Why it makes sense to bike without 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.
Mike Sales
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Re: Why it makes sense to bike without a helmet

Postby Mike Sales » 23 Aug 2016, 6:29pm

Mick F wrote:
Mike Sales wrote:Your innocence does you credit, Mick.
Not innocent, more playing the the innocent. :wink:

So you were not sincere in deducing that the data you don't like must be wrong for that reason? Come on.

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Mick F
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Re: Why it makes sense to bike without a helmet

Postby Mick F » 23 Aug 2016, 6:41pm

Hey, hang on a sec.

I'm asking if that the facts are true.
I'm also asking if the facts are accepted, even though they're open to debate ............... and we debate quite openly and happily on here. :D

The fact that politicians do what they want despite "facts" is a universal fact, and I'm not so innocent that I don't understand that ............ but I'm asking the question to keep the debate open.

Could it be, that the injury rate has gone up despite the numbers of cyclists have decreased, because the remaining cyclists have increased their mileages?

That graph has a vertical scale of numbers of cyclists, not cyclists-per-mile .................... or cyclists-per-mile on dangerous roads perhaps?

Not arguing here, or being "innocent', just opening the debate.
Mick F. Cornwall

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Mick F
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Re: Why it makes sense to bike without a helmet

Postby Mick F » 23 Aug 2016, 6:48pm

Put it another way.
Lets say we aren't cyclists on here, and not interested in cycling at all.

Helmet compulsion came in.
Numbers of cyclists decreased.
Numbers of injuries increased.

Are these facts connected?
If so, why?
Mick F. Cornwall

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Re: Why it makes sense to bike without a helmet

Postby Mike Sales » 23 Aug 2016, 7:01pm

What you are doing, Mick, is not opening the debate, but casting around for any unsupported argument you can think of.

Australia and New Zealand have very low rates of miles cycled per head. They have very high helmet wearing rates and a cyclist accident rate two or three times ours. They also have a high obesity rate.
The Dutch cycle much more than us, have a low rate of helmet wearing and a low accident rate. They are, I read recently, the tallest people in Europe.
Apart from asking the obvious question, " which example should we follow?" we also have an answer to your question as to why NZ cyclists, and Anglo cyclists generally, don't rebel against helmet laws and helmet propaganda.
The cyclists down under could be characterised as "serious" cyclists, as sporting cyclists, even as road warriors. They tend to wear the gear, trade jerseys, lycra, etc and helmets. The casual transport cyclist who make up so much of the Dutch cycling population have been scared off. Incidentally, the helmet wearing road warriors still have a very high casualty rate, which you might think odd for presumably competent riders with all the safety gear.
Now, if you identify as a "cyclist", you are likely to accept the uniform, foam hat and all. If you just use a bike to get to the shops, work or school, you don't want to joust with the traffic, just get there safely.
I think it is pretty clear which model for cycling is best for society and I really dislike the road warrior tendency to "dangerise" cycling. I would like children to be able to ride to school, as I did.

Mike Sales
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Re: Why it makes sense to bike without a helmet

Postby Mike Sales » 23 Aug 2016, 7:08pm

Mick F wrote:Put it another way.
Lets say we aren't cyclists on here, and not interested in cycling at all.

Helmet compulsion came in.
Numbers of cyclists decreased.
Numbers of injuries increased.

Are these facts connected?
If so, why?


The same thing has happened everwhere that helmet laws have been enacted. It even happens when helmet propaganda is widespread.
Why? We can all make guesses. One guess of mine I discuss in my last post. Helmets dangerise cycling. They select for a particular type of cyclist. They provide an alibi for not making roads safer for cyclists. The Dutch said, "Stop der Kindermoord". We have Angie thingummy showing kids pictures of helmeted, X rayed heads and telling them to wear foam.
We are cyclists here, and we have a vested interest in safer roads, but beyond that, we pay for the NHS and cyclists are healthier, in spite of road accidents.

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Mick F
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Re: Why it makes sense to bike without a helmet

Postby Mick F » 23 Aug 2016, 7:26pm

Mike.
I'm not arguing with you. We are in agreement.

I'm picking holes in the "facts" as presented. I don't personally disagree with them, just picking holes in them as if I were a disinterested party.

I ask again ....... to the world in general.

Helmet compulsion came in.
Numbers of cyclists decreased.
Numbers of injuries increased.

Are these facts connected?
If so, why?
Mick F. Cornwall

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mjr
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Re: Why it makes sense to bike without a helmet

Postby mjr » 24 Aug 2016, 3:52pm

Mick F wrote:Helmet compulsion came in.
Numbers of cyclists decreased.
Numbers of injuries increased.

Are these facts connected?
If so, why?

How do you want to connection to be shown? If you're looking for someone to go around finding pre-1990s (because heavy helmet promotion started years before the rule) NZ cyclists who haven't cycled significantly post-1994, then I'd be willing to do it if someone would pay for my time and expenses! Although I'm now a helmet sceptic, I'd try my best not to bias the responses and I'd record as much as reasonably possible, so critics can verify the interpretation.

I'm not aware of anyone having done something like that yet, though. At the moment, the main thing that has been shown is a correlation and the numbers stopping cycling roughly matching the number who didn't use helmets immediately before the rule came in (example) - of course, there is a possibility that something else correlates with both the decrease in cycling and increase in injury rates (unsurprisingly, absolute cycling injuries decreased because the numbers cycling decreased - possibly to be replaced by the negative effects of less exercise but it'll be a while before that's noticeable if at all) but that's not been identified.

"Why?" is another question that could be informed by asking questions of the former cyclists, too. Frequent accusations include that helmets both make cycling less practical and are bad marketing of cycling by portraying it as so dangerous that you need to wear a hard hat, so it's on the level of walking around building sites or motor racing.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
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Mick F
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Re: Why it makes sense to bike without a helmet

Postby Mick F » 25 Aug 2016, 4:12pm

Nice reply.
I'm a (cycle) helmet sceptic too.

I'm not good at maths or statistics, but just coz numbers change at the same time, doesn't mean there's a connection in them changing.
I'm sure the facts and the graph are correct, and I'm personally sure the correlation and connection are correct too, but that doesn't PROVE it beyond reasonable doubt as perceived by the non-cyclist man on the Clapham omnibus.

This is all IMHO of course. :wink:
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Re: Why it makes sense to bike without a helmet

Postby Steady rider » 25 Aug 2016, 8:00pm

The data does provide proof in showing that from the known information the accident rates increased relative to cycling levels. Unless similar levels of proof can be provided to explain these increases then the justification for imposing a helmet law is lacking.

http://www.cycle-helmets.com/zealand_helmets.html provides more details.

http://www.cycle-helmets.com/nz-clarke-2012.pdf

It is the duty of the NZ government to fully investigate the issues.

There is a range of evidence to consider but it cannot be claimed that helmet laws provide a net social benefit.

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Re: Why it makes sense to bike without a helmet

Postby mjr » 25 Aug 2016, 9:04pm

Mick F wrote:I'm sure the facts and the graph are correct, and I'm personally sure the correlation and connection are correct too, but that doesn't PROVE it beyond reasonable doubt as perceived by the non-cyclist man on the Clapham omnibus.

This is public health, Mick. We can't "PROVE it beyond reasonable doubt" for tons of things in public health... statin side-effects, for example, aren't proved beyond reasonable doubt either. It's not a good standard to use for health - or many other practical sciences, for that matter - else you'd never do anything.

It's also rather bizarre for such a disproportionate intervention to be assumed worthwhile, rather than helmets having to prove their worth first.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
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Mick F
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Re: Why it makes sense to bike without a helmet

Postby Mick F » 26 Aug 2016, 6:55am

Steady rider wrote:It is the duty of the NZ government to fully investigate the issues.
Are they investigating?
If not, why not?
Do they believe the stats or not?


mjr wrote:It's also rather bizarre for such a disproportionate intervention to be assumed worthwhile, rather than helmets having to prove their worth first.
Yes, bizarre.
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Re: Why it makes sense to bike without a helmet

Postby Steady rider » 26 Aug 2016, 10:11am

The NZ data is open to all researchers in NZ and across the world to examine. If it had errors they would probably soon be detected. The road safety people in NZ and cycling groups would also look at such information. There is no reason to suppose the information has serious errors.

The NZ government is guided by their road safety representatives and they work closely with the Australian representatives. Both groups had an hand in promoting the helmet laws and have supported them for more than 20 years. In Australia the Senate looked into the issue of helmet laws and had misleading claims from groups supporting the laws. The NZ government has not had an Inquiry into their helmet law but there is strong evidence to suggest they look closely at the results. There are groups in NZ who have asked for the law to be repealed.
http://cyclinghealth.org.nz/
Today it is topic where those who supported the law do not want to lose credibility and those who oppose the law are up against the public perception that helmets must offer protection. The government are not under much pressure to act so they probably just get on with other things.

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Re: Why it makes sense to bike without a helmet

Postby Mick F » 27 Aug 2016, 2:20pm

Thanks, that all makes sense.
Nicely put.
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Re: Why it makes sense to bike without a helmet

Postby Labrat » 27 Aug 2016, 3:43pm

We seem to be sucking ourselves down a nasty path whereby instead of making an argument against compulsion (as it has effects on participation etc), people are now trying to justify an argument that *for an existing cyclist* not wearing a helmet is safer than wearing a helmet.

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Re: Why it makes sense to bike without a helmet

Postby Mike Sales » 27 Aug 2016, 4:04pm

Labrat wrote:We seem to be sucking ourselves down a nasty path whereby instead of making an argument against compulsion (as it has effects on participation etc), people are now trying to justify an argument that *for an existing cyclist* not wearing a helmet is safer than wearing a helmet.



It is not just compulsion which reduces participation. Helmet propaganda inevitably has to stress the dangers of cycling. Do you remember BeHIT's poster showing an x-ray of a skull in a cycle helmet? This was to indoctrinate children. Although, in fact, cycling is roughly as dangerous as walking or riding in a car, helmet propaganda needs to convince that cycling is so much more dangerous that a helmet is necessary.

Here is an extract from the New York Times.

Millions of parents take it as an article of faith that putting a bicycle helmet on their children, or themselves, will help keep them out of harm's way.

But new data raise questions about that assumption. The number of head injuries sustained in bicycle accidents has increased 10 percent since 1991, even as helmet use has risen sharply, according to figures compiled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. With ridership declining over the same period, the rate of head injuries among bicyclists has increased 51 percent even as the use of bicycle helmets has become widespread.


Note. In most of the USA helmets are not mandated. Participation has declined but head injury rate has increased.
If you want to call pointing this out "nasty", I will manage to bear the insult.