Ontario Helmet Law being pushed through



B

Bill Z.

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

> On Sun, 06 Feb 2005 19:40:03 GMT, [email protected] (Bill Z.)
> wrote in message <[email protected]>:
>
> >> Logical fallacy: burden of proof. We are not proposing an
> >> intervention, the burden of proof lies solely with those who are.

>
> >Wrong - your "side" is making statements that helmets are ineffective.
> >It is up to you to back up that claim. Neither Steven nor I have
> >proposed any "intervention" (so suggesting that on your part is a red
> >herring.)

>
> My "side" is challenging the helmet zealots to prove their case,
> especially in the context of those zealots trying to force their
> judgment on others (check the thread title). The fact that they seem
> unable to do so, preferring to resort to ad-hominem, reversed burden
> of proof, appeals to belief or simply putting their fingers in their
> ears and chanting "tra la la I'm not listening" may be seen as
> significant.


There are no "helmet zealots" posting in this discussion, although
there are several anti-helmet zealots. Those of us disagreeing with
you have simply been pointing out that you haven't proven your case.
>
> You downplay your position here - I wonder why?


I'm not "downplaying" it. I'm stating what I've been stating for the
past 10 years (your sides attempt to pretend otherwise
notwithstanding.)

<plonk for the rest of today>
--
My real name backwards: nemuaZ lliB
 
S

Steven M. Scharf

Guest
b_baka wrote:

> There really is no argument over the logic that helmets do reduce head
> injuries,


You might want to go back and read this thread in its entirety! You're
wrong when you say "there really is no argument."

> but I would like the option of making the decision to wear a
> helmet for myself.


This is exactly what I, and most other people in this thread, have been
saying for months.

Unfortunately, for some people, it just isn't comprehensible how anyone
can both acknowledge the reduction in head injuries and fatalities, when
crashes occur, yet be opposed to compulsion. It's as if they simply
can't bear to see someone who is able to understand both sides of the issue.
 
J

Just zis Guy, you know?

Guest
On 6 Feb 2005 18:59:20 -0800, "[email protected]"
<[email protected]> wrote:

>This is true. However look at the statistics on fatalities of
>motorcyclists in states that dropped their motorcycle MHLs. Not
>surprising that the rates went way up, i.e. in Lousiana they went from
>26 to 55, in Kentucky from 24 to 38 (this was for the year after the
>repeal). Not magnitudes difference, but around 50-100% increase.


That's not quite the whole picture, though, is it? CDC stats show
that non-law states have a lower than average motorcyclist fatality
rate per registered motorcycle (helmet-law states 3.38 deaths per
10,000, non-helmet-law states 3.05 deaths per 10,000), and as Adams
shows in Risk, the effect of the helmet law in the UK was a
significant relative rise in motorcyclist injuries and fatalities, and
the effect of repeal in US states was a drop in the rates for those
states. Much was made of the increase in fatality rates after repeal
or partial repeal, but it was found on investigation that the increase
was almost exclusively in states which had retained the law, with
repeal states showing both better rates and better trends.

IS it a "safety in numbers" thing? Maybe, maybe not. During the
seven-year period from 1987 through 1993, states with no helmet laws
or partial helmet laws (for riders under 21) suffered fewer deaths
(2.89) per 100 accidents than those states with full helmet laws (2.93
deaths).

Once again the probability of injury given crash is only half the
story. And it remains the case that motorcycle helmets are not
especially relevant to a discussion of cycle helmets.

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

88% of helmet statistics are made up, 65% of them at CHS, Puget Sound
 
R

Riley Geary

Guest
<[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]
....
> However look at the statistics on fatalities of
> motorcyclists in states that dropped their motorcycle MHLs. Not
> surprising that the rates went way up, i.e. in Lousiana they went from
> 26 to 55, in Kentucky from 24 to 38 (this was for the year after the
> repeal). Not magnitudes difference, but around 50-100% increase.
>


It's not just Louisiana and Kentucky (or the other states that have repealed
their universal MHL's for motorcyclists in the last few years: Arkansas,
Texas, and Florida) where motorcycle fatalities have been rising rapidly.
From 1997, when motorcycle fatalities reached an all-time low of 2116 in the
US, they have since risen by nearly 75% across the entire country (to 3661
as of 2003), in both MHL and non-MHL states alike. While it's true that the
increases in motorcycle fatalities in those states that recently repealed
their MHL's have outpaced the average rate of increase in other states, this
is mostly because increases in motorcycle registrations in those same states
have also outpaced the average rate of increase in other states.
Attributing an increase in a state's motorcycle fatality rate exclusively or
even primarily to the repeal of a MHL is exceedingly simplistic--except
insofar as repeal of a MHL encourages more motorcycling of course.

Riley Geary
 
S

Steven M. Scharf

Guest
Riley Geary wrote:

> this
> is mostly because increases in motorcycle registrations in those same states
> have also outpaced the average rate of increase in other states.


This is not true. The fatalities have _far_ outpaced the increase in
registrations. Motorcyclists Killed per 10,000 Registered have steadily
increased since the repeal of the law.

You can see the data at:
"http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/people/injury/pedbimot/motorcycle/kentuky-la03/LawChgLa.html"


Look, most of us here are opposed to MHLs for both motorcycles and
bicycles, but this is in spite of the data, because of the personal
freedom aspect. It does this cause no good to lie about reality.
 
R

Riley Geary

Guest
"Just zis Guy, you know?" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]
....
> And it remains the case that motorcycle helmets are not
> especially relevant to a discussion of cycle helmets.
>


I'll have to respectfully disagree with Guy (and Bill Baka) on this, since
my research into motorcycling fatalities has led me to conclude that some
form of risk compensation among helmet-using motorcyclists is by far the
most compelling rationale to explain the huge differences seen in the
apparent effectiveness of motorcycle helmets between states with a MHL and
states without a MHL, and particularly in states that have recently repealed
a MHL. If similar risk compensation characteristics apply equally well to
bicyclists, then we not only have a reasonably coherent explanation as to
why bike helmet use has had little or no favorable impact on overall bicycle
fatality rates, but a powerful argument against imposing a MHL on bicyclists
as well.

Riley Geary
 
J

Just zis Guy, you know?

Guest
On Mon, 07 Feb 2005 06:21:25 GMT, [email protected] (Bill Z.)
wrote:

>There are no "helmet zealots" posting in this discussion, although
>there are several anti-helmet zealots. Those of us disagreeing with
>you have simply been pointing out that you haven't proven your case.


So you say, and yet you repeatedly make claims in defence of helmets
which turn out to have no evidential basis - which looks suspiciously
like zealotry to me.

And I remind you: I have no case to prove, I am not proposing any
intervention.

>> You downplay your position here - I wonder why?


>I'm not "downplaying" it. I'm stating what I've been stating for the
>past 10 years (your sides attempt to pretend otherwise
>notwithstanding.)


I don't think anybody is trying to say that you are anything other
than consistent; that has no bearing on the quality or otherwise of
your argument, or on the inference which may be drawn from your
repeated attempts to make claims for helmets which turn out to be
either without evidential basis (and in at least one case directly
contradicted by the evidence).

Neither does it have any bearing on the fundamental truth that we, the
sceptics, have no case to prove: it is quite sufficient for us to
point out flaws in the arguments advanced by those who seek to promote
an intervention.

But I'm always open for new facts, and have been known to change my
mind based on new and emerging evidence (that's how I arrived at my
current view, after all). If you have evidence that cycling is
unusually dangerous, unusually productive of head injuries, if you can
cite a pro-helmet study free of self-selection bias and other
confounding, if you can detail a jurisdiction where increases in
helmet use have led directly to improved cycle safety, if you can
detail an enforced helmet law which has not resulted in significant
reductions in cycling, then let me know. I want to hear about it.

In the mean time the well-funded handwringers pushing laws use the
discredited 85% and misrepresent even that. Twenty years ago the idea
that cycling was lethally dangerous would have been laughed at. Now
the model of cycling pursued by many is driving to some off-road
leisure facility with the bikes on the back of the car - and I believe
that a lot of this is the result of hysterical "BIKE DANGER!!!"
posturing by the helmet lobby..

><plonk for the rest of today>


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

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

88% of helmet statistics are made up, 65% of them at CHS, Puget Sound
 
J

Just zis Guy, you know?

Guest
On Mon, 07 Feb 2005 06:18:30 GMT, [email protected] (Bill Z.)
wrote:

>Unfortunately, these guys have been arguing that helmets do not reduce
>head injuries for years.


Really? Where? If you look at real-world figures they have no
measurable effect on serious and fatal head injuries, but I don't know
anybody who says they don't prevent the trivial cuts and bumps they
are designed for.

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

88% of helmet statistics are made up, 65% of them at CHS, Puget Sound
 
J

Just zis Guy, you know?

Guest
On Mon, 07 Feb 2005 06:35:36 GMT, "Steven M. Scharf"
<[email protected]> wrote:

>> There really is no argument over the logic that helmets do reduce head
>> injuries,

>You might want to go back and read this thread in its entirety! You're
>wrong when you say "there really is no argument."


Up to a point: the argument is whether the probability of injury given
ride is more important than the probability of injury given crash
(which I would suggest it is), and whether the prevention of mainly
trivial injuries is sufficient to make such a song and dance about.

>> but I would like the option of making the decision to wear a
>> helmet for myself.

>This is exactly what I, and most other people in this thread, have been
>saying for months.


Up to a point. What you've actually been doing is pleading that this
is your position, while telling anybody who will listen that they
should use your "helmets work but don't make us wear them" approach
rather than the reality-based approach which has defeated several
helmet laws recently.

>Unfortunately, for some people, it just isn't comprehensible how anyone
>can both acknowledge the reduction in head injuries and fatalities, when
>crashes occur, yet be opposed to compulsion. It's as if they simply
>can't bear to see someone who is able to understand both sides of the issue.


Time to get a mirror, Mr Scharf. And time to read up on risk
compensation.

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

88% of helmet statistics are made up, 65% of them at CHS, Puget Sound
 
J

Just zis Guy, you know?

Guest
On Sun, 6 Feb 2005 23:33:43 -0500, "Riley Geary"
<[email protected]> wrote:

>Once again, you seem to be confusing an apparent safety benefit, resulting
>most likely from selective recruitment of helmet users among Florida's
>bicyclists, with the real thing--which remains to be determined, but is
>almost certainly much less than 40%.


In the UK 25% of all cyclist fatalities are due to being crushed to
death by turning goods vehicles, most of them in London. If you
believe our helmet promotion charity that means that helmets would
prevent in excess of 100% of the balance :)

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

88% of helmet statistics are made up, 65% of them at CHS, Puget Sound
 
J

John_Kane

Guest
Can I get a cite on the Utah study ? It looks interesting

John Kane
Kingston ON
 
S

Steven M. Scharf

Guest
Riley Geary wrote:

> bicyclists, then we not only have a reasonably coherent explanation as to
> why bike helmet use has had little or no favorable impact on overall bicycle
> fatality rates, but a powerful argument against imposing a MHL on bicyclists
> as well.


It's a very weak argument, non-existent actually.

Look at the Louisiana data.

From 1997 to 2000, helmet use went from 100% to 52%, and motorcyclists
killed per 10,000 registrations went from 3.2 to 7.9. So helmet use fell
by a little less than 50%, and fatalities went up by 140%.

What this says is that the people that would have benefited the most
from wearing a helmet, were the ones that chose not to wear one. Not
that this is surprising.

I don't think that this is the data you want to use in any argument
againt bicycle helmet laws! The Florida data on bicycle helmet versus
non-helmeted riders showed a much smaller difference in fatality rates.
 
J

Just zis Guy, you know?

Guest
On Mon, 07 Feb 2005 17:57:14 GMT, "Steven M. Scharf"
<[email protected]> wrote in message
<[email protected]>:

>> bicyclists, then we not only have a reasonably coherent explanation as to
>> why bike helmet use has had little or no favorable impact on overall bicycle
>> fatality rates, but a powerful argument against imposing a MHL on bicyclists
>> as well.


>It's a very weak argument, non-existent actually.


"The results indicate that risk compensation may modify the
effectiveness of PE [protective equipment, sic.] for children engaged
in sports and leisure activities. Conversely, the findings also
suggest that those wearing PE may be a cautious subgroup." - Risk
compensation in children?s activities: A pilot study, Mok D, Gore G,
Hagel B, Mok E, Magdalinos H, Pless B. 2004. Paediatr Child Health:
Vol 9 No 5 May/June 2004.

Interestingly Pless set out to prove exactly your assertion, and ended
up concluding that risk compensation does apply to cycle helemts
specifically, as it seems to for most other forms of human activity
(well documented by Wilde and Adams).

So, where is your actual evidence for discounting risk compensation?

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

b_baka

Guest
[email protected] wrote:
> Bill Baka wrote:
>
>
>>As a bicyclist who also likes to ride motorcycles I can say that a
>>helmet has a very negative effect on perception of ones surroundings.
>>This is mainly due to the effect of messing up the ability to hear
>>things that a full head motorcycle helmet causes. Bare headed I am

>
> much
>
>>more able to sense my environment and correct for things as opposed

>
> to
>
>>being encased in a head only protecting helmet.

>
>
> This is true. However look at the statistics on fatalities of
> motorcyclists in states that dropped their motorcycle MHLs. Not
> surprising that the rates went way up, i.e. in Lousiana they went from
> 26 to 55, in Kentucky from 24 to 38 (this was for the year after the
> repeal). Not magnitudes difference, but around 50-100% increase.


That could be due to a lot of people riding more, adding 50-100% the
number of mile ridden.
>
> Still, motorcyclists should be free to make the decision to wear a
> helmet or not, just as cyclists should. But it does no good for people
> to try and claim that helmets are ineffective, when all the studies
> prove otherwise.


A helmet is effective but in all truth, your entire body is at risk on
either a motorcycle or bicycle. With a car, the sheet metal takes most
of the crunch.
>
> The bike club I was in was very pro-choice in terms of helmets, until
> they were forced to require helmets due to the terms of insurance from
> L.A.B.. Most people had been wearing helmets even prior to the
> requirement, but it wasn't a big deal if someone showed up without one
> (unless the ride leader required them).
>

I would side with the helmet people a little more if bicycle helmets
were more comfortable to wear, and if they were more effective. A little
design research might go a long way here.
Bill Baka
 
Riley Geary wrote:

> Year Reg MC Fatalities/10,000 Reg MC (NCSA)
> 1993 38000 7.6
> 1994 36000 7.8
> 1995 36000 7.8
> 1996 36000 7.8
> 1997 37000 5.4
> 1998 37000 9.5
> 1999 39000 9.7
> 2000 43000 9.3
> 2001 48000 11.8
> 2002 51000 12.9
> 2003 54000 12.6
>
> The other problem here is that the LA-DPS data conveniently begins

with
> 1997, a year with an anomalously low number of motorcycle fatalities

in
> Louisiana. Was this simply an innocent choice of both the data range

and
> data source by the author of section V, or was it deliberately chosen

to
> mischaracterize the increase in motorcycle fatalities per 10,000

registered
> motorcycles as being much higher than it really was following repeal

of
> Louisiana's MHL?


It was both innocent and deliberate. It was the year before the repeal,
versus the year of the repeal. Totally logical. But if you want to
average 1993-1997, then average 1998-2003, that's fine too.

7.3 per 10K with MHL versus 11.0 per 10K after the repeal. So it's only
a 51% increase in fatalities.

Sorry Riley. There is just no way you can twist the data to prove what
you're trying to prove. And it doesn't matter anyway. The states did
the right thing by repealing the MHLs, but don't kid yourself into
thinking that they did it without knowing that there'd be consequences
in the fatality rates.
 
b_baka wrote:

> I would side with the helmet people a little more if bicycle helmets
> were more comfortable to wear, and if they were more effective. A

little
> design research might go a long way here.


At least in this thread, there are no people that have come out in
favor of the coercive mandatory helmet law. So you don't have to side
with anyone.

It's basically an argument over whether or not helmets have any effect
in the reduction of injuries or deaths in bicycle crashes.

Mose people recognize that it is possible to oppose mandatory helmet
laws, while at the same time recognizing the fact that helmets do have
a positive effect when crashes occur. The statistical data to support
the latter point is overwhelming and incontravertible (though each
study shows different percentages, every study supports the basic
premise).

There are really only 3-4 people that consistently claim that helmets
are worthless, apparently believing that unless they can convince
someone of this, that helmet laws will be passed. Most of us believe
that helmet laws are a bad idea despite the relatively small benefit in
terms of injury and fatality reduction. No one believes the "if it
saves one life then it's worth it," line of thinking.
 
B

b_baka

Guest
[email protected] wrote:
> b_baka wrote:
>
>
>>I would side with the helmet people a little more if bicycle helmets
>>were more comfortable to wear, and if they were more effective. A

>
> little
>
>>design research might go a long way here.

>
>
> At least in this thread, there are no people that have come out in
> favor of the coercive mandatory helmet law. So you don't have to side
> with anyone.
>
> It's basically an argument over whether or not helmets have any effect
> in the reduction of injuries or deaths in bicycle crashes.


The answer would have to be that they reduced head injury but the
overall effect might be to make cyclists braver than they should be
whilst wearing a minimal helmet.
>
> Mose people recognize that it is possible to oppose mandatory helmet
> laws, while at the same time recognizing the fact that helmets do have
> a positive effect when crashes occur. The statistical data to support
> the latter point is overwhelming and incontravertible (though each
> study shows different percentages, every study supports the basic
> premise).
>
> There are really only 3-4 people that consistently claim that helmets
> are worthless, apparently believing that unless they can convince
> someone of this, that helmet laws will be passed. Most of us believe
> that helmet laws are a bad idea despite the relatively small benefit in
> terms of injury and fatality reduction. No one believes the "if it
> saves one life then it's worth it," line of thinking.
>

Along those lines I would add that if the crash is bad enough to damage
other parts of the body beyond repair, survival might not be desirable.
Life in a wheel chair would not suit me, and in such a case I would
rather not survive the crash. As an adult the choice of whether or not
to use a helmet should be mine.
(My opinion, and not a recommendation).
Bill Baka
 
J

Just zis Guy, you know?

Guest
On Tue, 08 Feb 2005 02:23:50 GMT, [email protected] (Bill Z.)
wrote:

>> >Unfortunately, these guys have been arguing that helmets do not reduce
>> >head injuries for years.


>> Really? Where? If you look at real-world figures they have no
>> measurable effect on serious and fatal head injuries, but I don't know
>> anybody who says they don't prevent the trivial cuts and bumps they
>> are designed for.


>Sigh. "Where" is on this newsgroup.


Then it should be a trivial matter for you to cite the posting
references. I'll leave a space here for you to do just that:





>It is obvious that you are
>trolling, bringing up the discredited "fatality" nonsense yet again
>(fatalities are so few in numbers that attempts to use them to
>evaluate helmets usually lead to null results due to statistical
>noise.)


So you say. It is a curious fact that those you accuse of trolling
consistently cite evidence to support their position, whereas your
"non-trolling", argued at length, very often turns out to be without
evidential basis. In this particular case, for example, I am still
waiting for your cited evidence in regard to high-mileage cyclists.

>I'll skip the rest of your missives today - you are just trying to
>bring up yet another strawman (and a previously discredited one
>at that.)


Translation: "Laa laa I'm not listening". And not posting any
evidence, either.

I can now add to the list of eagerly-awaited citations your proof for
the idea that helmets are designed to prevent anything more than cuts
and bruises. Start with the standards and work up, that should be
easy enough for you, they are on the web. I know your library is
closed for July 4.

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

88% of helmet statistics are made up, 65% of them at CHS, Puget Sound
 
S

Steven M. Scharf

Guest
b_baka wrote:

> The answer would have to be that they reduced head injury but the
> overall effect might be to make cyclists braver than they should be
> whilst wearing a minimal helmet.


Actually, we've seen the opposite assertion here from the anti-helmet
people. They claim that the reason (or part of the reason) why the
injury and fatality rates are statistically lower for helmet wearers, is
not because of any protection the helmet offers, but because helmet
wearers are also more cautious riders.

Not sure which, if any, of these arguments is true. I can see both
possibilities.

> Along those lines I would add that if the crash is bad enough to damage
> other parts of the body beyond repair, survival might not be desirable.


We're really talking about head impacts here, not being crushed by a
vehicle. I don't know what the stats are on how many people ended up
living due to a helmet, but were in such a state that they would have
rather not survived. Too morbid.

> As an adult the choice of whether or not to use a helmet should be mine.


And that's why I'm against MHLs, but while at the same time being adult
enough to admit that wearing a helmet does have its benefits.
 
B

b_baka

Guest
Steven M. Scharf wrote:
> b_baka wrote:
>
>> The answer would have to be that they reduced head injury but the
>> overall effect might be to make cyclists braver than they should be
>> whilst wearing a minimal helmet.

>
>
> Actually, we've seen the opposite assertion here from the anti-helmet
> people. They claim that the reason (or part of the reason) why the
> injury and fatality rates are statistically lower for helmet wearers, is
> not because of any protection the helmet offers, but because helmet
> wearers are also more cautious riders.
>
> Not sure which, if any, of these arguments is true. I can see both
> possibilities.
>
>> Along those lines I would add that if the crash is bad enough to
>> damage other parts of the body beyond repair, survival might not be
>> desirable.

>
>
> We're really talking about head impacts here, not being crushed by a
> vehicle. I don't know what the stats are on how many people ended up
> living due to a helmet, but were in such a state that they would have
> rather not survived. Too morbid.
>
>> As an adult the choice of whether or not to use a helmet should be mine.

>
>
> And that's why I'm against MHLs, but while at the same time being adult
> enough to admit that wearing a helmet does have its benefits.
>

No argument from me, but I do remember one cyclist crashing in the TdF
last year and it was caught on tape, where he went off the bike and hit
the back of his head rather hard. That is exactly the part of the head
that a bicycle helmet should protect since a hard enough impact there
could be fatal.
All from me,
Bill Baka
 

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