Research on helmet effectiveness & collation of data

This sub-forum all discussions about this "lively" subject. All topics that are substantially about helmets will be moved here, if not placed here correctly in the first place.
Tonyf33
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Research on helmet effectiveness & collation of data

Postby Tonyf33 » 27 Oct 2015, 11:38am

New research regarding helmet effectiveness and the way research numbers are evaluated.
I've always suspected that the way the numbers are produced & analysed have a bias to them
http://www.ecf.com/news/helmet-effectiv ... ing-board/
And here's the linky to the paper http://www.researchgate.net/publication ... le_helmet2

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horizon
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Re: Research on helmet effectiveness & collation of data

Postby horizon » 30 Oct 2015, 12:37pm

Just taking this slightly sideways ...

What depresses me about popualtion level studies is that they are so removed from the level of individual choice. I was just looking at the Bike Events website: helmets (AIUI) are not compulsory, they are not legally required in the UK, the participants have not been put off cycling and helmet use AFAICS is 100%.

So, at an indidual level, people say: I want to cycle, I think there is a risk of head injury, helmets appear (by looking at them) to mitigate that injury, I don't mind wearing one so I will.

No amount of population studies can break that intimate relationship between the user and their helmet: all the public health issues fall flat as the helmet wearer continues to cycle.

I accept however that populalion studies may alter the environment of public opinion and in this way at least the wearer may be less concerned to continue wearing one (i.e. one source of pressure or influence is removed). Something must be different in Holland in this respect.

So my question is: if more accurate population level studies really do alter public opinion in the UK, might we see a reduction in helmet wearing? Might various forum members who previously said "I wear it because I want to" now modify their views and accept that in fact they are highly influenced by public opinion and social pressure to wear a helmet and the choice is in fact much less their own than they claim?
When the pestilence strikes from the East, go far and breathe the cold air deeply. Ignore the sage, stay not indoors. Ho Ri Zon 12th Century Chinese philosopher

TonyR
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Re: Research on helmet effectiveness & collation of data

Postby TonyR » 30 Oct 2015, 12:49pm

The ECF report is quite easy with its comments on case control studies. Many of them make no attempt to reference to helmet use in general cycling and simply use arguments like there are fewer helmeted riders admitted to hospital than without therefore helmets make them safer. Or use totally inappropriate numbers like head injuries per 100,000 population without factoring in how many of those 100,000 actually cycle.

On Horizon's point I do think things can change over time. It happened with smoking, it happened with drink driving.

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Mick F
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Re: Research on helmet effectiveness & collation of data

Postby Mick F » 30 Oct 2015, 2:33pm

Can I make another point?
Has any study ever asked about bald cyclists?

I wore (note the past tense) a helmet, but now I've lost my hair, the helmet is decidedly uncomfortable, therefore I don't wear it, but instead wear a cap or a thermal hat.
Mick F. Cornwall

Tonyf33
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Re: Research on helmet effectiveness & collation of data

Postby Tonyf33 » 31 Oct 2015, 11:55am

Friend of mine hardly has any hair, he wears a helmet all the time, that he's had 3 major crashes (no other vehicles involved) in the 6 or 7 years that he's being cycling kinda re-enforces things for me.

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Re: Research on helmet effectiveness & collation of data

Postby TonyR » 31 Oct 2015, 11:56am

Tonyf33 wrote:Friend of mine hardly has any hair, he wears a helmet all the time, that he's had 3 major crashes (no other vehicles involved) in the 6 or 7 years that he's being cycling kinda re-enforces things for me.


Clearly distracted by the discomfort of a helmet on his bald head :wink:

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pjclinch
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Re: Research on helmet effectiveness & collation of data

Postby pjclinch » 31 Oct 2015, 2:38pm

I've not seen any particular attempt to address baldness: given the problems with doing decent work anyway, adding in yet another issue isn't really going to make it easier.

On comfort, I was doing a dirt-crit practice Go Ride session this morning, and the rules require me to be in a lid so I was. Must say I didn't notice it, particularly.
The only times I find lids a notable discomfort issue is when it's hot (particularly sweat dripping in to my eyes on big summer hill climbs). And for heat I'm actually at an advantage having no hair.

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Mick F
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Re: Research on helmet effectiveness & collation of data

Postby Mick F » 31 Oct 2015, 7:58pm

Ok, I'm not the only chap with hair loss.

Maybe I'm the only chap with a small head and hair loss?
ie small head.
ie child-sized head.
ie an adult with a small head.
6.5" or what the metric equivalent is.

The smallest adult helmet I have managed to buy fits ok ................. or should I say it fitted ok.
It doesn't fit ok any more since loosing my hair and is now decidedly uncomfortable so I won't wear it.
Mick F. Cornwall

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gaz
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Re: Research on helmet effectiveness & collation of data

Postby gaz » 31 Oct 2015, 9:22pm

horizon wrote:What depresses me about popualtion level studies is that they are so removed from the level of individual choice. I was just looking at the Bike Events website: helmets (AIUI) are not compulsory, they are not legally required in the UK, the participants have not been put off cycling and helmet use AFAICS is 100%.

Even if every photo on the website showed 100% helmet use (BTW, they do not*) it would not be evidence of 100% helmet use by participants on the rides.

*Not even one helmet, perhaps a helmet on the figure in the background, some with hats, some without.
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horizon
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Re: Research on helmet effectiveness & collation of data

Postby horizon » 31 Oct 2015, 9:42pm

Actually the point I'm making is that helmet wearing is a voluntary decision based on personal factors. So no matter how much you challenge the official figures, people will still wear helmets (and they won't have been far away in those pics either .... :wink: )
When the pestilence strikes from the East, go far and breathe the cold air deeply. Ignore the sage, stay not indoors. Ho Ri Zon 12th Century Chinese philosopher

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pjclinch
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Re: Research on helmet effectiveness & collation of data

Postby pjclinch » 1 Nov 2015, 9:36am

Mick F wrote:Ok, I'm not the only chap with hair loss.

Maybe I'm the only chap with a small head and hair loss?
ie small head.
ie child-sized head.
ie an adult with a small head.
6.5" or what the metric equivalent is.

The smallest adult helmet I have managed to buy fits ok ................. or should I say it fitted ok.
It doesn't fit ok any more since loosing my hair and is now decidedly uncomfortable so I won't wear it.


Adult and child helmets are built to the exact same (fairly pathetic) standards. Typically the only main difference is size once you're past the toddler market. All our family ones (used for Go-Ride sports riding where they're compulsory) are Lidl or Aldi and when they've had their offers there have been adult and child versions with the child ones slightly smaller and slightly cheaper (£8 rather than £10 or something like that) but no other obvious differences.
One of my fellow coaches at the local junior club uses a child's Lidl/Aldi one, she has a very small head.

So if you actually want one then check out kids' sizes. Obviously if you wait for the next Aldi/Lidl promotion you'll have needed to be lucky enough to survive the numerous life saving operations you'll face on account of not having been wearing one, and it's just possible you'll decide you live a charmed life and can possibly do without one after all, but if you actually do want one the children's market is very well catered for because there's quite a lot of pretty serious racing going on amongst the Young People. Prices typically far more sane too.

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Mick F
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Re: Research on helmet effectiveness & collation of data

Postby Mick F » 1 Nov 2015, 9:52am

Thanks.
I bought a child's Thinsulate hat the other day. The lady at the checkout warned me that it was for children, but it fits beautifully!

I have a Specialized S3 helmet in Small size 51-57cm.
It's not that it doesn't fit. It can even be adjusted too small for me.
It's that the design and shape of it is wrong and it hurts the top of my head.

Yes, I've added extra padding, and if I fit the helmet over a skull-cap or hat, it's fine.
I've decided that I'm enjoying my cycling more now that I'm wearing caps instead of a helmet.

I've been cycling my whole life, and it wasn't until 2005 that I bought my first helmet. So that's 10years of wearing one .....................and now I'm not. (and I'm not the only cyclist out there not wearing one either)
Mick F. Cornwall

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gaz
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Re: Research on helmet effectiveness & collation of data

Postby gaz » 1 Nov 2015, 7:22pm

horizon wrote:(and they won't have been far away in those pics either .... :wink: )

Not many here and I don't think they are anywhere nearby :wink: .

Not that it is in any way evidence that, at an indidual level, people say: I want to cycle, I think there is a risk of head injury, helmets appear (by looking at them) to mitigate that injury, I don't mind wearing one but I'm not going to bother today.
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horizon
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Re: Research on helmet effectiveness & collation of data

Postby horizon » 1 Nov 2015, 9:23pm

I don't like writing long replies as it usually means you don't have the right arguments but here goes anyway ...

I only saw three cyclists today which, considering the weather, wasn't many. All three were wearing helmets. The current results on the helmet poll on the forum is 50% wearing IIRC. But the reason I referenced the Bike Events site is that on the photos I looked at it was 100% but in the regulations it said that helmets weren't obligatory.

From observation I think helmet wearing levels are very high but that isn't my point: I was trying to say Yes, thank you Tonyf33 but more population level studies don't convince helmet wearers of anything - they choose on gut instinct looking at a helmet and say "It won't stop me cycling (even if it stops lots of people in Australia) and I might be safer, maybe not". I was trying to explain why lots of people (we disagree on how many) wear helmets.

However ....

I then went on to say that if helmet wearers weren't convinced by the statistics but only by their own gut reaction (the "self-evident" safety factor), how is it that few people in Holland wear helmets? It's obvious therefore that neither the UK case nor the Dutch case depend on personal decisions: they depend on the social environment. I also drew the conclusion that all those people (including forum members) who say that they have made a rational personal decision are misleading us and deluding themselves. And I presume you can say the same about those who don't wear helmets.

This means that my first argument in my first post was wrong: population studies do matter because they inform the social debate around helmets (which then affects people's own decisions). The next point of course is that the statistics are wrongly interpreted and poorly collected and the political argument is lost.

So at this point what I really want to know is: how did the people in your photo make their decision? Was there any group discussion, were there prompts (or not) from the organisers? Fascinating stuff IMV. And boring to others no doubt - but don't forget this one:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment
When the pestilence strikes from the East, go far and breathe the cold air deeply. Ignore the sage, stay not indoors. Ho Ri Zon 12th Century Chinese philosopher

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gaz
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Re: Research on helmet effectiveness & collation of data

Postby gaz » 1 Nov 2015, 10:09pm

I'll share my own opinions of the photo.

The photo (not mine) is on Bike Events facebook page, as part of the pre-event publicity for the "Tour de Tendring" event. A bit of google fu shows the "Tour de Tendring" has the support of Tendring District Council and has a 22 year history. It's clearly a photo of the event from a previous year but I can't say how old it is.

Pure supposition on my part but I'll hazard a guess that the event started small and local. Perhaps back in 1993 it was a sponsored ride of some kind attracting families, works' teams and local cycling enthusiasts. It was a success, gained momentum and support from the District Council. Enthusiasts started coming from further afield.

At some point the organisers decided they needed help to take the event to the next level. A deal was done with Bike Events (contract put out to tender?) to provide a professional service with on-line registration, goody bags, places sold to charity teams and all the other essential requirements of a sportive style event.

Whilst Bike Events do not make helmets mandatory, they do promote their use.

Do I have to wear a cycling helmet?
Bike Events strongly recommends that all riders wear a helmet. There is discussion about the use of cycle helmets and the wearing of helmets is not mandatory in law. However, we do advise all riders to wear one and will have helmets for the sale at the start of each event.


IMO the photos (available to purchase) from this year's event paint a different picture of the participants and the nature of the event.

In conclusion IMO this photo is of a community cycling event, with ordinary people who recognise that cycling is an ordinary thing to do even if they do not ordinarily do it.

These photos are of cycling enthusiasts taking part in a cyclists' sportive.
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