Not My Club Too???

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.
Vorpal
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Re: Not My Club Too???

Postby Vorpal » 15 Dec 2015, 12:52pm

beardy wrote:
Yes I know you'll say motorcycles are different,


They are! and motorcycle helmets are certainly different from cycle helmets as they are actually effective helmets rather than just pieces of expanded polystyrene that just crack in half on hitting something.

Actually... They aren't. Like with bicycle helmets, motorcycle helmets studies have produced mixed results. Almost all of the early studies were taken from data for competitive motorcyclists, because they were the largest group of helmet wearers. Similarly, most places that have implemented motorcycle helmet laws have seen fatalities decrease. Florida repealed their motorcycle helmet law, and saw an increase in motorcyclist fatalities and head injuries. And whilst all the pro-helmet campaigners are jumping up and down saying 'I told you so', a few people looked more closely at the available data...

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17993943

Is just one example of a study that found that motorcycle helmets may not have the benefit everyone thinks they do. Furthermore, I think it likely that motorcycle helmet studies that do show benefit may have the same sort of bias problems that bicycle helmet studies do.

It is also likely that helmetted motorcyclists engage in risk compensation.

I haven't looked at all of the evidence for motorcycle helmets the way I have for bicycle helmets, but I have a friend in the USA who campaigns against motorcycle helmet laws. He has looked at the evidence, and read lots of studies, and he is just as convinced about the lack of evidence supporting the use of motorcycle helmets as many on the forum are about the lack of evidence supporting the use of bicycle helmets.
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Re: Not My Club Too???

Postby Vorpal » 15 Dec 2015, 12:55pm

Vantage wrote:Oh dear. This popped up on my clubs fb page. Not good.

Just post a link for cyclehelmets.org That's what I do, anyway.

For one thing, cyclehelmets.org says it better than I can. For another, it says what I need to say without getting me into an argument with people who won't change their mids, anyway.
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beardy
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Re: Not My Club Too???

Postby beardy » 15 Dec 2015, 1:15pm

It is also likely that helmetted motorcyclists engage in risk compensation.


This must be true or at least the other way around, that without helmets we tend to ride a lot more cautiously! Now it may be the case that helmets change the way that we ride and as a consequence we have more lethal crashes.
That doesnt mean that the helmets dont work in the physical way that they were designed to.

A quick comparison, or even a rough and ready test with hammer or piece of iron bar will show that motorcycle helmets are effective helmets and cycling helmets are not.

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Re: Not My Club Too???

Postby pjclinch » 15 Dec 2015, 1:17pm

Vorpal wrote:Just post a link for cyclehelmets.org That's what I do, anyway.

For one thing, cyclehelmets.org says it better than I can. For another, it says what I need to say without getting me into an argument with people who won't change their mids, anyway.


The problem there being that cyclehelmets.org and the BHRF are obviously "anti-helmet zealots", so they would say that, wouldn't they? :o Ben Goldacre, David Spiegelhalter and Tim Gill aren't internet sites Joe Public may not have heard of with agendas they're unsure about, which is why I tend to hold them up first to doubters.

The CTC's info on helmets is pretty good too, and one might hope that CTC members would believe that.

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Re: Not My Club Too???

Postby Vorpal » 15 Dec 2015, 2:36pm

beardy wrote:
It is also likely that helmetted motorcyclists engage in risk compensation.


This must be true or at least the other way around, that without helmets we tend to ride a lot more cautiously! Now it may be the case that helmets change the way that we ride and as a consequence we have more lethal crashes.
That doesnt mean that the helmets dont work in the physical way that they were designed to.

A quick comparison, or even a rough and ready test with hammer or piece of iron bar will show that motorcycle helmets are effective helmets and cycling helmets are not.

Does it? I think it just shows that motorcycle helmets resist hammers better, not that they make people safer.
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Re: Not My Club Too???

Postby beardy » 15 Dec 2015, 2:54pm

You can repeat the tests with as many different implements and reversed impacts as you like before you establish the general principle that they absorb energy and resist penetration to an extent that is orders of magnitude greater than cycle helmets. It isnt just hammers.

Apart from risk compensation, helmets also facilitate high speed riding. I have not done much more than 50mph without a helmet and I have not done that for long. You would have to be a pretty tough nut to ride around at speeds without a lid on. I imagine the Florida figures show (as do the Dutch cycling helmet figures) that the subjects with or without helmets are very self-selecting groups with very different risk levels in their riding.

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Re: Not My Club Too???

Postby Vorpal » 15 Dec 2015, 3:18pm

beardy wrote:You can repeat the tests with as many different implements and reversed impacts as you like before you establish the general principle that they absorb energy and resist penetration to an extent that is orders of magnitude greater than cycle helmets. It isnt just hammers.

Apart from risk compensation, helmets also facilitate high speed riding. I have not done much more than 50mph without a helmet and I have not done that for long. You would have to be a pretty tough nut to ride around at speeds without a lid on. I imagine the Florida figures show (as do the Dutch cycling helmet figures) that the subjects with or without helmets are very self-selecting groups with very different risk levels in their riding.

My point was not the specific instrument, but that you cannot necessarily correlate resistance to mechanical damage with improved safety.

With a bicycle helmet, one can measure it's ability to absorb energy. One can even demonstrate that it helps in some particular circumstances. But that doesn't mean it improves safety. The same is true for motorcycle helmets. It's just that the capability to deflect mechanical damage or absorb energy is better. How does that make one safer?

Are there any activities where helmets have been evidentially demonstrated to improve safety?

This same debate has occurred in motorcycling, skiing, cricket, American football, and others. Most people assume that helmets are a good thing, but a few people question the lack of evidence.

If you approach this in a critical manner, the way you have with bicycle helmets, I think you will find your assumptions challenged.
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Re: Not My Club Too???

Postby pjclinch » 15 Dec 2015, 3:38pm

Much hinges on the particular definition of "better" one selects...

There are some things I do where I will always wear a helmet. Caving, pitched winter climbing, surf and white water kayakaing. The first of those you will be banging your head so it's a case of not very often but quite painfully against very frequently but with little effect. Cavers almost universally choose the latter. Pitched climbing you'll routinely be showered with blocks of ice the leader is hacking/kicking out of the route directly above you, possibly quite far above you. Surf and white water paddling it's typically when you go over rather than if (at least at my talent level), and you'll be in an environment where you can't breathe and you will be being moved around with little control, so not somewhere to get dazed.
So do helmets make these safer? Arguably of course they do, but also they're recreations and the helmet does not so much make them safer as reasonably possible. I'd be safer if I didn't do them at all, and unlike transport to work it's something I have far more control over whether it needs to happen or not. The use of helmets for these is conscious risk compensation by active management.

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Re: Not My Club Too???

Postby beardy » 15 Dec 2015, 3:58pm

My point was not the specific instrument, but that you cannot necessarily correlate resistance to mechanical damage with improved safety.


You can however correlate resistance to mechanical damage (of the head) to the effectiveness of a helmet.

I dont mind having my assumptions challenged but the mechanics are fairly clear here. The cycle helmet just does not have the capacity to make a meaningful difference but a motorcycle helmet does.
There is a small window between total annihilation were helmets make no difference,(eg so even if skull and brain survive the neck is snapped) and where a helmet was unnecessary for survival. That window is undetectable with cycle helmets but it is detectable with motorcycle helmets.

The way to find this is to compare how effective a helmet is at preventing head injuries and compare that to how effective it is at preventing other injuries. A lot of the "proofs" used for cycling helmets show the cycle helmets to be equally good at protecting other parts of the body as they are for the head. This doesnt carry over to motorcycling.

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Re: Not My Club Too???

Postby [XAP]Bob » 15 Dec 2015, 4:12pm

You can only determine the effectiveness of injury prevention *assuming* an accident.

Since stats indicate a higher incident rate when helmets are worn it might be washed out - of course those stats are horribly biased by the type of people who cycle and wear helmets....
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Not My Club Too???

Postby bluemootwo » 15 Dec 2015, 4:16pm

Let's investigate the cause of the fall. Prevention is better than protection from the fall (if the hat is protection).

Was he cycling head down? On skinny tyres? Did those narrow rims follow a rut? Would a fatter tyre and a more upright position mean the accident would never have happened? Maybe! Hey, that could be why the Dutch commute on upright fat-tyred bikes... So let's ban his sort of bike in order to prevent injuries like his.

Let's start a campaign! Let legislate that bikes must have 30mm plus tyres! No drops! In fact, let's ban diamond framed bikes altogether and allow only recumbents! In fact, a recumbent trike would never allow an accident like this to happen.

It's so obvious, really. Can't think why we still allow people to make their own choices about things at all really, when we can't even be trusted to cycle everywhere on fat-tyred tadpole recumbents.

(And if cycling rates fall massively as a result, then injury rates will fall even further! Even more win!)

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Re: Not My Club Too???

Postby Vantage » 15 Dec 2015, 4:21pm

Or we could all just buy cars! YIPPEEEEEE!!
Bill


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Re: Not My Club Too???

Postby irc » 15 Dec 2015, 7:48pm

bluemootwo wrote:Was he cycling head down?


Like a work colleague of mine was who went head first into the back of a parked bus. He always wore a helmet. Now he walks with a stick last time I saw him. He got medically retired. Looking where you are going and avoiding accidents by whatever means are appropriate has a lot going for it.

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Re: Not My Club Too???

Postby Psamathe » 15 Dec 2015, 8:18pm

I don't actually see a problem with the views expressed by the injured cyclist in the original post. His helmet may or may not have saved him (and without knowledge of the details of the accident nobody can know the real impact).

But rightly or wrongly, he believes it saved him and as such he recommends others also wear one. People may disagree and express their opinions.

Nowhere (that I saw) did the individual mention or suggest compulsion and there are quite a few other comments/wishes (like cars giving decent passing space to cyclists).

I came off my bike last year and my helmet took a descent bash on the road (minimal injuries, rode away without problems). My immediate reaction was feeling relieved that I was wearing it. But then over time I appreciated that the weight on my head might have contributed to the bash and an un-helmeted head might not have even hit the road. And I appreciated that sometimes an injury can be dramatic without necessarily always being serious. But I can see that had I not been so lucky then I might not have reflected on the part my helmet might have played in the same way.

If somebody genuinely believes something can make the lives of others safer then I see nothing wrong with them passing on their experiences and their personal recommendations. It's when "compulsion" starts to get mentioned that I get more concerned.

Ian

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Re: Not My Club Too???

Postby pjclinch » 15 Dec 2015, 8:34pm

The trend for compulsion comes from the general belief that you're mad not to wear, which in turn comes from... anecdotes like this, widely distributed as examples of good sense.
Particularly a problem in the information age, where uncritical opinion is very easy to come by. c.f. all manner of dubious health claims.

So, yes, it's his right, but yes, it's a problem.

Pete.
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