Patrick Herring wrote:
> BTW, the caution about other traffic doesn't wear off with
> familiarity. It stays at exactly the right level since there's nothing
> now in the way to skew the reasoning process.
Neat theory but it's too simple, IMO.
There is *over*-caution immediately after giving up the helmet because
your head feels very different so you can't stop thinking about how
"vulnerable" you are. But, IME, that does evaporate after you get used to
the way your head feels and behaviour then normalises.
But going back to how it is when wearing a helmet...........
I've always had some trouble with the risk compensation theory with
bicycle helmets (on-road at least) because, at least with well-experienced
or informed cyclists*, there are plenty of fears to keep you in check
*before* worrying about hitting your head. I don't want to fall or crash
because I'm quite likely to badly graze my arms and legs, sprain a wrist
and wreck my bike. I don't want any of those things happening at all! So
I don't want to crash at all. Head protection is very much a secondary
consideration, in fact so much so that I don't bother wearing one any more
for normal cycling**.
Actually I did once hit my head in a cycling accident whilst not wearing a
helmet, but the experience only reinforces my view as the head injury
didn't actually cause me any problems (apart from forgetting the
circumstances of the crash). It was the damage to my back and bike that
put me out of action for a long time. Of course the head injury could
have been worse if the impact was worse, but as we know, bicycle helmets
can't actually provide much protection anyway. The experience also made
me modify my behaviour, considerably, but I fear that I'm slowly returning
to my old ways.
Still, knowing my head is better protected wouldn't make me want to risk
busting my arms and legs and bike any more. But perhaps this does not
apply to people who regard those sort of injuries as trivial, so Helmet
Risk Compensation Theory probably apply to them.
* people who know that other injuries are more common than head injuries.
** I did for a year or so: got fed up with getting overheated (vents only
work when moving, and moving at a good speed). I don't believe I took any
more risks when I wore one for regular cycling. However, I would wear one
again if I deliberately wanted to take more risks for more special kinds
of cycling, eg. for racing or chain gang type riding or hard-core