How to protect your brain by not wearing a helmet

For all discussions about this "lively" subject. All topics that are substantially about helmet usage will be moved here.
mikeymo
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Re: How to protect your brain by not wearing a helmet

Postby mikeymo » 15 Sep 2020, 10:27pm

profpointy wrote:
rmurphy195 wrote:
UpWrong wrote:It's a hard one. I fell off a couple of weeks ago and banged the side of my helmet on a kerb. But would it have happened if I wasn't wearing a helmet? - a helmet makes your head bigger.


I was hit by a van side-on a few years ago, and my head bounced off the top of the van's windscreen them scraped on the ground when I landed. If I hadn't worn the helmet would the van have driven into me? 'Cos that seems to be the logic of many of these threads.


Whilst it's easy to mock when put like that, it's nevertheless hard to argue that you're not more likely to hit your head in an accident when head+helmet is a 50 to 100% bigger target


You describe it as mockery. I think it's a point extremely well made.
Last edited by mikeymo on 17 Sep 2020, 12:34pm, edited 1 time in total.

Jdsk
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Re: How to protect your brain by not wearing a helmet

Postby Jdsk » 15 Sep 2020, 10:29pm

The data from New Zealand are earlier in this thread
https://forum.cyclinguk.org/viewtopic.php?f=41&t=139099&hilit=new+zealand+jonathan&start=30#p1510852
including:

Jdsk wrote:But the original data on injuries in New Zealand come from:
Tin Tin et al (2010)
"Injuries to pedal cyclists on New Zealand roads, 1988-2007"
https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1471-2458-10-655

Now look at Figure 3, below: "Annual rates of traffic injuries to pedal cyclists that resulted in death or hospital inpatient treatment by body region affected." Total and serious injuries to all parts of the body increased across the three time periods... with one exception... "Traumatic brain injury". In their words:
Our analysis showed the declining trend in rates of traumatic brain injuries from 1988-91 to 1996-99. However, it is unclear whether this reflects the effectiveness of the mandatory all-age cycle helmet law implemented in January 1994 or simply reflects a general decline in all road injuries during that period. On the other hand, we found a steady increase in injuries to other body parts over the twenty year period. However, there is a relative dearth of research focusing on such injuries and potential protective measures such as extremity guards.

Image

Jonathan

mikeymo
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Re: How to protect your brain by not wearing a helmet

Postby mikeymo » 15 Sep 2020, 10:40pm

pjclinch wrote:Very prevalent in the UK is the use of rucksacks for luggage. Especially in riders who live on the drops that'll have greater motion effects in the case of going down a hole than a helmet, so where's the research effort in to rucksack wearing, where is the vitriol surrounding wearing/not waring rucksacks on a bike?

Pete.

[edited to add rucksack paragraph after seeing someone go by with one perched unsteadily]


Yes, I remember driving down Glencoe and seeing a cyclist coming up the other way. He had a helmet on. "My god", I thought to myself, "that helmet will really unbalance him if he hits a pothole". Actually, I didn't, it was the enormous rucksack he had on that made me fear for his stability. The whole setup look very top heavy. I got the impression he was a sports cyclist who fancied touring, but wanted to do it on his usual sports road bike. It was a skinny tyred thing without panniers, rack, mudguards. It looked terrible.

Steady rider
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Re: How to protect your brain by not wearing a helmet

Postby Steady rider » 16 Sep 2020, 8:02am

Postby mikeymo » 15 Sep 2020, 10:22pm asks;

Steady rider wrote:
The data from NZ suggests the increased accident risk from helmet use is due to extra falls, not extra motor vehicles/cyclist collisions.

That sounds interesting. Have you got a link to those data please?



https://www.researchgate.net/publicatio ... jury_rates
before the 'Conclusions'

For New Zealand 5yo+ages, the data in Table 3 above shows the accident rate per million hours increased from 31.35 to 69.38. This related to all accidents involving motor vehicles and for "other" reasons, probably mainly falls and riding into objects or stationary vehicles. For those involving only motor vehicles it did not change very much, roughly eight per million hours to seven per million hours. Accidents due to "other" increased substantially from approximately 23 to 63 per million hours. The 23 accidents per million hours is approximately one per 43,000 hours of cycling on average. If cycling 10 hours per week, this would equate to once in 82 years on average. The disadvantages to helmets and increased risk taking only needs to be minute to increase the accident rate and exceed the expected benefits in a proportion of accidents.


Tin Tin data for Upper extremity shows an increased rate, (time periods differ), roughly from 3 to 14, about 3.5 higher rate. In comparison the accident rates quoted, 23 to 63, roughly 2.7 higher rate.
For easy access;
Conclusions
Published studies and research within this paper from jurisdictions with all-age, child and/or adult mandatory helmet jurisdictions consistently suggest reductions in cycling participation when laws are enforced but either no corresponding decrease in hospitalised total injuries or an increase in all-body injuries. Further, there is strong evidence that helmeted cyclists suffer a higher rate of upper body limb injuries than non-wearers, suggesting a higher rate of falls than non-wearers. This may be due to factors such as risk compensation, imbalance caused by the helmet or peripheral vision occasionally obscured by some helmet designs, particularly among cyclists who lower their heads to improve their aerodynamics.

The cause is uncertain but participation and injury data from the countries examined show a negative safety outcome in terms of increased helmet wearing rates and the accident rate per hour and per kilometre cycled. In mandatory helmet jurisdictions, the proportion of head injuries is reduced, although this is partly because the number of upper limb injuries increases.

Confounding factors that are not analysed in this study which may influence participation and injury trends in different countries include changes in cyclist preference for riding on or off road, demographic shifts in cycling participation, varying public compliance with helmet regulations, improved bicycle and motor vehicle safety features, cycle path infrastructure improvements and stricter road traffic laws in different jurisdictions.

Nevertheless, this study presents evidence that helmet use tends to increase the accident/injury rate per cyclist, potentially outweighing any head protection benefits. It reinforces the findings of numerous published studies that mandatory helmet laws reduce cycling participation, which is detrimental to public health and is likely to also increase vehicular traffic if discouraged bike riders alternatively drive a car.

The possible reasons for increased risk of injury per cyclist, particularly upper extremities, appear to be due to increased falls. It appears that helmet use increases the accident rate by more than 40%. This should be the subject of further research to determine why overall accident and injury rates outweigh head injury benefits provided by helmets.

Jdsk
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Re: How to protect your brain by not wearing a helmet

Postby Jdsk » 16 Sep 2020, 8:23am

That review by Clarke is not reliable for this purpose:
It doesn't use systematic methods when trawling the literature.
It doesn't use any statistical analysis.
It's a conference paper and probably not peer reviewed.
And, most importantly for the question asked above, although he cites and quotes from Tin Tin (2010) he makes no comment on the striking changes in brain injuries as in the figures above: brain injuries went down and injuries to all other sites went up in the period of interest.

Instead he wrote:
"Tin Tin et al18 provided information on the change to ‘upper extremity’ (injuries per million hours cycled) in Figure 3. It increased from 4.4 to 13.20, indicating a 200% higher rate by 2003/07."

I recommend having another look at the figures above and trying to find an explanation for that lack of comment on the number of brain injuries.

Jonathan

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Re: How to protect your brain by not wearing a helmet

Postby Steady rider » 16 Sep 2020, 10:06am

It provides data from a range of countries and on helmet wearers, showing they have a higher arm injury rate.

'It doesn't use systematic methods when trawling the literature'
- the study includes data on arm injuries from 3 Australian studies.

'It doesn't use any statistical analysis'
- provides calculation on the overall accident rate per million hours cycled for NZ. It provides calculations on the relative serious injury rate for cyclists and pedestrians for various time periods in Australia. It provides details from Nova Scotia, Canada and details from the USA. Data from GB relates to changes in the fatal and serious accident rate per billion miles cycled.

And, most importantly for the question asked above, although he cites and quotes from Tin Tin (2010) he makes no comment on the striking changes in brain injuries as in the figures above: brain injuries went down and injuries to all other sites went up in the period of interest.

Instead he wrote:
"Tin Tin et al18 provided information on the change to ‘upper extremity’ (injuries per million hours cycled) in Figure 3. It increased from 4.4 to 13.20, indicating a 200% higher rate by 2003/07."


The TBI definition is subject to change and the rate of TBI relates to riders age grouping, for NZ the aged 5-17 group had reduced cycling from roughly 23 to 6.4 million hours, down by 72%. The TBI rate for this group can be higher than for adults and they did most of the cycling prior to their helmet law. Also helmets may help reduce TBI in some cases and road safety improved with total road fatalities falling from about 600 in 1993 to 421 in 2007.

It also reports
For New Zealand in five year periods from 1989-93 to 2009-13, the number of cyclist deaths not involving a motor vehicle increased from 9 to 10, 12, 16 and 29.


Data for Canada shows the rates of head injury by age groups, for a similar time period see fig 2, bearing in mind that some parts of Canada have helmet laws for the under 18 age group and there is evidence of reduced cycling where laws are enforced.
https://secure.cihi.ca/free_products/nt ... 2006_e.pdf

one point is the average LOS, 6.9 days for cyclists v 11 days nation wide.

mikeymo
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Re: How to protect your brain by not wearing a helmet

Postby mikeymo » 16 Sep 2020, 9:30pm

Thanks for the various replies. I've read the posts, but not the studies. In the replies I was looking for something that might shed light on the conjecture that has been posited that because a helmet makes the head bigger, it actually increases the possibility of the (helmeted) head striking something.

My hypothesis was that if the conjecture above were true, there would be a greater amount of upper body injuries amongst un-helmeted riders, as the smaller head meant that another part of the body would strike the ground/vehicle/street furniture, first.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but this hypothesis appears not to have been proven, by epidemiological studies.

I don't know if the hypothesis has been examined in any sort of experimental studies.

tim-b
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Re: How to protect your brain by not wearing a helmet

Postby tim-b » 17 Sep 2020, 8:05am

Hi
profpointy wrote:
rmurphy195 wrote:
UpWrong wrote:It's a hard one. I fell off a couple of weeks ago and banged the side of my helmet on a kerb. But would it have happened if I wasn't wearing a helmet? - a helmet makes your head bigger.


I was hit by a van side-on a few years ago, and my head bounced off the top of the van's windscreen them scraped on the ground when I landed. If I hadn't worn the helmet would the van have driven into me? 'Cos that seems to be the logic of many of these threads.


Whilst it's easy to mock when put like that, it's nevertheless hard to argue that you're not more likely to hit your head in an accident when head+helmet is a 50 to 100% bigger target

How big are the cycle helmets that you're thinking of (or how large are the heads)? The initial impact will in any case be to tangents (or arcs) of the surface area, not the whole surface area
Regards
tim-b
~~~~¯\(ツ)/¯~~~~

profpointy
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Re: How to protect your brain by not wearing a helmet

Postby profpointy » 17 Sep 2020, 8:49am

tim-b wrote:Hi
profpointy wrote:
rmurphy195 wrote:
I was hit by a van side-on a few years ago, and my head bounced off the top of the van's windscreen them scraped on the ground when I landed. If I hadn't worn the helmet would the van have driven into me? 'Cos that seems to be the logic of many of these threads.


Whilst it's easy to mock when put like that, it's nevertheless hard to argue that you're not more likely to hit your head in an accident when head+helmet is a 50 to 100% bigger target

How big are the cycle helmets that you're thinking of (or how large are the heads)? The initial impact will in any case be to tangents (or arcs) of the surface area, not the whole surface area
Regards
tim-b


I don't think bigger target / more like to be hit is controversial. Moreover, I didn't think likelihood to be hit being proportional to cross-sectional area was controversial either.

mikeymo
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Re: How to protect your brain by not wearing a helmet

Postby mikeymo » 17 Sep 2020, 12:32pm

profpointy wrote:
tim-b wrote:Hi
profpointy wrote:
Whilst it's easy to mock when put like that, it's nevertheless hard to argue that you're not more likely to hit your head in an accident when head+helmet is a 50 to 100% bigger target

How big are the cycle helmets that you're thinking of (or how large are the heads)? The initial impact will in any case be to tangents (or arcs) of the surface area, not the whole surface area
Regards
tim-b


I don't think bigger target / more like to be hit is controversial.


Yes, it's not controversial. The figures you provided prove it.

Steady rider
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Re: How to protect your brain by not wearing a helmet

Postby Steady rider » 17 Sep 2020, 8:06pm

Pages 6 and 9 have details related to impacts, 22 Aug and 27 Aug.

rmurphy195
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Re: How to protect your brain by not wearing a helmet

Postby rmurphy195 » 21 Sep 2020, 10:33pm

Steady rider wrote:I did wonder about the disc brakes and if they result in braking harder and a more difficult/quicker reaction slide to control.

I do not every recall so many riders having problems controlling their bikes in wet conditions.

Braking on the rim may result in less harsh braking and more time to control a slide?


In wet conditions I've found a significant difference between the discs I now have, and the rim brakes I used to have. Put simply - the rims almost always had to revolve a complete turn to clear water off them, then would suddelny snatch. This phenomenon has not yet happened with the discs, I guess because they get less water on them, just raindrops not water from puddles/spray from passing vehicles etc. and the discs have holes in them which probably helps to clear any water quicker.
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The utility cyclist
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Re: How to protect your brain by not wearing a helmet

Postby The utility cyclist » 22 Sep 2020, 1:30am

Jdsk wrote:The data from New Zealand are earlier in this thread
https://forum.cyclinguk.org/viewtopic.php?f=41&t=139099&hilit=new+zealand+jonathan&start=30#p1510852
including:

Jdsk wrote:But the original data on injuries in New Zealand come from:
Tin Tin et al (2010)
"Injuries to pedal cyclists on New Zealand roads, 1988-2007"
https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1471-2458-10-655

Now look at Figure 3, below: "Annual rates of traffic injuries to pedal cyclists that resulted in death or hospital inpatient treatment by body region affected." Total and serious injuries to all parts of the body increased across the three time periods... with one exception... "Traumatic brain injury". In their words:
Our analysis showed the declining trend in rates of traumatic brain injuries from 1988-91 to 1996-99. However, it is unclear whether this reflects the effectiveness of the mandatory all-age cycle helmet law implemented in January 1994 or simply reflects a general decline in all road injuries during that period. On the other hand, we found a steady increase in injuries to other body parts over the twenty year period. However, there is a relative dearth of research focusing on such injuries and potential protective measures such as extremity guards.

Image

Jonathan

What were the pedestrian outcomes over the same period?
Well I can tell you that in the period 1993-96 NZ 65 pedestrians died annually and around a 1000 hospitalised https://www.nzta.govt.nz/assets/resourc ... rofile.pdf, by 2016 that number had dropped to 25 deaths and 257 serious injuries https://www.transport.govt.nz/assets/Up ... s-2017.pdf
Add in huge reductions in cycling since the laws were introduced "The prevalence of cycling to work increased slightly from 1976 (3.4%) to 1986 (5.6%) and then declined steadily. In 2006, only 2.5% of people who travelled to work used a bicycle" https://ijbnpa.biomedcentral.com/articl ... -5868-6-64 helmet laws in NZ have had a huge detrimental effect on cycling and cycling safety, at 30 deaths/injuries per million hours of activity this dwarfs every other road user type except motorcyclists!

Half the cycling modal share for work yet same % injury toll since at least 1990 and no improvement over pedestrian safety

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pjclinch
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Re: How to protect your brain by not wearing a helmet

Postby pjclinch » 22 Sep 2020, 9:39am

rmurphy195 wrote:
Steady rider wrote:I did wonder about the disc brakes and if they result in braking harder and a more difficult/quicker reaction slide to control.

I do not every recall so many riders having problems controlling their bikes in wet conditions.

Braking on the rim may result in less harsh braking and more time to control a slide?


In wet conditions I've found a significant difference between the discs I now have, and the rim brakes I used to have. Put simply - the rims almost always had to revolve a complete turn to clear water off them, then would suddelny snatch. This phenomenon has not yet happened with the discs, I guess because they get less water on them, just raindrops not water from puddles/spray from passing vehicles etc. and the discs have holes in them which probably helps to clear any water quicker.


In practice, you get good with what you're used to.
When we adopted our son he came with a wee BSO with (by my standards) terrible brakes. But he knew what they'd do and did okay. Christmas rolled around and an Islabikes Beinn 20 appeared c/o Santa with good quality V-brakes. I don't think I've ever heard anyone seriously suggest Isla make rubbish or V-brakes aren't a viable braking technology, but even though on his first ride I cautioned him that the brakes would be a lot more powerful, about 30 seconds later he went over the bars having locked the front wheel...

You can't simply remove the human in charge of the brakes when assessing braking performance on a bike.

Pete.
Often seen riding a bike around Dundee...

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NATURAL ANKLING
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Re: How to protect your brain by not wearing a helmet

Postby NATURAL ANKLING » 22 Sep 2020, 10:36am

Hi,
Just like Motorcycles, when the brakes became much much better It was only necessary to use two fingers on the front brake.
On disks and V brakes I have found that you just need two fingers and in the wet just one!
my first outing with V breaks had me just starting to lock the rear wheel at my first corner that's approaching not in the corner.
I started bike riding using mostly my front brake.
But even on nice dry tarmac I still lead with the back brake first.
If you do this you are very unlikely to lock the front wheel or lose it, The latter is less likely to recover from.
That doesn't mean you don't use the front brake to do a lot of the breaking but only after you've touched the rear first.
off road and or slippy surfaces/heavily laden bikes, using the rear first momentarily means that front wheel lock ups/losing are once in a blue moon.
once you adopt this procedure you find it becomes second nature.
A good way to train yourself on this is just use the rear brake mostly, then add the front brake later on, of course you shouldn't break heavily on corners with either brake only both together.
NA Thinks Just End 2 End Return + Bivvy
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