Helmet Wankers

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Tom Kunich, Feb 2, 2004.

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  1. S. Anderson wrote:

    > "frkrygow" <"frkrygow"@omitcc.ysu.edu> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    >> Admittedly, some people won't have the curiosity to learn much about the issue. For them, I
    >> suppose there is no point to this. They should just go back to watching TV.
    >
    > The TV part is interesting. I always think about the three wheel ATV in situations like this. They
    > were banned in some places because they were "inherently unstable and dangerous". I always liked
    > to point out that if you let go of a motorcycle, it would fall over all by itself..how much more
    > "unstable" can you get?

    This is not a very good example, however. Two wheeled vehicles are leaned into turns, and are thus
    in no danger of tipping over.

    --
    Benjamin Lewis

    "Love is a snowmobile racing across the tundra and then suddenly it flips over, pinning you
    underneath. At night, the ice weasels come." --Matt Groening
     


  2. Dane Jackson wrote:

    > Benjamin Lewis <[email protected]> wrote:
    >> Rick Onanian wrote:
    >
    >>> On Fri, 6 Feb 2004 17:14:58 -0500, "S. Anderson" <[email protected]> wrote:
    >>>
    >>>> successfully convert a person from one side to the other?!?! What's the point of this?!?! ;-)
    >>>
    >>> They have never had any effect. There is no point.
    >
    >> I was converted from a mostly "helmets are a good idea" point of view to a "they probably do
    >> little or no good and may do harm" point of view (although I was always against MHLs).
    >
    > I'll chime in with a "me-too" here. I don't think I was too far inclined towards liking them much,
    > but I basically bought the message.
    >
    > Keep in mind, no-one who actually posts to these threads is likely to change their minds. If
    > they've worked up enough of an opinion to post, more than likely they've already drunk the
    > kool-aid.

    I worked up enough of an opinion to post, after reading some case studies. It wasn't until further
    reading that I changed my mind. I can also conceive of being re-convinced that they could in fact
    have a small benefit, but that we don't see it because of risk compensation, and that an educated
    user could therefore improve his risk level by consciously avoiding this compensation.

    In any event, I think cycling is safe enough that this is academic. I wouldn't start wearing a
    helmet as a pedestrian even if they were shown to completely prevent *all* head injuries.

    I *do* wear a bicycle helmet, as required by law here.

    --
    Benjamin Lewis

    "Love is a snowmobile racing across the tundra and then suddenly it flips over, pinning you
    underneath. At night, the ice weasels come." --Matt Groening
     
  3. Peter Keller wrote:

    > I have no strong views on this so i am resisting the temptation! However, when I l;ooked for Pico
    > I was annoyed to find that it was part of a much bigger package.

    It's okay, you don't want it anyway. Trust me.

    --
    Benjamin Lewis

    "Love is a snowmobile racing across the tundra and then suddenly it flips over, pinning you
    underneath. At night, the ice weasels come." --Matt Groening
     
  4. Chris B .

    Chris B . Guest

    On Fri, 6 Feb 2004 17:14:58 -0500, "S. Anderson"
    <[email protected]> wrote:

    <snip>

    >Hey..has Mr. Kunich managed to usurp the title of "Longest Most Useless Helmet Thread" yet?? We
    >must be getting close. Has anyone ever managed to successfully convert a person from one side to
    >the other?!?!

    Since this is a helmet thread, here's my anecdote.

    Growing up (I'm 23 now), I always wore a helmet for cycling, long before it was fashionable
    (especially amongst teenagers). Back when I started wearing it, I was really given a really hard
    time (admittedly, it *was* rather dorky looking) but I was always a nonconformist and frankly, I
    felt somewhat smug and superior about wearing it. I probably wouldn't have had a problem with a
    manditory helmet law.

    Believe it or not, after coming across some of the so-called helmet wars, I realized that my
    attitude about people who didn't wear a helmet (for cycling only) was prejudicial and that helmets
    weren't the magical life savers as is widely perceived. I rarely wear a helmet nowadays and that
    would be the end of it but when someone decides to hurl silly insults at me (or non helmet wearers
    in general) or lecture me, I don't see it as unreasonable to respond since I have made what I
    consider a knowledgeable and reasonable decision.

    >What's the point of this?!?! ;-)

    Well, if certain people weren't working hard to make it illegal to ride a bicycle without a helmet
    based on what I perceive as ignorance, lies and fear mongering about cycling, I would consider
    helmets a minor issue and mostly unworthy of comment. It has little to do with the helmet itself - I
    would have a similar attitude about legislating that bicycles must have handlebars which give way; a
    story which came up in 2002 hinted that this might come someday:

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/09/020913065232.htm
     
  5. Tom Kunich

    Tom Kunich Guest

    "frkrygow" <"frkrygow"@omitcc.ysu.edu> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > S. Anderson wrote:
    >
    > > Has anyone ever managed to successfully convert a person from one side to the other?!?!
    >
    > Yes. There was a time, long ago, when I thought helmets were a good idea and deserved promotion
    > (although I wasn't in favor of mandating them).

    I will say that people who ride very fast should probably wear helmets. They usually are in company
    with others' doing the same stupid things and they end up crashing each other. My brother has spent
    the last year and a half recovering from one of those accidents. I tried to tell him that the people
    he was riding with were idiots but he thought that they were too macho for me. Now the ligament in
    his hand is 20 lb test fishing line and it will feel a little strange forever after.

    When he came off he went head first onto the ground. I think that whenever an individual falls with
    no other vehicles or hard objects other than the ground involved a helmet might make a perceptable
    difference. So actually I am for club rides and especially those who are always semi-racing to wear
    them. This DOES come under that heading of "extreme riding".
     
  6. Tom Kunich

    Tom Kunich Guest

    "Just zis Guy, you know?" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > "Nick Maclaren" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    >
    > > Helmets almost certainly reduce trivial head injuries in all classes of cyclist - i.e. mere
    > > bruises, cuts and so on. Yes, some of the cuts may have needed hospital treatment, but they
    > > are STILL trivial.
    > >
    > > Helmets almost certainly make a negligible difference to the incidence of brain damage
    > > following an accident for normal cyclists, and the data are not good enough to tell whether
    > > the difference is positive or negative.
    > >
    > > Helmets probably help with extreme cycling - crashes at speeds above 30 MPH, people who ride
    > > over broken rock and so on - the evidence is very scanty and hence inconclusive, but is at
    > > least fairly consistent.
    > >
    > > Mandatory and even semi-mandatory helmet wearing reduces the number of normal cyclists
    > > significantly, especially those that are using cycling as a form of transport rather than
    > > recreation. And 'significantly' is of the order of tens of percent.
    > >
    > On the face of it it's hard to add anything to that, other than that I believe the evidence
    > indicates that cyclists wearing helmets have a
    greater
    > propensity to risk-taking (risk compensation).
    >
    > The helmet issue also affects the perception of the risk of cycling by drivers, such that they are
    > likely to attribute the death of a cyclist wrongly as the consequence of cycling being a dangerous
    > activity, when the reality is that it's driving that's dangerous. What a horrible sentence.
    I
    > think you know what I mean, though.

    I'm going to add my two cents here:

    The human body has been designed over the ages to prevent injury to itself often in quite clever
    ways. For instance, if you fall the the side, your shoulders are generally the correct width so that
    the sharp JERK of the body striking the ground will slam your head sideways. The neck ligaments and
    the spinal column are such that your head will generally NOT hit the ground if your shoulder does.

    If you are wearing a helmet your head is a great deal larger in diameter and the head WILL hit with
    the helmet where it wouldn't without. So there you have a head strike where none would have occurred
    without the helmet.

    And furthermore, a helmet is about 10% of the weight of the head. And this weight isn't distributed
    around the whole head but is instead perched atop the head at a point furthest from the muscles and
    ligaments that are being called to duty to support it. This is not a problem during normal
    manuveuring but in accidents where decelerations on the order of 10 gs or more are commonplace, it
    becomes a real problem

    You may THINK that a helmet is a featherweight device that you can ignore but in fact it isn't. The
    physical size and weight bear grave possibilities in minor accidents and I have no doubt that this
    is one reason that statistics don't seem to show any of the expected drops in even minor injuries to
    cyclists who use them.
     
  7. Tom Kunich

    Tom Kunich Guest

    "John Doe" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    >
    > BTW: When they introduced compulsory helmet wearing for motor cyclists did the participation rate
    > drop? Although the reason that people are much
    more
    > aggressive on the road could explain the decrease in popularity.

    Here is a piece of anecdotal but strong evidence:

    When I first returned to bicycling, I used to get home from work and do a 10 mile (16 km) ride
    around the neighborhood. I got off early and so I would usually ride past two local schools before
    they got out. One was a Jr. High and the other a High School (grades 7-9 and 10-12 or ages 12-15
    and 16-18).

    Out in front of these schools the walkways were completely lined with bike racks and there were
    hundreds of bicycles there. The racks were overflowing and there were bikes leaned against the
    buildings and laying on the lawns carelessly unlocked.

    California passed a helmet law for children 18 and under that was to come into effect on the first
    day of the new year.

    Up until that time the bicycles were there. The VERY FIRST DAY of the helmet law there were perhaps
    a dozen bicycles out in front of the high school and none at the Jr. High. Within a month there
    were no longer any bicycles out in front. Not too long after that they removed the racks from the
    front of the schools and put them around back. They were unused there as well and so were cut up
    and scrapped.

    It was my assumption that the school DEMANDED that any child that rode a bicycle to school wear a
    helmet in accordance with the new law. In California there's no place in school to put a helmet. It
    made riding a bicycle to school an unacceptable burden and ALL the kids saw that immediately.

    After 15 years still no bicycles and now there are SUV's forming long traffic jams out in front of
    these schools every school day now.

    The California helmet law was the most destructive to children's health of anything that they
    possibly could have done.
     
  8. Tom Kunich

    Tom Kunich Guest

    "Tony Raven" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > I'm not sure that is the whole picture. Cycling data for Perth shows that throughout the 90's
    > cycling was significantly below the 1991 level but in
    > 2001/2 it jumped suddenly to above th 1991/2 level.

    DUHHH, the Aussie victories in the Tour de France, Olympics and other racing has had a salutory
    impact. The real significance is that helmets STILL don't have any effects worth noting. For people
    as sporting as the Aussies you can't forget the effects of racing on participation.

    Strangely enough, the biggest effect on cycling in the USA hasn't necessarily been racing but the
    fact that the population is aging and cycling is a good exercise.
     
  9. Tom Kunich

    Tom Kunich Guest

    "W K" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    >
    > Interesting assertion, but a subtle effect (not sure how you define "significant"), can be far
    > from negligible on a whole population.

    True, but remember that these are not the victims of accidents to which helmet laws are directed.

    > I thought the whole "risk compensation" business was about such subtle changes to behaviour. e.g.
    > people with seatbelts and ABS do not drive
    like
    > loonies, just very slightly less safely.

    But bicyclists with helmets will descend hills at 60 mph (96 kph) when they would NEVER do that
    without a helmet. My experience is that the difference in chance taking is rather large on bicycles.
     
  10. Tom Kunich

    Tom Kunich Guest

    "Just zis Guy, you know?" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > On Thu, 05 Feb 2004 21:51:51 -0500, "frkrygow" <"frkrygow"@omitcc.ysu.edu> wrote:
    >
    > >Your logic leads to the kind of society imagined by T.H. White in _The Sword in the Stone_:
    > >"Everything not compulsory is forbidden."
    >
    > Hey! He copied that idea from Switzerland!

    I was driving in Switzerland and they have a funny way of putting in signals. There will be two
    signals one next to the other. One will turn green and the other stay red but they look the same.
    The one that turns green means that THAT LANE can proceed.

    Well the first time I saw that I rolled forward about 6 feet before realizing my mistake and
    stopping. Since there was an island there it should have been no harm since I wasn't in the way of
    traffic turning in front of me. I was just 6 feet over the line.

    Well there was a Swiss motorcycle cop there shouting at me in the very instant. I looked German to
    him so he was shouting at me in German. When I said something, without a break he took up shouting
    at me in English. The gist of it was that the NEXT time he saw me break the law I was going to JAIL
    IMMEDIATELY!

    I was glad to cross the French border. Personally I like the French. Who else would hold the Tour de
    France every year?
     
  11. Dan Cosley

    Dan Cosley Guest

    In article <[email protected]>, Tom Kunich wrote:
    >
    > I was glad to cross the French border. Personally I like the French. Who else would hold the Tour
    > de France every year?
    >

    I imagine Germany would have been willing had they gotten the chance. :)

    -- Dan

    --
    Dan Cosley ([email protected] * http://www.cs.umn.edu/~cosley/) GroupLens Research
    Lab, Univ of MN (http://movielens.umn.edu/ * 612.624.8372) *** Just a foot soldier in the Army
    of Truth ***
     
  12. S. Anderson

    S. Anderson Guest

    "Benjamin Lewis" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    >
    > This is not a very good example, however. Two wheeled vehicles are leaned into turns, and are thus
    > in no danger of tipping over.

    Nonsense. What do kids learn to ride first? Tricycles or bicycles? What's more stable on icy
    roads, motorcycle or motorcycle with sidecar? Everytime a bike falls on its side it's effectively
    tipped over! I know what you're thinking, two-wheeled vehicles are obviously more stable, because
    you've ridden them extensively and you're good at it. Take someone who's never ridden either and
    which is easier to ride? And that's the root of the problem. It's too easy to hop on a trike and
    get into trouble because it's very easy at first and you think you're a pro. A person learning to
    ride a motorcycle has great respect for the machine because it's heavy and easy to drop on its
    side while learning.

    Scott..
     
  13. Tom Keats

    Tom Keats Guest

    In article <E1%[email protected]>,
    "S. Anderson" <[email protected]> writes:

    > What's more stable on icy roads, motorcycle or motorcycle with sidecar?

    Does the sidecar have a person or a sack of horse feed in it?

    Anyhow, the motorcycle alone is going to be the more controllable.

    A sidecar adds a whole bunch of alien issues to deal with. Even when just trying to ride a straight
    line. It's amazing, how much that extra stuff on the side induces lane-drift. From what I've seen,
    attaching a sidecar practically means having to learn to ride all over again.

    (I've never driven a motorcycle, but I've been the scared-shitless guinea pig in a new sidehack.)

    cheers, Tom

    --
    -- Powered by FreeBSD Above address is just a spam midden. I'm really at: tkeats [curlicue] vcn
    [point] bc [point] ca
     
  14. Q.

    Q. Guest

    "Benjamin Lewis" <[email protected]>

    > I was converted from a mostly "helmets are a good idea" point of view to a "they probably do
    > little or no good and may do harm" point of view (although I was always against MHLs).

    I'd like to second that. That is exactly what happened to me.

    C.Q.C.
     
  15. Just zis Guy, you know? wrote:
    > "Alan Hutchison" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    >
    >
    >>Nick, you have concisely articulated the issue. My comment is that the introduction of mandatory
    >>helmet use in Australia certainly reduced the number of normal cyclists significantly as you say,
    >>when it was introduced. What has happened since, though, is that cycling in all its forms is now
    >>increasing strongly after the famously reported decrease.
    >
    >
    > But still not up to pre-law levels, despite increased population. Cycling is also increasing
    > in the UK.
    >
    >
    >>Post helmet legislation, we are moving on. It can be reasonably argued that we would be afforded
    >>more safety by wearing our sun bonnets than helmets, but what party politician would risk the flak
    >>of trying to roll back legislation like this once it is in place. Some of us wear our helmets by
    >>choice and some wear them because we will be booked and fined if we don't, but we have moved on
    >>and cycling is on the increase.
    >
    >
    > Question 1: how many more people would be cycling if there was no helmet law?

    Couldn't say.
    >
    > Question 2: do you suppose that cyclists in Victoria are unique among road users worldwide in not
    > riding less safely when protected by a "safety" device?

    No.
    >
    > Question 3: your legislators were told that helmets prevent 88% of cyclist head injuries. Given
    > that the observed reduction post compulsion is, within the bounds of statistical accuracy, zero,
    > when will they repeal the law?

    Never. We are talking about politicians. You know, the ones parodied on "Yes Minister" and sung
    about in Gilbert & Sullivan operettas.
    >
    > In the UK we have no lid law. Someone is trying to push one through. from your experience of
    > cycling in Victoria, how desirable would you say a lid law is?
    >
    As I said in a previous post, in this country the wearing of sun bonnets would be more beneficial
    and sensible, legislated or not. But the most beneficial situation would be to allow individual
    cyclists freedom of choice because most set out to ride and survive.

    Alan.
     
  16. Q.

    Q. Guest

    "Dan Cosley" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > In article <[email protected]>, Tom
    Kunich wrote:
    > >
    > > I was glad to cross the French border. Personally I like the French. Who else would hold the
    > > Tour de France every year?
    > >
    >
    > I imagine Germany would have been willing had they gotten the chance. :)

    Not like the French much cared either way ...

    You know, a friend of mine had an old patch kit that was made in Germany. It came with a little
    instruction sheet with instructions in several languages. In every language there was 5 steps,
    except in French there was 6 steps. He wondered about this for a while until he had it translated.
    The extra French step? Step 1: WASH HANDS

    C.Q.C.
     
  17. S. Anderson wrote:

    > "Benjamin Lewis" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    >>
    >> This is not a very good example, however. Two wheeled vehicles are leaned into turns, and are
    >> thus in no danger of tipping over.
    >
    > Nonsense. What do kids learn to ride first? Tricycles or bicycles? What's more stable on icy
    > roads, motorcycle or motorcycle with sidecar? Everytime a bike falls on its side it's effectively
    > tipped over! I know what you're thinking, two-wheeled vehicles are obviously more stable, because
    > you've ridden them extensively and you're good at it. Take someone who's never ridden either and
    > which is easier to ride? And that's the root of the problem. It's too easy to hop on a trike and
    > get into trouble because it's very easy at first and you think you're a pro. A person learning to
    > ride a motorcycle has great respect for the machine because it's heavy and easy to drop on its
    > side while learning.

    This merely means that two-wheeled vehicles have a higher initial learning curve. Unless the centre
    of gravity is quite low, cornering on a tricycle can be dangerous for even the most skilled users,
    at speeds that are quite safe on two-wheeled vehicles.

    --
    Benjamin Lewis

    "Love is a snowmobile racing across the tundra and then suddenly it flips over, pinning you
    underneath. At night, the ice weasels come." --Matt Groening
     
  18. Tony Raven

    Tony Raven Guest

    Tom Kunich wrote:
    > "Tony Raven" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]
    > berlin.de...
    >> I'm not sure that is the whole picture. Cycling data for Perth shows that throughout the 90's
    >> cycling was significantly below the 1991 level but in
    >> 2001/2 it jumped suddenly to above th 1991/2 level.
    >
    > DUHHH, the Aussie victories in the Tour de France, Olympics and other racing has had a salutory
    > impact. The real significance is that helmets STILL don't have any effects worth noting. For
    > people as sporting as the Aussies you can't forget the effects of racing on participation.
    >

    Thanks, I'd forgotten about the Olympics which likely had a big effect on people being more active
    including cycling.

    Tony
     
  19. Peter Keller

    Peter Keller Guest

    On Fri, 06 Feb 2004 20:46:57 -0800, Benjamin Lewis wrote:

    > Peter Keller wrote:
    >
    >> I have no strong views on this so i am resisting the temptation! However, when I l;ooked for Pico
    >> I was annoyed to find that it was part of a much bigger package.
    >
    > It's okay, you don't want it anyway. Trust me.

    I've used it. Great for small jobs, editing config files etc. Likewise nano. I cannot say I don't
    want it (nano anyway). Trust me. Peter

    --
    This transmission is certified free of viruses as no Microsoft products were used in its preparation
    or propagation.
     
  20. Just Zis Guy

    Just Zis Guy Guest

    On Sat, 07 Feb 2004 17:46:35 +1100, Alan Hutchison
    <[email protected]> wrote in message
    <[email protected]>:

    >As I said in a previous post, in this country the wearing of sun bonnets would be more beneficial
    >and sensible, legislated or not. But the most beneficial situation would be to allow individual
    >cyclists freedom of choice because most set out to ride and survive.

    Amen to that.

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