Re: Ontario Helmet Law being pushed through

  • Thread starter Steven M. Scharf
  • Start date



S

Steven M. Scharf

Guest
Just zis Guy, you know? wrote:

> We know that the countries with the worst cyclist
> safety records have high helmet wearing rates.


Your lack of logic is astounding.
 
S

Steven M. Scharf

Guest
Just zis Guy, you know? wrote:

> And the people advocating it are in denial about the possibility that
> the likelihood of crashing in the first place will increase.


I don't think that anyone is foolish enough to believe that helmet use
will cause the likelihood of crashing to increase. The people advocating
the helmet laws aren't in denial of this possibility, or in acceptance
of it; it's just so patently ridiculous that neither side has brought it up.
 
S

Steven M. Scharf

Guest
[email protected] wrote:

> Yes it is, the issue is having a law shoved on the population to
> protect people from harm, regardless of how the people feel
> about it.


You misunderstand the mindset of the people pushing the MHLs. They are
not going out and looking at myriad other ways that people do stupid
things and hurt themselves. They are not looking at other steps they
could take to make cycling safer. They are looking solely at the data
regarding head injuries in bicycle accidents involving helmeted versus
non-helmeted cyclists. We have all sorts of laws that many people or
corporations don't like, i.e. child car seats, seat belts, safety-glass,
etc. In each case it would be better to prevent an accident from
happening in the first place.

Ok, then let's ban stairs, people are killed on them
> also. Motorists lose control of their vehicles and kill
> pedestrians and bicyclists, let's ban cars; or restrict them
> to certain streets and not allow pedestrians or bicyclists
> on those streets. Increase bicycle safety? Ok, no more
> two wheel bicycles, people fall down without having a third or
> fourth wheel. Mandatory knee pads, elbow pads, heavy clothing
> to prevent road rash. Excessive speed? Gee, there goes all those extra
> gears, now they won't ride so fast they speed into an accident.
> Sound silly? Think of the how many people would be saved from
> harm by those laws. When you make laws to protect
> people from harm where do you stop? Helmets should be a
> choice for the individual.


Cute, but it demonstrates that you don't understand how the MHL
politicians think. I'm against the MHLs because the benefit is so small
that this is one case where they should just let people decide on taking
the extra risk.
 
J

Just zis Guy, you know?

Guest
On Thu, 11 Nov 2004 16:09:14 GMT, "Steven M. Scharf"
<[email protected]> wrote:

>> And the people advocating it are in denial about the possibility that
>> the likelihood of crashing in the first place will increase.


>I don't think that anyone is foolish enough to believe that helmet use
>will cause the likelihood of crashing to increase.


Except the editor of Injury Prevention, one Barry Pless., who did a
study to prove that risk compensation doesn't exist and found the
exact opposite...

How well-versed are you on risk compensation? Have you read Wilde?
Adams? Are you aware of Hedlund's four tests for the likelihood of
risk compensation?

>The people advocating
>the helmet laws aren't in denial of this possibility, or in acceptance
>of it; it's just so patently ridiculous that neither side has brought it up.


You are displaying your ignorance again. There was an acrimonious
exchange between the Thompsons and Rivara on one side, and John Adams
and Mayer Hillman on the other, in Injury Prevention in June 2001, to
name but one instance.

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 Washington University
 
J

Just zis Guy, you know?

Guest
On Thu, 11 Nov 2004 16:07:46 GMT, "Steven M. Scharf"
<[email protected]> wrote:

>> We know that the countries with the worst cyclist
>> safety records have high helmet wearing rates.


>Your lack of logic is astounding.


Oh do tell, what is the problem with the fact that the countries with
the best cyclist safety record have the lowest helmet usage and those
with the highest helmet usage have the worst safety record? Aside
from the obvious: that it contradicts your cherished beliefs?

I have spent two years as part of an international group studying
helmet research. I have read more on this subject than I ever wanted
to and the more I read the more uncertain the balance of evidence
seems.

I note that you have no answer to my main point, that there is no
evidential basis for the current excessive focus on 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 Washington University
 

Guest
Just zis Guy, you know? wrote:

> On Thu, 11 Nov 2004 16:09:14 GMT, "Steven M. Scharf"
> <[email protected]> wrote:
>
> >> And the people advocating it are in denial about the possibility that
> >> the likelihood of crashing in the first place will increase.

>
> >I don't think that anyone is foolish enough to believe that helmet use
> >will cause the likelihood of crashing to increase.

>
> Except the editor of Injury Prevention, one Barry Pless., who did a
> study to prove that risk compensation doesn't exist and found the
> exact opposite...


Not to mention the fact that the passage of a
law will transform the whole nature of society
in ways that could be unpredictable. A butterfly
flaps its wings in the Amazom and then a
hurricane wipes out Florida, you know, that
sort of thing!

> How well-versed are you on risk compensation? Have you read Wilde?
> Adams? Are you aware of Hedlund's four tests for the likelihood of
> risk compensation?


I, for one, am unashamed to admit that I have no
idea. But if you think these are good places to
start, I'll look them up.

> >The people advocating
> >the helmet laws aren't in denial of this possibility, or in acceptance
> >of it; it's just so patently ridiculous that neither side has brought

it up.
>
> You are displaying your ignorance again. There was an acrimonious
> exchange between the Thompsons and Rivara on one side, and John Adams
> and Mayer Hillman on the other, in Injury Prevention in June 2001, to
> name but one instance.
>
> 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 Washington

University


I am not a lawyer. I do not even see email sent to this address, due to
past DOS attacks. If you wish to respond, do so through this newsgroup.
 
F

Frank Krygowski

Guest
Just zis Guy, you know? wrote:

> On Thu, 11 Nov 2004 16:09:14 GMT, "Steven M. Scharf"
> <[email protected]> wrote:
>
>
>>>And the people advocating it are in denial about the possibility that
>>>the likelihood of crashing in the first place will increase.

>
>
>>I don't think that anyone is foolish enough to believe that helmet use
>>will cause the likelihood of crashing to increase.

>
>
> Except the editor of Injury Prevention, one Barry Pless., who did a
> study to prove that risk compensation doesn't exist and found the
> exact opposite...
>
> How well-versed are you on risk compensation? Have you read Wilde?
> Adams? Are you aware of Hedlund's four tests for the likelihood of
> risk compensation?
>
>
>>The people advocating
>>the helmet laws aren't in denial of this possibility, or in acceptance
>>of it; it's just so patently ridiculous that neither side has brought it up.

>
>
> You are displaying your ignorance again. There was an acrimonious
> exchange between the Thompsons and Rivara on one side, and John Adams
> and Mayer Hillman on the other, in Injury Prevention in June 2001, to
> name but one instance.


Steven seems to be a guy who tries to figure things out on his own.
That's fine, of course, provided one has enough information. Steven's
problem is he doesn't seem to go looking for information, unless he's
trying to bolster his own beliefs! (We've seen this in the discussion
about bicycle lights.)

Risk compensation - that is, the tendency of people to behave more
dangerously if they feel more protected - is widely accepted, and very
easy to understand. In addition to Adam's book "Risk" (a very good
source, btw) you can find a classic study on the web, "Target Risk" at
http://pavlov.psyc.queensu.ca/target/index.html

Chapter 7 discussed a study proving risk compensation in taxi drivers
with anti-lock brakes. IOW, when the drivers knew they had those
brakes, they took many more chances. Classic risk compensation. You
can find other examples easily.

And if you think about it, we get perfect evidence of risk compensation
from time to time in these groups. When somone says "I won't ride
around the block without a helmet" they're saying "I'm doing something I
perceive as dangerous, and I'm doing it because I have protective gear.
I'm willing to increase my risk because of the supposed protection."

This can be fine, of course. There's no problem if the increase in risk
matches the increase in protection. The problem with bike helmets is,
they are promoted as being almost perfect protection ("85%
effective!!!") but in reality, they are certified to protect only
against a stationary topple off a bike - a "Laugh-In Fall." (Check out
the certification standards online.)

I recall being on a club mountain bike ride. Two of us were without
helmets, about six others had helmets. At one spot, the group decided
it would be fun to zoom down a very steep hill, launch up a rise at the
bottom and "get big air." But the two of us decided that looked too
dangerous.

Within five minutes, we were walking our bikes back to our cars, helping
the guy who'd broken his collar bone. Would he have broken that bone if
he had no helmet?

--
--------------------+
Frank Krygowski [To reply, remove rodent and vegetable dot com,
replace with cc.ysu dot edu]
 
J

Just zis Guy, you know?

Guest
On Thu, 11 Nov 2004 14:50:54 -0500, Frank Krygowski
<[email protected]> wrote in message <[email protected]>:

>Chapter 7 discussed a study proving risk compensation in taxi drivers
>with anti-lock brakes. IOW, when the drivers knew they had those
>brakes, they took many more chances. Classic risk compensation. You
>can find other examples easily.


The irony here is that Scharf has actually cited ABS as an example
where forecast injury savings were not realised in practice due to
risk compensation, and drawn parallels with the case of helmets.
Maybe the penny will drop eventually :)

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 Washington University
 
S

Steven M. Scharf

Guest
Just zis Guy, you know? wrote:

> Oh do tell, what is the problem with the fact that the countries with
> the best cyclist safety record have the lowest helmet usage and those
> with the highest helmet usage have the worst safety record? Aside
> from the obvious: that it contradicts your cherished beliefs?


What is wrong is trying to imply causation between high helmet usage and
poor safety records (and vice-versa). This is the classic error of
confusing correlation with causation. And BTW, I don't believe that you
actually believe that there is causation, rather you're intentionally
trying to mislead people who aren't skilled in critical thinking (and
there are apparently a great many such people, judging from many of the
posts in this thread).

Did you know that eating ice-cream causes bicycle accidents? It’s a
fact. The bicycle accident rate always goes up when ice cream sales go
up. Yet we don’t regulate ice cream sales, but we force children to wear
helmets, how terrible.

Look at a country like the Netherlands and you'll understand why they
have a better safety record, and it doesn't have anything to do with the
percentage of people wearing helmets. But of course you already knew that.

I've seen the argument raised that if there were no helmet laws then
more people would cycle and facilities would improve, drivers would
behave better, etc., but of course none of these wonderful developments
occurred in the decades during which there were no helmet laws.

I am not in favor of MHLs, they are too intrusive for the tiny reduction
in injuries that is realized, and they do create the impression that
bicycling is much more dangerous than it actually is. It is deplorable
that Ontario is rushing this ill-advised bill into law, based on wild
projections of hundreds of millions of dollars in savings due to reduced
health care costs.

OTOH, you are doing the anti-MHL cause no favor by descending to the
same level of illogic as the proponents of these laws.

For an amusing read, see:
"http://www.thehammer.ca/content/view.php?news=2004-11-08-ontario-helmets-mandatory"
 

RogerDodger

New Member
Jan 10, 2004
388
0
0
Steven M. Scharf said:
Just zis Guy, you know? wrote:

> Oh do tell, what is the problem with the fact that the countries with
> the best cyclist safety record have the lowest helmet usage and those
> with the highest helmet usage have the worst safety record? Aside
> from the obvious: that it contradicts your cherished beliefs?


What is wrong is trying to imply causation between high helmet usage and
poor safety records (and vice-versa). This is the classic error of
confusing correlation with causation. And BTW, I don't believe that you
actually believe that there is causation, rather you're intentionally
trying to mislead people who aren't skilled in critical thinking (and
there are apparently a great many such people, judging from many of the
posts in this thread).

I'd suggest, Steven that you're improperly introducing the correlation/causation confusion to in order to appear authoritative and knowledgable. We've seen people using this pretentious strategy before - trying to give the impression that they have a superior understanding of statistics by using this specialist jargon.

Only problem is, Steven, that Guy most definitly didn't say anything to suggest a causal relationship existed. Obviously there appears to be an association there, but the fact that you've called Guy on mistaking correlation for causation only shows that you haven't got a proper handle on what you're trying to claim. To put it more bluntly you're talking through a hole in your head - a hole more akin to one located nearer the other end of your anatomy.To make myself perfectly clear - you obviously don't know what you're talking about.

Obviously Guy is suggesting a comparison between countries such as UK,USA,Australia and N.Z. where there is a comparatively higher helmet usage and a poorer safety record, vis a vis other countries where there is lower helmet use and a comparatively far better safety record. Clearly if these other countries can achieve a better safety record without the helmets then that raises the question of what is the essential ingredient for their far superior cyclist safety record - and it most certainly isn't helmets.The fact that our countries have a higher helmet wearing rate and yet a far poorer safety record suggests that the emphasis on helmets isn't just misguided, it appears to be a total failure - not that that's a surprise. What we've got here is people who have got their heads well and truly entrenched in the sand - belief in the essentiality and effectiveness of helmets is like sucking a dummy - helmets are like a placebo - they may be effective in amelorating anxiety for some overly credulous and under critical people (hello suckers) but that's not reason for their mandation let alone promotion.

Roger

Only an idiot, or someone trying to appear more knowledgable :)= instantiate Steven here), would suggest that Guy is confusing correlation for causation.

QED - Steven you're a pretentious prat.

There's something perverse here - if anyone is confusing correlation (association) with causation it is the bonnet brigade.
 
J

Just zis Guy, you know?

Guest
On Fri, 12 Nov 2004 04:26:16 GMT, "Steven M. Scharf"
<[email protected]> wrote:

>> Oh do tell, what is the problem with the fact that the countries with
>> the best cyclist safety record have the lowest helmet usage and those
>> with the highest helmet usage have the worst safety record? Aside
>> from the obvious: that it contradicts your cherished beliefs?


>What is wrong is trying to imply causation between high helmet usage and
>poor safety records (and vice-versa).


Yes, it's every bit as wrong as trying to imply causation between
helmet wearing and presentation in emergency rooms - both completely
ignore the actual mechanisms of cause and effect in favour of
pretending helmets make all the difference.

But, unlike the authors of observational studies, I wasn't implying
cause and effect. I was stating, as a matter of plain fact, that the
countries with the best safety records have the lowest helmet usage
rates. That is not to imply cause, but to raise the question: if
helmets are, as the current monomaniac focus on them implies, the
first, best thing for cyclist safety, how can this be?

>Look at a country like the Netherlands and you'll understand why they
>have a better safety record, and it doesn't have anything to do with the
>percentage of people wearing helmets. But of course you already knew that.


The number one factor which increases cycle safety is more people
cycling. Helmet promotion and compulsion are both proven to deter
cycling. Ergo, helmet promotion is dangerous.

I have yet to see any evaluation of the relative merits of different
cycle safety interventions which puts helmets anywhere other than
last.

>I've seen the argument raised that if there were no helmet laws then
>more people would cycle and facilities would improve, drivers would
>behave better, etc., but of course none of these wonderful developments
>occurred in the decades during which there were no helmet laws.


What on earth are you on about? People were cycling for a century
before helmets were ever invented, and in most countries where cycling
is a normal mode of transport, helmet use is still negligible.

Here is a little exercise for you. Plot on a graph the percentage of
injuries which were head injuries for pedestrians and cyclists in New
Zealand. Start five years before their mandatory helmet law, when
helmet use was under 45%, and plot through to a couple of years after,
when helmet use was over 95%. See if you can tell which line is which
without looking at the legend. Now co-plot the helmet wearing rate.
Correlate the helmet wearing rate with the relative %HI of cyclists
and pedestrians. Ponder for a while what this tells us about the
efficacy of helmets against recorded injuries and fatalities.

Helmet promotion is justified with scare stories about death and
serious injury. We know, because every single large scale study has
told us so, that helmets make no measurable difference to death and
serious injury rates. We also know that the risk of cycling is small
to start with, and outweighed by the benefits. So the logical next
step is for the handwringers to butt out and leave us alone.

>OTOH, you are doing the anti-MHL cause no favor by descending to the
>same level of illogic as the proponents of these laws.


So you say. On the other hand, countering propaganda is usually seen
as a Good Thing; I have already played a significant role in stopping
one helmet law.

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 Washington University
 
J

JRKRideau

Guest
"Just zis Guy, you know?" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
> On Wed, 10 Nov 2004 03:26:26 GMT, "Steven M. Scharf"
> <[email protected]> wrote:
>
> >I can see both sides of the helmet issue. The pro-helmet people vastly


SNIP

> A poll of British doctors put it sixth out of six possible
> interventions, a study by the Transport research Laboratory put it
> tenth of ten possible interventions and a factor of 25 behind the
> likely most effective, being traffic calming.


Guy,
Do you have a reference for the TRL study? I have not seen it and
would like to read it.

> Guy


John Kane
KIngston, ON Canada
 
J

Just zis Guy, you know?

Guest
On 12 Nov 2004 06:44:10 -0800, [email protected] (JRKRideau)
wrote:

>Do you have a reference for the TRL study? I have not seen it and
>would like to read it.


Yes and no: it passed through my hands about a week ago, but I don't
have it to hand and I'll be away this weekend so I'll have to catch up
with it later. Email me if I forget to follow up?

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 Washington University
 
S

Steven M. Scharf

Guest
Just zis Guy, you know? wrote:

> Yes, it's every bit as wrong as trying to imply causation between
> helmet wearing and presentation in emergency rooms - both completely
> ignore the actual mechanisms of cause and effect in favour of
> pretending helmets make all the difference.


Not really. Your implication of causation is propaganda, pure and
simple. You claim that you were just stating a fact, but the reality is
that you want people to make a connection based on correlation, and many
people do confuse correlation and causation.

The emergency room statistics are valid in the context in which they are
presented, in bicycle accidents involving impact to the head, helmeted
cyclists fare far better in terms of the seriousness of injuries. The
MHL proponents focus on this fact, ignoring the bigger picture.

> I have yet to see any evaluation of the relative merits of different
> cycle safety interventions which puts helmets anywhere other than
> last.


This is not the point though. The MHL proponents will correctly point
out that the other safety interventions cannot practically be
implemented, or that even if they were, they should not be exclusive.
You'll never win the debate based on the relative effectiveness of the
different interventions.

> Here is a little exercise for you. Plot on a graph the percentage of
> injuries which were head injuries for pedestrians and cyclists in New
> Zealand. Start five years before their mandatory helmet law, when
> helmet use was under 45%, and plot through to a couple of years after,
> when helmet use was over 95%. See if you can tell which line is which
> without looking at the legend. Now co-plot the helmet wearing rate.
> Correlate the helmet wearing rate with the relative %HI of cyclists
> and pedestrians. Ponder for a while what this tells us about the
> efficacy of helmets against recorded injuries and fatalities.


Again, you are confusing correlation with causation. You'll lose every
time with that approach.

> Helmet promotion is justified with scare stories about death and
> serious injury. We know, because every single large scale study has
> told us so, that helmets make no measurable difference to death and
> serious injury rates. We also know that the risk of cycling is small
> to start with, and outweighed by the benefits. So the logical next
> step is for the handwringers to butt out and leave us alone.


No argument there. But if you read the articles and letters in the
Toronto newspaper, you'll see that this is barely mentioned. They are
concentrating solely on the reduction in severity of injuries when
accidents occur, not on the fact that the accidents are so rare as to be
inconsequential.

> So you say. On the other hand, countering propaganda is usually seen
> as a Good Thing; I have already played a significant role in stopping
> one helmet law.


Countering propoganda is a good thing when you do it with facts, rather
than with more propoganda. Another good approach is to try to make the
MHL proponents look ridiculous.

I composed a letter to the Toronto Star, we'll see if it's published.
It's along the lines of "Let's pass more laws to make everything safe
for everyone."
 
J

Just zis Guy, you know?

Guest
On Fri, 12 Nov 2004 16:32:17 GMT, "Steven M. Scharf"
<[email protected]> wrote:

>> Yes, it's every bit as wrong as trying to imply causation between
>> helmet wearing and presentation in emergency rooms - both completely
>> ignore the actual mechanisms of cause and effect in favour of
>> pretending helmets make all the difference.


>Not really.


No, you're right - those who draw invalid conclusions from
observational studies use them to try to ram through legislation,
whereas I am not trying to compel anyone to do anything beyond think
for themselves.

>Your implication of causation is propaganda, pure and simple.


Actually no: it is non-existent, pure and simple.

>You claim that you were just stating a fact, but the reality is
>that you want people to make a connection based on correlation, and many
>people do confuse correlation and causation.


No, what I want people to do is start thinking for themselves. That
means raising little red flags in their minds that, hey, all those
studies which claim vastly inflated benefits, there isn't actually any
real-world evidence to back them up.

>The emergency room statistics are valid in the context in which they are
>presented, in bicycle accidents involving impact to the head, helmeted
>cyclists fare far better in terms of the seriousness of injuries. The
>MHL proponents focus on this fact, ignoring the bigger picture.


But the ER studies completely ignore too many other factors. Such as:
what if only risk-averse cyclists are wearing helmets? what if
helmets cause some increased rotational forces which turn some
injuries into deaths while reducing the severity of other injuries?

All this is speculation. Observational studies are speculation, too.
They are not clinical trials, or randomised controlled studies (that
would be unethical for any notionally protective device). They are
some researcher's best guess at how the intervention might affect the
outcome based on his best guess at the effect of the various
confounding factors. The confidence intervals are absurdly large -
the 95% confidence interval for TR&T's 88% is, from memory, between
60% and 98%, and the range of efficacy estimates from observational
studies ranges from about -10% to about 90%, with a pretty wide
distribution. Does 88% sound like a precise figure to you? You know
about the concept of meaningless precision? In context, 88% is like
saying something which ranges between 60c and $1 costs "approximately
88c" - it's absurd. And don't forget that this figure has never been
repeated since, even by the original authors whose later estimates are
much lower. Don't forget that word estimates, either.

And then we compare the observational studies with real-world figures
based on whole populations, millions of cyclists as opposed to the few
thousands (or in some cases tens) in the observational studies. What
do these much larger data sets tell us? They tell us that the effect
of helmets on serious and fatal head injuries is officially
unmeasurable.

That's not a surprise. Your computer came packed in more foam than a
helmet contains, and you wouldn't expect that to survive the kind of
impact which produces life-threatening injuries, like being hit by a
truck. The real surprise is that anyone would think otherwise. But
they do. They see 88% reduction and think, hey, if I wear a helmet I
can do what I want because if I get hit by a truck there's an 88%
chance I'll be fine! And the result of that is risk compensation,
which blows away what little benefit helmets might otherwise provide.

The way to get benefit out of helmets is to sell them quietly, without
hype. To say that cycling is very safe, but, hey, nobody likes to get
a headache if they fall off so you might want one of these. That's
what the evidence says they're good for, and perversely if they were
sold that way the benefit might even become measurable at a population
level, because without the hype the risk compensation might reduce.

Instead we have characters like these pushing helmets:
http://www.bikebiz.co.uk/daily-news/article.php?id=4886

Now we know who ate all the pies, anyway.


>> I have yet to see any evaluation of the relative merits of different
>> cycle safety interventions which puts helmets anywhere other than
>> last.


>This is not the point though. The MHL proponents will correctly point
>out that the other safety interventions cannot practically be
>implemented, or that even if they were, they should not be exclusive.
>You'll never win the debate based on the relative effectiveness of the
>different interventions.


It's a matter of context and priorities. Remember again, I am not the
one selling something, the Liddites are pushing their plastic
prophylactics, so they have all the burden of proof. Their usual
tactic seems to be to find the biggest number they possibly can and
scream "BIKE DANGER!!!".

When was the last time you saw a large-scale cycle safety campaign
that focused on anything other than helmets?

>> Here is a little exercise for you. Plot on a graph the percentage of
>> injuries which were head injuries for pedestrians and cyclists in New
>> Zealand. Start five years before their mandatory helmet law, when
>> helmet use was under 45%, and plot through to a couple of years after,
>> when helmet use was over 95%. See if you can tell which line is which
>> without looking at the legend. Now co-plot the helmet wearing rate.
>> Correlate the helmet wearing rate with the relative %HI of cyclists
>> and pedestrians. Ponder for a while what this tells us about the
>> efficacy of helmets against recorded injuries and fatalities.


>Again, you are confusing correlation with causation. You'll lose every
>time with that approach.


Nope. Here the lesson is absolutely valid. It goes to the heart of
the weaknesses in observational studies, because they, too, confuse
correlation with causation. It's science. You have a hypothesis -
helmets prevent deaths and serious injuries. You devise a test - make
everyone wear helmets. You have an outcome - no change in the number
of deaths and serious injuries. Where I come from that would be
counted as proof that the hypothesis was wrong. The Liddites
disagree: they think people are just doing it wrong. Presumably out
of spite for being forced to protect themselves against "BIKE
DANGER!!!"

>> Helmet promotion is justified with scare stories about death and
>> serious injury. We know, because every single large scale study has
>> told us so, that helmets make no measurable difference to death and
>> serious injury rates. We also know that the risk of cycling is small
>> to start with, and outweighed by the benefits. So the logical next
>> step is for the handwringers to butt out and leave us alone.


>No argument there. But if you read the articles and letters in the
>Toronto newspaper, you'll see that this is barely mentioned. They are
>concentrating solely on the reduction in severity of injuries when
>accidents occur, not on the fact that the accidents are so rare as to be
>inconsequential.


This only works if you think that helmets not only reduce the severity
of injuries, but radically change the distribution curve, so that
injuries which were previously high on the severity scale are now low
on the severity scale, injuries which were low on the severity scale
are unchanged, but fatal injuries are also unchanged - because the
proportion of head injuries does not change, and in order to get
recorded they generally have to be serious enough to make it to
hospital. I suppose it is theoretically possible that helmets have
this extreme differential effect, but William of Ockham would have
suggested an alternative hypothesis.

>> So you say. On the other hand, countering propaganda is usually seen
>> as a Good Thing; I have already played a significant role in stopping
>> one helmet law.


>Countering propoganda is a good thing when you do it with facts, rather
>than with more propoganda. Another good approach is to try to make the
>MHL proponents look ridiculous.


Having already played a significant role in defeating one helmet law I
know exactly what to do thanks. And I think you will find that your
fundamental problem is simply that you don't like some of the facts on
offer.

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 Washington University
 
T

thepiddler2002

Guest
Frank Krygowski <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
> Steven M. Scharf wrote:
>
> >
> > There are a lot of people that believe that because they've gotten away with
> > dangerous behavior for a long time, that this is somehow proof that their
> > behavior is in fact not dangerous...

>
> I'm probably guilty of that. Quite a lot, in fact.
>
> I've always gotten away with taking walks. Sometimes I even take long
> walkks. In fact, I often take walks at night! When there's snow on the
> ground! Sometimes, even in the rain!
>
> Now I know there are people who say walking can be dangerous. But I've
> been doing this for about 50 years now, and - I admit it - just because
> of that, I feel taking walks is safe!
>
> I've _tried_ to see the error of my ways, but darn it, I just can't
> figure it out. 50 years worth of taking walks makes walking seem safe
> to me!
>
>
> Oh - and I can say exactly the same thing about 48 years of cycling.
>
> ;-)


I never had an accident walking, but I had one last August on my bike
and, if I had not worn my helmet I would be dead. Iwreked my bike
while on a decent going 40 mph. I used to un-hitch my helmet while
climbing because of the sweat, and somtimes i would forget to hitch it
back up. I am very greatfull that I did not forget it this time. I
broke my pelvis, elbow and ankle. I landed on the back of my head
first. It shaterd my helmet and knocked me out for 5 min. Do what you
want, but if it can help give it a try.
 

RogerDodger

New Member
Jan 10, 2004
388
0
0
Steven M. Scharf said:
Just zis Guy, you know? wrote:

> Yes, it's every bit as wrong as trying to imply causation between
> helmet wearing and presentation in emergency rooms - both completely
> ignore the actual mechanisms of cause and effect in favour of
> pretending helmets make all the difference.


Not really. Your implication of causation is propaganda, pure and
simple. You claim that you were just stating a fact, but the reality is
that you want people to make a connection based on correlation, and many
people do confuse correlation and causation.

The emergency room statistics are valid in the context in which they are
presented, in bicycle accidents involving impact to the head, helmeted
cyclists fare far better in terms of the seriousness of injuries. The
MHL proponents focus on this fact, ignoring the bigger picture.

Steven your are repeating a fiction here - your claim that there are emergency room statistics that show helmeted cyclists fare better, with less severe injuries than unhelmeted cyclists isn't borne out in research - you may try to claim that- but without research to back up that claim you're spouting what you want to believe to be true - not what is true.

Roger
 

RogerDodger

New Member
Jan 10, 2004
388
0
0
Steven M. Scharf said:
Just zis Guy, you know? wrote:

> Here is a little exercise for you. Plot on a graph the percentage of
> injuries which were head injuries for pedestrians and cyclists in New
> Zealand. Start five years before their mandatory helmet law, when
> helmet use was under 45%, and plot through to a couple of years after,
> when helmet use was over 95%. See if you can tell which line is which
> without looking at the legend. Now co-plot the helmet wearing rate.
> Correlate the helmet wearing rate with the relative %HI of cyclists
> and pedestrians. Ponder for a while what this tells us about the
> efficacy of helmets against recorded injuries and fatalities.


Again, you are confusing correlation with causation. You'll lose every
time with that approach.

Well there you go again Steven - you'll lose the debate every time you go on making that same erroneous assertion that Guy is mistaking correlation for causation - you must be thick.

Of course if you want to follow that path then you will never ever be able to obtain evidence one way or the other about a cause and effect relationship between wearing rates and head injuries because we're limited to observational studies which are well recognised as being unable to provide solid support for the existence of causal relationships. We are well aware of this limitation and either you fail to grasp fully what you are trying to assert or you are purposely trying to misrepresent what Guy is claiming.
 
S

Steven M. Scharf

Guest
"Just zis Guy, you know?" <[email protected]> wrote in message

> No, you're right - those who draw invalid conclusions from
> observational studies use them to try to ram through legislation,
> whereas I am not trying to compel anyone to do anything beyond think
> for themselves.


Ah, but on Usenet, you see that people don't think, they argue, mostly
ineffectively, in an attempt to convince others that whatever behavior they
engage in is right. And unfortunately, as many posts in this thread
demonstrate, they lack the logic skills to convince anyone. Just look at the
posts by Roger and Frank!

The key to defeating MHLs is not to babble like Frank and Roger, it is to
formulate a position based on factual information. You will never convince
politicians to listen to you, as opposed to listening to ER and trauma
physicians, in regards to the statistics on the severity of injuries of
helmeted versus non-helmeted patients; you have no data only speculation.

If you use the personal freedom argument they'll counter with the seat belt
argument. One valid argument is to look at the percentage of catastrophic
head injuries incurred by bicyclists as a percentage of all catastrophic
head injuries, but the MHL people will counter that even if this is true,
any reduction is worth it. The New Zealand statistics regarding reduction of
bicycling after MHL represent a good argument (if they are true).

One good source in learning to argue effectively on Usenet can be found over
at: http://www.infidels.org/news/atheism/logic.html.
 
B

Bill Z.

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

> The key to defeating MHLs is not to babble like Frank and Roger, it is to
> formulate a position based on factual information. You will never convince
> politicians to listen to you, as opposed to listening to ER and trauma
> physicians, in regards to the statistics on the severity of injuries of
> helmeted versus non-helmeted patients; you have no data only speculation.
>
> If you use the personal freedom argument they'll counter with the seat belt
> argument. ...


One I used was that we had people riding very short distances on quiet
residential streets to reach a train station, and that whether they
used a helmet or not, their commute (which was mostly by train) would
be safer than driving. Meanwhile there were not enough bike lockers
to go around, leaving the helmet tied to the bike was risky due to a
vandalism problem, and carrying it into work (without a bike) was
simply awkward.

I did get a favorable written response from my elected representative
and it was detailed enough that the letter was obviously read. I got
the impression that they really appreciated getting factual, rational
statements about the proposed legislation. We ended up with a helmet
law anyway, but it didn't pass until the next year and it excluded
adults.

--
My real name backwards: nemuaZ lliB
 

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