Ontario Helmet Law being pushed through



Bill Z. wrote:
>
> As I said, you people rant about T&R's paper as if that is the *only*
> paper that ever reported a postive result regarding helmets.
>
> > Of course, if you want to find someone obsessed with the 1989

Seattle
> > study then you have to follow a helmet zealot around. Someone like
> > Randy Swart, for example. After all, if the zealots didn't keep
> > quoting the known wrong 85% figure the Seattle study would have

been
> > long since relegated to the obscurity it so richly deserves. It's
> > almost as if the real figures are not big enough...

>
> If you do a google search on this newsgroup, you'll find that the

people
> who consistently bring up this 85% figure are all charter members of
> the anti-helmet crew.


That "85%" is absolutely the most commonly stated figure for head
injury reduction by bike helmets. Often, it's stated as "up to 85%,"
as is done for other quack remedies, but it's usually the only number
given - as if the highest, most unrealistic figure is the only one that
matters!

If you truly believe that the only people mentioning "85%" are those
posting here, then you MUST be completely ignorant regarding helmet
promotion.
 
B

Bill Z.

Guest
[email protected] writes:

> Bill Z. wrote:
> >

>
> That "85%" is absolutely the most commonly stated figure for head
> injury reduction by bike helmets.


So what? We were talking about helmets, not what Joe Blow writes
in a letter to the editor in the Daily Rag, nor what company X
uses or doesn't use in its marketing.

> If you truly believe that the only people mentioning "85%" are those
> posting here, then you MUST be completely ignorant regarding helmet
> promotion.


We were talking about what people *post* here. Pretending otherwise
is just yet another of your slimy debating tactics.

--
My real name backwards: nemuaZ lliB
 
S

Steven M. Scharf

Guest
Bill Z. wrote:

> We were talking about what people *post* here. Pretending otherwise
> is just yet another of your slimy debating tactics.


As long as he restricts those tactics to Usenet, it's fine. What we
don't want to happen is for that kind of stuff to be used in actual
debates on helmet laws in front of the poliiticians that make decisions.

The sound-bites and stupid anecdotes are used by politicians to mislead
their target audience of naive voters, but it doesn't work the other
way. Most politicians come from a legal backround, and are not impressed
by the type of faulty logic favored by Frank.
 
J

Just zis Guy, you know?

Guest
On Fri, 04 Feb 2005 02:41:52 GMT, [email protected] (Bill Z.)
wrote in message <[email protected]>:

>> >Funny that your side's only argument seems to be to rant about this
>> >single paper, as you pretty much ignore anything else.


>> Nice try, Bill, but seriously at odds with the facts.


>Try again - your side's argument is *not* a series of URLs you post
>now, but what the argument that is being posted by your side of the
>discussion *on this newsgroup.* Furthermore, what you *rant* about
>are the studies you are *complaining* about.


My "side"'s argument is that the evidence is far from clear,and that
the burden of proof remains solidly with those proposing intervention,
not with those urging scepticism. That evidence which purports to be
clear - such as the 1989 Seattle study, which remains the single most
widely-quoted study in the world despite its widely-publicised flaws -
turns out to be flawed. Discussing these flaws is necessary when
people quote the studies. It's called debating the evidence, and it's
the way science and public policy should always work.

Naturally the word "rant" is not pejorative, since the man who throws
a hissy-fit whenever he is called on to produce evidence would never
dream of being rude, since that would be rank hypocrisy.

>As I said, you people rant about T&R's paper as if that is the *only*
>paper that ever reported a postive result regarding helmets.


The UK's primary helmet promoters have just revised their website, and
85% is quoted as the figure for efficacy. This despite the fact that
they were judged to be unable to support it in a recent complaint to
the UK's advertising standards body. So they clearly think the 1989
Seattle study - the largest efficacy figure from any study I can think
of - is the best to quote. The fact that it is well-known to be bogus
clearly does not matter to them. Or to the local authorities whose
websites parrot the figure, often supplied to them by these people.
No other study since has managed to duplicate the figure, which is
hardly a surprise because few other authors would be foolish enough to
compare entirely different groups of cyclists and attribute all the
difference in injury rates to helmets rather than behavioural
differences. Like it or not, the bogus 1989 study is the single most
influential piece of helmet research in the world.

Going back a way I used to believe that stuff as well. Then the
faults in the Seattle study were drawn to my attention, and I read it,
and found that it is extraordinarily poor. And I started reading
other helmet studies and found that they, too, are often extremely
poor. So when they are quoted uncritically I (and others who have
read them) tend to speak up. And it turns out that very few of the
people quoting these figures have actually read and understood the
studies, and fewer still have considered the conflicting evidence.
Many of them are unaware that conflicting evidence even exists.

>If you do a google search on this newsgroup, you'll find that the people
>who consistently bring up this 85% figure are all charter members of
>the anti-helmet crew.


Really? There are people here who are anti-helmet? Who would they
be?

85% figure quoted as fact without caveat:
http://www.childalert.co.uk/absolutenm/PPL.TB/whydontchildrenw-1-9.asp
http://www.ich.ucl.ac.uk/gosh_families/ask_dr_jane_collins/body/cycle_helmets.htm
http://www.edd.gov.je/site.asp?NavID=405&SubID=2&PageID=571
http://www.headway.org.uk/default.asp?step=4&pid=157
http://www.essexcc.gov.uk/vip8/ecc/ECCWebsite/display/guideContents/index.jsp?oid=16298
http://www.cornwall.gov.uk/Environment/Safety/education/cycle.htm
http://www.cwu.org/default.asp?Step=4&pid=177
http://www.dorsetcc.gov.uk/index.jsp?articleid=169841
http://www.peterborough.gov.uk/news/pressreleases/2001-08/20010808001.shtml
http://www3.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/transport/around/cycling/safer_cycling.htm
http://www.capt.org.uk/pdfs/CSWquizhelmets.pdf
http://www.projectboxes.co.uk/resources/smash/cycle_helmets.doc
http://www.dhs.ca.gov/ps/cdic/epic/bike/default.htm
http://www.texmed.org/has/prs/hhh/default.asp
http://www.bhit.org

And of course: http://www.helmets.org/stats.htm

Randy Swart says that he is aware of the fact that 85% is wrong but
that the figure is so ingrained in the injury prevention community
that "a change would not be helpful" - i.e. don't confuse them with
facts.

In fact it's quote hard to find any site recommending helmets which
does not use the claim "up to 85%" or even the plain figure 85% injury
reduction without even admitting that it is the absolute upper end of
estimates.

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

85% of helmet statistics are made up, 69% of them at CHS, Puget Sound
 
J

Just zis Guy, you know?

Guest
On Fri, 04 Feb 2005 05:29:38 GMT, "Steven M. Scharf"
<[email protected]> wrote in message
<[email protected]>:

>> We were talking about what people *post* here. Pretending otherwise
>> is just yet another of your slimy debating tactics.


>As long as he restricts those tactics to Usenet, it's fine. What we
>don't want to happen is for that kind of stuff to be used in actual
>debates on helmet laws in front of the poliiticians that make decisions.


Quite. Because once the polits realise that the helmet zealots are
lying to them, they won't pass the laws, and we all know that for all
your protestations to the contrary you are in favour of helmet laws -
there is no other reasonable explanation for your repeated urging that
people follow your unproven "they work but don't make us wear them"
route rather than the route of showing the flaws in the studies, as
practised with success in the UK and Republic of Ireland recently.

Frank has testified before a legislature on helmets, you have not. I
know others who have testified in front of legislatures, following
Frank's model, and succeeded in getting the laws abandoned.

I would be really interested to know, though, why it should be
considered a good tactic to allow bogus claims to go unchallenged. It
is not as if the epidemiology community is unaware of the problems of
self-selection bias and confounding - it's causing something of a
crisis in epidemiology at the moment. Check out the debate on HRT and
CHD, on vitamin supplements and on MMR triple vaccine.

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

85% of helmet statistics are made up, 69% of them at CHS, Puget Sound
 
J

Just zis Guy, you know?

Guest
On Fri, 04 Feb 2005 02:44:35 GMT, [email protected] (Bill Z.)
wrote in message <[email protected]>:

>What I claimed follows from the fact that accidents are Poisson
>distributed, which they have to be. Look up the necessary and
>sufficient conditions for that to see why.


So you say, but that is arm-waving, not evidence. The curve may or
may not be of a given shape, but without specifying the various
factors the shape of the curve neither proves nor disproves your
point, as you must surely be aware. So, some facts, please.

And in respect of the original assertion, that high-mileage cyclists
are more likely to wear helmets, you have yet to post any evidence
whatsoever.

Citations, please.

><rest of post ignored ... Guy is just ranting and it is a waste
>of time.>


Translation: "Laa laa, I'm not listening". Very mature.

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

85% of helmet statistics are made up, 69% of them at CHS, Puget Sound
 
B

Bill Z.

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

> On Fri, 04 Feb 2005 02:41:52 GMT, [email protected] (Bill Z.)
> wrote in message <[email protected]>:
>
> >> >Funny that your side's only argument seems to be to rant about this
> >> >single paper, as you pretty much ignore anything else.

>
> >> Nice try, Bill, but seriously at odds with the facts.

>
> >Try again - your side's argument is *not* a series of URLs you post
> >now, but what the argument that is being posted by your side of the
> >discussion *on this newsgroup.* Furthermore, what you *rant* about
> >are the studies you are *complaining* about.

>
> My "side"'s argument is that the evidence is far from clear,and that
> the burden of proof remains solidly with those proposing intervention,
> not with those urging scepticism.


On the contrary, your side has been claiming that helmets are not
effective and "our" side is suggesting that your claims are based on
inadequate evidence. We are the ones being skeptical, and we are not
"promoting" helmets so we have no burden of proof - rather, it is your
responsibility to prove your claims.

<rest of Guys' garbage snipped, together with the rest of his messages
today - he's in "reply to everything I say" mode again and I've more
important things to do than to respond to long cut and paste jobs
posted by this troll>.

--
My real name backwards: nemuaZ lliB
 
S

Steven M. Scharf

Guest
Bill Z. wrote:

> On the contrary, your side has been claiming that helmets are not
> effective and "our" side is suggesting that your claims are based on
> inadequate evidence.


Oh please. There are no "sides" here. There are two people, Guy and
Frank, that ignore the volumes of evidence, and there is the ROW (rest
of world), that looks at things objectively.

It is true that cycling is not a dangerous activity, and that no
mandatory helmet laws are necessary, but there is no debate that
helmeted cyclists fare better than non-helmeted cyclists, when crashes
do occur.
 
B

Bill Z.

Guest
"Steven M. Scharf" <[email protected]> writes:

> Bill Z. wrote:
>
> > On the contrary, your side has been claiming that helmets are not
> > effective and "our" side is suggesting that your claims are based on
> > inadequate evidence.

>
> Oh please. There are no "sides" here. There are two people, Guy and
> Frank, that ignore the volumes of evidence, and there is the ROW (rest
> of world), that looks at things objectively.


Let's define their "side" as the inside of the tiny little circle
that includes Guy, Frank, and maybe 5 or 6 others who are not arguing
on this thread at present. I used "side" to avoid typing their
names---they are not worth the few extra keystrokes. :)

--
My real name backwards: nemuaZ lliB
 
B

Benjamin Lewis

Guest
Bill Z. wrote:

> "Just zis Guy, you know?" <[email protected]> writes:
>>
>> My "side"'s argument is that the evidence is far from clear,and that
>> the burden of proof remains solidly with those proposing intervention,
>> not with those urging scepticism.

>
> On the contrary, your side has been claiming that helmets are not
> effective and "our" side is suggesting that your claims are based on
> inadequate evidence. We are the ones being skeptical, and we are not
> "promoting" helmets so we have no burden of proof - rather, it is your
> responsibility to prove your claims.
>
> <rest of Guys' garbage snipped, together with the rest of his messages
> today - he's in "reply to everything I say" mode again and I've more
> important things to do than to respond to long cut and paste jobs
> posted by this troll>.


It's interesting how the stuff you snip, which you claim offhand to be
garbage, always seems to be the strongest arguments against your
criticisms... I wonder to whom you think this tactic is convincing?

--
Benjamin Lewis

Tip the world over on its side and everything loose will land in Los Angeles.
-- Frank Lloyd Wright
 
J

Just zis Guy, you know?

Guest
On Sat, 05 Feb 2005 19:54:01 GMT, [email protected] (Bill Z.)
wrote in message <[email protected]>:

>> My "side"'s argument is that the evidence is far from clear,and that
>> the burden of proof remains solidly with those proposing intervention,
>> not with those urging scepticism.


>On the contrary, your side has been claiming that helmets are not
>effective and "our" side is suggesting that your claims are based on
>inadequate evidence.


As usual you have that precisely the wrong way round. Here's a simple
test: who is proposing an intervention - helmet sceptics or helmet
zealots? That tells you where the burden of proof should lie. That
it seems to be required of the sceptics that we spend our lives
reiterating the facts - that the studies are flawed and that there is
no real-world evidence for efficacy - is testament to the strength of
the True Believers' faith.

><rest of Guys' garbage snipped, together with the rest of his messages
>today


Translation: "Laa laa I'm not listening". As usual.

Oh, by the way, on the subject of evidence - which I notice you still
didn't provide - no doubt you can give the posting references from
which I supposedly copied & pasted the replies to which you object.
After all, if you can't that would make you a liar, and we know that
Zaumen Never Lies. For certain values of lie.

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

85% of helmet statistics are made up, 69% of them at CHS, Puget Sound
 
J

Just zis Guy, you know?

Guest
On Sat, 05 Feb 2005 21:08:42 GMT, "Steven M. Scharf"
<[email protected]> wrote in message
<[email protected]>:

>Oh please. There are no "sides" here. There are two people, Guy and
>Frank, that ignore the volumes of evidence, and there is the ROW (rest
>of world), that looks at things objectively.


For certain values of objective. And note that the list of sceptics
is substantially larger than Scharf asserts - and includes the UK's
foremost cycling expert, among others.

Always remember who it is that is proposing an intervention, and where
the burden of proof therefore lies.

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

85% of helmet statistics are made up, 69% of them at CHS, Puget Sound
 
J

Just zis Guy, you know?

Guest
On Sat, 05 Feb 2005 21:08:42 GMT, "Steven M. Scharf"
<[email protected]> wrote in message
<[email protected]>:

>It is true that cycling is not a dangerous activity, and that no
>mandatory helmet laws are necessary, but there is no debate that
>helmeted cyclists fare better than non-helmeted cyclists, when crashes
>do occur.


Forgot to insert the standard rejoinder to this particular canard:
that assumes that crashes are equally likely in the helmeted and
unhelmeted community. The one thing that almost all the helmet
studies prove beyond question is that the crash rates are different
between the two communities. Unfortunately those with the research
budgets are too busy trying to replicate TR&T 1989 to find out why
this is.

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

85% of helmet statistics are made up, 69% of them at CHS, Puget Sound
 
J

Just zis Guy, you know?

Guest
On Sat, 05 Feb 2005 21:27:22 GMT, [email protected] (Bill Z.)
wrote in message <[email protected]>:

>Let's define their "side" as the inside of the tiny little circle
>that includes Guy, Frank, and maybe 5 or 6 others who are not arguing
>on this thread at present.


Including the CTC, Britain's largest cycling organisation, with 80,000
members. The entire board is sceptical and they played a leading role
in defeating the helmet bill last year.

Keep digging, Bill.

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

85% of helmet statistics are made up, 69% of them at CHS, Puget Sound
 
B

Bill Z.

Guest
Benjamin Lewis <[email protected]> writes:

> Bill Z. wrote:
>
> > "Just zis Guy, you know?" <[email protected]> writes:
> >>
> >> My "side"'s argument is that the evidence is far from clear,and that
> >> the burden of proof remains solidly with those proposing intervention,
> >> not with those urging scepticism.

> >
> > On the contrary, your side has been claiming that helmets are not
> > effective and "our" side is suggesting that your claims are based on
> > inadequate evidence. We are the ones being skeptical, and we are not
> > "promoting" helmets so we have no burden of proof - rather, it is your
> > responsibility to prove your claims.
> >
> > <rest of Guys' garbage snipped, together with the rest of his messages
> > today - he's in "reply to everything I say" mode again and I've more
> > important things to do than to respond to long cut and paste jobs
> > posted by this troll>.

>
> It's interesting how the stuff you snip, which you claim offhand to be
> garbage, always seems to be the strongest arguments against your
> criticisms... I wonder to whom you think this tactic is convincing?


I didn't find it particular convincing (the first few lines told me it
was a re-hash of his previous rants) and snipped it for the reason I
said - I have a bunch of things to do today and really don't have time
for the umpteenth iteration of a reply to a cut and paste job.

We've gone over what is wrong with Guy's arguments time and time again,
whether you like it or not. If you prefer, however, I'll include
you in Guy's and Frank's tiny circle. They could use company - I'm
sure they are lonely. :)

I'll ignore the other three messages from Guy (i.e., flush them
unread.)

--
My real name backwards: nemuaZ lliB
 
Steven M. Scharf wrote:
> Bill Z. wrote:
>
> > On the contrary, your side has been claiming that helmets are not
> > effective and "our" side is suggesting that your claims are based

on
> > inadequate evidence.

>
> Oh please. There are no "sides" here. There are two people, Guy and
> Frank, that ignore the volumes of evidence, and there is the ROW

(rest
> of world), that looks at things objectively.


To me, that's an amazing statement. It's made by a person who has,
IIRC, posted no properly cited references to any papers studying this
issue. And it's being made about the two posters who have posted the
greatest number of such references.

I'm quite familiar with the "volumes of evidence," as shown by the
citations I've used. I'm familiar with the content of dozens of
pertinent research papers, including their strong points, their weak
points, and the discussions that have taken place in the research
community.

>From Mr. Scharf's posts, I'm led to believe he is almost totally

unfamiliar with any of the above - apparently because he feels, as The
World's Greatest Authority, that there's no need to actually learn
anything! ;-)


> It is true that cycling is not a dangerous activity, and that no
> mandatory helmet laws are necessary, but there is no debate that
> helmeted cyclists fare better than non-helmeted cyclists, when

crashes
> do occur.


Have you actually read, say, "Trends in Cycle Injury in New Zealand
under Voluntary Helmet Use"? Do you realize it belies your final
sentence above?
 
J

Just zis Guy, you know?

Guest
On Sat, 05 Feb 2005 23:11:00 GMT, [email protected] (Bill Z.)
wrote in message <[email protected]>:

>I didn't find it particular convincing (the first few lines told me it
>was a re-hash of his previous rants) and snipped it for the reason I
>said - I have a bunch of things to do today and really don't have time
>for the umpteenth iteration of a reply to a cut and paste job.


Since you repeatedly "flush", "snip", "ignore" or otherwise evade so
many of my posts, how am I supposed to keep track of which ones you've
read? Although there does seem to be a rule of thumb: you read any
which contain anything which could be construed as an insult, and
ignore the majority, especially where they contain facts, reasoning,
calls for evidence from you or whatever.

You have not, of course, provided evidence of this "cut & paste" of
which you speak. Unless you can provide the source posting IDs I will
have to conclude that you are lying, and not in the Zaumen sense of
disagreeing either.

>We've gone over what is wrong with Guy's arguments time and time again,
>whether you like it or not. If you prefer, however, I'll include
>you in Guy's and Frank's tiny circle. They could use company - I'm
>sure they are lonely. :)


Not in the least. Most of the regulars in uk.rec.cycling hold a
similar view, so that's a fair-sized group right there. In fact,
everyone I've come across who has actually taken the trouble to read
and understand the studies which the helmet zealots tout seems to come
to the same conclusion: that they are full of holes. Of course we
know that your library is closed for July 4, so you can't be expected
to actually read the papers under discussion...

>I'll ignore the other three messages from Guy (i.e., flush them
>unread.)


Translation: "Laa laa, I'm not listening". Just in case you hear
something which conflicts with your cherished beliefs, I guess.

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

85% of helmet statistics are made up, 69% of them at CHS, Puget Sound
 
B

Bill Z.

Guest
[email protected] writes:

> Steven M. Scharf wrote:
> > Bill Z. wrote:
> >
> > > On the contrary, your side has been claiming that helmets are not
> > > effective and "our" side is suggesting that your claims are based

> on
> > > inadequate evidence.

> >
> > Oh please. There are no "sides" here. There are two people, Guy and
> > Frank, that ignore the volumes of evidence, and there is the ROW

> (rest
> > of world), that looks at things objectively.

>
> To me, that's an amazing statement. It's made by a person who has,
> IIRC, posted no properly cited references to any papers studying this
> issue. And it's being made about the two posters who have posted the
> greatest number of such references.


Sigh - more propaganda and debating tricks.

Posting "the greatest number of such references" and then
(purposely?) misinterpreting them, while ignoring anything that
disagrees with their world view, does not constitute a respectable
argument, and that is what Krygowski et al. do.

> >From Mr. Scharf's posts, I'm led to believe he is almost totally

> unfamiliar with any of the above - apparently because he feels, as The
> World's Greatest Authority, that there's no need to actually learn
> anything! ;-)


Krygowksi et al. say pretty much the same thing about everyone who
has ever disagreed with them on this issue.

Meanwhile Guy is still being ignored (I saw one more post in the
header list but didn't open it.)

--
My real name backwards: nemuaZ lliB
 
S

Steven M. Scharf

Guest
Bill Z. wrote:

> Sigh - more propaganda and debating tricks.
>
> Posting "the greatest number of such references" and then
> (purposely?) misinterpreting them, while ignoring anything that
> disagrees with their world view, does not constitute a respectable
> argument, and that is what Krygowski et al. do.


I think that most everyone recognizes this by now.

The data I posted was uniquely relevant, because it compared injury and
fatality rates among helmeted and non-helmeted cyclists, as well as
pedestrians, and motorists. It also provided the actual numbers of
helmeted versus non-helmetd cyclists, so the data could be normalized,
and even when normalized there was a significant difference in fatality
rates.

Gardening and sofa-sitting injury rates are not going to impress the
Ontario ministers when they decide whether or not to enact the MHL.
Fortunately, they wont ever see such nonsense.
 
R

Riley Geary

Guest
"Steven M. Scharf" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]
....
> It is true that cycling is not a dangerous activity, and that no
> mandatory helmet laws are necessary, but there is no debate that
> helmeted cyclists fare better than non-helmeted cyclists, when crashes
> do occur.


I doubt that even most helmet skeptics would deny that bike helmets confer
at least some benefit for those cyclists who do find themselves involved in
a crash, but the real question of course is:

a) just how significant a benefit is confered? (obviously not nearly as much
as the 30-35% benefit demonstrated for motorcycle helmets, let alone the
absurdly inflated 85% figure still quoted by most helmet promoters); and
more importantly

b) does increased helmet use, particularly that produced by a mandatory
helmet law, actually result in a net increase or decrease in the overall
safety record of the cyclists involved?

A simplistic focus on just the first part of this question while ignoring
all the implications inherent in the second part is of no benefit at all to
either cyclists or society in general.

Riley Geary
 

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