appreciable comfort difference, and I've
    even said that myself in the past. But I was kidding myself: Given the choice of having a snug
    chinstrap or not with all other things being equal I'd sooner not have it, it's that simple.

    On the MTB I *expect* I'll be falling off, and at the sort of speeds a helmet is designed to protect
    at, so I'll wear my lid. On the road I expect I won't fall off, so I'm far less likely to. And the
    last couple of times I have come off a bike on the road a helmet hasn't made any difference anyway
    (#1, not wearing one, 'bent slid out underneath me on a patch of diesel or somesuch. Completely
    unhurt, though a bit surprised; #2, wearing a helmet, exited over the bars on the Brom when I hit a
    vicious speed bump I'd not noticed. Cut my chin rather nastily, helmet never hit the ground).

    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/
     
  10. PK wrote:
    > Colin McKenzie wrote:
    >>BUT if you're riding in a way that increases your risk of falling off, why not wear a helmet, as
    >>cuts and bruises to the head often offend.
    >
    > Which of course applies to any riding at all, as if you are not riding you cannot fall off, if you
    > ride you increase your chances of falling off so why not wear a helmet?

    IF that's your choice.

    But there's a chance of falling over when you walk anywhere, and I don't see walking helmets
    being promoted. So there should be a level where helmets are deemed pointless even by their most
    ardent advocates
    - if they thought logically.

    Colin M
     
  11. 2LAP

    2LAP New Member

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    You are joking aren't you; in some areas of cycling helmets are compulsory (e.g. coaching sessions, racing, etc.). Wouldn't that cound as a large suggestion that helmets should be worn?
     
  12. 2LAP

    2LAP New Member

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    1. While you might not be suggesting that helmets are worn, by stating that helmets offer little protection, etc. you are discouraging their use. Surely helmet use should be encouraged (even if its not made compulsary)? If you are not saying that helmets shouldn't be worn and are saying that helmet use shouldn't be compulsary (i.e. should be worn); what are you saying???

    2. While woods, BMX tracks, velodromes, etc. are not the scene of skull-smashing carnage (I didn't suggest that someone else did) they are scenes where occasional serious injury occurs (including deaths) in *real* cyclists and non cyclists. As such why wouldn't we encourage helmet use if it makes these environments safer? Why shouldn't it be compulsary?

    I don't know what magazines you have been reading, but the nature of cycling has changes very much in the last few *decades*. BMXer's acheive huge heights off jumps, tracks/riders are faster, riding in woods now means *downhill* or *dirt* riding, there have even been deaths in TT's this year, average speeds have increased, more cars on roads (in towns and country), etc.
     
  13. Peter Clinch

    Peter Clinch Guest

    2LAP wrote:

    > 1. While you might not be suggesting that helmets are worn, by stating that helmets offer little
    > protection, etc. you are discouraging their use. Surely helmet use should be encouraged (even
    > if its not made compulsary)?

    In stating that they seem to offer no clear protection from serious head injuries I'm simply guilty
    of saying the same thing that the figures do. And while I'm in no way against encouraging people to
    wear helmets *if all else is equal*, quite often it appears to be the case that all else is *not*
    equal. For example, by getting everyone thinking it's daft not to wear one you are implying the
    incorrect viewpoint that it may be unacceptably dangerous without one, which in turn implies that
    cycling is dangerous, and that in turn discourages people from doing it.

    Take, for example, the DfT's X-ray poster campaign designed (so the DfT say) to encourage helmet
    use. It was a classic exercise in spin, bringing home to people that all sorts of nasty things can
    happen to them on a bike. That is true, but it's also true that similar or worse can happen to them
    doing "safe" things like being a pedestrian or car passenger.

    Since helmets really don't appear to make any differences to deaths and serious injuries for typical
    cyclists getting from A to B it is stupid to even imply they do, as you'll just engender a false
    sense of security.

    > If you are not saying that helmets shouldn't be worn and are saying that helmet use shouldn't be
    > compulsary (i.e. should be worn); what are you saying???

    Where did I ever say whether or not helmets should or shouldn't be worn?
    I've said is that there should not be compulsion to wear them, and
    I've said that anti-helmet and anti-compulsion aren't the same thing.

    > 2. While woods, BMX tracks, velodromes, etc. are not the scene of skull- smashing carnage (I
    > didn't suggest that someone else did) they are scenes where occasional serious injury occurs
    > (including deaths) in *real* cyclists and non cyclists. As such why wouldn't we encourage
    > helmet use if it makes these environments safer? Why shouldn't it be compulsary?

    As above, I've no problem with encouragement as long as it doesn't have the adverse side effect of
    putting people off cycling altogether. And going on about how dangerous cycling is while ignoring
    facts like *real* pedestrians are seriously injured walking along pavements does more to put people
    off by creating an air of doom about cycling.

    > I don't know what magazines you have been reading, but the nature of cycling has changes very much
    > in the last few *decades*. BMXer's acheive huge heights off jumps, tracks/riders are faster,
    > riding in woods now means *downhill* or *dirt* riding, there have even been deaths in TT's this
    > year, average speeds have increased, more cars on roads (in towns and country), etc.

    You're highlighting sport riding in isolation. Getting from A to B, which actually covers a
    significant proportion of what cycling is about, has hardly changed at all. And in sport riding,
    especially off-road, which is more dangerous, there generally *is* a culture of wearing helmets. I
    don't recall ever seeing a downhill MTBer at the local runs on Kinnoul Hill *without* a serious,
    full face crash helmet. These have no relevance to everyday utility cycling, and it's daft IMHO to
    try and apply usefulness of protective equipment and culture of using it in a competitive
    environment to the utility cyclist. It is like saying that since motor racing drivers use multi-
    point crash harnesses, fireproof suits and serious full face crash helmets then the same should go
    on in a family hatchback. There's no argument that in a crash a full harness is better than a seat
    belt, after all, but it's more trouble than it's worth in a utility scenario which is far more
    typical than lapping Silverstone at 200 mph.

    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/
     
  14. Simon Brooke

    Simon Brooke Guest

    in message <Gih1c.35831$%[email protected]>, 2LAP
    ('[email protected]') wrote:

    > Alan Walker wrote:
    > > I suspect that similar wooly-headed thinking prevails amongst pro- helmet lobbies.
    >
    > One problem with being amoung the anti-helmet wearing lobbies is that helmet wearing might be
    > discouraged in instances where helmets would be beneficial and so increase risk.

    There is no anti-helmet wearing lobby. There's an anti-compulsion lobby, which is an entirely
    different thing.

    --
    [email protected] (Simon Brooke) http://www.jasmine.org.uk/~simon/

    'Victories are not solutions.' ;; John Hume, Northern Irish politician, on Radio Scotland
    1/2/95 ;; Nobel Peace Prize laureate 1998; few have deserved it so much
     
  15. > > First, I wonder how many thousand times it has to be repeated that being against compulsory
    > > helmet use is *not* the same thing as saying they shouldn't be worn. On the evidence often
    > > posted in this group, at least several thousand, it would seem :-( Second, people have been
    > > riding around woods and velodromes on bikes for *decades* without helmets, and neither was
    > > known as a bad area of skull- smashing carnage.
    >
    >
    > 1. While you might not be suggesting that helmets are worn, by stating that helmets offer little
    > protection, etc. you are discouraging their use. Surely helmet use should be encouraged (even
    > if its not made compulsary)? If you are not saying that helmets shouldn't be worn and are
    > saying that helmet use shouldn't be compulsary (i.e. should be worn); what are you saying???

    Assuming he's saying what the majority of the anti-compulsion people on this ng are saying, cycling
    is really very safe. Relative to other means of getting about it's still VERY safe - walking is a
    lot more dangerous. We quite rightly wonder why people are proposing mandatory helmet laws to
    protect us from scrapes, bruises, concussion etc when cycling to the shops is a heck of a lot safer
    than walking to the shops.

    I've also touched on the inability of the cycle helmet to save people from death. It's just not
    designed for dealing with the types of forces generated in impacts likely to cause death or really
    serious injury. This is never mentioned by those campaigning to force people to wear them - they
    promote it as a means to save lives, something it absolutely cannot be relied upon to do. Given the
    safety of cycling and the relative crapness of helmets to save people from death or mental
    impairment etc there is no /should/ for wearing a helmet in normal AtoB bicycle riding.

    Basically, the anti-compulsion people believe one shouldn't lie about the effectiveness of helmets
    to make more people wear them. Nor should people mislead about the safety of riding a bike. Instead
    people should be told what cycle helmets can do, be told how safe/dangerous cycling is and then
    they will decide for themselves. What we've got at the moment is BHIT promoting popping down to the
    shops as some kind of extreme sport, lying to parliament (and everyone else) and implying that
    helmets /will/ save your life /when/ you crash. In reality they /will/ save you from minor injury
    to the top of your head, probably will save you from concussion etc, /may/ save you from something
    more seious, and /almost certainly won't/ save us from death or mental disability or whatever it
    called. But this is exactly what the compulsion lobby (and they do deserve the term lobby) claim
    and promote. It's a lie.

    So in summary, he's probably saying that cycling isn't so dangerous as to need protective
    equipment, but if you want to wear one it'll do a great job at protecting your bonce to a certain
    level in a fall.

    > 2. While woods, BMX tracks, velodromes, etc. are not the scene of skull- smashing carnage (I
    > didn't suggest that someone else did) they are scenes where occasional serious injury occurs
    > (including deaths) in *real* cyclists and non cyclists. As such why wouldn't we encourage
    > helmet use if it makes these environments safer? Why shouldn't it be compulsary?

    Easy one this - no reason why we shouldn't promote helmets as being something that's a good idea.
    Reason why we shouldn't make 'em compulsory is that it's not dangerous enough to make it a
    reasonable thing to do, and helmets are not protective enough to make them a reasonable solution.

    > I don't know what magazines you have been reading, but the nature of cycling has changes very much
    > in the last few *decades*. BMXer's acheive huge heights off jumps, tracks/riders are faster,
    > riding in woods now means *downhill* or *dirt* riding, there have even been deaths in TT's this
    > year, average speeds have increased, more cars on roads (in towns and country), etc.

    But in spite of all that deaths are at their lowest levels well, ever? I think the solution to the
    more risky forms of cycling can be dealt with by people realising that the activity is risky and
    taking steps to reduce it. Still worth remembering that bicycle helmets aren't really protective
    enough to be the ideal solution - AFAIK downhillers often wear helmets that are a lot more
    protective.

    Pro-compulsion people generally think that cycling is more dangerous and helmets more protective
    than they really are. Once they find out a bit more they generally shift to the 'wear it if you like
    - I do' view. It is interesting to note that most of the rabid anti-compulsion people on this ng
    seem to wear cycling helmets at least some of the time. I think there're only one or two people that
    are of the Absolutely Do Not and Never Would point of view. Fortunately they have more integrity
    than BHIT so don't peddle in lies and misinformation to promote their personal point of view.

    Hope that's clarified the general anti-compulsion point of view. Hopefully we can get another huge
    helmet thread started and then I won't have to get on with writing my essay. Actually, I'm not sure
    which is worse...

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  16. Pk

    Pk Guest

    Mark Thompson wrote:
    > cycling to the shops is a heck of a lot safer than walking to the shops.

    Can you justify that statement?

    pk
     
  17. Pk

    Pk Guest

    Mark Thompson wrote:
    >> Which of course applies to any riding at all, as if you are not riding you cannot fall off, if
    >> you ride you increase your chances of falling off so why not wear a helmet?
    >
    > If you walk you're more likely to die:
    >
    >
    http://www.statistics.gov.uk/StatBase/ssdataset.asp?vlnk=7250&Pos=&ColRank=1&Ran
    > k=272
    >

    I always enjoy such "innocent" misuse of statistics.

    44.8 per billion passenger kilomerters walking
    44.1.................................. cycling

    Neatly ignoring the difference in speeds, journey distances and exposure times. plus rolling into
    the walking data the children, drunks and elderly - none of which I am but which contibute
    dispropotionatley to the pedestrina death numbers

    pk
     
  18. > >> Which of course applies to any riding at all, as if you are not riding you cannot fall off, if
    > >> you ride you increase your chances of falling off so why not wear a helmet?
    > >
    > > If you walk you're more likely to die:
    > >
    > >
    >
    http://www.statistics.gov.uk/StatBase/ssdataset.asp?vlnk=7250&Pos=&ColRank=1&Ran
    > > k=272
    >
    > I always enjoy such "innocent" misuse of statistics.
    >
    > 44.8 per billion passenger kilomerters walking
    > 29.9.................................. cycling
    >
    > Neatly ignoring the difference in speeds, journey distances and exposure times.

    At last, I've posted this half a dozen times over the last few months - I think you're the first
    person to say this. As the figures are for transport
    (i.e.A-to-B stuff) I think per km is the best figure.

    > plus rolling into the walking data the children, drunks and elderly - none of which I am but which
    > contibute dispropotionatley to the pedestrina death numbers

    This is irrelevent in the context the data was presented (i.e. Big Brother looking down and seeing
    who needs the Magic Protective Equipment). Obviously from these figures giving the MPE to people
    walking prevents more deaths for your money.[1]

    Obviously for a particular person the figures above would be a very rough guide. But at least I
    didn't just make 'em up a la BHIT :p

    I would be fascinated to see figures for walking nd cycling adjusted for age,

    [1] Actually reading it again I didn't post it in that context at all did I!

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  19. David Hansen

    David Hansen Guest

    On Wed, 03 Mar 2004 13:13:59 GMT someone who may be 2LAP
    <[email protected]> wrote this:-

    >I don't know what magazines you have been reading, but the nature of cycling has changes very much
    >in the last few *decades*.

    Incorrect. You described sport cycling, not cycling.

    >more cars on roads (in towns and country), etc.

    Cycle helmets provide no meaningful protection to the head when a cyclist is crashed into by a car
    driver and their car.

    --
    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.
     
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