Re: Ontario Helmet Law being pushed through

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Erik Freitag, Dec 15, 2004.

  1. R15757 wrote:

    > Frank K wrote:
    >
    >
    >>You have a real problem with language, don't you? That often indicates
    >>
    >>a problem with thought. You seem to be channeling a gutter-bred
    >>16-year-old, both in language and thought.

    >
    >
    > Oh STFU.


    :) There's that kid again!


    >
    >
    >>I'm giving numbers that originated in the CPSC's National Electronic
    >>Injury Surveillance System. It's the best data I know of.

    >
    >
    > The CPSC gave per-hour numbers? Not that
    > I'm aware of.


    That 16-year-old seems to have a reading deficiency. The numbers I
    posted were not per hour figures. You're making yourself look foolish.

    >>>72.5 million???!!! That number had to hurt
    >>>when somebody pulled it out of their ass!

    >>
    >>It's the number the National Safety Council uses.

    >
    >
    > Ah, close enough for govt. work.


    The fact that you don't like the numbers is not proof that they're wrong!

    You're saying the National Safety Council's claimed number of cyclists
    is too high. But, as I pointed out earlier, their qualification was
    actually stricter for bicycling (and swimming) than for any of the other
    activities. That is, for basketball, football, etc etc, to be a
    "participant" a person had to participate more than once per year; for
    cycling, they required more than five times per year. The results of
    the national surveys (the source of the data) were thus _reduced_ to get
    the quoted number for cycling.

    IOW, your 16-year-old's howling about overestimating cycists is way off
    base.

    Now obviously, I'm putting those numbers up to compare the safety of
    cycling versus basketball, etc. And just as obviously, cycling is quite
    safe indeed, by comparison - even when the comparison is perhaps less
    than fair!


    >>I know you're afraid of traffic. But harping on the obvious need for
    >>attention is NOT a rebuttal of my statement.

    >
    >
    > Why is there an "obvious need for attention?"
    > It is disconcerting that you would on the one
    > hand claim cycling is not dangerous, while on
    > the other hand you say that not only is there
    > a need for attention, but this need is obvious..


    <sigh> There is a need for attention when one crosses the street, or
    backs out of a driveway, or drives down a quiet street, or walks across
    a parking lot, or climbs a ladder, or steps out of the shower.

    If "needing attention" is to be synonymous with "dangerous" then the
    word "dangerous" becomes so overused it means nothing at all! I'm sorry
    if this is offensive to you, but mentally healthy people do not go
    through life thinking every tiny risk must label an activity "dangerous."


    --
    Frank Krygowski [To reply, remove rodent and vegetable dot com.
    Substitute cc dot ysu dot
    edu]
     


  2. Steven M. Scharf wrote:

    > R15757 wrote:
    >
    > > Wow, 72.5 million. That's about double most of
    > > the estimates of actual participants I've seen.
    > > But give or take 40 million or so right?

    >
    > The number of participants of bicycling, or the various other activities
    > is irrelevant, as is how many of those participants in other activities
    > ended up in the ER.


    In other words, Scharf doesn't like the information that shows cycling
    is as safe or safer than other common activities. Therefore he
    pronounces the information irrelevant!

    Nice trick. But I don't buy it. Why harp on the dangers of cycling,
    while ignoring equal or greater dangers? Why are you so anti-cycling?

    >
    > The questions to be asked are the following:
    >
    > 1. Does a bicycle helmet protect against, and reduce the severity of,
    > injuries to bicyclists who are involved in an accident where an impact
    > to the head occurs?


    .... and would the same be true of knee pads for cyclists? And helmets
    for non-cyclists?
    >
    > The answer the first question is an unequivocal yes. No person who has
    > looked at the relevant studies can deny this.


    .... as long as one defines the term "injuries" to include primarily
    minor ones, like the cut ears of the 1989 Thompson & Rivara paper.

    When one looks at the effect on _serious_ injuries (for example, those
    requiring hospitalization or burial) there seems to be no benefit. No
    person who has looked at the relevant studies should claim otherwise.

    >
    > 2. Do such accidents occur frequently enough to worry about?
    >
    > The answer to the second question is not easily answered, as each person
    > has a different tolerance for the risk level they will accept.


    And I have no problem with a person saying "I'd better wear my helmet
    today, because I'm going mountain biking, and I'm really going to push
    the envelope." I have no trouble with a person saying "I'd better wear
    my helmet today, because my buddies and I are going to work on pace
    lines and sprints, and if Fred shows up, he's a scary rider."

    I _do_ have a problem with people claiming that ordinary cycling, or all
    cycling, is dangerous enough that a helmet is always necessary.

    Yet that's the song sung by helmet promoters and the helmet fanatics.
    And a significant percentage of those people want it to be _illegal_ to
    make a different decision.

    I find it astonishing that those people have their apologists posting here.


    --
    Frank Krygowski [To reply, remove rodent and vegetable dot com.
    Substitute cc dot ysu dot
    edu]
     
  3. R15757

    R15757 Guest

    Frank K:

    >You're saying the National Safety Council's claimed number of cyclists
    >is too high.


    I am? No. What I am saying is the number is
    bogus. I don't know if it's high or low, neither
    do you or the Nat'l Safety Council.

    >The results of
    >the national surveys (the source of the data) were thus _reduced_ to get
    >the quoted number for cycling.


    Any conclusions drawn from that "national survey"
    would obviously be bogus. Correct?

    >IOW, your 16-year-old's howling about overestimating >cycists is way off
    >base.


    Prove it.

    >If "needing attention" is to be synonymous with >"dangerous" then the
    >word "dangerous" becomes so overused it means >nothing at all!


    What everyday activity is more dangerous
    than negotiating typical city traffic?

    You keep insinuating that to claim traffic
    is dangerous is the same as claiming "everything
    is dangerous."

    Nice try. Actually, lame try.

    R
     
  4. R15757 wrote:
    > Frank K:
    >
    >
    >>You're saying the National Safety Council's claimed number of cyclists
    >>is too high.

    >
    >
    > I am? No. What I am saying is the number is
    > bogus. I don't know if it's high or low, neither
    > do you or the Nat'l Safety Council.


    Ah. You don't even know if it's too high or too low. You're just
    positive it's wrong. Why would _anyone_ credit such "logic"?


    --
    --------------------+
    Frank Krygowski [To reply, remove rodent and vegetable dot com,
    replace with cc.ysu dot edu]
     
  5. R15757 wrote:

    > You keep insinuating that to claim traffic is dangerous is the same

    as claiming "everything is dangerous."

    This is a classic error in debate. In the helmet debate, it invariably
    turns to walking helmets, though there are equally ridiculous examples
    in other subjects, i.e.

    "Alcohol poisoning kills 400 people a year, compared to just 20 people
    that die from dog attacks. Yet we license liquor and euthanize the dogs."

    Again, the bottom line is the following:

    1. Do helmets reduce or prevent head injuries when accidents involving a
    head impact occur?

    2. Is the incidence of such accidents likely enough to warrant wearing a
    helmet (independent of the dangers inherent in unrelated activities).

    The answer to number one is yes. A few clueless people will still argue
    about this, but they are not taken seriously.

    The answer to number two depends on the level of risk each person is
    willing to take, their environment, skill level, and the time and
    mileage they ride. The incidence is low enough that MHLs are an
    unnecessary intrusion, but high enough for most serious cyclists to
    choose to wear a helmet.

    The people that claim no benefit in preventing head injuries in an
    accident represent the biggest danger in the adoption of mandatory
    helmet laws. This is because once the politicians, lawmakers, and other
    assorted do-gooders, hear this assertion, anything else the anti-MHL
    people claim regarding level of risk, etc., is not taken seriously. What
    is sad is that they don't comprehend the harm that they are doing to
    their cause.

    Steve
    http://bicyclelighting.com
     
  6. Steven M. Scharf wrote:
    > R15757 wrote:
    >
    > > You keep insinuating that to claim traffic is dangerous is the same

    > as claiming "everything is dangerous."
    >
    > This is a classic error in debate.


    Scharf, in addition to proclaiming himself "World's Greatest Authority"
    (or something similar) on bike lights and now helmets, seems to be
    moving on to declare himself "World's Greatest Authority" on logic and
    debate.

    But once again, he lacks the fundamental qualifications. To say nothing
    about the judgement!

    > Again, the bottom line is the following:
    >
    > 1. Do helmets reduce or prevent head injuries when accidents involving a
    > head impact occur?
    >
    > The answer to number one is yes. A few clueless people will still argue
    > about this, but they are not taken seriously.


    Nicely done! The paragraph just above is a straw man argument with some
    sophistication! That is, Scharf has put his words into his opponents'
    mouths in a way that's subtle enough that many won't notice it, so he
    can gain a point through easy rebuttal.

    BUT none of his opponents have doubted that helmets "reduce or prevent"
    _some_ head injuries! That's not what's been said! I believe everyone
    accepts that bike helmets reduce or prevent minor injuries. However,
    minor injuries (while unobtrusively fitting Scharf's implied criteria)
    are not what drive helmet promotion.

    Serious injuries are the issue, not scratches and bruises. And people
    have presented robust data from large-population studies indicating
    helmets do not afford significant protection against hospitalizable
    injuries, or against fatalities. _These_ are the injuries whose
    prevention drives helmet promotion.

    Some people (including Scharf) refuse to look at such evidence,
    apparently because they are too emotionally attached to the idea that
    helmets _must_ work wonderfully. Such people are, themselves, not to be
    taken seriously.

    >
    > 2. Is the incidence of such accidents likely enough to warrant wearing a
    > helmet (independent of the dangers inherent in unrelated activities).
    >
    > The answer to number two depends on the level of risk each person is
    > willing to take, their environment, skill level, and the time and
    > mileage they ride. The incidence is low enough that MHLs are an
    > unnecessary intrusion, but high enough for most serious cyclists to
    > choose to wear a helmet.


    I'm all for freedom of choice, of course.

    But there is a problem with the term "serious cyclist." It seems to be
    unofficially defined as a technology-fixated American sport rider, as
    described by others from the same mold. In brief, the people using the
    term "serious cyclist" really mean "Somebody like me."

    Meanwhile, there are countless cyclists around the world who travel for
    years at a time using almost exclusively bicycles. They use their bikes
    for serious, practical purposes. But, ironically, because their bikes
    are not coddled toys, some claim they are "serious cyclists"!

    Of course, people from the first group usually choose helmets. They
    also choose lycra shorts, clipless pedals and matching shoes,
    aerodynamic sunglasses, the "right" gear shifters, etc. They won't even
    get on a bike without donning the full mating plumage!

    People from the second group typically wonder why anyone would need a
    helmet to ride a bike.



    >
    > The people that claim no benefit in preventing head injuries in an
    > accident represent the biggest danger in the adoption of mandatory
    > helmet laws. This is because once the politicians, lawmakers, and other
    > assorted do-gooders, hear this assertion, anything else the anti-MHL
    > people claim regarding level of risk, etc., is not taken seriously. What
    > is sad is that they don't comprehend the harm that they are doing to
    > their cause.


    More from the "World's Greatest Authority," this time on battling
    mandatory helmet laws.

    Those of us who have successfully waged this fight really wonder about
    Scharf's experience.

    So, Scharf, tell us about the times _you've_ contributed to stopping a
    MHL, as Guy, Avery Burdett and I have done.

    I expect embarrassed silence, of course.


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