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.
Tonyf33
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Re: Is there any reason you wouldn't wear a helmet?

Postby Tonyf33 » 24 Jul 2016, 9:02pm

People pushing to the limit should especially be targetted to force them to not wear helmets, it's so obvious that without them they won't take the risks that they do, that means fewer crashes/fewer injuries. Win/win scemario.
It's no surprise that the amount of crashes/injuries in the pro peleton have gone up dramtically since helmets were made compulsary in competition

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

Postby mjr » 24 Jul 2016, 11:11pm

Tonyf33 wrote:It's no surprise that the amount of crashes/injuries in the pro peleton have gone up dramtically since helmets were made compulsary in competition

http://www.cyclehelmets.org/1213.html and if you work out 2010-2016 using the wiki page, it's 10 already, with over three years left. Helmet compulsion had to be forced through in 2003 by exploiting a tragic death, not by evidence. How long before the evidence forces a reversal?
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Re: Is there any reason you wouldn't wear a helmet?

Postby Vorpal » 24 Jul 2016, 11:15pm

Tonyf33 wrote:People pushing to the limit should especially be targetted to force them to not wear helmets, it's so obvious that without them they won't take the risks that they do, that means fewer crashes/fewer injuries. Win/win scemario.
It's no surprise that the amount of crashes/injuries in the pro peleton have gone up dramtically since helmets were made compulsary in competition

Every time we talk about this topic you bring up the crashes & injuries in the pro peloton. The only evidence that has ever been produced, is the numbers of deaths in professional races listed on cyclehelmets.org (as posted by mjr) BUT those do not include how many races there are. The numbers of races have increased considerably in recent years. In addition the number of motor vehicles in the peloton have increased. How many incidents are caused by motorcycle or car drivers? How many incidents would there be if racing organisation had remained exactly the same over the years, the same races were held every year, with the same numbers of teams and rider and the same numbers of motor vehicles in accompaniment?

Without exposure data, the numbers of deaths is all but useless as a measure.

Furthermore, not everyone is affected by risk compensation, and in all likelhood, it is a relatively small effect.
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Re: Is there any reason you wouldn't wear a helmet?

Postby mjr » 25 Jul 2016, 12:13am

Vorpal wrote:BUT those do not include how many races there are. The numbers of races have increased considerably in recent years.

It hasn't, has it? The top-level calendar today (World Tour) has about half the events of the top level thirty years ago (World Ranking) and I suspect similar has happened at the second level. There's been quite a push to streamline the calendars so the big stars race each other more often and it's easier to sell.

Also, many of the new events like GP de Montreal are one day while many of the discontinued events like Vuelta a Aragon were multistage.

Fair questions about the number of race motorists and changing organisation, though.
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Re: Is there any reason you wouldn't wear a helmet?

Postby Tonyf33 » 25 Jul 2016, 4:28am

I've watched pro bike racing for years, a lot in fact.
I'm not referring to deaths.
There are more crashes and more injuries now and since helmets became a thing in pro racing, that's with improved tech, improved brakes, improved tyres, more safety protocols, more protection on street furniture and yet riders crash more.
Oh sorry is statistical anecdote not how it works??

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

Postby Vorpal » 25 Jul 2016, 7:12am

mjr wrote:
Vorpal wrote:BUT those do not include how many races there are. The numbers of races have increased considerably in recent years.

It hasn't, has it? The top-level calendar today (World Tour) has about half the events of the top level thirty years ago (World Ranking) and I suspect similar has happened at the second level.

I might accept that the number of races has remained similar in the top-level calendar, however two of the included fatalities were in the Race Across America, which is not a professional race. Two of them occurred in 'a cyclo-cross race in Belgium' and one in 'a circuit race in Arlington MA'.

Secondly, even if we assume that the numbers of races has remained the same, we do not know that the number of individual places has remained the same.

cyclehelmets.org have used Wikipedia as a source, which is not necessarily reliable. In addition, there is a significant factor in this recording that has not yet been considered. That is, the availability of information. Where and how are these deaths recorded? Is these taken from media reports? That seems to to be the case. We don't have any way to know if before the 2000s, all of the deaths that occurred have been included. Whilst a famous cyclist crashing in the Tour de France is instant headline news, would that necessarily have been the case for less well known tours and cyclists in years past? Especially if the news was full of something else?

Lastly, the way races are organised and risk assessed has changed considerably over the years. Giro d'Italia has long been known as a high risk race, and organisers pushed that reputation for the sake of excitement. But a number of people have died in the Giro d'Italia over the years, and this prompted a great deal of discussion in cycling media after Wouter Weylandt died.

In conclusion, there are many factors at work here, and no evidence that mandatory helmet rules have caused an increase in the numbers of deaths per kilimoetre raced (or cycled by professionals)

If it were up to me, I woud make it a matter of personal choice, and educate professionals about the advantages and disadvantages.
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Re: Is there any reason you wouldn't wear a helmet?

Postby drossall » 25 Jul 2016, 7:32am

Vorpal wrote:In conclusion, there are many factors at work here, and no evidence that mandatory helmet rules have caused an increase in the numbers of deaths per kilimoetre raced (or cycled by professionals)

But it does call into question the idea that making helmets mandatory was a benefit. Also, for that matter, any argument that helmets should be compulsory for racing even if for nothing else.

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

Postby Vorpal » 25 Jul 2016, 8:18am

drossall wrote:
Vorpal wrote:In conclusion, there are many factors at work here, and no evidence that mandatory helmet rules have caused an increase in the numbers of deaths per kilimoetre raced (or cycled by professionals)

But it does call into question the idea that making helmets mandatory was a benefit. Also, for that matter, any argument that helmets should be compulsory for racing even if for nothing else.


As with cycling helmets in any circumstance, there is no significant evidence either way; less for cycle sport than for the general public. Frankly, though, the numbers particpating in cycle sport at an elite leve are relatively small. I doubt that helmet use would make enough of a difference one way or the other to show up in any statistics.

Maybe the UCI know; I can't imagine that they will ever do anything with their data, let alone publish it.
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Re: Is there any reason you wouldn't wear a helmet?

Postby mjr » 25 Jul 2016, 11:23am

Vorpal wrote:
mjr wrote:
Vorpal wrote:BUT those do not include how many races there are. The numbers of races have increased considerably in recent years.

It hasn't, has it? The top-level calendar today (World Tour) has about half the events of the top level thirty years ago (World Ranking) and I suspect similar has happened at the second level.

I might accept that the number of races has remained similar in the top-level calendar

But you won't accept the verifiable fact that the top-level UCI calendar has roughly halved since about 30 years ago? :shock:

however two of the included fatalities were in the Race Across America, which is not a professional race. Two of them occurred in 'a cyclo-cross race in Belgium' and one in 'a circuit race in Arlington MA'.

Sure, that's a fair challenge. A more detailed analysis is surely possible if anyone wants to do it, but see my *-marked point below.

Secondly, even if we assume that the numbers of races has remained the same, we do not know that the number of individual places has remained the same.

That could be checked, but I suspect that as well as a smaller calendar with fewer overlapping races, many of the top-level races have actually shrunk slightly: for example, 210 riders (21 teams of 10) started the 1986 Tour de France, but only 198 (22 teams of 9) started the 2016 edition.

This all reduces the exposure.

cyclehelmets.org have used Wikipedia as a source, which is not necessarily reliable. In addition, there is a significant factor in this recording that has not yet been considered. That is, the availability of information. Where and how are these deaths recorded? Is these taken from media reports? That seems to to be the case. We don't have any way to know if before the 2000s, all of the deaths that occurred have been included.

Equally, we don't have any way to know if after 2000, all of the deaths that occurred have been included. A more detailed analysis is surely possible if anyone wants to do it, but see my *-marked point below.

[...] Lastly, the way races are organised and risk assessed has changed considerably over the years. Giro d'Italia has long been known as a high risk race, and organisers pushed that reputation for the sake of excitement. But a number of people have died in the Giro d'Italia over the years, and this prompted a great deal of discussion in cycling media after Wouter Weylandt died.

...died, eight years after the introduction of helmet compulsion.

Surely the organisation and risk assessment is thought to have improved, which should only have reduced casualties and deaths, not increased them?

In conclusion, there are many factors at work here, and no evidence that mandatory helmet rules have caused an increase in the numbers of deaths per kilimoetre raced (or cycled by professionals)

A more detailed analysis is surely possible if anyone wants to do it, but ***pro racers are a small population relative to number of people cycling, head injuries remain rare and the road conditions do not reflect normality, with some races having roads specially swept, repaired or modified for them and large padded cushions erected over some obstacles. Their helmet compulsion was forced through by exploiting a tragic death and any attempt to overturn it may be accused of disrespecting that rider's memory. It's probably a lot of work for little gain, especially while almost everyone involved in racing is blindly faithful about helmets and many are sponsored by helmet manufacturers.***

If it were up to me, I woud make it a matter of personal choice, and educate professionals about the advantages and disadvantages.

I'd agree with that, but who would fund the education to counterbalance helmet manufacturers' misleading adverts? We can't even get the ASA to get Halfords, Rutland and other retailers to keep to reality.
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Re: Is there any reason you wouldn't wear a helmet?

Postby Bez » 25 Jul 2016, 11:42am

Stevek76 wrote:Saying that, if your road riding is in such a manner to be that risky I wonder why you're not also considering other forms of protective gear (eg wrist guards)?


As chance would have it…

https://twitter.com/beztweets/status/749684645772587009

I think that was my third on-road dismount in the last 20 years of riding and the only one to cause an injury beyond bruises to a hip or elbow.

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

Postby Tonyf33 » 25 Jul 2016, 9:26pm

Bez wrote:
Stevek76 wrote:Saying that, if your road riding is in such a manner to be that risky I wonder why you're not also considering other forms of protective gear (eg wrist guards)?


As chance would have it…

https://twitter.com/beztweets/status/749684645772587009

I think that was my third on-road dismount in the last 20 years of riding and the only one to cause an injury beyond bruises to a hip or elbow.

Same wrist accoutrement a couple of years ago, 14-15yr old sprints out across road directly into my path AFTER I had eyeballed him and I was wide of the lane anticipating him walking out. Scaphoid done in right hand, badly bruised left, fracture in left elbow, busted rear mech, not a mark on the kid and obvs didn't hit my head. Gloves did their job also and were undamaged having not being made of paper tissue.

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

Postby Vorpal » 25 Jul 2016, 9:47pm

mjr wrote:
Vorpal wrote:
mjr wrote:It hasn't, has it? The top-level calendar today (World Tour) has about half the events of the top level thirty years ago (World Ranking) and I suspect similar has happened at the second level.

I might accept that the number of races has remained similar in the top-level calendar

But you won't accept the verifiable fact that the top-level UCI calendar has roughly halved since about 30 years ago? :shock:


Sorry, the first time, I misread what you wrote. But I would be interested in where you getting the information about the numbers of races?

I find only http://www.uci.ch/road/calendar/
and things like http://autobus.cyclingnews.com/results/ ... 8.html#jun
which don't appear to have exactly the same sets of information, but the current road calendar clearly has more races on it than the 1998 calendar has. I haven't found earlier calendars at all.

mjr wrote:
vorpal wrote:[...] Lastly, the way races are organised and risk assessed has changed considerably over the years. Giro d'Italia has long been known as a high risk race, and organisers pushed that reputation for the sake of excitement. But a number of people have died in the Giro d'Italia over the years, and this prompted a great deal of discussion in cycling media after Wouter Weylandt died.

...died, eight years after the introduction of helmet compulsion.

Surely the organisation and risk assessment is thought to have improved, which should only have reduced casualties and deaths, not increased them?


Well, in theory, it should have. But in practice, some stages of some races may not have found a good balance between keeping it exciting enough to draw an audience and appropriate level of risk.

http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/wilson- ... el-stages/
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Re: Is there any reason you wouldn't wear a helmet?

Postby mjr » 26 Jul 2016, 12:36pm

Vorpal wrote:Sorry, the first time, I misread what you wrote. But I would be interested in where you getting the information about the numbers of races?

I find only http://www.uci.ch/road/calendar/

That comes up blank for me - if it's showing more races than the 1998 calendar, then you want to be looking for only the events marked "UCI World Tour" or "UWT" as only those 27 races count as top-level at the moment (riders don't get World Tour ranking points in others). https://roadcyclinguk.com/racing/uci-wo ... endar.html

Amazingly, most races shown on http://autobus.cyclingnews.com/results/1998/cal98.html used to count. Even if we're generous and only count the Grand Tours (500 points for the win), Hors Classification (220pts), World Cup, 1.1 and 2.1 (160pts), that's still nearly 50 races.

I did find a 1984 race calendar at http://www.procyclingstats.com/races.ph ... eason=1984 but its classification column is a bit of a mess. I can't find the one I had earlier. It might be somewhere on http://oldsite.uci.ch/

http://velonews.competitor.com/2005/06/ ... -eddy_8224 claims Eddy Merckx rode over 200 days of racing in 1975. Few, if any, current riders do so much.
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Re: Is there any reason you wouldn't wear a helmet?

Postby Vorpal » 26 Jul 2016, 12:51pm

I don't want to get derailed on a seemingly minor point, but first of all, the organisation and classification of such things has changed over the years. If you only count grand tours, it doesn't surprise me that there are fewer.

As for Eddy Merckx, top level riders don't race so many days in a year these days, but I would bet that the young cyclists who want to make it big still do that.

Secondly, the folks who ride grand tours also ride lots of other races. They use them for training, or ride because they are in home country / area, etc. Edvald Boasson Hagen rode in the Tour of Norway this year, and the Tour des Fjords last year. Alex Dowsett sometimes rides races and time trials in Essex in the off season.

Wikipedia seems to include entries for all of the news received about cyclists who died whilst competing. To that end, there are many more races avialable in which to compete, both at the professional level, and the amateur. Except maybe in Belgium. :wink:
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Re: Is there any reason you wouldn't wear a helmet?

Postby mjr » 26 Jul 2016, 4:31pm

Vorpal wrote:I don't want to get derailed on a seemingly minor point, but first of all, the organisation and classification of such things has changed over the years. If you only count grand tours, it doesn't surprise me that there are fewer.

No, not only grand tours, the whole top level of races is much smaller than it used to be. Yes, the organisation has changed over the years and so have some race classifications, and top-level riders do still do some lower-level races, but there seem fewer races at each professional level and many of them smaller, which is rather major when considering the injury rates of pro racers. Maybe there are more amateur races, but that's not relevant.

I remember races which no longer happen due to sponsors withdrawing, difficulty closing the routes and so on. Some "new" pro races have themselves collapsed, including the recent World Tour example of the Tour of Beijing.

Yet, with less racing and more helmets, still too many pros die.
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