Is there any reason you wouldn't wear a helmet?

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.
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pjclinch
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Re: Is there any reason you wouldn't wear a helmet?

Postby pjclinch » 17 Jul 2016, 7:17pm

Dave W wrote:Ahhhh, I see it now. This subject has been done before with the same individuals with the same arguments lying in wait.


Is it really surprising that in the 20 or so years over which helmet promotion has grown increasingly contentious that you're not the first person to have raised these points the way, and the way you raised them? And is it really surprising that the people who follow the subject closely tend to hang around in an area specifically created for discussing it? Or were you naive enough to think you were genuinely on to something new?

Well, the news is it's not news. Yes, we've seen it before, and we'll no doubt see it again. The regulars of the Helmets ghetto include at least author of a peer reviewed journal paper on the subject and at least one person invited to do some peer reviewing for similar, and that suggests that between us we do actually have a pretty good grounding on the subject.

Dave W wrote:No wonder I got so much abuse.


I think that was a reaction to the abuse you were more than happy to hand out in the other direction. If you went to a bike-tech forum and told the locals that it's obvious that L shaped cranks ironed out the 12 o'clock flat spot and amidst much eye rolling that they had not a jot of common sense between them if they couldn't see that I suspect you might get a similar ride there.

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Re: Is there any reason you wouldn't wear a helmet?

Postby pjclinch » 17 Jul 2016, 7:48pm

Brucey wrote:strikes me that perhaps none of the 'no helmet please' brigade have ridden in close formation at speed lately; this might include training for, or riding a road race, a team time trial etc etc etc; (certainly a chain gang and even a brisk club run might fall into that category.) You surely can't ride in some fantasy world 'always safe' fashion when doing these things.


It's instructive, as ever, to look at what goes on over in NL. On my last visit, back in April near Den Haag, there was considerably more chain-gang action than in this neck of the woods, and the folk in the chain-gangs were almost universally in lycra racing kit with padded track mits and crash helmets. Outside of actual obviously sporting endeavour, however, there was very little lycra and no crash helmets, because it's horses for courses. The case appears to be that when you go for a sporting ride you dress for a sporting ride, and when you don't you don't.

I don't know about anyone else here, but I dress for the job in question, and if the job in question is riding to work or doing the shopping etc. (where I'm not using it as a training run or setting PBs) I have no interest in dressing up as if I'm racing.

Brucey wrote:Falling off is a risk that you take; I would go as far as to say that the majority of people who road race have fallen off (at speed) and accept that as a risk.


And crashes are also fairly inevitable in motor racing, but I doubt Lewis Hamilton drives his personal car on normal roads wearing a flameproof suit and a crash helmet. Sport is not representative of the typical usage.

Brucey wrote:I started racing and training for racing in the 1970s and I was forced to wear a helmet (a bad helmet, worse than useless) then. Modern helmets are pretty good by comparison.

If you are road racing, training for it, or even just playing at it, wearing a helmet is a no-brainer.


For some values of "no brainer". How many Grand Tours have been won without crash helmets? Hill-climbs can be road racing, and indeed the case that even today they do not all have helmet requirements. The main point in a TT is aerodynamics more than protection. and so on.

But again, sport riding is not representative of non-sport riding.

Brucey wrote: Furthermore, if you think you 'ride safe' all the time when you are not doing those things then you are living in a dream world; there are just too many idiots on the road, too many things that can go wrong; for example anyone who says that they always ride such that 'there could be diesel in the road and they would still be OK' is most probably either an idiot or a liar.


And again we come back to the casualty figures in cars and wonder why this reasoning doesn't have us all driving to Tesco with full roll cages and 5 point safety harnesses, or indeed acting as a pedestrian where mile for mile just as many people get totalled as when cycling. Nobody is saying cycling is risk free, they are saying it is in the same risk ballpark as many other activities where nobody worries about crash helmets despite research flagging up their potential usefulness.

Brucey wrote:I have seen someone lying dead in the road, having fallen off, all by themselves. They were not wearing a helmet. Now as it happens I don't know if they might have survived if they had worn one or not, but I would bet any money that if they had a chance to go round again they would choose differently.


They'd know that the way it happened they ended up dead. You've offered them the chance to try again with one thing changed. What can they possibly lose by not changing? People have also been killed just tripping over, almost always without helmets. Asked the same question, what do you think they'd go for, sticking with a sure-fire dead or a chance they'd be alive? So as rhetorical questions go to support helmet use on a bike it's a bit pointless.

As has been noted, lots of people fall off without special help, just as they fall down stairs. In cultures where cycling is normal, and not presented not only as ridiculously dangerous but less dangerous with a crash helmet, this is treated as "excrement occurs", they get up and move on (possibly with a bump to their head), and the typical odds of it not being too risky means it doesn't come back to haunt them. So do you think any/all of the people in this video wouldn't have gone out without a crash helmet (or perhaps a tricycle) ever again?

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Re: Is there any reason you wouldn't wear a helmet?

Postby Vorpal » 17 Jul 2016, 7:53pm

Brucey wrote:strikes me that perhaps none of the 'no helmet please' brigade have ridden in close formation at speed lately; this might include training for, or riding a road race, a team time trial etc etc etc; (certainly a chain gang and even a brisk club run might fall into that category.) You surely can't ride in some fantasy world 'always safe' fashion when doing these things.

If I were racing, I would certainly wear a helmet. Probably chain gang, too. I'm not sure about time trialling, I think it would depend on the course, how well I knew it, how fast I think I could likely go, etc.
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Re: Is there any reason you wouldn't wear a helmet?

Postby pjclinch » 17 Jul 2016, 8:27pm

And still the case that before promoting you should have clear evidence of efficacy. Conjecture can certainly be useful, but until it's backed up with decent evidence that's all it is. We don't really know if helmets make road racing safer (not enough data), so it's no sensible basis to push them for "normal" riding.

Road racers wear them because the rules say they will. The rules are not based on much in the way of evidence, more "something must be done, this is something". IIRC there were threats of rider strikes when they were first made compulsory in the pro peloton, so not exactly "no-brainer"

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Re: Is there any reason you wouldn't wear a helmet?

Postby Cunobelin » 17 Jul 2016, 8:30pm

Brucey wrote:strikes me that perhaps none of the 'no helmet please' brigade have ridden in close formation at speed lately; this might include training for, or riding a road race, a team time trial etc etc etc; (certainly a chain gang and even a brisk club run might fall into that category.) You surely can't ride in some fantasy world 'always safe' fashion when doing these things.



... or on the other hand one could ask how many of the "pro helmet" brigade have ridden a steady ride down to the local shops at a leisurely pace, nipped down to the pub, or just ambled along a few country lanes.?

After all, you surely can't ride in some fantasy world where it is 'always unsafe' fashion because you have chosen to increase your own personal risk?

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Re: Is there any reason you wouldn't wear a helmet?

Postby Mike Sales » 17 Jul 2016, 8:31pm

David Spiegelhalter, Winton professor for the public understanding of risk, whose BMJ editorial on cycle helmets has been mentioned in this discussion, has an article in today's Observer on the abuse of statistics by politicians. It is quite interesting and useful. I notice that he is president elect of The Royal Statistical Society.

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2016/jul/17/politicians-dodgy-statistics-tricks-guide

Rather than accept Spiegelhalter's conclusion that it is impossible to tell whether helmets do any good or not, one of the posters here prefers to believe that the good professor must have made elementary mistakes in the assessment of the statistical evidence, and that he, the poster, can put Spiegelhalter right.
If helmets do any good it should be possible to tell.
Helmet believers tend towards this unshakeable belief in the superiority of their own common sense over a scientific analysis. See some of the passionate posts above. This does their heart credit, but not their head.

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Re: Is there any reason you wouldn't wear a helmet?

Postby Dave W » 17 Jul 2016, 8:37pm

Is it really surprising that in the 20 or so years over which helmet promotion has grown increasingly contentious that you're not the first person to have raised these points the way, and the way you raised them? And is it really surprising that the people who follow the subject closely tend to hang around in an area specifically created for discussing it? Or were you naive enough to think you were genuinely on to something new?


I didn't post the subject here - it was put here. I generally have a quick butchers at the technical forum, does anyone know forum and the for sale section. I didn't know this cesspit even existed.

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Re: Is there any reason you wouldn't wear a helmet?

Postby RickH » 17 Jul 2016, 9:14pm

Slightly at a tangent but relevant to the discussion - is it possible to be rendered unconscious without a direct blow to your head?

The only vaguely serious accident I've had was in the mid 70s as a teenager. I was tanking along (that was the way I rode - always flat out) a flat/slight downhill road on the way to school and a car waiting to turn right across me stopped waiting (they claimed their foot slipped off the clutch, I can't say if it did or was just an excuse). I've no recollection of the impact but, by all accounts, I sailed straight over the car bonnet and landed on the other side. I have a hazy recollection of lying down with folk around me but have no other recollection of things until I'd been shipped off to the local hospital (which was very close). The most "head protection" I would have had would have been a woolly hat, if the weather was cold. Neither I nor my bike sustained any noticable damage (or at least nothing I can remember now), I can't remember if my clothes suffered, but I have absolutely no recollection of a sore head afterwards at all. I had a day, maybe two, off school & then was back in & on my bike to get there.

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Re: Is there any reason you wouldn't wear a helmet?

Postby kwackers » 17 Jul 2016, 9:26pm

RickH wrote:Slightly at a tangent but relevant to the discussion - is it possible to be rendered unconscious without a direct blow to your head?

Rotational injury.

It's the most common mechansim for brain damage and doesn't require actual physical damage to your head. It's also a potential reason cycle helmets aren't that good, by making your head bigger and heavier they increase the chance of making contact with the floor and imparting rotation to your skull with the consequent brain injury.
In theory anything that 'whips' your head could cause such injury.

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Re: Is there any reason you wouldn't wear a helmet?

Postby pjclinch » 17 Jul 2016, 9:59pm

RickH wrote:Slightly at a tangent but relevant to the discussion - is it possible to be rendered unconscious without a direct blow to your head?


Yes. Fainting is just that.
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Re: Is there any reason you wouldn't wear a helmet?

Postby pjclinch » 17 Jul 2016, 10:04pm

Dave W wrote:
Is it really surprising that in the 20 or so years over which helmet promotion has grown increasingly contentious that you're not the first person to have raised these points the way, and the way you raised them? And is it really surprising that the people who follow the subject closely tend to hang around in an area specifically created for discussing it? Or were you naive enough to think you were genuinely on to something new?


I didn't post the subject here - it was put here. I generally have a quick butchers at the technical forum, does anyone know forum and the for sale section. I didn't know this cesspit even existed.


That might reasonably apply to my second question when you started, but not really to the first and third, and once things got going not to the second in any case.

And I see we're back to the insults again. These awful people disagreeing with my dismissal of them as morons with no common sense, based on nothing but a good knowledge of decades of peer-reviewed research work... clearly sewer denizens.

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Re: Is there any reason you wouldn't wear a helmet?

Postby Dave W » 17 Jul 2016, 10:18pm

:D your words not mine. I actually said there were some very articulate and intelligent posters on here. But lacking common sense. If you want to whip up more trouble then carry on. I have a life I'd like to get on with thanks. Cheerio.

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Re: Is there any reason you wouldn't wear a helmet?

Postby mjr » 18 Jul 2016, 12:19am

Brucey wrote:strikes me that perhaps none of the 'no helmet please' brigade have ridden in close formation at speed lately; this might include training for, or riding a road race, a team time trial etc etc etc; (certainly a chain gang and even a brisk club run might fall into that category.) You surely can't ride in some fantasy world 'always safe' fashion when doing these things.

Ah, here we go! Of course, all unhelmeted riders are novices wobbling along the road to the shops who have no experience of fast riding and so on. :roll:

It's actually increasingly difficult to ride in close formation at speed without a helmet because the irrational rules of the UCI are percolating further and further down the chain, so there are few groups which still allow it. I think CTT rules still mean that you could ride a team time trial (TTT) without it but I'm not sure - I think there are relatively few TTTs these days and I've not seen one recently. For individual time trials, no-one should be near enough to you to bring you down.

Actually, so what if another rider crashes into you? That's not the situation that most helmets are designed for. They're for single-participant crashes. If you have a pile-up, you're beyond the helmet's design.

And the flip side is that if you can't ride close formation safely, should you really be riding like that on the open roads, or are you the cycling equivalent of a couple of boy racers in hot hatches tailgating each other? Keep dodgy road practices for the closed-road events.

I'd actually cut racing a little slack, but I wish racers would cut the rest of us more slack and stop trying to pretend that helmets are worthwhile.
Furthermore, if you think you 'ride safe' all the time when you are not doing those things then you are living in a dream world; there are just too many idiots on the road, too many things that can go wrong;

Idiots on the road are irrelevant because helmets aren't for multi-vehicle collisions.

I have seen someone lying dead in the road, having fallen off, all by themselves. They were not wearing a helmet. Now as it happens I don't know if they might have survived if they had worn one or not, but I would bet any money that if they had a chance to go round again they would choose differently.

Really? I'd bet any money that they'd prefer to avoid the cause of the fall instead!
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Re: Is there any reason you wouldn't wear a helmet?

Postby Cunobelin » 18 Jul 2016, 6:10am

Actually the increasing use of helmets in events is another demonstration of a problem with helmets and their unsuitability / inadequacy

In the UK we use a standard (EN1078 that is laughably weak and inappropriate. There are a number of organisations that recognise this.

One large organisation that organises Sportives on an National basis clearly feels that the EN1078 helmets are inadequate as they state in their requirements that :

t is mandatory that all riders wear a safety approved cycling helmet complying with latest ANSI Z90/4 or SNELL standards.


Interesting that they have insisted on helmets that exceed the standard for sale in the UK

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Re: Is there any reason you wouldn't wear a helmet?

Postby pjclinch » 18 Jul 2016, 8:13am

Dave W wrote::D your words not mine. I actually said there were some very articulate and intelligent posters on here. But lacking common sense. If you want to whip up more trouble then carry on. I have a life I'd like to get on with thanks. Cheerio.


"But lacking common sense" on the end of the compliment does rather change it though. It comes over as a bit like the following from Catch-22: ""Clevinger was one of those people with lots of intelligence and no brains, and everyone knew it except those who soon found out. In short, he was a dope." Despite describing Clevinger as having "lots of intelligence" there is no question that compliments are not involved.

Oh, but you put a smiley there, so that takes all of the negativity out, right?
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