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Re: "Chopper" Cyclist killed in 3-rider collision (Plastic h

Posted: 19 May 2016, 11:01am
by Si
Flinders - would you not agree that in order to convince people of something it is better to put across a level headed argument supported by proof, rather than supposition and insults?

Re: "Chopper" Cyclist killed in 3-rider collision (Plastic h

Posted: 19 May 2016, 11:04am
by horizon
Flinders: if cycle helmets hadn't been invented, would you still cycle?

Re: "Chopper" Cyclist killed in 3-rider collision (Plastic h

Posted: 19 May 2016, 11:12am
by mjr
Flinders wrote:Wearing a helmet is no hardship, and it may well help in an accident.

It may help, but it is unlikely to, and wearing a helmet is a hardship, a real pain in the neck. Even if you leave aside the helmet-injured necks of me and others, it's still a relatively-expensive delicate object that you have to carry around with you at your destination, protecting from knocks and scratches - they're too big for most briefcases and havesacks, or a small rucksack if you have anything else in there. Can you imagine how much less popular motoring would be if drivers had to carry an F1 helmet around at their destination? Also, it's inconvenient to carry one for a whole trip just in case you might hire a cycle and I wouldn't trust a hired helmet that has probably been knocked about, so it maims bike hire schemes.

So I wear one - the best I can find. Why not?

There's no reliable evidence of a significant improvement to cyclist outcomes, their straps are a source of artificial wind noise that impairs your hearing and they contribute to the false belief that cycling is particularly dangerous, to name but three reasons why not.

I think we need more research on cycling helmets, and more pressure for higher standards at point of sale, and I'm annoyed that some of those who are anti-helmet seem to oppose the raising of standards for helmets for the rest of us who want to wear one.

I think you'll find that the greatest pressure against higher standards comes from the helmet manufacturers. Look at how many manufacturers offer any hats that meet the higher Snell B90 and B95 standards over the weaker EN1078 and CPSC ones. Now why isn't that nearer 100% than zero?

Bad helmets do nobody any good- like the old 'prettier' riding hats, where some people still die or are badly injured in accidents using them when a modern one would have saved them.

So how do you know that your helmet isn't a "bad" one? Have you tested it yourself? A helmet by Met was only withdrawn after a magazine tested it, whereas Cannondale disputed a 2015 magazine test failure of one of theirs. Government testers do catch some (Specialized and Uvex have recalled some in the past due to this) but I'm sure you've read in the news about the cuts to government spending...

Re: "Chopper" Cyclist killed in 3-rider collision (Plastic h

Posted: 19 May 2016, 12:11pm
by Mike Sales
Flinders wrote:So I wear one - the best I can find. Why not?


It is noticeable that helmet law countries and countries where many cyclists wear helmets are those with a high casualty rate for cyclists and a low rate of cycling per head. Countries where cyclists are several times safer and much more plentiful are not helmet wearing countries. We are currently somewhere between Australia and the Netherlands on these indicators, and I'm sure that we all agree which way we want to go.
Helmets are not just a reaction to dangerous road conditions (and a reaction which has failed to improve the casualty rate in Australia and New Zealand) but a diversion from what really needs to be done, and an excuse for those who don't want to see road conditions for cyclists to be improved. As long as so much of the energy generated by the understandable concern at cycling casualties goes into helmet promotion, it does not go into real improvements. I think helmet promotion and especially compulsion is a sign of a society in which cycling is marginalised as the pursuit of a foolhardy few.
Some years ago a Whitehall source said that there were currently no plans to introduce helmet compulsion but that when rather more cyclists wore them then a law would be considered. I'm afraid that helmet wearing may be taken as a vote for compulsion.


Flinders wrote:I think we need more research on cycling helmets


I have already posted this from a BMJ article but I make no apology because it states the position so well.

In any case, the current uncertainty about any benefits from helmet promotion or wearing is unlikely to be reduced by further research. Equally, we can be certain that helmets will continue to be debated, and at length. The enduring popularity of helmets as a proposed major intervention for increased road safety may lie not in their direct benefits- which seem too modest to capture compared with other strategies- but more with the cultural, psychological and political aspects of popular debate around risk.


by Ben Goldacre, Wellcome research fellow in epedemiology and David Spiegelhalter, Winton professor for the public understanding of risk.

http://www.badscience.net/wp-content/uploads/Screenshot-2013-12-13-17.12.05.png

Re: "Chopper" Cyclist killed in 3-rider collision (Plastic h

Posted: 19 May 2016, 12:25pm
by mjr
Mike Sales wrote:Some years ago a Whitehall source said that there were currently no plans to introduce helmet compulsion but that when rather more cyclists wore them then a law would be considered. I'm afraid that helmet wearing may be taken as a vote for compulsion.

Not merely a Whitehall source, but a Cameron government spokesperson, in response to https://petition.parliament.uk/archived/petitions/48526 just two years ago:
Regular Department for Transport surveys have shown that the wearing rate for children has remained at around 18% i.e. the majority of children cyclists do not wear helmets. Compulsory laws would therefore cause significant enforcement difficulties and without greater public acceptance could have a negative effect on levels of cycling with direct disadvantages and costs in terms of health. For these reasons, the Government has no plans to introduce compulsory cycle helmet laws.

They aren't waiting for a majority to support compulsion - they're just waiting for enough to accept helmet-wearing. Support freedom - leave the helmet at home!

Re: "Chopper" Cyclist killed in 3-rider collision (Plastic h

Posted: 19 May 2016, 12:31pm
by Bez
Flinders wrote:Wearing a helmet is no hardship, and it may well help in an accident.


So wear it when you're in a car, or walking near a road. After all, it's no hardship. Is it? Oh, turns out it actually is. Otherwise you'd wear it.

Re: Cyclist killed in three-rider collision in Lancashire

Posted: 19 May 2016, 1:27pm
by sapperadam
meic wrote:
and pedestrians wearing helmets. it is NOT "reasonably practical" for them to do so


I dont see how it is any more difficult for a pedestrian to wear a helmet than it is for a cyclist to wear one.
Let alone putting the not in capitals. In fact many cyclists dont bother taking their helmets off when they are walking their bikes.


I said it was not reasonably practical. It is a generic term used in H&S and we cyclists actually use it to justify many things as well. Is it reasonably practical to force all cyclists to register bikes or have insurance for example? The same reason we are not [i]forced[/] (yet, hopefully never) to wear a helemt is because it not, in my view, reasonably practical to do so. However, that doesn't mean that it is not a reasonably practical measure for a cyclist to make.

Also we could declare any thing (crucifixes as an example) to be a safety aid and insist that they be worn on the grounds that it is "reasonably practical" to wear one while cycling.


You're quite right, you could declare anything at all to be a safety aid, whether or not it would be seen as reasonably practical is another matter.

Re: Cyclist killed in three-rider collision in Lancashire

Posted: 19 May 2016, 1:29pm
by sapperadam
BrianFox wrote:
it is NOT "reasonably practical" for them to do so


Not so at all.

A helmet for a pedestrian is every bit as practical as for a cyclist. What is impractical about it?

For a motorist, even more so - no issues with overheating.

Think harder. It's nothing to do with practicality.


It IS everything to do with practicality. How are you going to enforce this for instance, that is part of the consideration, and is (thankfully) the reason we don't have a helmet law for cyclists.

Re: "Chopper" Cyclist killed in 3-rider collision (Plastic h

Posted: 19 May 2016, 1:34pm
by meic
Are you using "reasonably practical" as a bit of H&S jargon which is a mixture of practical and common practice as compared to my interpretation which was purely what was practical, regardless of social norms?

Re: "Chopper" Cyclist killed in 3-rider collision (Plastic h

Posted: 19 May 2016, 1:47pm
by roubaixtuesday
sapperadam,

sorry, I'm lost, your latest post has confused me.

Can you clarify?

You seem to be arguing that it is reasonably practical for a cyclist to wear a helmet, but is not reasonably practicable for a motorist or pedestrian to do likewise. Have I understood you correctly?

Re: "Chopper" Cyclist killed in 3-rider collision (Plastic h

Posted: 19 May 2016, 2:39pm
by Bicycler
It is regrettable that the report of a cyclist's death had to become an opportunity for helmet evangelism (and the inevitable backlash). Aside for being completely disrespectful, both to the deceased and the considered personal choices of the fellow cyclists being addressed, it is also a completely needless argument. Conjecture based upon scant details in a news report of a single incident isn't going to sway the opinion of those who have decided not to wear helmets.

Flinders wrote:I think we need more research on cycling helmets, and more pressure for higher standards at point of sale, and I'm annoyed that some of those who are anti-helmet seem to oppose the raising of standards for helmets for the rest of us who want to wear one.

I think you're tilting at windmills. Who are these anti-helmet people opposed to higher standards of helmet design and manufacture? It's certainly not a commonly expressed opinion, though I guess it is consistent that people who believe helmets to be a 'bad thing' might see further development as leading us down the wrong path. The vast majority of people who are sceptical about helmets just want personal choice (both in law and in the organised cycling activities we wish to do) and not to be subjected to regular scrutiny or the kind of evangelising that started the debate in this thread.

In any case, the views of helmet sceptics are an irrelevance; we have no influence over helmet development. A significantly higher standard of hemlet (Snell B95-A) has existed for over twenty years and yet virtually no manufacturer currently bothers to make a compliant non-full face helmet. I'll suggest three reasons why there is little appetite for higher standards:

1) It would push costs up, particularly in terms of quality control. One unique feature of the Snell tests is the random testing of actual production helmets, not a supplied prototype. Third party tests have shown up some alarming differences between prototype and 'off the shelf'.

2) Helmets are sold in terms of lightness, ventilation, aesthetics and comfort, not crash protection. All helmets sold in the UK conform to the same standard, yet some are sold for many times the price of others. At any given price a better protecting helmet would lessen one or all of these important qualities and wouldn't sell as well as competitors.

3) There are limits to the levels of protection you can obtain from an open face helmet made of polystyrene. Public perception of the protection offered by current helmets already exceeds any level of protection they could reasonably offer (notice how you never hear life saving claims from helmet manufacturers). We regularly reports of people being hit at high speed and being saved by their helmets/dying becaue they don't have helmets. When people believe this, what marketing potential does a marginal increase in crash protection offered by refinement of helmet design actually offer?

Re: "Chopper" Cyclist killed in 3-rider collision (Plastic h

Posted: 19 May 2016, 3:06pm
by sapperadam
BrianFox wrote:sapperadam,

sorry, I'm lost, your latest post has confused me.

Can you clarify?

You seem to be arguing that it is reasonably practical for a cyclist to wear a helmet, but is not reasonably practicable for a motorist or pedestrian to do likewise. Have I understood you correctly?


I am clearly being painted as a helmet evangelist against anti-helmet evangelists. I'm not. I wear a helmet. Because I choose[/] to. Because I take my MTB on some rough trails and I am (sometimes) quite fast on the roadie. I am very much [i]against helmet laws however, it should be a choice! Those who are clearly anti-helmet are trotting out all the old facts about NZ and other places with helmet laws as a reason to not wear helmets. This is not the case. These are reasons to not have helmet laws.

In the absence of laws, the reason it is reasonably practical for a cyclist to wear helmets is that because of the propensity of cycle helmets and their being widely available, it is perfectly reasonable to ask a cyclist to wear one, if they choose to. As there are no laws forcing motorists to wear helmets, they are not widely manufactured, therefore it is not practical to bring in a law that would suddenly mean all these extra helmets need to be worn. Same with pedestrians, can you honestly say to me that you think it is practical for a pedestrian to be expected to wear a helmet? Would you do so? Why not? That is why it is not reasonably practical.

As for those who are saying that they have had neck injuries from wearing a helmet, it's a real shame that we can't know what the effects of them having not worn a helmet would have been. I'd much rather have some neck pain to contend with than not be here at all, so that is a chacne I will take. Other people would argue the opposite and that is entirely up to them what they do in response.

However, a lot of what is being argued here is all to do with conjecture when in actual fact the main crux of the matter is that a member of our community has sadly lost his life. We cannot know whether a helmet would have saved his life or not, I will continue to choose to wear one while also continue to be against their being compulsory.

Re: "Chopper" Cyclist killed in 3-rider collision (Plastic h

Posted: 19 May 2016, 3:15pm
by meic
can you honestly say to me that you think it is practical for a pedestrian to be expected to wear a helmet?


I would say that it is equally practical for a pedestrian to wear a helmet as it is for a cyclist.
The helmets are just as easily available for pedestrians as cyclists, nip into your local bike shop.
Though I imagine most pedestrians, certainly including myself, would think it was a very stupid idea to have to wear a helmet because of the tiny proportion of head injuries sustained by pedestrians (and cyclists).

Re: "Chopper" Cyclist killed in 3-rider collision (Plastic h

Posted: 19 May 2016, 3:22pm
by roubaixtuesday
sapperadam,

I'm honestly not trying to paint you as anything, just trying to understand your position.

I fail to see why it would be more or less practicable for a motorist or pedestrian to wear a helmet.

We don't, as motorists and pedestrians because we'd be ridiculed by others.

So it's basically about peer and societal pressure, I think, not practicality.

Interestingly, I support precisely the same position as you; i wear one most of the time, but am against compulsion.

Re: "Chopper" Cyclist killed in 3-rider collision (Plastic h

Posted: 19 May 2016, 3:39pm
by mjr
sapperadam wrote:As there are no laws forcing motorists to wear helmets, they are not widely manufactured, therefore it is not practical to bring in a law that would suddenly mean all these extra helmets need to be worn.

There are no laws here forcing cyclists to wear helmets, yet cycle helmets are widely manufactured. The reason motoring helmets are not widely manufactured is that motorists aren't wearing them. It's not because there are no laws forcing them to wear them. Indeed, in some circumstances (mainly closed course races), motorists are forced to wear helmets, similar to how cyclists are forced to (mainly British Cycling rides).

Same with pedestrians, can you honestly say to me that you think it is practical for a pedestrian to be expected to wear a helmet? Would you do so? Why not? That is why it is not reasonably practical.

I would not do so because it is disproportionate to the risk - but the same replies apply to cycle helmets, so that's why they're not reasonably practical too. Yet both exist (see attached pic of a walking helmet from Copenhagen)

As for those who are saying that they have had neck injuries from wearing a helmet, it's a real shame that we can't know what the effects of them having not worn a helmet would have been.

In my case, I am 99% confident that without wearing a helmet, I would have continued uninjured, on the basis that I recovered after I stopped wearing.

I'd much rather have some neck pain to contend with than not be here at all, so that is a chacne I will take.

I'm still here, thanks(!)

... I will continue to choose to wear one while also continue to be against their being compulsory.

How are you opposing them being compulsory? What have you done to oppose any of the compulsion measures on certain rides? What have you done to discourage the Cameron government from interpreting your acceptance of helmet-wearing as consent for a mandatory helmet law?